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As the end of the year draws closer, there’s only a handful of UFC events left to grace our screens.
While the amount of events left are limited, there’s a number of fights taking place that are sure to wet the appetites of many MMA fans.Today we’re going to be taking a look at the 5 most interesting UFC fights left in 2018, breaking down their back story and maybe even throwing a prediction or two into the mix.
Let’s take a look.
Max Holloway VS Brian Ortega (UFC 231)
First up on our list is Featherweight Champion Max “Blessed” Holloway, up against undefeated challenger Brian Ortega, which is taking place at UFC 231 on December 8th 2018.
This fight was originally scheduled to take place on 8th July at UFC 226, however Holloway pulled out just before the fight, with the reasoning still being unclear to this day. Even the champ himself doesn’t know exactly what went wrong, however many suspect it was related to his weight cut.
What ever went wrong the first time, lets’ just hope the same doesn’t happen again. Aside from this being the second time this fight has been scheduled, what else makes this one of the most interesting fights of the year?
Well for starters, they’re both incredibly talented fighters, with Holloway currently on a 12 fight win streak, his last loss being to Conor McGregor back in 2013. Since then, he’s gone on to defeat some of the divisions most talented fighters, including back to back victories over former king-pin José Aldo.
Ortega though, is undefeated in his professional MMA career, going 14-0 (1NC) and is yet to taste defeat inside the octagon. His previous fight against veteran Frankie Edgar at UFC 222, proved Ortega is more than a ground specialist, being the first man ever to finish Edgar.
This is set to be one of the most interesting fights of the year, providing that it actually takes place. So, who’s going to win? Well that’s a good question, if Ortega can’t finish the fight on the ground, I feel it will be a decision win for Holloway.
Valentina Schevchenko VS Joanna Jedrzejczyk (UFC 231)
Taking place on the same night as Holloway & Ortega, the co-main event features an incredible match up between Valentina Schevchenko and former Strawweight Champion
Since losing, and failing to reclaim her belt from Rose Namajunas at UFC 223, Jedrzejczyk is moving up a weight class in pursuit of her next UFC belt.
Schevchenko is still yet to taste gold in the UFC, failing to claim the Bantamweight title against Amanda Nunes at UFC 215 and having her title bout cancelled against Nicco Montaño at UFC 228.
Both of these fighters have something to prove, and are each stood in each others path to claiming that highly coveted UFC belt. Pair this with that fact that these are some of the worlds most elite strikers, sets up a fight that I for one, can’t wait for.
Whether this fight will actually take place is unclear, as the UFC attempted to move Jedrzejczyk to headline their November 3rd event. This never came to fruition, and Schevchenko VS Jedrzejczyk remains the co-main event on the UFC’s official website.
As a fight fan, lets’ hope this fight does take place, as it is sure to be a stunning performance from two of UFC’s most dominant female fighters.
Donald Ceronne VS Mike Perry (UFC Fight Night 139)
Up next we’ve got Donald “Cowboy” Ceronne VS “Platinum” Mike Perry, taking place at UFC Fight Night 139, on the 11th November.
Cowboy is an absolute veteran inside the cage, accumulating 44 fights so far in his professional career. However, he hasn’t had the best run as of late, losing 4 of his last 5 fights since January 2017.
Interestingly, there’s a ton of bad blood between these two, as Ceronne was a former teammate of Perry, fighting out of the Jackson Wink MMA Academy. However, things took a turn for the worst, when Mike Winklejohn opted to prepare and corner Perry in the fight, over Ceronne.
This in turn caused a rift between Ceronne at the gym, who now solely trains out of his own BMF Ranch. Either way, both of these fighters have something to prove and will both be gunning for the win come 11th November.
Jon Jones VS Alexander Gustafsson (UFC 232)
When you look back at some of the greatest fights in UFC history, Jon Jones VS Alexander Gustafsson has to be one. These two first fought back in 2013 at UFC 165, where they went 5 gruelling rounds, with Jones eventually winning by decision.
Whether or not Jones deserved to win that fight is up for debate, with many claiming Gustafsson was robbed of the title. Fortunately, Gustafsson will have a shot at redemption at UFC 232, where yet again, the two will battle it out for the Light Heavyweight title.
Jones though, is coming off an almost 2-year lay off, after being suspended by USADA for violating their anti-doping policy. His suspension has since been lifted, allowing him to continue fighting for the UFC, with his return fight taking place against an old rival – Gustafsson.
With that being said, Gustafsson has had somewhat of a hiatus this past year, having not competed since May 2017. Despite not fighting for some time, Gustafsson has always been vocal about his desire for a rematch, even stating he would box Jones if he was unable to return to the UFC.
Fortunately, Jones’ has been cleared to return, opening the door for one of the most exciting rematches to take place for some time.
In a recent press conference, Jones has stated he has one aim – to solidify his position as one of the greatest MMA fighters in history. This is no easy feat, especially considering his controversial past, only time will tell if he is able to accomplish his monumental goal.
Despite having had a fair amount of time off, I’m predicting a Jon Jones win here, sorry Alexander!
Cris Cyborg VS Amanda Nunes (UFC 232)
The final match up on our list is a Champion against Champion fight, featuring Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg VS Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes.
Both of these fighters are amongst the best female champions the UFC has ever seen, with Amanda moving up a weight class in pursuit of that elusive second belt. If she is successful in her endeavour, she will be the first female fighter to hold two simultaneous belts in different weight classes and the third person ever to do it.
Who stands in her way? Cris Cyborg, who is currently undefeated in her 6 fight UFC career (her 3 previous fights were title defences) and is a former Strikeforce Featherweight Champion.
When you take a look at the level fighters these two have defeated, it’s incredibly impressive. Cyborg holds recent victories over Yana Kunitskaya, Tonya Evinger and most notably former Bantamweight Champion Holly Holm.
Similarly, Nunes has a whole roster of high quality talent on her defeat list, including Valentina Shevchenko, Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate.
With both women not suffering a loss in a number of years, and the stakes higher than ever, this is going to be one heck of a fight.
Although the year is coming to an end, we’ve got plenty more UFC excitement left to come.
Which fight are you most excited for?
James is a martial arts fanatic who became National Judo Champion at the age of 12 and a member of the Great British Judo Team, competing at an international level. Since then, James has studied various different disciplines such as BJJ, Muay Thai, wrestling and MMA. He spends his time blogging about different martial arts on his website MMAStation.com and obsessing over the UFC.