What’s the story?
2018 started big with UFC 220 delivering everything the fans wanted it to. Both the main and co main event were fought for the actual title which is the undisputed champion of the weight division. More importantly no one pulled out due to any injuries. But UFC 220 is over now and since then both the main events for UFC 221 and UFC 222 have been cancelled due to injuries. In case you didn’t know…UFC 221, the Perth card to be held on Feb 11 never really took off since the day it was announced. Robert ‘the reaper’ Whittaker, the current middleweight champion has been out due to injury ever since his last fight. Robert first broke is knee in his fight against Yoel Romero and then later was also diagnosed with a serious staph infection in his stomach . That means Luke Rockhold the challenger will now have to fight Yoel Romero for the interim championship belt. I hate the idea of an interim champion because it essentially means that the two guys are fighting for the number two position in the weight division. Yoel lost to current champion Robert Whitakker in his last fight and Luke lost his belt to Michael Bisping in his first title defense as the 185 pound champion. Luke however in his last fight finished David branch who was coming off 11 straight wins. So fans will not get to watch the real championship fights yet for the middle weight division which in my opinion is total sadness.
The heart of the matter
The main and co main event always are the two fights most fans talk about and recently there has been some major changes being done to UFC 222. Its already very sad that the main event between Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar for the 145 pound belt was cancelled for the second time in a row . So fans have been robbed of two championship fights for two straight months in a row.
Cris Cyborg vs Yana Kunitskaya, the main event
At this moment Cris Cyborg is pretty much an entire division in herself at 145 pounds. She has 19 wins from her 21 professional fights 16 of which are by knock out. In women’s MMA any fight with Cris Cyborg in it means it is a super fight.Cris cyborg is the most dominant female to ever compete in the sport of MMA and has been undefeated in the last 13 years of her career. The only time Cris Cyborg lost in the octagon before was in her first ever professional MMA fight in 2005. In the post-fight press conference after her last win over Holly Holms she said “I will fight whoever Dana put in front of me”. In the past, a lot has been said about Cyborg and her issues with making weight and her alleged use of performance enhancing drugs and what not but as a fan I just know that if Cris Cyborg is fighting there is a good chance the fight won’t go the distance. She will finish whoever Dana puts in front of her. For her competitor Yana Kunitskaya, this is the moment to prove herself. This is very much the biggest fight of her career against the baddest fighter women’s MMA has ever seen. Yana Kunitskaya would be the second Invicta champion to fight Cris Cyborg for the 145 pound belt in UFC after Tonya Evinger. She comes from Jackson Wink MMA academy and would be benefitting from the knowledge which her training partner Holly Holm brings to the table of fighting Cris Cyborg first hand.
Frankie Edgar vs Brian Ortega for the co main event (offensive wrestler vs submission specialist)
This could very well be the second best fight that could take place in the 145 pound weight class especially after hearing that Max Holloway had to pull out of the main event due to an injury. This is one of those fights which also decides who is next in line to face champion Max Holloway. Frankie was phenomenal in his last fight against Yair Rodriguez. And with the beat down he gave Yair he proved once again to be the toughest challenger in the division after Jose Aldo. Brian Ortega on the other hand is still undefeated in his MMA career so far and with his 5th straight win over Cub Swanson, has definitely proved he is right up there in the top 5 of the division. So, Frankie vs Brian definitely makes a lot of sense but the fight will have a different effect over each of the fighter’s careers especially for Frankie. This might be his last shot at the title and if he looses he might not get that shot later in the year. Brian Ortega on the other hand will be risking his undefeated record against the most gritty fighter in the entire UFC roster who has never been finished in the Octagon before.