Can a Record-Breaking 5 UFC Titles Change Hands in 3 Months?

Ngannou
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CHARLES OLIVEIRA, MAX HOLLOWAY & FRANCIS NGANNOU ALL TO BECOME UFC TITLE HOLDERS BEFORE 1ST JAN 2022 @ 13/2

A record-breaking UFC era

The UFC have been the light at the end of the tunnel during this crazy time and the MMA leaders have led the way by example in the world of sport. The UFC is now stepping it up an extra gear even by their standards and jumping into unprecedented waters when it sees six title fights in the space of three months, with at least four of them near enough 50/50 fights which certainly won’t be an upset either way they go.

We take a look at how the entire UFC roster could change within just 12 weeks and what this now means for the MMA giants moving forward.

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JON JONES, MICHAEL CHANDLER & CORY SANDHAGEN ALL TO BECOME UFC TITLE HOLDERS BEFORE 1ST JAN 2022 @ 9/2

UFC 259 – Light Heavyweight – Jan Blachowicz [C] vs Israel Adesanya

UFC 259 sees Jan Blachowicz make his first title defence since beating Dominik Reyes by knockout for the vacant UFC Light Heavyweight Championship in September. After losing four of his first six UFC fights, the Polish sensation won eight of his next nine, picking up six performance bonuses along the way. Blachowicz is a well-rounded fighter and may feel as if he is yet to prove himself as a worthy champion, having not beat former champion Jon Jones. This is his biggest test so far and has potential to be the best fight on this list, and no doubt, should the Pole win, it might be the most noteworthy, given the rampage Israel Adesanya has been on.

Middleweight champion Adesanya is stepping up to the light heavyweight division in an attempt to assert his claim to becoming one of the best fighters of all time. “The Last Stylebender” goes into the fight as the favourite and is unbeaten in his mixed martial arts career, with staple of wins over Anderson Silva, Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker to name a few.

The Nigerian is known for his exciting style and exceptional standup game and has won seven performance bonuses in his nine UFC fights. A win here could be enough to capture the attention of Jon Jones, who many regard as the greatest of all-time which would make for one of the biggest fights in the organisation’s history.

This bout has all the makings of an absolute classic and we can’t look past a win for the challenger. Therefore, we are predicting a knockout win for Israel Adesanya and the first change of belts on this list, Adesanya has also voiced his aims of moving up to the heavyweight division in the future, as well as a superfight with Jones, which could be the makings of an interesting year or two for the 33-year-old.

Either way, if he claims light heavyweight gold, his argument as one of the recent greats is well and truly solidified.

UFC 259 Odds

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ISRAEL ADESANYA TO WIN @ 4/11

UFC 259 – Bantamweight – Petr Yan [C] vs Aljamain Sterling

Russian Petr Yan is also putting his title on the line at UFC 259, with the Russian boxing champion making his first title defence since beating Jose Aldo for the vacant UFC bantamweight title.

Since joining the UFC in 2018, Yan has won all seven of his fights and certainly has an exciting future as well as a dominant present. “No Mercy” has fought big names in his last two fights in the form of Urijah Faber and Aldo, but both were arguably past their prime, making his next bout his toughest to call.

Aljamain Sterling was brutally knocked out by Marlon Moraes back in 2017, but since then, he has gone a five-fight win streak, most notably winning against Cory Sandhagen in his most recent fight via a rearnaked choke. The “Funk Master” has excellent wrestling and a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, therefore, we expect him to try to take Yan to the floor and look for his ninth career submission. This is Sterling’s first title fight in the UFC and makes for an interesting stylistic matchup on a stacked fight card.

This fight will be determined on whether or not Yan’s takedown defence and whether or not the fight goes to the ground or remains on the feet. We are going to go against the bookies and back the underdog, with Sterling using his wrestling to win the fight on the floor. Sterling has the ability to potentially outstrike Yan if the fight is a stand-up contest, therefore, the Russian will be worried about takedowns and Sterling can utilise this to fake takedowns and land his punches.

UFC 259 Odds

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ALJAMAIN STERLING TO WIN @ 11/10

UFC 259 – Women’s Featherweight – Amanda Nunes [C] vs Megan Anderson

The third title fight of UFC 259, Amanda Nunes looks to further her 11-fight win streak with an eight consecutive title defence, against Megan Anderson in a fight that was originally scheduled to take place in December. Nunes is regarded by many as the best female fighter of all time and goes into this fight as the clear favourite, with the Brazilian looking for a knockout after wins by decision in her last two fights.

Her opponent is Australian fighter Megan Anderson, who’s most notable win was over Cat Zingano, who is the last fighter to have beaten the defending champion. Anderson’s last four fights have ended in round one, of which she has won three, but with her last two wins coming against unproven challengers in the form of Zarah Fairn Dos Santos and Norma Dumont Viana, she certainly has a lot to prove in this fight.

We can’t look past a comfortable win for Nunes, with the Lioness winning by knockout in either the first or second round. Anderson’s underwhelming resumè doesn’t convince us that she is of championship calibre and we would be surprised if she can survive the distance and amazed if she gets the win.

UFC 260 – Heavyweight – Stipe Miocic [C] vs Francis Ngannou

After three fights with Daniel Cormier, Stipe Miocic faces off against Francis Ngannou in what is arguably the most highly anticipated rematch we could be handed in the UFC right now.

Miocic comfortably won the last time he faced the Cameroonian, with a unanimous decision victory back in January 2018. Described by Cormier as the “greatest UFC heavyweight fighter of all time”, Miocic has an excellent standup game, with 75% of his career wins coming by way of knockout, and as he proved against Ngannou, he can mix it up and put on a true mixed martial arts masterclass.

The champion goes into the fight as the underdog, despite winning eight of his last nine fights and holding the record for most consecutive UFC heavyweight title defences, but the argument here is how the challenger has learned and only improved since that defeat and, in truth, he has done and then some.

Ngannou is the hardest hitting fighter in the history of the UFC and his world record strike is the equivalent to 96 horsepower, basically meaning if he hits you, it’s over. “The Predator” has never won by decision, with all his 15 wins in his MMA career coming by a stoppage, as you would expect. Since facing criticism for one of the worst fights of all time in his loss to Derrick Lewis, Ngannou has recorded four consecutive first round wins by knockout, picking up three Performance of the Night awards.

Ultimately, Ngannou needs to do what he didn’t do against Miocic last time and that’s just swing for the bleachers. The Paris fighter shouldn’t be ashamed of his inability to compete with somebody of Miocic’s standard, as the Ohio native has perfected his craft over many, many years more than Ngannou, whilst the challenger only got into MMA eight years ago, simply because he could punch hard.

So, punch hard and accurately, he must and he can’t stand there and fight with Miocic, because that’s how he lost last time. Now, we think he’s learned his lesson and will knock out the American.

UFC 260 Odds

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FRANCIS NGANNOU TO WIN @ 8/13

UFC 260 – Featherweight - Alexander Volkanovski [C] vs Brian Ortega

It’s hard to believe that Alexander Volkanovski was once a welterweight, but since moving back down to featherweight, the Australian has been dominant in the weight class, winning eight fights. This will be Volkanovski’s second title defense, following his rematch with former champion Max Holloway, which he won via split decision. Alexander “The Great” is on a nineteen-fight win streak and will be hoping that his stint as UFC champion is not short-lived and will be looking for a stoppage, having gone the distance in all his bouts since 2018.

Brian Ortega will be in his second title fight, after losing to Max Holloway via doctor stoppage in his last attempt to claim the featherweight championship, back in 2018. After not fighting for almost two years, Ortega beat “The Korean Zombie” back in October and will be hoping his inactivity doesn’t prove costly on this occasion. “T-City” is a jiu-jitsu specialist and will be looking to take the fight to the ground, having claimed seven submission victories in his career so far.

The last time that Volkanovski faced someone who wanted to take him to the ground, he picked up a TKO victory against Chad Mendes. Therefore, we don’t believe he is afraid of Ortega’s wrestling ability and although we don’t believe we will see a repeat outcome, we think that the belt will stay in the hands of its current holder and the champion gets the win by decision.

By Tom Eaton

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