5 best UFC fights to look forward to in May 2024

The return of the legendary Jose Aldo is the biggest highlight for the UFC in May
The return of the legendary Jose Aldo is the biggest highlight for the UFC in May

With just one more week and one more UFC event to go in April, it's well worth looking forward to what May has in store for the world's biggest MMA promotion.

Surprisingly, May is set to feature just three UFC events, with the biggest being a pay-per-view visit to Rio de Janeiro.

Still, there are a number of high-quality bouts to look forward to, most notably the return of a true legend.

Here are the five best UFC fights to look forward to in May 2024.

#5 Paul Craig vs. Caio Borralho - UFC 301


Any fighter who manages to go undefeated in the UFC for a lengthy stretch is worth keeping an eye on, and in that sense, Caio Borralho is a man to watch.

The Brazilian middleweight has often been criticized for a dull fighting style, but there's no denying his effectiveness. 'The Natural' is now 5-0 in the octagon, with a pair of wins on Dana White's Contender Series to his name too.

The one thing Borralho has been missing thus far is a signature win. He's been showcased on numerous occasions, but has yet to face a more proven foe.

That will change in Rio de Janeiro, when he faces off with Scotland's Paul Craig, who is ranked one spot above him at 185 pounds at No.13.

'The Bearjew' is just 1-1 at middleweight, but he has extensive experience at 205 pounds, where he holds wins over Jamahal Hill, Shogun Rua and Nikita Krylov.

If Borralho can overcome Craig, then it'll be hard not to look at him as a genuine title contender in this division. If he falls to defeat, meanwhile, it's likely to come via some kind of fun finish, as 'Bearjew' has finished all but one of his nine wins in the octagon.

Therefore, this one definitely promises to be one of May's must-watch fights.

#4 Lerone Murphy vs. Edson Barboza - UFC Fight Night 241


The final event of May will see the UFC return to its Las Vegas APEX facility for a Fight Night, and in the headliner, veteran Edson Barboza is set to face off with unbeaten British prospect Lerone Murphy.

In many ways, it's surprising that Barboza is still around at the top of the promotion. 'Junior' has been fighting in the octagon for over a decade, and has been written off on numerous occasions. However, he's currently on a two-fight winning run, beating the highly-regarded Billy Quarantillo and Sodiq Yusuff.

Murphy, on the other hand, has a much lengthier win streak. He's never lost in MMA, and currently boasts a record of 13-0-1, with five of those wins coming in the octagon.

A striker by trade, 'The Miracle' garnered a lot of hype for his flashy knee knockout of Makwan Amirkhani a couple of years back, and he's highly likely to look to stand with Barboza.

That could make for a truly wild fight, as 'Junior' loves to fight fire with fire, and despite his long tenure, he's still one of the most explosive fighters in the featherweight division.

Essentially, it's very likely that this fight ends in a seriously violent knockout, and if it's Murphy who gets his hand raised, a new contender could be born. Therefore, it's definitely one of May's best fights.

#3 Carlos Ulberg vs. Alonzo Menifield - UFC on ESPN 56


May 11 will see the UFC visit St. Louis, Missouri for the first time since January 2018, and in the headliner, Derrick Lewis will face Rodrigo Nascimento.

However, the hidden gem on the card - and one of the best fights to be booked for next month - is the light-heavyweight tilt between Carlos Ulberg and Alonzo Menifield.

Neither of these fighters are currently ranked in the top 10 at 205 pounds - Menifield sits at No.12 while Ulberg is unranked - but the winner of this one could definitely climb into that area.

A training partner of Israel Adesanya, Ulberg came into the promotion with a lot of hype back in 2021, but lost his debut fight to Kennedy Nzechukwu. The loss, though, could be seen as a blessing in disguise.

It's allowed 'Black Jag' to develop his skills quietly under the radar, and he's now riding an impressive five-fight win streak, most recently finishing Da Un Jung via submission, a surprise given his reputation as a striker.

Menifield, meanwhile, is also unbeaten in his last five, and while he's still somewhat porous defensively, 'Atomic' has the power in his hands to take out any opponent.

Going purely by styles, Ulberg should probably be favored here, and this could well be his breakout performance. Either way, though, it's a match of two of the hardest hitters at 205 pounds, and it should be a great fight to watch.

#2 Alexandre Pantoja vs. Steve Erceg - UFC 301


The lone title fight set to take place next month will also headline UFC 301 in Rio de Janeiro. It will see Alexandre Pantoja defend his flyweight title against a somewhat unlikely challenger in Australian Steve Erceg.

Quite why Erceg, who is currently ranked at No.10, has been granted this shot is anyone's guess. However, 'Astro Boy' is 3-0 in the octagon, and is coming off a pretty impressive knockout win over Matt Schnell in March.

Whether his sharp boxing skills will be enough to claim the title, though, is another thing entirely. Not only is Pantoja one of the very best grapplers at 125 pounds, but he's also a volatile striker in his own right, holding knockout wins over Schnell and Wilson Reis.

Essentially, 'The Cannibal' will come into this fight as the heavy favorite, and all signs point to him pulling off his second successful title defense in front of his home fans.

However, Erceg is a live enough underdog to make this one a very interesting fight, and as the only title fight to take place in May, it's a must-see for all UFC fans.

#1 Jose Aldo vs. Jonathan Martinez - UFC 301


While it isn't a title fight, the biggest highlight of May in the UFC is definitely the return of former featherweight kingpin and Hall of Famer Jose Aldo.

Aldo hung up his gloves back in 2022 following a loss to Merab Dvalishvili, and was enshrined in the Hall of Fame a year later. Prior to that loss, though, the Brazilian was riding a three-fight win streak, beating Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz and Rob Font, all of whom are still in the top-15 at 135 pounds.

At the age of 37, Aldo's best years are definitely behind him, but judging by those fights, he still has enough in the tank to compete at the top, and two years away may have refreshed him somewhat.

Aldo's opponent next month will be Jonathan Martinez. 'The Dragon' is certainly no slouch in his own right, being ranked at No.13. He's riding a six-fight win streak, and holds victories over the likes of Adrian Yanez and Cub Swanson.

Interestingly, Martinez's best weapon is arguably his leg kicks - the same assault that Aldo was most famed for in his prime.

So can Aldo win this bout? It's hard to say, which is what makes it so intriguing. He hasn't been given a softball, but he hasn't been given an absolute killer opponent either.

Add in the fact that the Brazilian crowd are likely to be rabid for the legend - he was known as 'The King of Rio' in his prime - and this one should definitely be the most fascinating fight to watch next month.

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