We are reaching the conclusion of the UFC’s hiatus for the 2021 holidays. Before our return to form this weekend at UFC on ESPN 32 (Kattar vs. Chikadze), here’s what the tide brought in this week.
Movsar Evloev Out Of Upcoming Fight With Ilia Topuria
January 22nd was the destination for a flourish of talent at Featherweight. Unfortunately, the undefeated #13 ranked former M1 Champion has withdrawn from the upcoming match with Ilia Topuria. The show must go on, and “El Matador” took to twitter to try and secure some sort of scrap for UFC 270, the UFC’s first PPV of the new year.
Charles Jourdain is campaigning to fight Topuria at the moment.
— Ilia Topuria (@Topuriailia) January 11, 2022
Dan Ige will NOT be stepping in to fight Ilia Topuria at #UFC270, he tells me. He says he’s legitimately minutes away from hopping on a plane to go to Hawaii with his wife and son to visit family and go back home.
— Cole Shelton (@ColeShelton91) January 12, 2022
Bantamweight Championship To Be Rescheduled
The unification bout between the 135 lb. champions Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan might be pushed back to a later date. Sterling stated on his podcast that his conversation with the UFC indicated they want to change the date. He mentioned that it’s because of Petr Yan’s vaccination status and certain locations might not permit him to compete.
Yan responded to Sterling online with two tweets, one where he claimed the UFC wanted to ensure they had a backup fighter in case Sterling pulls out.
Pathetic liar desperately trying to look good and control the narrative but it won’t work. I’m vaccinated and ready to bash you anywhere even tomorrow. UFC simply doesn’t want fake champion to headline the event. https://t.co/aPG3WECd5m
— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) January 12, 2022
This rescheduling isn’t completely official. With both remarking on the changes though, it’s safe to assume that we’ll see this fight moved back again.
Volkanovski’s Next Venture
Max Holloway has withdrawn from his planned trilogy with Alexander Volkanovski due to an injury. This development has left the current Champion without an opponent, causing a sweepstakes of sorts. The winner of UFC on ESPN 32 could have been a strong contestant for this opportunity.
Former two-division Champion Henry Cejudo also offered his services. Instead, Chan Sung Jung has stepped in and this bout has been made official. Volkanovski versus The Korean Zombie is set for UFC 273 on April 9th.
2022’s First Card Fall-Outs
As we gear up for the new year of fights in the UFC’s octagon, it’s important that we remember the current climate. Nothing has changed dramatically from the way we operated last year, and every card is still likely to have late notice replacements in this uncertain time.
UFC on ESPN 32 has already had around 10 cancelled or rescheduled bouts. Michel Pereira, Joaquin Buckley, and Caio Borralho most notably no longer appearing on this event. Even the past few days have seen some opponent swaps as we approach. Brian Kelleher, who was supposed to fight Saidyokub Kakhramanov, is now set to face off with Kevin Croom. TJ Brown is now set to take on Charles Rosa, although he was originally scheduled against Gabriel Benitez.
Boom boom boom boom I want you in my croom
— Brian BOOM Kelleher (@brianboom135) January 12, 2022
Poirier Putting On Weight
Amidst recent rumblings between “The Diamond” and Nate Diaz, Dustin Poirier recently posted to his Instagram with the caption “Bulking SZN ? #El Diamante”. After his Championship shortcomings against Charles Oliveira to end 2021, Dustin said he didn’t know if he would compete again at 155 lbs.
Poirier has lots of options… for instance, he’s clearly eyeing a move to Welterweight. This would open plenty of doors, and the big names could have “El Diamante” to deal with in 2022. Something tells me the next fight we see is Poirier vs. Diaz, and that we’ll see it soon.
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The Grudge Match is a GO
Two of the Welterweight division’s brightest stars are booked. Colby Covington is set to take on Jorge Masvidal as a PPV headliner with no official belt at stake. The former training partners are set to collide in the wake of Kamaru Usman’s current title wave.
Having been roommates and close friends in their early days, these two big names at Welterweight have a hefty history. The tales of their training sessions are legendary. To see fighters with such a backstory get in the cage against each other is something that doesn’t happen too often in this sport. So this matchup is something special, let’s hope that the bout stays in tact. We’re in for a treat.