Here’s a look at some of the best fights you won’t want to miss next month.
Thiago Santos vs. Johnny Walker – UFC Fight Night: Oct. 2
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) May 12, 2021
Santos (21-9) looks to snap a career-high three-fight losing streak and hasn’t won a fight since he knocked out current light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC on ESPN+ 3 in Feb. 2019. The stakes are high for the 37-year-old as Santos likely knows, another loss could result in his UFC release and subsequently his days as a contender in the 205-pound division. Walker (18-5) looks for back-to-back victories for the first time since March 2019 and looks to find the form that saw him rack up three straight victories to start off his UFC career. The winner of this fight will undoubtedly emerge as a contender in a busy light heavyweight division.
Ryan Bader vs. Corey Anderson – Bellator 268: Oct. 16
We now have our Final 4️⃣ in the #BellatorLHWGP 🔥
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) May 8, 2021
These former UFC contenders are part of the semi-finals for the Bellator 205-pound tournament. Bader (28-6) will be looking for two straight victories for the first time since January 2019 after rebounding from his title loss last year by defeating Lyoto Machida at Bellator 256. Anderson (15-5) will be aiming for his third straight victory under the Bellator banner after dispatching Melvin Manhoef and Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov. What I love about this fight is that these are two talented light heavyweights who chose to leave the UFC and will now clash together in a pivotal fight in Bellator.
Paulo Costa vs. Marvin Vettori – UFC Fight Night: Oct. 23
Paulo Costa (@BorrachinhaMMA) vs. Marvin Vettori (@MarvinVettori) is being finalized to headline a UFC Fight Night event on Oct. 23, per multiple sources. Costa’s side wanted it. Vettori’s side wanted it. Let’s have some fun, yeah? pic.twitter.com/Lb6ycjB0ey
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) August 3, 2021
Costa (13-1) will be competing for the first time this year and hasn’t fought since losing to Israel Adesanya at UFC 253 by TKO. The 30-year-old has finished four of his six opponents in the Octagon and will be facing an opponent who has never been stopped in his 14-fight career. Vettori (17-4-1) is also coming off a loss to Adesanya at UFC 263 in June. The 28-year-old has won five of his last six fights and has never lost two fights in a row during his professional career.
Jan Blachowicz vs. Glover Teixeira – UFC 267: Oct. 30
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) March 7, 2021
A pair of redemption stories fighting each other for the UFC’s light heavyweight title, what’s not to like about this fight? After a rocky start to his UFC career that saw him go 2-4, Blachowicz (28-8) has won nine of his last 10-fights, most recently defeating middleweight champion Israel Adesanya by decision at UFC 259 in March. The 38-year-old has finished three of his last six opponents. Teixeira (32-7) carries a five-fight win streak into his second opportunity at the UFC’s light heavyweight title. In his last fight, Teixiera submitted Thiago Santos in the third round to earn this title shot.
Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan – UFC 267: Oct. 30
🚨Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling at UFC 256 as the co-main🚨
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) October 14, 2020
These two will finally settle the score after a controversial ending to their first fight earlier this year. The current champion Sterling (20-3) is riding a six-fight win streak, including notable wins over Yan, Cory Sandhagen, and Pedro Munhoz. The victory over Yan was a result of an illegal knee caused by the Russian bantamweight. Yan (15-2) suffered his first loss since 2016 with that setback against Sterling and prior to that, was on a 10-fight win streak. The 28-year-old hasn’t gone the distance since he defeated Uriah Faber in Dec. 2019.