UFC books Sodiq Yusuff – Arnold Allen

The UFC is in the process of finalizing a big time matchup in their featherweight division. MMA Junkie was the first to report today that the promotion is booking a matchup between top ten contenders, Sodiq Yusuff (11-1) and Arnold Allen (16-1).

The matchup is set to take place at a UFC Fight Night on April 10th. This will be the first time either man will have stepped into the cage in over a year. The last time we saw Yusuff was at UFC 246 in January of 2020.

That night, Yusuff took on the tough Andre Fili. While File was able to push Yusuff, Yusuff still picked up the unanimous decision victory. The win was his fourth straight since earning a UFC contract on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Yusuff has a ton of hype behind him and there is a great amount of interest in this featherweight contender. He will make the walk on April 20th as the tenth ranked contender in the division. For the first time, he’s going to be facing a fighter ranked above him.

UFC Top Ten Featherweight Showdown

Just like with Yusuff, the last time we saw Allen in the UFC was in January of 2020. That night, Allen was able to pick up a decision win over Nik Lentz. Allen joined the UFC back in 2015 and has fought seven times for the promotion.

While he’s been fairly inactive, Allen has had a great start to his career with the promotion going a perfect 7-0. The English born featherweight will have a massive opportunity on April 10th.

Allen will make the walk as the ninth ranked featherweight in the UFC. Should he be able to pickup a win over Yusuff, it is very likely that he could get a top five opponent in his next matchup. There’s going to be a lot on the line in this one in April.

Edson Barboza becoming frustrated with the UFC

Edson Barboza

One of the most exciting fighters in the UFC over the last decade has been Edson Barboza (21-9). Barboza made his debut with the promotion back in 2010 and has had some highlight moments throughout his career.

When Barboza first came on to the UFC scene, he looked like a fighter that was destined to be a champion. However, while he’s always been considered a top contender, he never was able to make that jump to the championship level.

He’s had some opportunities in title eliminator matchups, but he was never able to get the job done. In 2020, Barboza decided to switch things up for the benefit of his career. He decided to drop from the UFC‘s lightweight division to featherweight.

He made his debut in May against Dan Ige and lost a very close split decision. Barboza then got a shot at Makwan Amirkhani in October on Fight Island and picked up the unanimous decision. Since then, Barboza hasn’t heard anything from the UFC.

Frustration with the UFC

The only reason Barboza has been in the news lately has been his movie that came out, Born a Champion. Barboza recently had an interview with MMA Junkie where he opened up about his frustrations with the lack of offers from the UFC.

“If the UFC gives me the opportunity real soon to fight the last fight (of my contract), I’m ready. If you’re gonna renew the contract, let’s what happens. Or, just let me go, that’s it. I have three options right now, but let’s see what happens,” Barboza said.

It’s clear that Barboza is wanting to get back inside the octagon. He’s currently ranked fifteenth in the featherweight division and he’s still someone with some good name recognition. However, there is no word on if the UFC is even close to offering Barboza a fight.

Considering all that’s happened, it wouldn’t shock me to see Barboza test out the free agent market after this next fight. Perhaps he could pull an Anthony Pettis and move to PFL or he could be just the latest guy to go from the UFC to Bellator. He would definitely be sought after should he hit the market.

UFC booking Dan Ige – Ryan Hall (Report)

The UFC is in the process of finalizing a really good matchup in the featherweight division. First reported by BJPenn.com, the promotion is finalizing a featherweight contest between Dan Ige (14-3) and Ryan Hall (8-1).

The fight is currently being targeted for March 13th. Of course that card has already had two big fights announced for that this week in the headliner between Khamzat Chimaev and Leon Edwards as well as a big time heavyweight matchup. 

Now, the March 13th main card is getting a really solid UFC featherweight matchup. For Dan Ige, this will be his first fight since he lost to Calvin Kattar back in July. It was Ige’s first UFC headlining spot and he just came up short.

The loss snapped a six-fight winning streak for Ige. Ige hadn’t lost since his UFC debut which took place back in early 2018. Ige will enter the octagon on March 13th ranked 11th in the division.

UFC Matchup for Ryan Hall

The one fighter that the UFC seems to have the most difficult time booking a fight for is Ryan Hall. We haven’t seen Ryan Hall inside the octagon since July of 2019 when he defeated Darren Elkins by unanimous decision.

Hall has only competed four times in the UFC and he’s the season 22 winner of The Ultimate Fighter. He won TUF back in 2015 and he’s only won three fights since. However, they were three impressive wins.

Hall was able to pickup wins over Gray Maynard and former two-division UFC champion, BJ Penn. Hall has been impressive when he’s fought, however, the issue with Hall has been his inactivity. He’s just the one fighter in the division that nobody seems to want to fight.

With being given Dan Ige, we can rest assured knowing that Hall has an opponent which should make for an exciting fight. It’ll be fascinating to see the way this matchup unfolds. Hall has a funky style, and he’s extremely dangerous on the ground. I’m very intrigued by this matchup.

UFC: State of the Amanda Nunes divisions entering 2021

As we get ready to enter 2021, the UFC‘s bantamweight and featherweight divisions are still controlled by the GOAT, Amanda Nunes (20-4). Nunes has held both titles since December of 2018 when she knocked out Cris Cyborg at UFC 232.

Since making her UFC debut back in 2013, Nunes has gone 13-1 with her lone loss coming to Cat Zingano. That fight occurred when Nunes will still coming into her own inside the octagon.

After that loss, she’s hardly looked human. Only Valentina Shevchenko and Germaine de Randamie have even been competitive. Every one else has been destroyed by Nunes inside a UFC octagon.

In 2020, we only saw the two-division champion once. She defended her featherweight title against Felicia Spencer back at UFC 250. It was one of the more one-sided title fights you will ever see in the UFC.

Nunes was scheduled to face Megan Anderson (11-4) at UFC 256, but she had to pull out of the fight. The fight has been rescheduled and Megan Anderson will get her shot at the two-division champion at UFC 259.

UFC Bantamweight & Featherweight Overview

Nunes has said that she plans on being very active in 2021. She wants to defend both of her titles and her current plan is to fight at bantamweight after this first title defense against Megan Anderson at featherweight.

After Anderson, it’s not clear on what’s next for Nunes at featherweight. The UFC has been trying to acquire talent for that division, however, they still don’t have enough to even fill out the rankings.

Bantamweight is a different story. The clear number one contender in the division is de Randamie. Germaine de Randamie made her UFC debut back in 2013 and she has only been defeated twice in the octagon.

Both of those losses came to Amanda Nunes. Last December, the two fought at UFC 245. Nunes clearly won the fight, but de Randamie showed that she has the ability to stand up with the champion. De Randamie just fought and put Julianna Pena to sleep with a choke in October.

A fight that I could see the UFC doing is the rematch between de Randamie and Holly Holm. Holm is the former bantamweight champion and she’s won two straight. Her last performance against Irene Aldana was sensational.

Holm and de Randamie fought for the featherweight title back in 2017 with de Randamie edging that one out. I could see the UFC putting those two together in a title eliminator while Nunes defends at featherweight.

While these divisions won’t see a lot of fresh faces and new contenders, it’s still going to be fun watching Nunes continue her UFC reign in 2021. Maybe someone can pull off a miracle and dethrone her. Time will tell on that one.

State of the UFC’s featherweight division entering 2021

One of the more dynamic divisions in the UFC over the last decade has been the featherweight division. The division had it’s first title fight back in 2011 when Jose Aldo (29-7) fought Mark Hominick at UFC 129.

Prior to that the featherweight division had been in the WEC. After the featherweight division moved over to the UFC, the division was ruled by Aldo until the end of 2015 when Conor McGregor knocked Aldo out in the first round.

While Aldo did end up winning an interim featherweight title after McGregor left the division, once Aldo’s reign was over, we transitioned to the blessed era. Max Holloway (21-6) became UFC featherweight champion in 2016.

Holloway went on a run that saw him beat Anthony Pettis, Aldo (Twice), Frankie Edgar, and Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC). However, the Blessed Express finally fell last December to the new king, Alexander Volkanovski (22-1).

Volkanovski entered UFC 245 as a betting underdog to Holloway. However, he used a steady attack to dethrone the featherweight king. The two ran things back at UFC 251 with Volkanovski barely edging Holloway by split decision.

With two consecutive wins over Max Holloway, Volkanovski is ready for new challenges in the UFC‘s featherweight division in 2021. Fortunately for him, it’s a division full of killers which is promising for a big year.

UFC’s featherweight division in 2021

Starting at the top, we should expect to see a UFC featherweight title fight pretty quickly in 2021. After Brian Ortega completely dominated Chan Sung Jung (16-6), he’s earned the next shot at Volkanovski.

Dana White has said that the title fight between those two will likely take place in February. The former champion, Holloway, is still near the top of the division. Holloway will kick off the UFC‘s action in 2021 on Fight Island.

UFC Fight Island 7 is being headlined by Holloway as he takes on Calvin Kattar (22-4). Kattar has risen to the top of the division having only lost once in the last couple of years. Whoever wins that fight should be in a really good position in the division.

The one UFC contender people need to watch out for is Zabit Magomedsharipov (18-1). The Russian didn’t get to fight in 2020 and he’s not currently booked, but he’s been perfect at 6-0 since joining the UFC.

Had he picked up a win in 2020, he could’ve gotten a title shot before Brian Ortega. I would expect the UFC to get Zabit a fight relatively early in 2021. The top contender needs to get back in the octagon sooner than later.

The featherweight division is absolutely stacked and Volkanovski is going to have his hands full in 2021. To be completely honest, I really don’t know who will leave 2021 as the UFC featherweight champion. Should be a very fun year in that weight class.

UFC books Max Holloway – Calvin Kattar

The UFC announced today a banger of a matchup that will take place on January 16th. Former featherweight champion, Max Holloway (26-6), will be returning against Calvin Kattar (22-4) in the headliner of the January 16th card.

It will be Holloway’s first matchup since he lost in a controversial way to Alexander Volkanovski back in July. The former UFC champion fought the current champion to a razor close split decision. Many, including Dana White, felt that Holloway won the fight.

With Holloway having fought Volkanovski twice in a row, the UFC decided not to run the fight back. Many have been wondering who the blessed express will take on next, and now we got our answer.

Back on the first trip to Fight Island, Calvin Kattar also competed. He headlined a card with Dan Ige. The two men fought in a war that Kattar took by unanimous decision. It was Kattar’s second consecutive win.

UFC January 16th

Both of these men are itching to get to the UFC title. Holloway is looking to get back to try to fight Volkanovski for a third time. Meanwhile, Kattar is looking to secure the biggest win of his career in this matchup with Holloway.

Since October of 2018, the only man to have gotten the better of Kattar in the UFC was Zabit Magomedsharipov. However, many people believe that Kattar would have won that fight if it would have been a traditional five round main event.

Instead, Zabit’s early lead carried him to the decision over Kattar. Kattar has looked sensational as of late. However, he’s going to get the biggest test of his career against Max Holloway.

The former champion is one of the very best in the world. Since 2013, Holloway has only lost to Volkanovski, Dustin Poirier, and Conor McGregor. If he’s able to knock off Kattar on January 16th, he might be next in line after Brian Ortega.

What’s next for Chan Sung Jung after UFC Fight Island 6?

The Korean Zombie is one of the more popular fighters in the UFC‘s featherweight division. His dynamic striking and power along with his incredible heart make him a fan favorite. However, he didn’t show off what makes him special this past Saturday.

At UFC Fight Island 6, Chan Sung Jung (16-6) really struggled in his fight against Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC). Ortega had been out of the cage for nearly two years while the Zombie had been relatively active last fighting in December.

However, it looked like Jung was the fighter who had been inactive. All night long, Jung stayed on the outside and didn’t appear aggressive. Ortega used his improved striking to just pick apart Chan Sung Jung from the outside. Jung was even dropped twice.

In the end, the judges gave the shutout victory to Ortega at UFC Fight Island 6. A fight that was billed to be a war ended up being a largely one-sided affair. It was a big disappointment for the Korean Zombie. So what’s next for Chan Sung Jung inside the octagon.

What does the UFC do with TKZ?

Losing to the top contender in the division doesn’t set Jung back to far. However, it is disappointing as Jung was hoping to secure a UFC title shot with his victory. The one-sided nature of the loss will cause him to have to put together a string of wins to get back into the title picture.

In looking at the UFC‘s featherweight division, I think a decent next option could be a matchup with Josh Emmett (16-2). Emmett has won three straight and five out of his last six to get to the seventh ranking in the division.

Emmett is coming off of a bad knee injury, but he recently started resuming training. Jung didn’t appear to have any serious injuries, but it will take him a bit to recover from the loss. I think pairing these two could be a very good option for the UFC.

UFC books Jeremy Stephens – Arnold Allen

Jeremy Stephens

The UFC is finalizing a tremendous featherweight contest for their card on November 7th. First reported by MMA Junkie, the promotion is planning on booking Jeremy Stephens (28-18, 1 NC) against Arnold Allen (16-1).

For Jeremy Stephens, this is a make or break type of fight for the long time contender. Stephens will be entering the octagon on November 7th after going 0-4, 1 NC in his last five contests. Stephens was finished in two of those contests.

While they have all come against top competition, it’s still not a great look to the UFC when you’re riding a losing streak like this. This is the first time since 2018, that Stephens is not going to be facing a top contender in his next fight.

However, Lil Heathen is going to have his hands full. Arnold Allen is quite the exciting prospect in the UFC‘s featherweight division. Allen will walk into the cage on November 7th as the eighth ranked featherweight in the UFC. One spot ahead of the veteran, Stephens.

Big UFC test for Allen

For Allen, this is going to be the biggest test of his UFC career. The 26 year old fighter from England made his UFC debut back in 2015. Since then, Allen has gone 7-0 with the promotion with most of his fights going the distance.

Allen has been in there with some recognizable names. Most notably, Allen has had wins over former Strikeforce champion, Gilbert Melendez, and Nik Lentz. We haven’t seen Allen since January when he was able to defeat Lentz by unanimous decision.

The November 7th card is being headlined by the light heavyweight title eliminator between Thiago Santos and Glover Teixiera. This fight is another great addition to the growing card which is turning out to be a must watch for UFC fans.

UFC: Bryce “Thug Nasty” Mitchell to face Andre Fili

Bryce Mitchell

The UFC is finalizing an exciting featherweight contest for their Fight Night on Halloween. Per MMA Junkie, Bryce “Thug Nasty” Mitchell (13-0) will take on Andre “Touchy” Fili (21-7) on October 31st.

This will definitely be one of the more anticipated matchups on the UFC‘s Halloween card. The card is currently scheduled to be headlined by a matchup between Anderson Silva and Uriah Hall.

One of the UFC’s brightest prospects

Thug Nasty is one of the brightest young fighters in the UFC. Mitchell has defeated all four opponents he’s faced so far in the UFC, and he even pulled off a Twister against Matt Sayles at UFC on ESPN 7.

While Mitchell is a well rounded fighter, he is known for his incredible skills on the ground. Out of his 13 professional wins, nine of them have come via submission. He’s extremely creative off of his back, and there is really never a safe moment for opponents when the fight hits the mat. Mitchell just debuted at 15th in the UFC’s featherweight rankings.

Andre Fili will be the toughest test for Bryce Mitchell so far in his UFC career. Fili has been in there with some of the better guys in the division. In his UFC career, Fili has fought guys like Yair Rodriguez, Calvin Kattar, Michael Johnson, and Sodiq Yusuff.

While Fili has lost to those four top level guys, he’s battle tested against some of the best. Despite those losses, he does hold impressive wins over Myles Jury, Dennis Bermudez, and Charles Jourdain. Fili is extremely well rounded and he will pose some interested challenges for Mitchell.

This is a fantastic matchup in the UFC‘s featherweight division. If Mitchell is able to get through Fili, it will say a lot about his potential moving forward. If Fili is able to stop the hype train, it will be his second win in a row, and it might warrant a top ten opponent.

UFC: Max Holloway could get the next title shot according to Dana White

It was very clear that UFC president Dana White was not a fan of the decision at UFC 251 between featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, and former champion, Max Holloway.

The fight left the UFC in a bit of a pickle when it comes to what happens next. If Holloway had only lost that one time to Volkanovski, the promotion would have no issues booking the fight again.

However, Holloway has lost two consecutive fights to Volkanovski. Yes, the second fight was razor close, but still it’s two losses in the record books. With that, most thought that there is no way that the UFC would give Holloway another shot especially right away.

Despite that, White said to ESPN that, “It’s hard to not…” when considering booking Volkanovski – Holloway 3. White went on to talk about how Volkanovski wouldn’t enjoy that idea.

What should the UFC do?

The UFC is really in a tough spot when it comes to the featherweight division. The UFC is going to book Zabit Magomedsharipov and Yair Rodriguez but that’s not finalized yet. They are also going to book Brian Ortega – Chan Sung Jung but that fight is also not finalized.

Those are all the contenders in the division outside of Calvin Kattar. I’m not convinced the UFC loves the idea of giving Kattar a shot at the title right now.

So with everyone booked, either Volkanovski is going to sit for a while or they run the fight back a third time. I definitely understand the frustration this would bring from the champion.

Volkanovski really has nothing to gain from fighting Holloway a third time meanwhile Holloway has everything to get back. Both of these fighters are so evenly matched. A third fight between the two would create more problems than solutions.

What if Max Holloway wins a close fight? How could you then deny Volkanovski a fourth fight since he won the first two? If you give Holloway another shot, it really hurts the division.

While he might not want to, I think the best thing would be for Volkanovski to sit on the sidelines for a bit. Maybe let Holloway fight a guy like Calvin Kattar next. Let the division play out more before giving Holloway a third fight with Volkanovski.