Calvin Kattar brutalizes Giga Chikadze at UFC Vegas 46

UFC

In the main event of UFC Vegas 46, we saw big time showdown in the featherweight division. Top contenders battled it out in a matchup with big time implications as Calvin Kattar (22-5) returned to take on the surging Giga Chikadze (14-2).

UFC Vegas 46 was the first time we’ve seen Calvin Kattar in about a year. Last year, Kattar kicked off the UFC’s 2021 when he took on Max Holloway in a headlining fight on Fight Island. Had Kattar won that fight, he might’ve had a title shot in 2021.

However, he fell short and took such a beating that he took some time away. Now, he’s refreshed and was ready to go tonight. Overall, Kattar is 2-1 in his last three and the two wins came against top contenders Dan Ige and Jeremy Stephens.

Standing across from Kattar tonight was Giga Chikadze. Chikadze has been on a sensational run since joining the UFC. Chikadze is currently sitting at 7-0 with the promotion. In his last fight, he completely destroyed Edson Barboza and proved he’s one of the best in the world.

UFC Vegas 46 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 46 main event kicked off with Kattar taking the center and he eats two strong leg kicks from Chikadze. Front kick just misses from Chikadze. Kattar holding the center but Chikadze is looking fast here in the opening minute with his kicks.

Kick from Kattar is checked. Kattar coming forward with a lot of pressure and he lands a jab. Chikadze circling on the outside trying to stay elusive. Two powerful body kicks land for Chikadze. Chikadze’s speed is something else here in the opening part of the fight.

However, he sleeps throwing a kick and Kattar jumps on him. Chikadze bounces him up Kattar gets a body lock and slams Chikadze to the ground. Kattar immediately gets into half guard with half a round to work. Nice shots to the body are landing from Kattar here.

Chikadze trying to defend but he’s eating some shots from Kattar. The two start scrambling and Chikadze nearly gets on top. However, Kattar reverses and is able to get Chikadze’s back. The round comes to a close and it’s 1-0 Calvin Kattar at UFC Vegas 46.

Round 2

Entering the second at UFC Vegas 46 and it’s clear that Chikadze needs to keep this one standing. Kattar again takes the center to start the second round. Chikadze throws a big body kick that lands flush. Nice right hand lands over the top from Chikadze.

Kattar is pushing forward but he eats two more big kicks from Chikadze. Nice combination lands from Chikadze and Kattar just keeps pressuring. Powerful right straight from Chikadze but here comes Kattar. Kattar lands three straight jabs. Right straight from Kattar.

The two exchange straight shots. Big shot from Chikadze but he’s starting to look tired here. More pressure from Kattar and he lands a big combination on Chikadze. Chikadze is really starting to breathe heavy here as Kattar is relentless with his pressure.

Knee lands for Kattar and he hits Chikadze with a big shot over the top. Massive elbow lands for Kattar. Big combination from Chikadze but Kattar just walks through it. Kattar is walking Chikadze down here. Big shot lands for Kattar and he lands a jab behind it.

Three left straights land for Chikadze and now he pushes forward. Spinning back elbow from Kattar. Kattar and Chikadze are just throwing here. Big takedown from Kattar to end the round at what a round it was. 2-0 Kattar at UFC Vegas 46.

Round 3

Entering the third at UFC Vegas 46 and all momentum is with Calvin Kattar here. Chikadze breathing very heavy here in the third round. Two jabs open the round for Kattar. Another jab from Kattar and Chikadze is very flat-footed here. Stiff jab from Chikadze finds Kattar’s chin.

Kattar shoots in for a takedown but can’t get Chikadze down. Both men exchange jabs. Nice lead elbow for Calvin Kattar. Powerful 1-2 lands for Kattar. Kattar is piecing Chikadze up here in the third round. However, Chikadze answers back with a nice 1-2.

Low kick from Chikadze. Jab from Kattar and another low kick from Chikadze. Huge right hand from Chikadze and that forces a takedown attempt from Chikadze. Chikadze had to use the fence but he stays on the feet. They separate and they’re back to striking.

Both men are looking really tired here. Left over the top from Kattar and then he lands a big elbow. Jab from Kattar and he lands a nice right hook over the top. Counter left hook from Kattar as Chikadze comes in. However, Chikadze hurts Kattar with a combination of his own.

That said, he’s too tired to really follow up and Kattar recovers. Kattar answers back with a couple of big shots. Chikadze pushes forward strong in the final seconds and both men exchange gis shots. After three at UFC Vegas 46 and it very well might be 3-0 Kattar.

Round 4

Chikadze was able to land some big shots in the third and he needs to continue that in the fourth. Kattar immediately starts pressuring to start the fourth. Both men exchange big shots in the center. Kattar triples up on the jab to back up Chikadze. However, Chikadze lands a massive body kick.

Kattar pushes forward and is just touching Chikadze here. Takedown attempt from Kattar is blocked. Step-in elbow from Kattar. Jab from Kattar and then Chikadze lands a calf kick. Kattar switches stances and lands two more jabs. Jab and right hook lands for Chikadze.

Chikadze pushing forward more here and it looks like he’s found a second win. Nice shots from Chikadze, however, Kattar clips him and that backs Chikadze up. Right jab and a big left hook behind it from Kattar. Kattar tries hard for a takedown but Chikadze keeps it standing.

Jab and lead elbow from Kattar. Another elbow from Kattar and Chikadze is looking out of it here. More pressure from Kattar and he lands another jab. Slicing elbows in tight from Kattar. Right hook from Chikadze lands.

He tries for a head kick but Kattar blocks. Body kick from Chikadze. Now here comes Chikadze. Big combinations from Chikadze but he eats a big elbow from Kattar and that hurt him. Kattar pushes forward and closes the round strong. 4-0 Kattar at UFC Vegas 46.

Round 5

Entering the final round at UFC Vegas 46 and Chikadze needs a finish to win this one. Kattar comes forward and eats a kick from Chikadze. Big combination from Chikadze and he’s throwing everything he has here in the opening seconds. Kattar withstands it well then he comes right back at Chikadze.

Chikadze lands a nice right hook off his back foot. Kattar pushing forward and lands a nice 1-2. Two more jabs from Kattar and another big elbow that wobbles Chikadze. More jabs from Kattar and Chikadze throws a body kick.

Two more jabs and a big right hand over the top lands for Kattar. Chikadze tries to answer back but nothing there. 1-2 from Kattar. However, Chikadze stops the advancement with a couple of clean shots. Kattar goes right back on the pressure but eats a big kick.

Three straight jabs land for Kattar. Step-in elbow from Kattar lands a bloodied and battered Giga Chikadze. Body kick from Chikadze. Big combination from Kattar lands and Chikadze just eats it. Right over the top lands for Chikadze.

Another huge elbow and a left straight lands for Kattar. Jab from Kattar and a jab counter from Chikadze. Spinning elbow from Kattar. Chikadze lands a combination. Kattar lands another elbow and these two are going to throw to the end.

Chikadze gets dropped by Kattar in the final seconds and the bell saves Chikadze. What a dominant performance from Calvin Kattar!

Calvin Kattar def. Giga Chikadze by Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-44)

Katlyn Chookagian outpoints Jennifer Maia at UFC Vegas 46

On the main card of UFC Vegas 46, we saw an important matchup in the women’s flyweight division. Top contenders battled it out for a second time as former title challengers Katlyn Chookagian (16-4) and Jennifer Maia (19-7-1) went to war.

As mentioned, this was the second time that these two flyweights will square off. The first time came back at UFC 244 with Chookagian picking up the decision win. That win earned Chookagian a title shot against Valentina Shevchenko.

Of course, Chookagian lost in that opportunity. Since her loss to the champion, Chookagian has gone 3-1 with the lone loss coming against former UFC champion Jessica Andrade. That said, she was riding a two-fight win streak heading into this evening.

On the other side of the cage was Jennifer Maia. Maia was looking to pick up her second consecutive win. The last time we saw Maia was back at UFC 264 when she took on Jessica Eye. That night she was able to win a decision.

That win came on the heels of her title loss to Valentina Shevchenko. The winner of tonight’s fight looked to be in a good position in the flyweight division.

UFC Vegas 46 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 46 flyweight contest kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Chookagian immediately takes the center and looks for her jab. Nice jab from Maia and Chookagian answers with a body kick. Stiff jab lands for Chookagian then she lands a big 1-2.

Nice calf kick from Maia lands. Both exchange jabs in the center. Chookagian lands a body kick then follows it with a front body kick. Big right hand lands for Jennifer Maia. Powerful calf kick from Maia and she follows it up with a 1-2. Some swelling on the face of Chookagian here.

Nice step in jab for Chookagian but she eats another big calf kick from Maia. Good combination from Chookagian lands. Maia lands a big right hand but Chookagian grabs a body lock. With the body lock, Chookagian is able to get the takedown and she settles right in the half guard.

Chookagian looks like she’s attacking an arm-triangle here and then she transitions into side-control. Nice knee to the body lands for Chookagian. Shoulder strikes from Chookagian. Maia is able to scramble and get back to her feet just before the round ends. The round comes to a close and it’s 1-0 Chookagian at UFC Vegas 46.

Round 2

Entering the second at UFC Vegas 46 and Maia needs to get some momentum in this one. Maia comes out very aggressive in the second and she throws a combination. Good body kick from Maia but then she eats three straight jabs from Chookagian. Chookagian catches Maia coming in as Maia swung wild with a right hand.

Another wild right from Maia allows Chookagian to get a body lock. However, Maia defends well this time and uses the fence to keep it standing. Knee to the body from Maia and they break. Stiff jab from Chookagian. 1-2 lands for Jennifer Maia and Chookagian immediately answers with a combination.

Maia grabs a body lock of her own and pushes Chookagian against the fence. However, Chookagian immediately reverses and pushes Maia against the fence. Knee to the body from Chookagian and they break. Front kick from Chookagian and she lands a jab. Maia lands a very powerful log kick.

Big knee to the body lands for Chookagian but Maia lands a big combination to follow. Head kick just misses from Chookagian. These two just start swinging in the center. Chookagian lands a nice knee up the middle but Maia eats it and moves forward.

Maia shoots in and tries for a takedown. However, Chookagian reverses beautifully and gets Maia’s back. The round comes to an end and it was a very close round, but I have Chookagian up 2-0 at UFC Vegas 46.

Round 3

Entering the final round at UFC Vegas 46 and Jennifer Maia likely needs a finish. She takes the center immediately but eats a body kick. Nice 1-2 lands for Chookagian. Maia swings a big right that just misses and Chookagian lands a nice knee to counter.

Stiff jab and then a combo behind it from Chookagian. Check left hook lands for Chookagian. Another jab from Chookagian. Nice dodge and counter from Chookagian who is looking really good here in the third round. Right hand over the top from Chookagian.

Chookagian tries pushing forward but eats a combo from Maia that backs her up. However, after a reset, Chookagian lands another nice 1-2. Right hand over the top connects from Maia. Body kick finds it’s home for Jennifer Maia. 1-2 from Chookagian snaps Maia’s head back.

Another stiff jab from Chookagian and she’s turning it on here in the third. Big jab and a body kick from Chookagian. Maia tries blitzing forward but nothing lands. Leg kick from Chookagian. Nice counter right hand lands for Maia.

Another combination lands for Chookagian and she’s beating Maia to the punch here. Lead left hand from Chookagian and she backs it up with a 1-2. The fight comes to an end and this should be a clean sweep for Chookagian at UFC Vegas 46.

Katlyn Chookagian def. Jennifer Maia by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

UFC books Andrei Arlovski – Jared Vanderaa

Andrei Arlovski

The UFC has finalized a matchup in their heavyweight division for next month’s PPV. MMA Junkie was the first outlet to report this afternoon that the promotion had finalized a heavyweight matchup between former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (32-20) and Jared Vanderaa (12-6).

The matchup will take place at UFC 271 on February 12th. This is a really big opportunity for Jared Vanderaa. Vanderaa enters this contest having gone just 1-2 so far in three UFC appearances. He earned a spot with the promotion after scoring a first round knockout on the contender series.

Vanderaa jumped right in there with a top heavyweight when he fought Sergey Spivak. He was stopped in the second round in that fight. then he got a fight against the tough Justin Tafa and won a decision. He’s currently coming off of a loss to Alexander Romanov by decision back in October.

Getting a shot against a former UFC champion is a big deal regardless of that champion’s current status. This is a big fight for Vanderaa with big implications. If he can win, he’s back on track with a former champion under his belt. However, if he loses, he might be looking at the UFC letting him go.

Former UFC champion returns

Andrei Arlovski is getting ready to turn 43 years old yet he has no plans on slowing down. The former heavyweight champion is currently riding a two-fight win streak leading to UFC 271. the last time we saw him was back in October when he defeated Carlos Felipe by decision.

Prior to that, he had a decision win over Chase Sherman. Overall, Arlovski is 5-2 in his last seven UFC fights. The only two losses he’s had have come against Jairzinho Rozenstruik and the top prospect Tom Aspinall. It’s clear that Arlovski has remained competitive in the heavyweight division.

While Arlovski is no longer a championship contender, he has proven to still be serviceable. At UFC 271, he will be making the walk again and he will be looking for his first three-fight win streak since 2015 when he went on a six-fight win streak.

UFC Vegas 46 Preview: Katlyn Chookagian – Jennifer Maia 2

Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC Vegas 46, we will see an important matchup in the women’s flyweight division. Top contenders will battle it out for a second time as former title challengers Katlyn Chookagian (16-4) and Jennifer Maia (19-7-1) will battle.

As mentioned, this is the second time that these two flyweights will square off. The first time came back at UFC 244 with Chookagian picking up the decision win. That win earned Chookagian a title shot against Valentina Shevchenko.

Of course, Chookagian lost in that opportunity. Since her loss to the champion, Chookagian has gone 3-1 with the lone loss coming against former UFC champion Jessica Andrade. That said, she’s riding a two-fight win streak heading into tomorrow night.

On the other side of the cage tomorrow night is Jennifer Maia. Maia will be looking to pick up her second consecutive win. The last time we saw Maia was back at UFC 264 when she took on Jessica Eye. That night she was able to win a decision.

That win came on the heels of her title loss to Valentina Shevchenko. Whoever wins tomorrow night will be in a good position to potentially challenge the champion once again.

UFC Vegas 46 Prediction

When looking at this fight on paper, I’m not sure we are going to see a much different fight than we saw the first time. The game plan for both fighters is going to be the same at UFC Vegas 46. For Jennifer Maia, she’s going to need to get this fight to the ground.

We saw even against the champion that Jennifer Maia is good in grappling exchanges. She’s very strong and she’s incredibly slick on the ground. If she’s able to get in tight and get the fight to the mat, there’s a clear path to victory.

That said, Katlyn Chookagian is not going to be easy to get down. For Chookagian, she needs to utilize her normal game plan. That game plan involves staying on the outside and working her volume strikes on her way to a decision victory.

Ultimately, I think that’s what’s going to happen. I think the fight will take place mostly on the feet and Chookagian will score more points. I’m expecting the same result as the first fight at UFC Vegas 46.

Prediction: Katlyn Chookagian by Unanimous Decision

UFC Vegas 46 Preview: Calvin Kattar – Giga Chikadze

UFC

Tomorrow night in the main event of UFC Vegas 46, we will see a big time showdown in the featherweight division. Top contenders will battle it out in a matchup with big time implications as Calvin Kattar (22-5) returns to take on the surging Giga Chikadze (14-2).

UFC Vegas 46 will be the first time we’ve seen Calvin Kattar in about a year. Last year, Kattar kicked off the UFC’s 2021 when he took on Max Holloway in a headlining fight on Fight Island. Had Kattar won that fight, he might’ve had a title shot in 2021.

However, he fell short and took such a beating that he took some time away. Now, he’s refreshed and ready to go. Overall, Kattar is 2-1 in his last three and the two wins came against top contenders Dan Ige and Jeremy Stephens.

Standing across from Kattar tomorrow night is Giga Chikadze. Chikadze has been on a sensational run since joining the UFC. Chikadze is currently sitting at 7-0 with the promotion. In his last fight, he completely destroyed Edson Barboza and proved he’s one of the best in the world.

UFC Vegas 46 Prediction

This is such a fun fight to headline the first UFC card of 2022. Both of these guys have tremendously exciting styles, but they also are very different in their approach. Chikadze is a very kick-heavy striker while Kattar prides himself on his boxing.

On pure boxing technique, Kattar is one of the very best in the promotion. Meanwhile Chikadze might be the best kickboxer in the featherweight division. A clash of striking styles should produce a sensational fight at UFC Vegas 46.

One thing to watch for is the counter striking of Kattar. His boxing is good enough to time Chikadze’s shots and fire over the top. That said, the range could end up being an issue for Kattar. I expect a lot of low kicks and body kicks from Chikadze early. Expect him to try and zap that gas tank.

I think we are finally going to see Chikadze’s chin tested tomorrow. Kattar is going to hit him and I’m curious to see how he takes a shot considering he really hasn’t been hit clean in the UFC. Ultimately, I think he’s going to be able to withstand the shots.

Ultimately, I think that Chikadze is going to get the win. I think he’s going to pull away in the early rounds with his kick-heavy attack. However, I’m expecting Kattar to come on strong late. If Chikadze gasses out, don’t rule out a Kattar stoppage late. That said, I think Chikadze gets a decision win at UFC Vegas 46.

Prediction: Giga Chikadze by Unanimous Decision

Greg Hardy gets a new opponent for UFC 270

Today we learned that next week’s UFC 270 card is having some last minute changes. Notably, a main card heavyweight matchup between Greg Hardy (7-4, 1 NC) and Aleksei Oleinik (59-16) is off. Ariel Helwani reported the news this afternoon that Oleinik has pulled out of the fight.

With that, the UFC has shifted and found a new opponent for Hardy. Hardy will now take on Sergey Spivak (13-3) on the main card. Spivak is actually a tougher fight for Hardy than the veteran Oleinik. Spivak will be looking to bounce back when we see him next Saturday night.

The last time we saw Spivak was when he was taking on surging heavyweight contender Tom Aspinall. Aspinall knocked Spivak out in the first round. That fight was back in September. The loss had snapped a three-fight win streak for Spivak.

During that winning streak, Spivak used his superior grappling to pick up some wins and even picked up a win over Aleksei Oleinik. He figures to be a tough test for Greg Hardy at UFC 270.

Last UFC fight for Hardy?

When Greg Hardy makes the walk at UFC 270, it could be for the final time as a UFC fighter. It has come out this week that next weekend will be the final fight of Greg Hardy’s contract. At this time, there’s no word on if the two sides planning on extending the deal or if Hardy plans on resigning.

Based on some recent comments from Hardy, it almost seems like he’s wanting to test the market. He will head into this final contest looking to snap a two-fight losing streak. The last time we saw Hardy was back at UFC 264 when he was knocked out in the first round by Tai Tuivasa.

Hardy won his first three professional MMA fights by vicious first round knockout. Given his background, he made his UFC debut in a co-main event slot when the promotion first debuted on ESPN+. Unfortunately for Hardy, he lost that first fight by disqualification.

Since that DQ loss, he’s gone 4-3, 1 NC in eight UFC fights. He’s looked like a very serviceable heavyweight, but he never really got going towards the top of the division. He needs a big performance next Saturday night to prove what he’s worth as his contract expires.

UFC books Kelvin Gastelum – Nassourdine Imavov

The UFC has finalized a banger of a middleweight matchup for their April PPV. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report yesterday that the promotion has finalized a matchup between former title challenger and Ultimate Fighter winner Kelvin Gastelum (17-8) and surging contender Nassourdine Imavov (11-3).

The matchup will take place at UFC 273 on April 3rd. This is a huge opportunity for Imavov who will be looking for his third straight win. Last time we saw Imavov was back at UFC 268 when he took on Edmen Shahbazyan. Imavov looked sensational on his way to getting a second round stoppage.

Prior to that, Imavov stopped Ian Heinisch. So far, he’s 3-1 in the UFC with the lone loss coming against Phil Hawes by majority decision. Currently, he’s ranked 12th in the UFC’s middleweight division and he looks poised to break into the top ten. However, it’s not going to be an easy task.

UFC turnaround for Gastelum?

If there’s one man who needs to turn his career around it’s Kelvin Gastelum. Just a couple of years ago, Gastelum looked like he was destined to become a UFC champion. He surged towards the top of the division and earned a shot at the middleweight crown when Robert Whittaker was champion.

However, Whittaker had to pull out and instead, Gastelum fought Israel Adesanya for the interim title at UFC 236. Gastelum pushed Adesanya harder than anyone else has in the octagon. However, it wasn’t enough and Gastelum came up short.

Starting with the loss against Izzy, Gastelum is just 1-5 in his last six fights. One has to wonder what the future holds for this once promising contender. Granted, all of the losses he’s had have come against some of the very best that the UFC has to offer at 185 pounds.

Currently, he’s on a two-fight losing streak. In his last fight, he lost a close decision against Jared Cannonier. Now, he has a big fight with Imavov. If he can’t beat this young contender, Gastelum needs to take a deep look at his career. Perhaps it might be time to move back to 170.

Either way, UFC 273 should tell us a lot about Kelvin Gastelum’s future.

UFC books headliner between Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal

UFC, Colby Covington

The UFC‘s biggest potential grudge match officially has a date. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report this afternoon that the promotion had finalized a matchup between Jorge Masvidal (35-15) and Colby Covington (16-3). The news was confirmed by the UFC’s CBO Hunter Campbell.

The matchup will headline UFC 272 on March 5th. We got word that this fight could be coming together over the weekend. Masvidal tweeted at Covington saying the UFC would be calling him about the potential fight. Well, it looks like they did and the fight is on.

This will be the first time that we’ve seen the UFC’s BMF since April of last year. At UFC 261, Masvidal got his second shot at Kamaru Usman. This time, he had a full camp to prepare for the welterweight champion. Unfortunately for Gamebred, the result was much worse.

Masvidal was knocked out cold by Usman and as a result fell down the welterweight ladder. Now, he’s looking to get back on track and he can quickly with this fight against Covington. Originally, Masvidal was set to fight Leon Edwards in December but had to pull out with an injury.

UFC Grudge Match

Like Masvidal, Covington is also coming off of a loss against Kamaru Usman. Covington got his second chance against Usman back at UFC 268 in November. Usman got off to a fast start and nearly finished Covington in the second round.

However, Covington came back strong and made the fight incredibly competitive. In the end, it wasn’t enough and Usman won the fight which made him 2-0 against Covington. Despite being 0-2 against the champion, Covington has proven to the world that he’s at the very top of the division.

As soon as UFC 268 ended, Covington was calling for a fight against Masvidal. Momentum started building over the weekend when news starting leaking that the UFC was moving a couple of title fights from March to April. That move left a vacancy for a big main event at UFC 272.

Now, we know that this grudge match will take center stage in March.

UFC working on Alexander Volkanovski – Chan Sung Jung

Well, it appears that the UFC is closing in on a replacement for Max Holloway. Last week it was announced that Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) and Holloway would be completing their trilogy for the featherweight title. However, just days after the initial announcement, the fight was off. 

Holloway tweaked an injury and the fight was called off. However, the UFC is wanting to keep Volkanovski active as the timetable for Holloway’s return is not known. With that, all top featherweight contenders started volunteering for a shot at the champion.

Even Henry Cejudo through his name in the hat to replace Holloway at UFC 272. Giga Chikadze, who is competing this weekend, had his reps come out and say that he would love the fight assuming he gets through Calvin Kattar on Saturday.

All that being said, it appears that the UFC and the champion have settled on a replacement. From the beginning, Volkanovski made it clear with a tweet on who he preferred to fight. It’s a guy he’s wanted to fight for some time and that guy is The Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung (17-6).

UFC 273 Main Event

Volkanovski has made it clear that he’s wanted to compete against The Zombie for sometime. However, the fight never came together and now, it appears like it’s going to. Ariel Helwani reported yesterday that the UFC is planning on this fight with a change to the original date.

Originally, the UFC was planning on Volkanovski and Holloway fighting in March. However, now the plan is for the Volkanovski – Jung matchup to take place in April at UFC 273. In addition, it also looks like the title fight between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan which was the UFC 272 co-main event will also shift to April.

Could mean big things for the March PPV. The last time we saw Jung was back in June when he headlined a Fight Night against Dan Ige. The Zombie put on a great performance and earned himself a decision win. It was a nice bounce back after his loss to Brian Ortega.

Overall, Jung is 3-1 in his last four UFC fights. This will be his second crack at the title but it will be his first shot since he lost to Jose Aldo back in 2013.

Miesha Tate makes her flyweight debut at UFC 273 against Lauren Murphy

Former UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate (19-8) is officially dropping down a weight class. MMA Fighting was the first to report this afternoon that the promotion has booked Tate’s flyweight debut and she will be taking on former flyweight title challenger “Lucky” Lauren Murphy (15-5).

The fight will take place on April 9th at UFC 273. For Lauren Murphy, this is a massive fight coming off of her title loss late in the year. Back in September at UFC 266, Lauren Murphy got the flyweight title fight that she had worked so hard for. Murphy got her shot against Valentina Shevchenko.

This title shot came on the heels of a five-fight winning streak. Murphy had a lot of belief in herself leading up to the fight but fell short just like everyone else has in the flyweight division. She was stopped in the fourth round by the UFC champion and was sent back the drawing board.

However, Murphy isn’t falling far with this next booking. In fact, this is a perfect bounce back opportunity. If Murphy can spoil the UFC flyweight debut of Miesha Tate, she will be right back in the title picture.

Former UFC champion makes flyweight debut

After years away from fighting, Miesha Tate made her return to the UFC last year. She won her return bout and then was booked in a main event against Ketlen Vieira. Ultimately, Tate fell short in that main event. Had Tate won, she was looking at being on the short-list of UFC title contenders at 135 pounds.

In addition to losing that fight against Vieira, something else happened which altered Tate’s path. Julianna Pena, who is a very close friend, shocked the world and became the bantamweight champion. After this happened at UFC 269, Tate mentioned that she might move down to 125 pounds. 

Just weeks later, we get this announcement. Given how Valentina Shevchenko has run through the flyweight division, Tate could be fast-tracked towards the title. If she’s able to defeat Lauren Murphy in April, she’s going to get a shot at the UFC flyweight title.

If somehow Tate can pull it off, she would become just the second woman in history to win a belt in two weight classes in the UFC. However, that’s a long ways away and she’s got to get through the tough and durable Lauren Murphy first.