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UFC 2023: Marquee Bouts to Come?

Possibility of Some Superfights on Tap

Most of the combat sports news lately has focused on the upcoming Terence Crawford vs Errol Spence Jr. boxing bout. This, on top of boxing’s other “superfights” in the past few months, have shifted the focus of the fandom to the squared circle. But keep an eye on the UFC news as Dana White, not to be outdone, could cook up a few mega-sized bouts.

UFC 2023: Marquee Bouts to Come?
UFC President, Dana White - Graythen/Getty Images/AFP

— Jason Hagholm (@JHagholm1) May 24, 2023

Will Jones-Miocic and McGregor-Chandler Happen?

The two biggest bouts that the UFC could do by the year’s end is a heavyweight championship showdown between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic and a bout between Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler. However, there are reports that the heavyweight bout may not happen. But, it’s still too early to determine if it’s officially dead in the water.

As for McGregor-Chandler, no official date has been announced. However, McGregor has entered the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) testing pool so it’s one step closer to being actualized. This fight is being targeted for the latter part of the UFC calendar. The MMA odds have this as close to a pick’em.

McGregor has not fought in the octagon since he broke his leg in his trilogy against Dustin Poirier almost two years ago. He’s recovered and has been active on social media to keep himself relevant. As for Chandler, the former three-time Bellator champion is one of the UFC’s most exciting fighters. Four of his five UFC bouts produced a performance bonus.

Best Potential UFC Fights for Rest of 2023

Adesanya vs Du Plessis

What does Adesanya do now that he’s vanquished his arch-nemesis? Fight for the pride of his African heritage. This potential bout with Dricus Du Plessis could be that plus more. Adesanya has already taken shots at Du Plessis, who claims to be a “true African.” The South African is scheduled to fight Robert Whittaker, a former two-time adversary of Adesanya, for the right to challenge him.

Du Plessis is a sizable underdog on the UFC betting odds against Whittaker. But should he somehow upset the former champion, the UFC will immediately book that fight against Adesanya – maybe to end the year. If Du Plessis loses, this bout could still happen some time in 2024.

Makhachev vs Volkanovski 2

There is still a slight chance of this happening before the end of this year. Volkanovski will have to defeat Yair Rodriguez to unify the featherweight belts first. UFC predictions have him getting that done, as he usually does. Makhachev, on the other hand, is likely to fight the winner of next month’s Charles Oliveira vs Beneil Dariush bout at UFC 289.

Should Makhachev defeat either challenger, this will set the stage for the rematch. Volkanovski made Makhachev look human in their last bout. Although Makhachev won the decision, even MMA media put no stock in it as they kept Volkanovski as the top fighter in the pound-for-pound rankings. This rematch will be hotly anticipated so the UFC will book it as soon as the opportunity opens.

Jamahal Hill vs Alex Pereira

Alex Pereira, the former middleweight champion, has moved up to light heavyweight to take on former champion Jan Blachowicz. This is a tough test for the two-division GLORY kickboxing champion and many UFC picks are against him, given Blachowicz’s wrestling skills. But should Pereira beat Blachowicz, something his archrival could not do, it will set him up with a title shot against Hill.

Hill, the current champ, could fight former champ Jiri Prochazka some time in the summer. If not, Hill could just fight the winner of Blachowicz-Pereira bout. This potential bout has incredible implications as a win for Pereira could set up the trilogy with Adesanya with even higher stakes.

Honorable Mentions

  • Brandon Moreno vs Henry Cejudo
  • Khamzat Chimaev vs Kamaru Usman
  • Zhang Weili vs Yan Xiaonan
  • Ronda Rousey vs Gina Carano

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