It’s December, and that means cold nights and good fights for MMA fans. And similar to last year, the UFC takes over this month once again packing in four events in the month of December and when it’s all over, the octagon may look very different for the organization at the beginning of 2017.
#10 ranked heavyweight, Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis and Shamir Abdurakhimov kick off of the first of the four events tonight at UFC Fight Night Albany on UFC Fight Pass. This marks the second time the UFC has held an event in New York after it was finally legalized in the state earlier this year.
The following night, the UFC travels to Toronto where Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway battle for the interim Featherweight title in the main event at UFC 206. With a nine fight win streak for Holloway, he looks to put a stop to former UFC lightweight champions newly found interest in the featherweight division. In the co-main event of the evening, Donald Cerrone looks to continue his dominance in the welterweight division as he takes on the always dangerous, Matt Brown.
And just one week later in Sacramento California, UFC returns to FOX for one its most interesting cards of the year by showcasing some of its newest talent and stars to keep an eye on in 2017. Fresh off an impressive knockout win over Bec Rawlings at back in August, fan favorite Paige VanZant looks to continue her rise in the strawweight division with a win over former Strikeforce atomweight champion Michelle Watterson in the main event of the evening. Also on the card, Mickey Gall, best known for his win over CM Punk, gets his wish and takes on UFC poster boy, Sage Northcutt in the co-main event. This card will also be remembered for hosting the final fight from one of the most recognized faces in the sport, future UFC Hall of Famer, Urijah Faber. Faber will face Brad Pickett on the main card.
All this leads up to the final card in December and in grandiose UFC fashion, they have saved the best for last. After thirteen long months, former women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey makes her return to the octagon and will fight current champion Amanda Nunes in the main event. Rousey has made it clear that she had a very mentally draining year off the sport but still sees herself getting her title back very easily from Nunes. Kicking off the main card, Neil Magny and Johny Hendricks continue their push to break into the top five in the welterweight division, former bantamweight champion, #1 ranked, TJ Dillashaw will take on knockout artist, John Lineker with the winner most likely getting a title shot in early 2017.
After a dominating performance at UFC 200, Cain Velasquez will finally get his rematch with Fabricio Werdum. In their first fight at UFC 188 in June of 2015, Werdum submitted Velazquez taking the title from him as well. In the co-main event, the term bad blood is an understatement as current bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz answered the call out from Team Alpha Male’s newest sensation, Cody Garbrandt. Garbrandt is currently 5-0 in the UFC with four of those wins being first round knockouts or TKO wins.
Whether you are a casual or hardcore fan, the UFC serves up plenty to be thankful for this time of year. And no matter if you have been naughty or nice, I’d like to wish everyone a Merry early Christmas and to all a good fight.
Photo credit: UFC