UFC targeting two massive title fights for second March PPV

MMA, Stipe Miocic

Since the calendar turned over to 2021, the UFC has been busy working on building it’s biggest year yet. They are kicking off the new year with a bang with three fantastic cards on Fight Island that starts tomorrow with Max Holloway – Calvin Kattar.

Of course, the biggest star in the sport, Conor McGregor, is headlining the first PPV next weekend at UFC 257. Despite all of this excitement in the next week, it’s actually the month of March that’s getting the hype.

The UFC has already announced a massive PPV event to kick things off in March. UFC 259 is scheduled for March 6th and has three title fights booked for that card with the headliner being Israel Adesanya – Jan Blachowicz.

Tonight, ESPN’s Ariel Helwani is reporting that the promotion has plans for another massive PPV at the end of March. Per Helwani, UFC 260 is being targeted for March 27th and the card would feature Stipe Miocic – Francis Ngannou 2 and Alexander Volkanovski – Brian Ortega.

Two UFC title fights

To start things off, it should be known that neither one of these fights for UFC 260 are finalized. However, let’s move with assumption that they will get done and let’s start with the main event of the evening.

The rematch between Stipe Miocic (20-3) and Francis Ngannou (15-3) is a fight that UFC fans have been waiting for. Ngannou has knocked out four straight opponents in the first round while Miocic just concluded his trilogy with Daniel Cormier.

While Miocic dominated the first fight, the general consensus is that Ngannou will be the favorite at UFC 260. Ngannou is looking better than ever while Miocic isn’t quite as good as he was when they first fought. The winner will take on Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) later in the summer.

Then we have the co-main event of the evening. The UFC featherweight title will be on the line as Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) will be taking on Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC). Volkanovski will be making his second title defense.

In my opinion, Brian Ortega looked like the best featherweight in the world when he fought Chan Sung Jung back in October. Ortega has always been known for his ground skills, but his striking looked sensational.

Factoring both of those in with his cardio and size and you have a problem for the division. Despite being the champion, Alexander Volkanovski will have a lot to prove at UFC 260.

Most people believe that he lost to Max Holloway in their rematch in July. He will need to come out and make a statement to show the world that he truly is the best in the UFC’s featherweight division. This event is not official, but if it gets done, March is going to be insane.

Who will be the UFC champions after 2021? (Welterweight – Heavyweight)

UFC, Jon Jones

Yesterday, I went through the UFC’s flyweight – lightweight divisions and listed out who I believed would be standing as champion after 2021. Unlike 2020, I’m expecting some title to change hands inside the octagon in 2021.

2020 was the first time in the modern UFC era that not a single champion lost their title in a fight. Belts were vacated in 2020, however, if a champion made the walk with the belt, they walked out with the belt.

2021 is promising to be a very tough year for the UFC champions. Every one who is a current title holder is more than capable of holding on to their belts, however, it’s going to be far from easy.

The fights we already know about that are booked look tough on the champions. For example, the UFC is booking Petr Yan (15-1) against Aljamain Sterling (19-3) and Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) against Brian Ortega (15-1,1 NC).

The champions will likely enter the octagon as the betting favorite in both of those matchups. However, I personally see both challengers as the favorites when looking at the skillsets and attributes inside those matchups.

The champions in the heavier divisions are also in for some rough matchups in 2021. Lets go from the welterweight division through the UFC‘s heavyweight division and pick who will be standing as champion after this year.

UFC Champions after 2021 (Welterweight – Heavyweight)

Welterweight – Gilbert Burns

The first division up is the UFC’s welterweight division. Champion, Kamaru Usman (17-1), is booked to face Gilbert Burns (19-3) in the headliner of UFC 258. This fight has been booked a couple of times.

Originally, the two men were supposed to fight at UFC 251. However, Gilbert Burns tested positive for COVID-19 and didn’t end up getting the shot. The promotion then tried to book this fight for December, but Kamaru Usman needed a little time to heal from his last fight.

Now, these former teammates are finally going to battle. Kamaru Usman lives up to his nickname in that he’s a nightmare for virtually all of his opponents. His strong wrestling and smothering style are incredibly difficult to deal with.

It’s one of the reasons why he hasn’t lost since his second professional fight. Usman is sensational, however, if there’s one man who has the style to beat Usman, it’s Gilbert Burns.

Burns is world class on the ground as a BJJ world champion. Not only that, but in 2020, he showed just how dangerous his hands are. He’s incredibly fast and powerful on the feet. I believe he will have the striking advantage whenever these two fight.

For now, I think that Burns is going to get the job done next month. I just think he has the perfect style to become the UFC champion. In looking at welterweight right now, I’m not sure anyone will take the belt from Burns if he gets it. At least not in 2021.

Middleweight & Light Heavyweight – Israel Adesanya

I’m lumping these next two UFC divisions together because I think one man will hold both titles after 2021. The middleweight and light heavyweight champion after 2021 will be The Last Stylebender, Israel Adesanya (20-0).

After doubting him for a while, I’m completely sold on Adesanya. Every time you start to doubt this man or believe someone will give him problems, he puts on the best performance of his career to shut everyone up.

Very much reminds me of Anderson Silva in his prime in that sense. Adesanya is already the middleweight champion and I don’t see anyone posing a threat to him at 185. I believe he’s just head and shoulders ahead of the competition there.

Adesanya is moving up to challenge Jan Blachowicz (27-8) at UFC 259 for the light heavyweight championship. This is going to be a tough fight for stylebender and Blachowicz is the most powerful fighter that Adesanya has ever fought.

It’s not going to be an easy fight, however, I think when it’s over, Adesanya is getting his second title. I’m not sure what fights will come after that for Adesanya, but I believe he will defeat anyone at either division that’s not named Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC).

Heavyweight – Jon Jones

Last but not least, we have the UFC’s heavyweight division. Who will leave 2021 with the title of baddest man on the planet? Well, I believe that the baddest man on the plan will also have the title as The GOAT.

Jon Jones is currently working on his move to the heavyweight division. Jones vacated his light heavyweight title in 2020 to focus on capturing the heavyweight championship of the world.

Stipe Miocic (20-3) currently reigns at heavyweight. Miocic is the greatest heavyweight in UFC history with two title reigns and a combined four title defenses which is unheard of in the heavyweight division.

Stipe has a very tough test in front of him for his first title defense of 2021. Miocic is taking on Francis Ngannou (15-3) for the second time. This fight is expected to take place in either March or April.

In my heart of hearts, I don’t see Stipe Miocic winning the rematch. He dominated the first fight between the two, but I believe both men are heading in opposite directions. Francis Ngannou is going to become the champion.

However, regardless of who wins, the winner will fight Jon Jones in either the summer or the fall. I think that a motivated Jon Jones beats either one of those men. Yes, Francis has power, but Jones’ striking defense is sensational.

I think his style would keep Ngannou at range and he’d be able to beat him on the cards. At this stage in their careers, I don’t see Miocic being able to beat Jones really wherever the fight goes. With that in mind, Bones will leave 2021 with heavyweight gold.

Israel Adesanya could become the UFC’s first three-division champion

One of the biggest stars in the UFC today is the middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya (20-0). The undefeated Adesanya has exploded in popularity over the last couple of years due to his performances and his personality.

The Last Stylebender has an incredibly flashy style inside and outside the octagon. Even his ring walks are entertaining like the dancing routine he did prior to his fight with Robert Whittaker at UFC 243.

I will be the first to admit, I thought Adesanya was more hype than substance. While I thought he was good, I didn’t foresee him being nearly as good as he’s shown. Stylebender has shown me that as soon as you doubt him, he performs his best.

After he defeated Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236, he earned a lot of respect due to the heart that he showed. However, he also showed that he wasn’t invincible and many believed that Robert Whittaker would take him out at UFC 243.

Instead, Adesanya destroyed Whittaker and knocked him out in the second round. Early in the year last year, Adesanya took on Yoel Romero at UFC 248. The fight was far from entertaining and some even believed that Romero won the fight.

With the lack of action in the fight, some cooled off Stylebender. I will be the first to admit that I actually picked him to lose to Paulo Costa at UFC 253. Instead, Adesanya dazzled again and won by second round knockout.

UFC’s first three-division world champion

News recently broke that Adesanya is going to be moving up in his next fight. He’s going to be moving up to light heavyweight at UFC 259 to challenge the light heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz (27-8).

It’ll be a big test for Adesanya. It’ll be interesting to see how he holds up against someone as powerful as Blachowicz. While Adesanya’s current plan is to win the title and ultimately return to middleweight, he could have the chance at history.

Adesanya has been very vocal about his future desire to fight Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC). Jones is considered by many to be the greatest fighter of all time. Jones is currently preparing for a heavyweight title fight later this year.

If Jones and Adesanya both were to win, a superfight could materialize. I could see the UFC attempting to pair the two against each other at heavyweight. If that were to happen, Adesanya would have the chance to hold three belts at the same time which has never been done before.

Even if Jones doesn’t win the title and let’s say Stipe Miocic (20-3) remains the champion, Adesanya’s coach has talked about fighting Stipe. The interest is there for Stylebender to potentially test himself at heavyweight as well.

The reality is that there is a roadmap for Adesanya to do something truly special in the UFC. Holding three titles simultaneously has never even been discussed before. However, Adesanya could become the first fighter in history to do it between this year and next.

UFC champions that are likely to lose in 2021

Corey Anderson

2020 was a great year if you were a UFC champion. Not a single champion lost their title in a title fight during 2020. There were some vacated title, however, nobody lost their title inside the octagon.

I don’t believe we are going to see the same thing for the UFC champions in 2021. There are some stacked divisions in the UFC and there are champions that have incredibly tough title defenses ahead of them.

There are a few champions who aren’t even going to be favored in their next title defense. Even if the champions get through their first difficult defense, many divisions have even tougher matchups awaiting the champions.

With that, I wanted to go through the divisions and pick out some UFC champions that I believe are at the highest risk in 2021. Some titles won’t change hands in 2021 while others are almost guarantees in my opinion.

Three UFC champions that will lose in 2021

Stipe Miocic

The first champion and in my opinion the most likely champion that I see losing his UFC title in 2021 is Stipe Miocic (20-3). The greatest heavyweight in the promotions history has a nightmare of a year in front of him in 2021.

Miocic’s first title defense will come against Francis Ngannou (15-3). The fight is a rematch from UFC 220. That night saw Miocic completely dominate Ngannou and overwhelm the dangerous challenger.

However, I believe that the rematch is going to go differently. Ngannou has rededicated himself to his career and I believe he’s going to enter their title fight better than ever. I can’t say the same thing for the UFC heavyweight champion.

I’m not sure we are going to see the best version of Stipe Miocic whenever they fight. Stipe is definitely capable of winning, but he’s going to need to be the best version of himself. Anything short of it and he’s getting put to sleep.

Let’s say that Stipe Miocic makes it through Ngannou. Well, then he has to face the greatest of all time in Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC). Jones is moving to heavyweight after dominating the UFC’s light heavyweight division for over a decade.

So if Miocic makes it through Ngannou, he has an even tougher task in front of him in defeating Jon Jones. With those two challenges in front of him, I don’t see Miocic making it out of 2021 with the UFC heavyweight title.

Jan Blachowicz

The next UFC champion that will fall in 2021 is the new light heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz (27-8). Blachowicz has completely turned his career around the last few years and it culminated at UFC 253.

That night, Blachowicz took on Dominick Reyes (12-2) for the light heavyweight title. Reyes was the favorite, however, Blachowicz used his famous Polish Power to dominate Reyes and capture the title.

Blachowicz has all of the makings to be a UFC champion that could reign for a while. However, he has a nightmare of a matchup in his first defense. He will be taking on the middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya (20-0), at UFC 259.

Adesanya is moving up to try and become a two-division UFC champion. I believe this is an awful matchup for Blachowicz. The light heavyweight champion is going to go have to either grapple Adesanya or catch him with one big shot.

He’s definitely got the power to put Adesanya out, but in a pure striking matchup, I think he’s going to get lit up. While it’s been a great story, I think the reign of the Polish Power ends at UFC 259 at the hands of Israel Adesanya.

Alexander Volkanovski

The final UFC champion that I will touch on is the featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski (22-1). Volkanovski has been on an incredible run inside the octagon and he’s going to be defending his featherweight title for the second time in early 2021.

Volkanovski’s first title defense came at UFC 251 against former champion, Max Holloway (21-6). In the eyes of most, Holloway won that fight, but two of the judges gave the fight to Volkanovski.

It marked the second straight win for Volkanovski over Holloway. Had it not been the second straight win, we’d likely have seen an immediate rematch. Nevertheless, the division is moving forward to start the year.

First up for Volkanovski will be Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC). Ortega is fresh off of his victory over The Korean Zombie back in October. In my opinion, the Brian Ortega we saw that night was the best featherweight in the UFC.

His striking had gotten so much better since the last time we saw him. He’s big, he’s elite on the ground and now his striking is developed. He’s going to be an extremely tough out for the UFC champion.

However, should Volkanovski get by Ortega, there’s a number of difficult fights. I could see him having to fight Holloway again and after the second fight, I might lean towards Max Holloway in the trilogy.

Another tough fight for Volkanovski could be Zabit Magomedsharipov (18-1). Zabit didn’t fight in 2020, however, he’s looked at as one of the best contenders in the division. Zabit could cause a lot of problems for Volkanovski.

Out of the three champions I’ve listed, Volkanovski would be the one I’m the least surprised by keeping his UFC title. However, with the guys lined up behind him, I would bet on him falling in 2021.

Two UFC bold predictions for 2021

Francis Ngannou

Thankfully for the world, 2020 is officially behind us. While it was a pretty terrible year across the board, the UFC accomplished some major things last year. The biggest MMA promotion in the world was the first major sport to return after the pandemic hit.

Dana White and the crew at the UFC deserve a lot of credit for what they pulled off. In addition, the promotion also delivered card after card of incredible fights. We saw new champions crowned and fights that made us stand up and applaud from home.

2021 is promising to be a very exciting year for the UFC. The promotion already is kicking off the year in Fight Island with some incredible fights. Most notably the rematch between Conor McGregor (22-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC).

There are so many compelling matchups in the UFC this year. There are so many interesting storylines as well. With that, I wanted to get bold with a few predictions for the UFC in 2021.

Now, I’m not saying these are official picks or guaranteeing this will happen. However, my gut is telling me that these two predictions will come to fruition and when they do, some UFC fans are going to be shocked.

2021 UFC bold predictions

Stipe Miocic doesn’t last one round with Francis Ngannou

For my first bold prediction, I’m looking at the UFC’s heavyweight division. The current plan is for Stipe Miocic (20-3) to defend his title against Francis Ngannou (15-3) in March. However, the fight is not finalized at this time.

This fight is a rematch from UFC 220. The narrative going into this fight is going to be a lot like the first one. Whenever they first were paired together, many believed that Ngannou’s power would be too much for Stipe Miocic.

However, Stipe completely dominated Ngannou and won a shutout decision. Since then, Miocic has only fought in a trilogy with Daniel Cormier where he’s gone 2-1. Ngannou lost his next fight to Derrick Lewis, but after that, he’s looked inhuman.

The Predator has knocked out four straight opponents with none of them getting past 71 seconds. He’s training like a mad man and he is desperate to become the UFC’s heavyweight champion of the world.

Ngannou went into the first fight completely overconfident. He didn’t think Miocic could handle him, and he was wrong. His training is different now and I think he’s going to be better than ever when they fight.

On the other hand, I personally don’t believe Stipe is as good as he was when they fought the first time. I think when they rematch in March, Stipe is going to fall in the first round and Francis Ngannou will be the new UFC heavyweight champion.

Gilbert Burns dethrones Kamaru Usman

For my second and final bold prediction, I’m taking a look at the UFC’s welterweight title. Champion, Kamaru Usman (17-1), is tentatively booked to defend his title against Gilbert Burns (19-3) in February at UFC 258.

To this point, nobody has been able to solve Kamaru Usman. Colby Covington pushed him to the absolute limit, but Usman was ultimately able to finish Covington in that fight. It’s extremely difficult to deal with the style of Usman.

He’s incredibly strong, he’s got tremendous power, and he has phenomenal wrestling which he uses to control his opponents. Whether on the ground or against the fence, Usman’s control is something that fighters struggle to deal with.

However, if there’s anyone in the UFC who has the style to beat Usman it’s his former teammate, Gilbert Burns. As Burns was on the rise, it was his BJJ skills that everyone was incredibly impressed with. Burns is one of the best Jiu Jitsu practitioners in the sport.

However, it’s his striking that’s blown me away this year. Burns is incredibly fast and extremely powerful with his hands. He knocked out Demian Maia on the feet and dropped Tyron Woodley when they fought earlier this year.

On the feet, I believe that Burns is going to have a big advantage at UFC 258. He’s got the speed to give Usman fits. His skills as a grappler are also going to cause problems for Usman in my opinion.

Now, would I be shocked if Usman is able to use his strengths to grind out a decision? No, I mean he’s the UFC champion for a reason. However, I truly believe that Gilbert Burns is a nightmare matchup for him. For that reason, we will see a new welterweight champion next month.

UFC: Jon Jones says he’s never returning to light heavyweight

UFC, Jon Jones

Earlier this year, Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) vacated his UFC light heavyweight championship. Jones decided to vacate the title to pursue a new challenge in the heavyweight division. He first captured the light heavyweight title in 2011.

Jon Jones might be the greatest fighter the UFC has ever seen. Jones has never truly lost inside the octagon. His lone loss is a disqualification loss to Matt Hamill in a fight that he was completely dominating.

Outside of that, he’s rarely been challenged over the last 12 years in the UFC. In reality, Jon Jones has been the only opponent that has been detrimental to Jon Jones. Jones’ issues outside the cage have cost him time in his career and his title a couple of times.

Nevertheless, Jones has overcome those issues and had a great stretch over the last two years in the octagon. All starting at UFC 232 when he finished Alexander Gustafsson to regain the light heavyweight title.

After that he defeated Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, and Dominick Reyes by decision. Not the most dominant performances, but in the end, they show up as successful UFC title defenses for Jones.

Jones has been so dominant that he appeared bored at times when fighting. In my opinion, this boredom or lack of fear caused for some bad performances. Still, he’s come through all of his fights with his hand raised.

UFC Future for Jones

Jon Jones is in the process of building up his body for his next chapter in the UFC‘s heavyweight division. In an exclusive interview with Bleacher Report, Jones discussed the decision to move to heavyweight and vacate the light heavyweight title.

“The reason why I decided to vacate the light heavyweight belt and not hang onto it is that I knew my move to heavyweight was going to take a really long time. I have no intentions of ever going back to light heavyweight,” Jones said.

Jones also said that the current plan is for him to face the winner of the UFC heavyweight title fight between Stipe Miocic (20-3) and Francis Ngannou (15-3). Those two are expected to fight in March with Jones fighting the winner in the summer or fall.

Jones also talked about the challenge of both saying, “I’ll be ready for either of them. Both fights are extremely challenging. Stipe, he’s the greatest heavyweight of all time. And then Francis is just a freak when it comes to his knockout power, and he’s improving constantly.”

He then added, “Both fights are gigantic challenges, but that’s what I’m here for in this stage of my career. Go big and see what I’ve got.” Jon Jones understands that capturing the UFC heavyweight title would cement him as the greatest to ever do it.

He said he wants to capture the title then defend it two or three times before retiring from the UFC. Outside of the heavyweight title is of course the potential matchup with rival Israel Adesanya (20-0).

Adesanya is moving up to fight Jan Blachowicz (27-8) for the light heavyweight title at UFC 259. If Adesanya wins and Jones wins, the UFC might try to make a superfight. It would be the first time a two-division champion would take on another champion.

State of the UFC’s heavyweight division entering 2021

MMA, Stipe Miocic

2021 will usher in a new day in the heavyweight division. As we enter January 2021, it has been three years since UFC heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic (20-3), fought someone not named Daniel Cormier (22-3, 1 NC).

At UFC 220 back in January of 2018, Miocic defended his title against Francis Ngannou (15-3). Ngannou was being billed as the next big thing having destroyed every contender the UFC had put in front of him.

However, Miocic showed off his greatness that night shutting out the French contender. However, Miocic would lose his title in the summer of 2018 when he was knocked out in the first round by Daniel Cormier.

The UFC then angled for Cormier to face Brock Lesnar in a superfight. The proposed matchup with Lesnar was supposed to be Cormier’s last UFC fight. The fight never materialized and Cormier went on to defend his title against Derrick Lewis (24-7, 1 NC).

Cormier defeated Lewis and waited for the Lesnar fight. Again, it never came together so Cormier decided to give Stipe Miocic a rematch at UFC 241. After dominating the fight early, Cormier got knocked out by Miocic in the fourth round.

After that fight, Miocic needed to take some time off. A year later, Miocic and Cormier finished their trilogy at UFC 252 in Cormier’s last fight. Miocic won the fight by unanimous decision cementing himself as the heavyweight GOAT.

UFC’s heavyweight division in 2021

With the Miocic – Cormier trilogy behind us, it’s time for the UFC’s heavyweight division to move on in 2021. However, Miocic will face a familiar foe in his first title defense of the year. He will once again take on Francis Ngannou.

Ngannou’s losses to Miocic then Derrick Lewis might have been the best thing for him. He’s rededicated himself to the sport and he’s looked untouchable since. After losing a decision to Lewis, Ngannou is 4-0 with four first round knockouts.

Not only that, but none of those opponents have gone more than 71 seconds. The UFC’s predator looks better than ever and he’s expected to face Miocic in March for the heavyweight title.

Another exciting aspect of the heavyweight division in 2021 is the arrival of Jon Jones (26-1,1 NC). Jones is widely considered to be the greatest fighter of all-time and he’s finally decided to move up to heavyweight.

After reigning over light heavyweight for nearly a decade, Jones is preparing for a shot at the heavyweight title. He’s expected to face the winner of Miocic – Ngannou over the summer or early next fall.

Other Contenders

Behind Jones there are a number of compelling contenders. Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes (14-2, 1 NC) are expected to faceoff in 2021. They were supposed to fight in November, however, Blaydes tested positive for COVID and the fight was scrapped.

Both contenders have multiple fight winning streaks. A win for either man would put them in great position. The guy to really watch out for is Ciryl Gane (7-0). Gane just knocked out JDS at UFC 256 and is poised to be a top contender.

Of course, Alistair Overeem (47-18, 1 NC) and Alexander Volkov (32-8) are two others to watch out for. They headline a Fight Night in February. Of course there’s still Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1) out there who’s ranked third at heavyweight at the moment.

Miocic is finally done with Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones is entering the heavyweight picture. Francis Ngannou looks better than ever and there’s a ton of hungry and dangerous contenders behind him. Should be a fun year at heavyweight in 2021.

UFC: Should Jon Jones take a heavyweight tune-up fight?

UFC, Jon Jones

Arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time is going through a career transformation. Former UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) is currently preparing his move to the UFC‘s heavyweight division.

The former light heavyweight champion vacated his title this year due to his desire to move up in weight. Jones has had some run-ins with the UFC this year where he asked for a release, but those talks have since faded.

Jonny Bones wanted to fight top heavyweight contender, Francis Ngannou after the pandemic had started. However, he wanted a bump in his pay which the UFC was not willing to do which caused a spat between the two sides.

Again, there seems to be no more bad blood between the two. Now, Jones is focused on getting stronger as he prepares to chase down heavyweight gold. Dana White said Jones would get a UFC heavyweight title shot whenever he makes his debut at heavyweight.

However, he could be waiting a while. Francis Ngannou is slated to take on the champion, Stipe Miocic, early next year. Currently that heavyweight title fight is being targeted for March, however, it’s not been officially announced.

That means that at the earliest, Jones likely wouldn’t get a shot at the heavyweight crown until the summer. At that point, Jones would have been out of the cage for at least 16 months. So, should Jon Jones take a tune-up fight at heavyweight?

What should the UFC and Jones do?

I’m going to say the same thing that Dana White said in that Jones should be fighting for the UFC‘s heavyweight title in his divisional debut. However, 16+ months is a long layoff for Jones who has already experienced lengthy layoffs in his career.

Let’s say Jones wants to get in a fight before the title fight. Who should the UFC pair him against? Many were saying that Jones could fight the winner of UFC Vegas 15’s main event which featured Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis.

That main event was scrapped after Blaydes tested positive for COVID. That fight is currently being re-booked for either December or January. Personally, I think it would make a lot of sense if Jones were to fight the winner.

Whoever wins that fight would be on a multiple fight winning streak. The winner of that fight would have likely been the number one contender after Ngannou if Jones wasn’t in the picture.

Reality of the situation is that the UFC will likely hold Jones until he can get a title shot. I think the winner of the Blaydes/Lewis fight will likely fight someone like Jairzinho Rozenstruik next as opposed to fighting Jon Jones.

State of the heavyweight division ahead of UFC Vegas 15

MMA, Stipe Miocic

This weekend at UFC Vegas 15, Curtis Blaydes (14-2, 1 NC) and Derrick Lewis (24-7, 1 NC) will go head to head in a battle of top four contenders. The winner of this weekend’s fight will be squarely in the title picture.

However, the heavyweight division seems to be paused at the moment. Francis Ngannou (15-3) is the clear number one contender in the UFC‘s heavyweight division. Yet, his title fight has not been booked.

Ngannou has only fought once since the middle of 2019. He has been patiently waiting as the UFC‘s heavyweight title has been tied up for the last two years with the trilogy of Stipe Miocic (20-3) and Daniel Cormier.

Back at UFC 252, Miocic was able to finish off the trilogy with a unanimous decision win over Cormier. However, Miocic needed a little time off after the fight was over which has extended the layoff for Ngannou.

Ngannou has come out this week voicing his frustrations about his prime being wasted. The current plan is for the UFC to book the heavyweight title fight for sometime either in March or April. However, that is not confirmed.

UFC’s GOAT moving up

There’s another interesting wrinkle that’s been thrown into the UFC‘s heavyweight division and that’s Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC). Arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the world recently vacated his light heavyweight title to move up to heavyweight. 

Jones has his eyes on the UFC heavyweight title, and it’s been said that he will get a title shot in his first shot at heavyweight. However, Jones will not jump Ngannou which means we likely won’t see Jones competing for the title until the summer.

That being said, what does this weekend’s fight really mean? Without Jones, the UFC Vegas 15 winner would likely get the next shot after Ngannou. However, since Jones is moving up, the winner this weekend will likely be third in line.

Assuming either guy wouldn’t want to wait nearly a year for their title shot, the winner will likely have to take another fight. So what are the options for the winner? Well, there are a couple of options.

One option would be for the winner to take on Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1). Rozenstruik doesn’t have a fight booked and he’s coming off of a knockout win over Junior Dos Santos. There’s not a clear next opponent for him and he hasn’t fought either man in this weekend’s main event.

Another option would be for the winner to take on the winner of the Alistair Overeem – Alexander Volkov fight in February. Some rematches can materialize with that possibility.

I think the UFC will likely book the winner this weekend against Rozenstruik. We know that the winner this weekend isn’t getting a title shot and they’re not fighting Jones. Keep the winner active, and let them fight Rozenstruik.

UFC has a target date for Miocic – Ngannou 2 per Dana White

MMA, Stipe Miocic

One of the more anticipated UFC title fights that has yet to be booked is the rematch between Stipe Miocic (20-3) and Francis Ngannou (15-3). The two men last fought back in January of 2018 at UFC 220 where Miocic dominated the top contender.

However, since that fight, Ngannou has turned into an even more terrifying monster. He had a bump in the road against Derrick Lewis where he couldn’t pull the trigger, but outside of that, he’s been a destroyer in the heavyweight division.

In Ngannou’s last four UFC contests, none of seen more than one minute and eleven seconds of action. Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik have all been knocked out by Ngannou in a combined 2:42.

Miocic on the other hand has spent the last two years in a trilogy with Daniel Cormier. Back at UFC 252, Miocic put the finishing touches on the trilogy with a unanimous decision victory over Cormier. However, he didn’t come through the fight without injury.

According to Dana White in an interview with TMZ, the UFC‘s heavyweight champion needed time to recover. However, the UFC does have a date planned for the rematch. According to White the rematch between the two will take place in March.

UFC’s March Heavyweight Title Fight

This seems to go right along with the timeframe that Ngannou referenced last week when he discussed his frustrations. The trilogy between Miocic and Cormier tied up the heavyweight title for the last couple of years which has been frustrating for Ngannou.

When these two men fight again, I think we are going to see a much different fight than we saw at UFC 220. Miocic really humbled Ngannou that night. Francis made that walk thinking he was indestructible, and Miocic made him feel very human.

However, Ngannou is a completely different fighter than he was then. I think he’s at his absolute best now, and I don’t know if Miocic is. I think the challenger will likely be the favorite when these two stand across from each other next March.