UFC's first pay-per-view of the year is almost here, and it is already slated to be one of the biggest events of the year. The promotion's biggest star Conor McGregor is set to make his return at UFC 257 against Dustin Poirier in a lightweight showdown.
An epic lightweight co-main event has been scheduled for the PPV between UFC newcomer Michael Chandler and Dan 'Hangman' Hooker. The rest of the card includes Jessica Eye vs. Joanne Calderwood, Marina Rodriguez vs. Amanda Ribas, Shane Burgos vs. Hakeem Dawodu, and Brad Tavares vs. Antonio Carlos Junior among others.
Although UFC 257 already has a packed card, you can always trust Dana White to find space for one last minute firecracker in any card. So why should UFC 257 not have one? Here are three last-minute fights that can be added to the UFC 257 fight card.
3. Edmen Shahbazyan vs. Eryk Anders
Edmen Shahbazyan had his undefeated record broken by Derek Brunson when the two met in August last year. A lot of people had bet against Brunson, presuming that the up and coming Shahbazyan would prove too much for the No. 7 ranked middleweight. However, the loss took nothing away from Shahbazyan.
With four out of his five UFC wins coming via finishes, the 23-year-old possibly has a bright future ahead of him.
Eryk Anders, on the other hand, has had a mixed performance in UFC. Professionally undefeated before coming on board UFC, Anders' third fight in the promotion resulted in his first career loss to Lyoto Machida. Having five wins and an equal number of losses in UFC since 2017, Eryk Anders would be an unexpected yet good matchup for the middleweight prospect.
Shahbazyan is currently ranked at 12 in the division, while Anders is unranked. With a win, the former could see himself get back on the win column after the Brunson loss.
Anders had his two-fight win streak broken by Krzysztof Jotko in May last year. So, he would be looking to get back to winning ways as well.
2. Bryce Mitchell vs Ryan Hall
For many fans, pitting the two world-class grapplers in Bryce Mitchell and Ryan Hall against each other should be a no-brainer for UFC. 'Thug Nasty' picked up a decision against Andre Fili at UFC Vegas 12, and before that put up another brilliant performance against Charles Rosa at UFC 249 as the promotion started hosting events amid the pandemic.
Pitted against the 'Wizard' Ryan Hall, Mitchell's takedown and grappling skills would be put to test, much to the delight of Brazilian jiu-jitsu fans. Despite the similarities in their fighting styles, the two fighters have opposite personalities, which should also add to the excitement of the action. It would also give Bryce Mitchell to show off his camo shorts yet again inside the octagon.
1. Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Chan Sung Jung
'The Korean Zombie' Chan Sung Jung has already called out Zabit Magomedsharipov. After losing to Brian Ortega, Jung has been recovering from a couple of injuries and medical procedures he underwent back in home. However, he was aiming for a return early in 2021. He said that he wanted Zabit next in order to make his way up to the position of the top contender.
"I want Zabit (Magomedsharipov). That’s the fight that’s going to get me closest to a title shot. More than that, I want to once again try to prove myself against one of the hottest fighters in the division and prove that I’m still capable of competing at the highest level. Of course, I would understand if he doesn’t want to fight me.” (via: MMA Junkie)
Zabit Magomedsharipov, on the other hand, is on a five-win streak in UFC, and like The Korean Zombie said, one of the "hottest" names in the featherweight division. This fight between the No. 3 and No. 5 ranked, if it does happen, would "bring the fans to their feet", as Jung said in the same interview.
"(He) and I are both entertainers and extremely competitive, so I think he’d like to step in the octagon with me. A win for both of us would mean a lot for our careers, and it would be an amazing match. The ball is in Zabit’s court. I want this fight to kick off 2021."Published 08 Jan 2021, 19:58 IST