The wild ride that is the winter action in the UFC isn’t over just yet.
UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden this past weekend single-handedly salvaged what many saw as a rather lacklustre year. Even some of the highlights, such as Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones’ wicked encounter at UFC 214 in July, were marred in this case by Jones’ subsequent failed drug test.
We won’t get much time to digest the historic happenings in New York however, as the next four weeks play host to no less than five UFC events, beginning this weekend with UFC Fight Night 120: Poirier vs. Pettis.
Dustin Poirier, who has been involved in some barnstorming contests since his move to lightweight, takes on former 155lb. division champion Anthony Pettis in the main event.
Elsewhere on the stacked card, welterweight Matt Brown, no stranger to insane fights himself, has chosen none other than the deranged Diego Sanchez to take on in what is said to be his retirement fight.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski, Nate Marquardt (who once brutally knocked out Tyron Woodley to win the Strikeforce 170lb. belt) and Sage Northcutt are also in action in Norfolk, Virginia, along with John Dodson, who recently reminded the world of what he did to newly crowned bantamweight king, TJ Dillashaw.
— John Dodson III (@JohnDodsonMMA) November 5, 2017
The following weekend, Fabricio Werdum continues his road back to contention for the title he lost to Stipe Miocic via knockout. He takes on the massive Marcin Tybura in Sydney, Australia. Hopefully Tony Ferguson doesn’t make an impromptu appearance in the cage if the Brazilian prevails.
Staying in the East, the UFC then heads to mainland China for the very first time, in Shanghai on the 25th of November.
In attempting to crack a new and lucrative market, the promotion has enlisted the help of one of its greatest ever stars in Anderson Silva. The ‘Spider’ faces fellow middleweight contender and former Ultimate Fighter winner Kelvin Gastelum in the main event.
Just six days later, The Ultimate Fighter 26 finale rings in December, as the contestants on the show coached by Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje compete in the show’s climax. Also present will be potential superstar Sean O’Malley, who impressed the boss himself on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender series.
As is December tradition, the TUF finale is followed by a bigger event the day after, and speaking of Alvarez and Gaethje, the two will square off at UFC 218 in a bout with ‘fight of the year‘ written all over it.
The pay-per-view is of course headlined by cover star Max Holloway, who makes his first featherweight title defence against Frankie Edgar, the toughest possible challenger the division can muster.
Olympic gold medallist Henry Cejudo faces Sergio Pettis at flyweight, while on the undercard it will be intriguing to see David Teymur of “take care of your underwears” fame compete at lightweight, where he has garnered a 3-0 record thus far.
There’s also the small matter of a likely heavyweight title eliminator between Alistair Overeem and the possible next big thing, Francis Ngannou.
Three more events do follow in 2017, including a possible blockbuster in UFC 219, but let’s get through this month first before we completely flat-line from excitement.