2020 isn't over yet, but already, the UFC has given fight fans something to look forward to in 2021, with UFC 257 shaping up to be quite a stacked card.
Taking place at a still-to-be-determined location on January 23, 2021, UFC 257 will be the UFC's first Pay-Per-View offering for 2021, and will likely be headlined by the returning "The Notorious" Conor McGregor taking on Dustin "The Diamond" Poirier in a lightweight rematch that could have serious title implications.
Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier officially booked for UFC 257
It was announced earlier today that the rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier has officially been booked for the UFC's January 23rd event.
McGregor is currently the number 4-ranked contender in the lightweight division, while Poirier is the number 2-ranked contender.
The two former lightweight titleholders first squared off in a featherweight clash back in 2014, with McGregor winning via first-round TKO.
Since then, the two have gone on to achieve success in the UFC ranks, with McGregor becoming a two-division UFC champion, while Poirier himself became the interim UFC lightweight champion.
Earlier this year, the two publicly agreed to a rematch which was initially intended to raise money for charity. With both fighters under contract, the UFC wasn't just going to let that happen.
After Khabib Nurmagomedov's surprise retirement announcement at UFC 254, the 155-pound division got a bit of a shake-up, and the McGregor-Poirier rematch made even more sense to book.
Now, the two are officially on a collision course again, and a win could bring either man one step closer to another UFC title run.
Top contender Michelle Waterson meets rising star Amanda Ribas at UFC 257
Another fight to watch out for at UFC 257 is a women's strawweight matchup between perennial top contender Michelle "The Karate Hottie" Waterson and fast-rising star Amanda Ribas.
Waterson is coming off a split decision victory over Angela Hill in the main event of UFC Vegas 10 back in September, snapping a two-fight skid that saw her lose to former champions Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Carla Esparza.
Ribas, meanwhile, has been unbeaten since coming to the UFC back in 2019. In her four fights in the promotion, Ribas has defeated Emily Whitmire, Mackenzie Dern, Randa Markos, and most recently, Paige Van Zant.
A win for either woman could definitely mean entry into the UFC women's strawweight championship discussion.
Two more bouts expected for UFC 257
Also expected to take place at UFC 257 will be a middleweight bout between Brad Tavares and Antonio Carlos Junior. Tavares will try to snap a two-fight losing streak, while Carlos Junior is also looking to avoid a three-fight slide of his own.
The two were initially set to meet back in March, but an ACL injury forced Tavares out of the fight.
In a women's flyweight bout, former title challenger Jessica "Evil" Eye meets Joanne "Jojo" Calderwood. Eye will try to get back on track after her most recent loss to Cynthia Calvillo, while Calderwood is coming off a loss Jennifer Maia.
UFC 257 to return to Fight Island?
The UFC's first major event for 2021 could also mark the promotion's return to Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
According to UFC President Dana White, the January 23 bout hasn't been officially booked yet, but they're looking at going back to Fight Island for UFC 257.
"January 23 on Fight Island, if everything goes according to plans. There are a ton of 'ifs' right now. I have to see where the world is at in the next couple of months." White said via ESPN's Brett Okamoto.
Fight Island has been home to a number of the UFC's biggest events during this on-going COVID-19 pandemic. A total of nine UFC events were held there, the last for 2020 being UFC 254, which saw Khabib Nurmagomedov defeat Justin Gaethje to retain the UFC lightweight championship.
Expect more news regarding UFC 257 to surface in the coming days.Published 11 Nov 2020, 04:04 IST