UFC 221 Preview

ufc-221The last year of the UFC has been a confusing one with so many divisions left up in the air throughout the year.

There has never been a time in the UFC that has seen so many divisions with uncertain futures ahead of them.

Part of it has to do with the few champions who are simply so good that there isn’t anyone left to challenge that stands a legitimate shot.

Most of it has to do with the fact that the UFC has seen more champions taking their belt and essentially going home.

That all started with Conor McGregor who won the Featherweight title and moved on to a lightweight title which was slightly interrupted by two fights with Nate Diaz.

After winning that lightweight title he moved on to boxing and his biggest payday against Floyd Mayweather.

That move left the UFC with two divisions without a real champion to defend the belt as the challengers began to line up.

McGregor also launched the era of the super fight where divisions and rankings were thrown out to find the most compelling matches that would sell the most pay-per-views.

It left plenty of divisions with a lot of challengers waiting for their chance while others leap-frogged them to make a bigger fight.

As 2018 begins though things are looking to turn around though as super fights are being planned for those champions who have nobody else to fight and the list of challengers in other divisions are getting their chance.

It is the way things should have been as super fights should only be made if there are no other options and to get to that point challengers should get their shot.

The middleweight division is a perfect example of the recent trend turning back into the proper trend.

In 2017, Michael Bisping rose to the top of the division and then took a short notice fight against Luke Rockhold to win the title.

He went on the normal journey of a champion until late last year when Georges St. Pierre leapfrogged over all challengers to beat Bisping for the title.

That is where things got even more strange as everyone knew that St. Pierre wasn’t likely to defend the belt and after only a month of being champion he vacated.

All this time and before this time challengers were lining up trying to get a shot at the title and become a champion with little to no luck.

UFC 221 was meant to be the time where things got back to normal in the middleweight division and a true champion was determined.

There was the interim champion in Robert Whittaker who had beat Yoel Romero for the interim belt in 2017 and never got his shot to unify the belts.

He was to take on the former champion in Luke Rockhold who worked his way back into contention after his title loss to Bisping.

After St. Pierre vacated the belt the full title went to Whittaker but after he was hurt that undisputed title was no longer on the line.mma-sidebar.fw

Instead, Romero stepped into the fight against Rockhold in what will be for the interim title of the middleweight division.

It has been a strange time for the division but the fact is that both Rockhold and Romero are top contenders.

There is no leapfrogging here as they both deserve a shot at the real belt and they will get that shot with a win at UFC 221.

Rockhold has always seemed like a champion in the making and when he won the title nobody thought he would lose the championship.

He made one fatal mistake though and that was to underestimate Bisping and not take the fight seriously.

His ego got in the way of a long title reign and now with that loss, he looks to return to the top and go on that long run.

Meanwhile, Yoel Romero is one of the most accomplished fighters in the UFC as a former Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling and one of the most athletic fighters on the roster.

He has worked his way through some of the best in the division but only got one shot at the title losing a decision in the fight of the night against Whittaker.

He gets a second shot and hopefully a second shot at Whittaker with a win over Rockhold to take the interim belt.

The UFC is starting to get back to the right way of doing things and despite the twists along the way the Middleweight division is leading the way.


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