UFC books Drew Dober – Brad Riddell

The UFC is in the process of finalizing a fun lightweight matchup for their June PPV. MMA Junkie was the first to report today that the promotion is in the final stages of booking Drew Dober (23-10, 1 NC) – Brad Riddell (9-1).

The matchup would take place at UFC 263 on June 12th. This would be a relatively quick turnaround for Dober who just fought back at UFC 259 in early March. That night, Dober took on the tough Islam Makhachev.

Makhachev is being looked at as a future UFC lightweight champion. However, Dober was 6-1 in his previous seven and many thought he’d give Islam problems. That is not what happened when they fought on March 6th.

Makhachev completely dominated Dober and handed him just his second loss since 2016. Now, Dober is looking to bounce back in taking on Riddell at UFC 263. This is a tremendous matchup between two fringe top fifteen lightweights.

Riddell seeks to stay perfect in the UFC

Brad Riddell is another intriguing prospect that has come out of City Kickboxing in New Zealand. Riddell trains alongside UFC champions Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski.

So far, Riddell has fought three times inside the octagon and he’s a perfect 3-0. He was set to take on Gregor Gillespie just a few weeks ago and if he were to win that fight, he likely would’ve been inside the UFC’s top 15.

However, due to a COVID breakout with the City Kickboxing group, the fight was called off. Now, Riddell is ready to get back to work and he’s getting a very tough test in Drew Dober.

If Riddell is able to defeat Dober, it will say a lot about where he is in the UFC lightweight picture. Whoever wins this matchup will likely get a ranked opponent in their next matchup so there is a lot on the line for both of these lightweight contenders.

UFC booking Belal Muhammad – Demian Maia

The UFC is in the process of finalizing a welterweight matchup for their June PPV featuring two top fifteen welterweights. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report that the promotion was finalizing a matchup between Belal Muhammad (18-3, 1 NC) and Demian Maia (28-10).

The matchup will take place on June 12th at UFC 263. For Belal Muhammad, this fight is going to be his chance to get back on track after the freak accident that happened in his last fight.

Muhammad had the opportunity of his career when he stepped in at UFC Vegas 21 to take on Leon Edwards. Edwards was the third ranked contender in the division. If Muhammad could have won, he would have vaulted into title contention.

However, in the second round, Muhammad was poked in the eye and couldn’t continue. The fight was ruled a No Contest. Immediately, Muhammad campaigned for a rematch, but the UFC booked Edwards against Nate Diaz. 

Prior to the No Contest, Muhammad had gone 8-2 in his previous ten fights. He wanted a top ten opponent and the UFC is rewarding him for his efforts and making it up to him after what happened a few weeks ago.

Last UFC fight for Maia?

Standing across from Muhammad is going to be Demian Maia. Maia is currently ranked eighth in the UFC’s welterweight rankings. This might be the final time that we see him compete in the octagon.

Maia last fought back in March of last year against Gilbert Burns. Had Maia won that fight, he could’ve been back in title contention. However, Burns knocked him out in the first round.

That loss snapped a three fight win streak for Maia. Maia has had an incredible career in the UFC, but he turns 44 this year and he’s said to have been seriously contemplating retirement.

The Brazilian legend has never become a UFC champion, but he’s challenged for the title at both 185 pounds and 170 pounds. Since mid-2014, Maia is 10-4 in the welterweight division. The four losses came against Burns, Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington, and Tyron Woodley.

In his welterweight run, Maia holds wins over Jorge Masvidal, Carlos Condit, Neil Magny, and more. This matchup at UFC 263 is a huge opportunity for Muhammad to rise up the ranks, but it’s also an opportunity for Maia to go out on top.

UFC books JoJo Calderwood – Lauren Murphy

Just as the action was getting under way at UFC 260, we learned some breaking news. MMA Junkie was the first to report this evening that the promotion has finalized a matchup between top flyweight contenders Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (15-5) and Lauren Murphy (14-4).

The matchup will take place at UFC 263 which is scheduled for June 12th. Calderwood will enter the contest as the sixth ranked flyweight in the UFC. She will be looking to take another step towards a shot at the flyweight title.

Last year, Calderwood was set to challenge for the flyweight title. The UFC booked her against Valentina Shevchenko in June. However, the champion suffered a knee injury and needed more time to prepare.

Instead of waiting on the sidelines, Calderwood decided to take a fight against Jennifer Maia. This ultimately proved to be a massive mistake as Maia would submit Calderwood in the first round and take her title shot.

Calderwood returned back at UFC 257 in January where she met Jessica Eye. She put on a very good performance and walked away with a decision win. This is going to be a massive fight for her on June 12th.

UFC title eliminator?

Lauren Murphy has been on quite the run in the UFC since 2019. Since the calendar turned over to 2019, Murphy has won four consecutive fights including wins over Andrea Lee and Roxanne Modafferi.

In her last fight, Murphy secured her first submission win at UFC 254. After the fight was over, Murphy said that she wanted a title shot. However, given her status in the division, that was always going to be a long shot.

Murphy is currently ranked third in the flyweight division. If she’s able to come out at UFC 263 and put on a dominant performance against JoJo Calderwood, it’s going to be hard to deny her of a shot at the title. Should be an excellent fight on June 12th.

UFC officially books the rematch between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno

The UFC has finalized a highly anticipated rematch for the flyweight title. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani was the first to report this morning that the promotion has finalized the rematch between Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) and Brandon Moreno (18-5-2).

According to Helwani, the matchup will take place on June 12th at UFC 263. Moreno had said that he wanted to fight in either April or May, but the UFC flyweight champion wanted a little more time before the rematch.

Heading into UFC 256, nobody was really giving Brandon Moreno a shot. Moreno was definitely the top contender in the division, but Figueiredo looked like an unstoppable champion. Both Figueiredo and Moreno also competed at UFC 255 three weeks prior to their first fight.

Moreno was able to stop Brandon Royval in the first round and Figueiredo was able to submit Alex Perez in the first round. Originally, fight fans wanted Moreno to be the challenger at UFC 255 over Alex Perez. Well, the performances of both men allowed the promotion to turn them around quickly for the fight we wanted.

Again, Moreno was a pretty lofty underdog considering the way that Figueiredo had looked. However, he proved at UFC 256 that he was no pushover. Moreno pushed Figueiredo harder than anyone thought he could. In what turned out to be a Fight of the Year candidate, the two men fought to a draw.

UFC rematch we had to see

As mentioned, Figueiredo looked like he was going to be a massive problem for all UFC flyweights. The combination of power, skill, and confidence made him extremely dangerous and he almost looked invincible.

However, Brandon Moreno showed the world that he could be pushed. In a way, their first fight reminded me of Jon Jones – Alexander Gustafsson 1. A champion that looked unstoppable, but the right opponent pushed him to the limit.

All great UFC champions need that dance partner that pushes them to even further greatness. Figueiredo has that in Brandon Moreno. If Figueiredo is able to defeat Moreno in the rematch, it will just further his legacy and shine a greater light on his greatness.

However, Brandon Moreno also has the opportunity to prove that the first fight wasn’t a fluke. Both men have a lot on the line in June and fight fans should be expecting a war between the two men when they meet again.