2021 promises to be another massive year for the world of combat sports in general - and not just the UFC. Promotions worldwide are expected to line-up some of the most exciting fights a fan could hope to see.
This list takes an in-depth look at 21 fights to watch out for in 2021.
21. Calvin Kattar vs. Max Holloway - UFC Fight Night, 16th January
The first UFC main event of 2021 is a guaranteed slobber knocker. Former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway will be returning to action against the equally impressive Calvin Kattar. The two men will meet at UFC Fight Island, and this featherweight showdown is one that the fans wouldn't want to miss.
This fight also kicks off the UFC's year of battles in 2021. A superb way to start, for sure. Holloway, who is on the back of a loss to reigning featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, will aim to get back on the win column. In contrast, Kattar is coming off a main event win over Dan Ige. A victory over The Blessed One will surely be the biggest of his career.
20. Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns - UFC 258, 14th February
Kamaru Usman was already scheduled to defend his UFC welterweight title against Gilbert Burns in 2020. However, the fight which pencilled in for UFC 256, eventually fell apart.
Now, Usman will finally defend his 170-lbs title against Durinho at UFC 258. On the back of a win over former champ Tyron Woodley, Burns will look cause an upset when he faces his former teammate. However, the reigning UFC champion has registered two big wins over Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal, in his last two octagon outings.
19. Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Andrade - Likely for March/April
Valentina Shevchenko has run roughshod through the entire UFC women's flyweight division so far. However, former UFC women's strawweight champion Jessica Andrade will be Shevchenko's most formidable challenge in the division to date. The fight is yet to be confirmed, but Andrade expects the showdown to take place sometime around March or April.
At UFC 255, Bullet was expected to dominate Jennifer Maia but looked vulnerable at times, in what many regarded as an unconvincing win for Shevchenko. Meanwhile, Andrade will be heading into the fight on the back of the eye-catching first-round win over Katlyn Chookagian.
18. TJ Dillashaw vs Jose Aldo - To Be Announced
TJ Dillashaw will finally make his return to the UFC after serving his suspension. The former UFC bantamweight champion will be joining an already stacked bantamweight division and the options for his return fight are endless. One man who wants a shot at the former champ is Jose Aldo, the King of Rio put Dillashaw on notice after his last win and expressed his desire to welcome TJ back into the UFC.
It certainly has been a while since fight fans have seen TJ Dillashaw compete, but one definitely shouldn't make the mistake of leaving the former champ out of the title conversation. A fight (and a potential win over Jose Aldo) could instantly put TJ Dillashaw back into the bantamweight title conversation.
17. Yair Rodriguez vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov - To Be Announced
Yair Rodriguez and Zabit Magomedsharipov are regarded as two of the finest featherweights in the world right now. The two incredibly talented fighters were scheduled to meet in 2020 in a main event fight. Unfortunately, Yair's injury eventually forced him out of the bout, and the chances are that the fight will get rescheduled for 2021.
Yair Rodriguez has shared the octagon with some of the most notable fighters in the game. El Pantera has faced Jeremy Stephens, The Korean Zombie, and BJ Penn, and has wins over all three of them. Zabit also has an impressive UFC resumé having beaten Brandon Davis, Jeremy Stephens, and even Calvin Kattar.