With 2022 now within the rear-view mirror, the eye on the planet of blended martial arts has turned to what battle followers can anticipate out the 12 months to return in 2023.
The hopes and desires of followers might be lofty at instances, however that doesn’t stop huge fights from being made on a yearly foundation. In any case, Conor McGregor fought Dustin Poirier twice in a calendar 12 months in 2021, and a superfight between UFC light-weight champion Islam Makhachev and UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski already on the docket for early 2023 got here along with relative ease.
UFC sportsbooks ought to be salivating on the prospect of all the massive fights to be made this 12 months. The larger the battle, the extra motion sportsbooks are more likely to obtain, even in gentle of latest betting scandals which have rocked the MMA world.
Listed below are 4 dream fights within the eyes of the matchmakers which have a chance of taking place in 2023.
Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou
One of the crucial seemingly dream fights to return to fruition in 2023 is likely to be Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou for the UFC heavyweight championship. Ngannou continues to be on the mend from knee surgical procedure that sidelined him for all of 2022, and phrases like “Jon Jones” and “most definitely” aren’t precisely synonymous lately. That being stated, the UFC has 12 months to make what has the possibility to be the most important heavyweight battle within the historical past of the promotion.
Regardless of his inactivity, Jones continues to solid a big shadow over the UFC. For all his authorized issues, he nonetheless holds one of the crucial spectacular championship resumes of all time and stays basically undefeated, having by no means been stopped or overwhelmed on the judges’ scorecards. Ngannou definitely possesses the fight-changing energy to crush Jones’ heavyweight desires, making for a enjoyable battle stylistically in addition to certainly one of important magnitude. With Tyson Fury having seemingly moved on from the concept of a hybrid guidelines superfight with Ngannou, there’s incentive for each Jones and Ngannou to conform to phrases and return in opposition to each other this spring or summer season.
Conor McGregor vs. Jorge Masvidal
It could be robust to have an inventory of “matchmaker dream fights” that doesn’t characteristic the return of Conor McGregor. Whereas many have speculated the viability of a McGregor return this 12 months, there’s seemingly an excessive amount of cash to be made out of all angles for it to not occur. Jorge Masvidal, in the meantime, has loads of incentive to have McGregor as his subsequent opponent. Given his latest authorized troubles stemming from his “alleged” assault on Colby Covington following their principal occasion battle in 2022, it is smart for Masvidal to angle for a battle with McGregor, which possesses immense potential from a buyrate standpoint.
McGregor has spoken brazenly of his need to proceed his profession at 170 kilos. Judging by his latest images, it’s straightforward to see why, as he has bulked up significantly since breaking his leg in opposition to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264. Stylistically, the battle ought to ship in spades, with each males more likely to stand and commerce with each other till somebody hits the canvas or time expires on the fifth spherical. It additionally serves as a winnable battle for each males, who’re a mixed 1-5 for the reason that begin of 2020.
Israel Adesanya vs. Khamzat Chimaev
There may very well be a number of hurdles stopping this battle from being made, however both method, there ought to be no scarcity of enjoyable fights for each Israel Adesanya and Khamzat Chimaev in 2023. Adesanya just lately misplaced his UFC middleweight championship to longtime rival Alex Pereira at UFC 281, and it’s at present unsure what weight class Chimaev will make his return at after lacking weight for his doomed UFC 279 principal occasion conflict with Nate Diaz. Nonetheless, each males have proven a capability to attach with their followers and will do large pay-per-view numbers if the celebrities occurred to align.
For the battle to materialize, Adesanya would seemingly must regain the middleweight championship in a rematch with Pereira early in 2023 and maybe defeat Pereira yet another time in a trilogy battle to be rid of him for good. Nonetheless, a Pereira harm might open the door for Chimaev to step in, although Chimaev will seemingly must win a battle over a prime middleweight contender earlier than difficult for the belt. It’s not unprecedented for Adesanya to battle thrice in a 12 months, nevertheless, so a battle between Chimaev and Adesanya, whereas unlikely, may very well be on the desk if the dominoes fall correctly.
Kamaru Usman vs. Charles Oliveira
Charles Oliveira might have formally misplaced the UFC light-weight championship on the scales forward of his title protection in opposition to Justin Gaethje in 2022, however he remained the champion within the minds of many till falling to Islam Makhachev at UFC 280. Though Oliveira has had little hassle making weight at 155 kilos in any other case and has seemed good on the weight class, a transfer as much as 170 kilos may very well be in his future sooner or later, given the character of his body and what might show to be a faster path to the title. Essentially the most intriguing battle Oliveira can take at welterweight could be a five-round title battle in opposition to Kamaru Usman, however to ensure that that to occur, Usman might want to regain his title from Leon Edwards, although a date for the Edwards-Usman rematch is but to be formally introduced.
Stylistically, an Usman-Oliveira battle may not be as minimize and dry as one would possibly assume. Usman fell sufferer to the knockout for the primary time in his profession in opposition to Edwards at UFC 278, and Oliveira does carry energy in his palms. Moreover, whereas Usman has the potential to impose the same gameplan to Oliveira’s rival Makhachev, the 35-year-old usually prefers to strike. Regardless of the place the battle would possibly find yourself, pleasure would you’ll want to ensue. Moreover, as a former pay-per-view headliner himself, Oliveira has quietly made a reputation for himself amongst informal followers, and will function a compelling foil to “The Nigerian Nightmare.”
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