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The UFC returns next weekend for an apex fight card headlined by Giga Chikadze and Calvin Kattar. Phenomenal fight for them to return with in 2022. However they have already given us two more marquee match-ups to look forward to early in 2022 when it comes to championship fights. ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto broke the news that not one, but two scores will be settled inside the octagon on March 5th at UFC 272. Both match-ups are ones that we have seen before, and have wanted to see again ever since.
Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan
First up will be a rematch for the bantamweight championship of the world. Their first fight was plagued with controversy as Sterling was awarded the bantamweight championship due to an illegal knee thrown by Yan that left Sterling unable to continue in that contest. This rematch was actually supposed to happen on October 30th at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi (same card that was headlined by Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira). However due to a neck injury that required surgery, Sterling would have to pull out of the fight and in stepped Cory Sandhagen to take on Yan for the interim bantamweight championship. A fight that Yan would win via decision, now setting up this unification bout that people have been wanting to see since October.
Alexander Volkanovksi vs. Max Holloway
“The best boxer in the UFC” makes his return to championship fights as he will be looking to avenge not one, but two razor thin decision losses to champion Alexander Volkanovski. These two put on two of the best title fights we have ever seen inside of the octagon. Since those two fights that they have had, Volkanovski defended his title once against top contender Brian Ortega. That fight was without a doubt one of the best fights of 2021 and Volkanovksi was able to get the win via decision. Holloway has had two fights since then, both five round main events that he won via decision. One of those performances was a historically good performance from Holloway when it comes to striking. He landed a staggering 445 significant strikes in that bout against Calvin Kattar. Both fighters have looked great against their opponents since they last met. And although Volkanovski won both of their first two fights, it was so close that it really does still feel like they two are still very much on the same playing field. On top of that, both fighters probably feel they have something to prove coming into this fight. For Holloway, he wants to prove that he can beat Volkanovksi and on the flip side, Volkanovski wants to go out and prove that the first two outcomes were not a fluke.
The backstory behind both of these fights is what makes them so intriguing. Two fights with storylines that go back for some time now. But that just makes the anticipation we have until March that much better. And it will make fight night feel even more surreal and special when March comes around.
Have some thoughts? Let me know em on Twitter! @mike__wilson11