Some UFC fights are so good the first time that they need to be repeated. Some UFC fights are so bad the first time that the combatants need the opportunity to win fans back over with a second fight. Other fights end in such a controversial way that there must be a rematch to find the rightful winner.
Here are 5 UFC rematches that need to happen in 2021.
#5 Israel Adesanya vs Robert Whittaker
At UFC 243 in Melbourne, Australia, in 2019, a trans-Tasman rivalry came to a head in front of a world-record crowd for a UFC event.
Australian UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker faced undefeated New Zealander Israel Adesanya. The 57,000 fans in attendance were treated to an unforgettable walk/dance out from Adesanya before the fight.
´The Last Stylebender´knocked Whittaker out in the second round to become the new UFC middleweight king.
Since UFC 243, Robert Whittaker has beaten top contenders Jarrod Cannonier and Darren Till. He is scheduled to face Kelvin Gastelum at UFC on ESPN 22 this month. Meanwhile, Adesanya has defended his title against Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa.
The rematch could be held in front of a massive crowd in Australia or New Zealand later in 2021 and would no doubt be another action-packed fight.
#4 Kamaru Usman vs Colby Covington
Ever since Kamaru Usman won the UFC welterweight championship against Tyron Woodley, he´s looked unstoppable at the top of the division. The only challenger to threaten his championship reign was Colby ´Chaos´ Covington.
At UFC 245 in Las Vegas, Covington gave Usman everything he could handle before he was stopped late in the fifth round. Colby was ahead on one of the judge’s scorecards and even on another heading into the final championship round.
If Usman successfully defends his title against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 26, a rematch with Covington needs to be booked for later this year.
#3 Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling
The bantamweight title fight at UFC 259 between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling ended in controversial circumstances. It was the first time in UFC history that a championship changed hands due to a disqualification.
The fight started with the challenger Sterling pushing an insane pace, throwing dozens of strikes over the first two rounds. The champion Yan successfully managed to survive the early onslaught and began to dominate the fight in round 3.
In round 4, Yan was picking Sterling apart before he made a costly error and threw an illegal knee to the grounded challenger. Sterling was unable to continue and was awarded the UFC bantamweight championship via DQ.
The UFC has indicated that this title rematch will be booked in 2021.
#2 Francis Ngannou vs Derrick Lewis
The MMA gods once again showed us that nothing is guaranteed in the UFC. At UFC 226, Francis Ngannou faced Derrick Lewis in a battle of heavyweight knockout kings. UFC fans were hyped for an all-out standup war with a spectacular knockout being a certainty.
However, this fight ended up being one of the worst fights in UFC history with little to no action. Lewis won the fight via unanimous decision.
Since the fight, Francis Ngannou has been undefeated, knocking out every opponent in his way, and is now the UFC heavyweight champion. Meanwhile, Lewis is on a four-fight win streak and deserving of another title shot.
Dana White has mentioned rematching these two and we can only hope that the second time´s a charm for ´The Predator´and ´The Black Beast´.
#1 Zhang Weili vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk
The co-main event at UFC 248 in Las Vegas in March 2020 stole the show.
UFC strawweight champion Zhang Weili defended her title for the first time against longtime strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk. These two fighters put on the greatest female fight in UFC history and a top 5 UFC championship bout.
Zhang Weili retained her title by razor-thin split decision but neither fighter deserved to lose. The fighters threw over 783 strikes combined in this fight, with 768 of the strikes being significant.
Zhang is set to face Rose Namajunas this month at UFC 261. If she can defend her title then a rematch with Joanna must be scheduled for a pay-per-view later in 2021.
Notable mentions: Robbie Lawler vs Carlos Condit, Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno (Booked for UFC 263)