The sporting world is on hold at present due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has been hit with cards being postponed. Fans still have some top matches to look forward to. Just when they take place isn’t known, but let’s take some time to look ahead to some exciting matchups.
Khabib Nurmagomedov v Tony Ferguson
This long-awaited UFC Lightweight title fight is due to take place at UFC 249 on April 18. Whether the fight goes ahead is looking doubtful as the pandemic hits America hard. We do know that if it was to go ahead, it won’t be in the States. Nurmagomedov has already gone back home to Russia and may have problems travelling out of the country.
The fight between this pair seems one that is almost destined not to take place. So far it has been postponed on four occasions due to various injuries. Neither could imagine a worldwide pandemic might cause a potential fifth postponement. When it does take place, it’s a big fight for the champion. A win may well see him clinch another title defence against Connor McGregor that would be worth millions.
Ferguson will want to put a stop to that and extend an unbeaten record that goes back to 2012 and 12 straight wins. There’s even been talk of McGregor stepping in as his opponent at UFC 249 if the champion can’t make it. Dana White has stated he wants to be not only the first combat sport to start broadcasting again, but the first sport in general to be back in the public spotlight during the global crisis, which I’m sure is welcomed news for professional gamblers who would be more than keen to place a bet during this sporting drought.
Tyron Woodley v Leon Edwards
Woodley is the number one challenger in the UFC Welterweight rankings with a 19-4-1 record. Leon Edwards has been talked of as a future opponent and the British fighter is fourth in the rankings with 18 wins and three defeats. The pair were due to be fighting each other at the O2 in London on March 21 but the pandemic caused Edwards to pull out six days before the show.
Edwards hasn’t lost since 2015 and has won his last eight fights. The most recent being last July when defeating Rafael dos Anjor by unanimous decision. 2018 saw him defeat Donald Cerrone, the most recent fighter to lose to Connor McGregor. Taking on former UFC Welterweight champion Woodley is a step up for him and could lead to a future shot at current champion Kamaru Osman.
Kamaru Usman v Jorge MasvidalThe champion has his own battle to fight before thinking of Woodley and Edwards. Usman is scheduled to defend his title against Masvidal at UFC 252 in Las Vegas on July 11. He ended the three-year-reign of Woodley and is looking forward to a title defence against Masdival who has won his last three fights inside the distance. He doesn’t have many kind words for his opponent promising that “I’m gonna take you down and beat on you until you quit.” There’s no love lost here that is for sure. Just when he will get the chance to prove those words may well happen in July, here’s hoping.