The Current (1/21/22)

After the UFC returned last weekend at UFC Vegas 46, the promotional efforts ramped up. In the lead up to UFC 270, lots of things have been announced. So, here’s what the tide brought in:

UFC announces exclusive NFT project to launch Sunday

Ultimate Fighting Championship is releasing a novelty class NFT collection on Sunday, January 23rd. In the UFC 270 press conference, it was announced that Francis Ngannou is one of the brand ambassadors. Dapper Labs has teamed up with the promotion to launch UFC Strike. Helen Yee asked Francis to elaborate on what it is:

“Dapper Labs is the new NFT platform.” Ngannou said. “You can go there and collect the ‘UFC Moment’.”

This allows fans to hold a piece of history and be a part of their favorite UFC moments. Aaron Bronsteter on Twitter explains the UFC’s 50% share with the fighters in this endeavor.

Francis Ngannou partners with Cash App for Bitcoin giveaway

Ngannou says that he’s teaming up with Cash App and giving out $300K in Bitcoin to his fans. Now UFC fans all over the world have a chance to be one of the recipient that’s selected for the giveaway with Francis Ngannou.

The Heavyweight Champion is set to make his first UFC title defense this Satuday. If he’s successful, his promotional endeavors have the potential to skyrocket. So does his leverage in contract negotiations.

Brian Kelleher challenges Bryce Mitchell to a rap battle

After Brian “BOOM” Kelleher’s win at UFC on ESPN 32, he missed the opportunity to call his shot on the microphone in the octagon.

In his post-fight media though, he brought up that Ariel Helwani mentioned hosting a “UFC rap battle” on the MMA Hour.

I’m down, let’s do it.”

Bryce Mitchell recently released a mixtape which has largely impressed the MMA community. Brian Kelleher is also known for his musicality, often getting into jam sessions on his Instagram Live. Maybe there will be a belt on the line, who knows? Ariel Helwani did get Stephen Thompson a belt.

Khamzat wants to go to Brazil and choke Gilbert Burns

Khamzat Chimaev is certainly the UFC’s shiny new toy. After his breakout UFC debuts on Fight Island, he knocked out Gerald Meerschaert with one punch. Then we saw an extended hiatus from the super prospect. This led to lots of questions, but then he returned to form in a big way, in his words, smashing Li Jingliang in the first round. Since this step into the top 15, the big question has been: “what should be next for Khamzat?” A big fish like Burns in enemy territory would be massive for Chimaev’s trajectory and Championship aspirations.

Dana White confirms Pimblett vs. Gordon, different opponent announced

Dana White was a guest on Barstool Sport’s Dave Portnoy Show. The UFC President identified Jared Gordon as Pimblett, Barstool’s new brand ambassador’s, next opponent. The Barstool Staff rejoiced, exclaiming “that’s breaking news!”. It was a humorous development when a day or two later, the UFC officially announced Pimblett vs. Vargas for UFC London.

Tom Aspinall and Alexander Volkov to headline UFC London

Despite wanting a slow build for the ascent of his UFC career, Tom Aspinall has been inserted into a very big spot atop the UFC’s return to England. Slotted against the ever dangerous Alexander Volkov, it looks like Aspinall is about to be off to the races. Aspinall is a 28 year-old Heavyweight prospect who’s gone undefeated in his UFC tenure this far, and “Drago” will certainly pose as a formidable test.

Amanda Nunes leaves American Top Team

After her shocking loss to Julianna Peña at UFC 269, Amanda Nunes is setting sail for new shores as she wants to open up an MMA Gym of her own. “The Lioness”, widely regarded as the greatest female fighter in history has been a fixture and mainstay for the American Top Team family.

Cloaked in gold and glory, her presence at ATT was something that everyone there could be proud of. It’s not revealed if this departure from her long time team is due to her loss, or just a coincidence of timelines. Last time we heard from Nunes, she said she’d be “returning better than ever.”. Peña had remarks for this, when asked about the potential team switch… she said “Yeah, what a Zoo huh?”

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