UFC 232 is the last event that the world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion will put on in 2018. In my opinion, this card is worth paying the money to traverse past the paywall. Especially when you consider that the next pay-per-view (PPV) event after this one that Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) is offering isn’t happening until mid-February. With that said, I think we need to talk about a few fights set to happen at the UFC’s 25th anniversary culmination event.
This is the point where you either click the video above to learn about my top three fights to watch or read on if you prefer to silently consume the content.
#3. Chad ‘Money’ Mendes vs. Alexander ‘The Great’ Volkanovski
Mendes has been near the top of the Featherweight division for several years. Although he took some forced time away from the sport because of an issue with USADA he still looked to be in top form with a triumphant return against Myles Jury, finishing the fight in less than five minutes. Not only is he a very high-level competitor, but he also always puts on exciting fights and/or performances.
Volkanovski hasn’t always been a joy to watch during his time in UFC, but he has always been dominant. In fact, the last time out he looked like a world beater against terminally tough, Darren Elkins. One of the most impressive things about this guy is how much wrestling prowess he has shown in the Octagon despite not having a background in the grind. He is a surging challenger who we might see reign over the division one day.
No matter who wins this fight I can see them getting a title shot (and probably losing) against Max “Blessed” Holloway.
#2. Cris Cyborg vs. Amanda ‘The Lioness’ Nunes
Cyborg and Nunes have very few challenges waiting for them in their respective divisions, so it makes sense to put them in a champion versus champion fight on Saturday night. Cyborg is the current champion of a desolate women’s Featherweight division and Nunes lords over women’s Bantamweight. The fight is taking place at 145 pounds, and if Nunes wins, she will become the third simultaneous two division champion in UFC history.
Everyone loves a double-champ, amiright?
Cyborg has finished nearly all of her opponents via (technical) knockout and the same goes for Nunes, except that she also has three submissions on her resume. Anytime a fight his predicted to not go to the judges my interest is piqued. Add to it that we’re getting what some might consider a “super” fight and the result is a must-watch contest.
#1. Jon ‘Bones’ Jones vs. Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson
Jon Jones is returning to the Octagon, what more do you need to know? Sure the guy has dealt with a lot of extracurricular issues during his professional MMA career, but if we can look past that, Bones can absolutely be considered one of the best to ever compete in combat sports.
There has arguably never been a fighter on UFC’s roster with more natural talent than Jones. He has paired that with a vast array of creative techniques and an ever changing approach to dazzle fans for years. There was a time that some fight fans criticized him for not having knockout power, but he silenced those critics his last time out with a smashing head-kick to ground-and-pound finish over Daniel Cormier.
Gustafsson took Jones to the absolute brink back in 2013 in a fight that, at the time, was “Fight of the Year” and is still considered one of the greatest fights of all time. While Gustafsson has yet to achieve UFC gold, he has always been able to stand toe-to-toe with the best in the world. Perhaps he is always the bridesmaid and never the bride, but he is usually the life of the party. Four out of his last six fights have ended up getting a post-fight bonus for “Fight of the Night.”
Their first fight was non-stop, heart-wrenching, butt-puckering, action. I’ve very little doubt this rematch will be any less entertaining.
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Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 232 fight card on fight night, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the pay-per-view (PPV) main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.
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