From this month’s UFC 246 to April’s UFC 249, we take a closer look at the events that will highlight the opening half of 2020.
Now, of course, we haven’t seen the full and confirmed lineups for all of these events but even still, given the strength of the headliners, we should be able to get at least some indicator of how tantalising they are on paper.
As time goes on and further fights are added, perhaps this list may change but as things stand, here’s how we’re laying them out.
So without further ado, here are the top-four UFC PPV events set to hit our screens in the opening half of this year.
#4 – UFC 247
Notable matchups: Jones (c) vs. Reyes, Shevchenko (c) vs. Chookagian, O’Malley vs. Quinonez, Rivera vs. Vera, Lewis vs. Latifi.
Though stacked from top-to-bottom with several interesting matchups, UFC 247 comes in fourth due to what seems to be a pair of one-sided title fights in the main and co-main event slots.
Now don’t get me wrong, we’ve all been wrong before and we’ll be wrong again, but when stacked up against the other headliners on show here, it’s easy to see why Jon Jones and Valentina Shevchenko’s respective title-defenses haven’t exactly set the world alight.
With that being said, technical brilliance is often a joy to behold and in the case of the masterful Jones and the increasingly destructive Shevchenko, the potential for a mixed martial arts clinic is always something that makes watching their bouts worthwhile.
Between Dominick Reyes and Katlyn Chookagian, it’s hard to know exactly who stands the best chance of springing one of the upsets of the century so far, but with the seemingly unbeatable duo of Jones and Shevchenko to dethrone, it will undoubtedly take something extraordinary to get the job done.
Some solid matchmaking throughout gives us more than enough reasons to tune in on the night but based on what we know so far of UFC 246, it pales in comparison to the events listed below.
#3 – UFC 248
Notable matchups: Zhang (c) vs. Jedrzejczyk, Whittaker vs. Cannonier, Magny vs. Jingliang.
Weili Zhang had been on the radar of diehard fight-fans across the globes for at least a few years before she eventually decimated Jessica Andrade to win her UFC belt.
But even knowing what we know, the manner in which she ran through her opponent was nothing short of shocking and now, she comes up against perhaps the greatest fighter the division has ever known.
Joanna Jedrejczyk may well have met her match in the form of Rose Namajunas twice but awkward stylistic matchups aside, there’s still every chance that she’s the best 115lb-r on the planet – something she’ll once again have the chance to prove in the night’s main event.
On top of that, the co-main event will see the incredibly interesting return of the former middleweight king Robert Whittaker – who will look to put the memories of his disappointing showing against Israel Adesanya to bed with a victory over a very dangerous contender.
Jared Cannonier, a former light-heavyweight and heavyweight, is a force to be reckoned with at 185bs and if he can, in fact, test the chin of the Aussie star, expect him to be in pole position to take on The Last Stylebender for the strap before the year is out.
#2 – UFC 246
Notable matchups: McGregor vs. Cerrone, Holm vs. Pennington, Modafferi vs. Barber, Pettis vs. Ferreira, Fili vs. Yusuff.
Look, there’s no doubt that UFC 246 is a very, very top-heavy event, but even with that being the case, a fight featuring the former two-weight world champion Conor McGregor is always going to be a massive event for this sport.
At this point, there is very little need to get into exactly how important McGregor has been for mixed martial arts over the years but what is worth noting now is how delicately his career hangs in the balance.
For Donald Cerrone, a life’s work has led to what will become a newfound level of exposure – something that could well see his star blossom into something entirely different once all is said and done on January 18.
Of course, Cowboy is already a star within the sport, but if you had to ask anyone who, out of those on the current roster, deserved to get that push onto the next level the most, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’d go against Cerrone.
The card, on whole, has several other points of interest, for sure, but we’d be lying if we said that any of them hold a level of intrigue that can rival this massive affair.
#1 – UFC 249
Notable matchups: Khabib (c) vs. Ferguson, Hall vs. Souza.
Let’s be real, Uriah Hall vs. Jacare Souza is a decent fight. But even if it wasn’t already confirmed for April’s UFC 249, this event would easily sit at the top of this list.
With just two fights announced, it’s hard to know how heavily the UFC will stack this card’s lineup but even still, in Khabib vs. Ferguson, we have a bout that could well be the most significant of the modern era.
Never before have two fighters within the same division evaded each other for so long through very little fault of their own.
After four failed attempts that making this contest a reality, it’s almost as if fate dictated that it would take an even five for us to see it come to pass.
Thankfully, the stakes have only grown with each passing failure and now, there’s a very good chance that the winner will stand as the sport’s pound-for-pound #1 when all is said and done.
A pair of twelve-fight win-streaks and a duo of contrasting styles that have yet to be cracked. It’s not often we get fights as special as this one.
We’ve tasted the disappointment of seeing this perfect pair’s matchup dissolve in every possible way up until this point and right now, all we can do is pray to the MMA gods that things go off without a hitch on April 18.