We’ve just about finished with the first quarter of the UFC’s 2021, and there’s no shortage of events to talk about. Despite all the monumental moments and shocking upsets, we’re not even close to wrapping up as we still have several big events coming up.
Let’s recap the first quarter of the UFC by going through the biggest moments and their impact both from a fan and betting perspective followed by the biggest fights yet to happen for 2021.
Where We’ve Been: Biggest UFC Moments So Far
Poirier Makes A Notorious Meme Out of McGregor (Jan. 24, 2021)
Dustin Poirier exacted sweet revenge against Conor McGregor by knocking him out in the second round of their UFC 257 rematch. Poirier was as big as a +250 underdog in UFC betting odds, but that didn’t stop him from handing the Irishman his first career KO loss. Fans gleefully took to social media to bask in his defeat.
ko’d conor mcgregor so bad that bernie sanders had to console him pic.twitter.com/kjG7yX0q5A
Alfonso J. Lopez (@DrFonsi_) January 24, 2021
Lewis Upsets Blaydes To Stake #1 Contendership (Feb. 20, 2021)
Speaking of upsets, Derrick Lewis capitalized on what was the biggest UFC betting upset this year so far. “The Black Beast” was as big as a +350 underdog when facing off against the surging Curtis Blaydes. About 90 seconds into the second round, Lewis caught Blaydes with an uppercut, as chalk bettors were left speechless.
Sterling Makes Dubious History as Bantamweight Champion (Mar. 6, 2021)
It wasn’t how Aljamain Sterling or his backers expected him to win. But Sterling took an illegal knee from then-champion Petr Yan and was awarded the UFC Bantamweight Championship when he couldn’t continue fighting. Sterling became the first UFC fighter to win a title via disqualification and cashed prop bets at +550 as social media went haywire.
Blachowicz Ends Adesanya’s Unbeaten Reign (Mar. 6, 2021)
On the same UFC 259 card, Jan Blachowicz defended his light heavyweight title by earning a clear-cut decision over middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. Blachowicz once again won as an underdog at +210. The Pole has now cashed at plus money for the eighth time in nine tries as he handed Adesanya his first career defeat.
The Francis Ngannou Era Starts (Mar. 27, 2021)
The betting odds were identical to their first bout, but the results were drastically different. This time, Ngannou buried Stipe Miocic in the second round of their UFC 260 main event to capture the elusive heavyweight title. The win marks Ngannou’s seventh straight KO victory as he starts his reign as the UFC’s undisputed heavyweight king.
What’s Ahead: The Most Anticipated Fights Coming For 2021
Usman and Masvidal Run It Back (UFC 261, April 24, 2021)
After defending his belt against former training partner, Gilbert Burns, Usman now turns his sights to an old foe: Jorge Masvidal. Usman will once again be a big betting favorite here as he already beat Masvidal although the challenger will have a full training camp this time.
The Most Anticipated Flyweight Rematch (UFC 263, June 12, 2021)
UFC Flyweight Champion Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno fought to a draw (thanks to a point deduction against Figueiredo) in their epic UFC 256 tilt. The rematch is now scheduled for June and we can expect another back-and-forth war. The odds are similar to the first with the champion being upwards of a 2-5 fave.
Poirier and McGregor Complete The Trilogy (UFC 264, July 10, 2021)
Poirier passed on a lightweight title shot in favor of completing the trilogy against McGregor. Despite how the first fight ended, the betting odds will once again be in McGregor’s favor though not as big. One thing could be certain here: this fight is not going to a decision.
Chimaev Returns to “Smesh” Contenders (Q3, 2021)
Khamzat Chimaev was the UFC’s most viral star in 2020 and was booked to fight Leon Edwards three times. But due to COVID, Chimaev has been shelved. As he recovers from the virus, his return will be one of the most anticipated bouts this 2021. The question is which contenders he will fight.
Jones Rises To Meet Ngannou (Q4, 2021)
The biggest, both figuratively and physically, UFC event this year will undoubtedly be when former two-time UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and all-time great Jon Jones return to fight Ngannou for the heavyweight strap. Ngannou will be somewhere of a 2-1 favorite here, which will be the first time Jones will be an underdog since 2009.
More UFC Events Coming Up
All of this is just a sample of what’s coming up with the UFC in the next few months. It all continues with April’s UFC events.