Welcome to Midnight Mania!
The Welterweight division is murky. Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns are long overdue to have their title fight, yet the rest of the division has yet to sort itself out much. Leon Edwards is sidelined yet again, Khamzat Chimaev is still suffering COVID-19 symptoms, and not even the slickest win can garner Stephen Thompson (who’s also injured) the least bit of momentum.
However, that still leaves two of the division’s biggest names and top contenders available. Colby Covington was talking trash to ex-team mate Jorge Masvidal just last week without any response, accusing “Gamebred” of ducking the match up.
While the bout remains unbooked, Dana White did confirm to “The Schmo” that UFC intends to book the match up. “I don’t think Masvidal said I don’t like that fight stylistically,” White said (transcription via MMA Junkie). “We’re working on that fight. It’s the fight we want, too, and hopefully we’ll get that done this year, too. We got nothing but big fights all this year so hopefully we can get a couple of these key ones buttoned up and done and start looking forward to them.”
The early events of 2021 still need signature fights to sell pay-per-views (PPV) or headline events, and this match up seems like a strong choice for either option.
Happy New Year East Coasters! Since we’re closing the book on 2020, I have a fair amount of content recapping the year, so let’s get into it. First, some stats from the excellent Numbers MMA page:
Weili Zhang vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk was the most widely popular choice for “Fight of the Year,” and here’s a reaction from the champion:
Look, it may be my job to find cool content, but if some ESPN intern takes it upon him/herself assemble fun posts from 2020, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth!
Marlon Vera calls out Marlon Moraes — which seems reasonable — but “Magic” isn’t interested ... right now at least.
Give o’Maley his well deserved rematch. By the time I will be back n we meet— Marlon Moraes (@MMARLONMORAES) December 31, 2020
Some rumors regarding Eddie Alvarez’s next fight:
#Tidbit: As One Championship plans the next fight for former #UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez (30-7), the current frontrunner for an opponent is Iuri Lapicus (14-1) on an April 2021 timeline, per sources. pic.twitter.com/yFx817HfCV— Nolan King (@mma_kings) December 31, 2020
Personal anecdote of the week: Undefeated pro Flyweight David Klingsheim is a Big 12 Conference Champion, and he picked up a pair of California state titles in high school as well. He’s probably the best wrestler I’ve trained with extensively, and he absolutely loves to spin before he shoots ... it’s as effective as it is hurtful.
Slips, rips, and KO clips
RIZIN 26 may be over and done (full results and highlights HERE!), but these older finishes from its athletes are still very much worth-watching. Lightning quick armbars and forward rolls into single leg takedowns do not ever go out of style!
This ballsy attempt at a “Showtime” kick shocks even its creator:
Let’s say a final goodbye to 2020.
Midnight Music: RIP to MF Doom, the illest villain — quite possibly the best rapper ever.
Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.