As coronavirus restrictions have begun to ease up, UFC President Dana White instantly filled arenas with fans for the companies’ pay-per-events. The summer months ahead will be no different, as we witness some of the most anticipated martial arts contests of the year. Let us preview some of the most exciting UFC fights we have to look forward to.
Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier III (July 10th, 2021)
In the trilogy fight that all fans are chomping at the bit to witness, former UFC lightweight title holders Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier will collide for the third time in a contest to determine the next contender for Charles Oliveira’s lightweight championship.
The two famous fighters head into this contest with one win each from their previous meetings, which saw the Irish superstar dominate the first fight at UFC 178 with a first-round TKO.
Dustin Poirier returned to the octagon opposite McGregor in January of this year to seek his revenge. At UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi, the Louisiana native put McGregor out with a second-round stoppage.
With one fight apiece, it only made sense that a third and final bout would take place. And a chance at Charles Oliveira’s lightweight championship awaits the victor.
The UFC’s lightweight division was dominated by former undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who defeated Poirier and McGregor, leaving them both in an unlikely position ever to hold the lightweight title again. However, the announcement of Khabib’s retirement in 2020 opened the landscape of the division. Newly crowned champion Charles Oliveira defeated Michael Chandler for the vacant title as No.5 ranked McGregor, and No.1 ranked Poirier reignited their rivalry.
On July 10th, the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas will be packed with American and Irish fans eagerly awaiting to watch the two lightweight titan’s meet in the middle of the octagon. MMA odds at the best sportsbooks are torn between a favorite, as both fighters can be found at similar prices. With that said, we should expect the ever-growing fan base of Conor McGregor to drive the betting value into Poirier backers.
Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington II (August 7th, 2021)
One of the most heated rivalries in modern MMA is set to revisit past discrepancies. Although nothing is confirmed, UFC President Dana White has stated that Colby Covington will be next in line for a shot at Karamu Usman’s welterweight championship.
It has been two months since we last saw the “Nigerian Nightmare” defend his title. He was coming off one of the most incredible and spectacular knockout performances of his career, where he obliterated Jorge Masvidal within two rounds.
The animosity between Usman and Masvidal was entertaining, but nothing has quite matched the intensity that Covington and Usman delivered during the build-up heading into their first matchup. A back-and-forth exchange between the two generated a great hype in 2019, where the champion successfully broke Covington’s jaw to cause a doctor’s stoppage. Of course, the egotistical attitude of Covington believes the fight was stopped prematurely.
There is no confirmed date, but rumour has it that UFC 265 on August 7th will host the rematch. Heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou was set to defend his title versus Derrick Lewis on this date, but with the date being pushed forward, it leaves the 265 pay-per-view open. With Dana White announcing Usman/Colby 2, it makes complete sense this fight will take place on that date.
Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis II (September 25th, 2021)
The two heaviest punchers on the entire UFC roster will face off for a second time in September 2021. As mentioned, the UFC had hoped for an August date to set the rematch between Ngannou and Lewis, but scheduling conflicts have pushed the fight to a later date.
The main difference between the first encounter between these two monsters of the octagon is that Francis Ngannou has since captured the UFC heavyweight championship. At UFC 260, Ngannou was able to capture the crown by dismantling Stipe Miocic via TKO.
Ngannou vs Lewis at UFC 226 was considered one of the worst heavyweight fights in UFC history, but since their first meeting, the newly crowned champion has won five consecutive fights, all by way of knockout. Lewis has won straight contests, so creating the rematch was bound to happen sooner or later.
Again, no official date has been set, but with the expected pushback to September, the only date possible will be UFC 266 on the 25th.