Regarding the UFC, the September schedule is jam-packed with crucial matches for various divisions. What happened last weekend and what occurred this weekend, and the following will undeniably impact how things shake out leading into the coming years.
Here's a closer look, Khamzat Chimaev, a rising welterweight star, defends his unblemished record against professional plan-disruptor Nathan Diaz in a five-round main event to cap the program.
Chimaev, who is undefeated in 11 professional fights and is coming off a critical unanimous decision victory over Gilbert Burns in April, now gets the chance to headline an event and maybe contest over five rounds for the first time. After storming through his first four UFC fights, his fight with Burns at UFC 273 revealed that he was mortal and could navigate his way through a brutal, back-and-forth affair.
Diaz arrives intending to play spoiler, as he did in his unscheduled first meeting with Conor McGregor. He's lost his last two fights, but he proved in the final minute of his UFC 263 encounter with newly minted welterweight champ Leon Edwards that he's always capable of mixing things up if you give him enough time.
Will Chimaev continue his unstoppable rise to a welterweight title fight, or will Diaz ruin his first headlining appearance in classic Diaz fashion?
In the co-main event, Chinese stalwart Li Jingliang hopes to improve his Performance of the Night-winning Performance in July by inviting long-time lightweight contender Tony Ferguson back to the welterweight division.
"The Leech" bounced back from his one-sided fight with Chimaev at UFC 267 with a second-round stoppage win against Muslim Salikhov on Long Island mid-July. The 34-year-old has amassed an impressive CV over the years, entering Saturday's fight with an 11-5 record inside the Octagon, with his best triumphs coming in his most recent victory.
Ferguson returns to the 170-pound weight class for the first time since winning the welterweight competition on Season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter. "El Cucuy" has lost four consecutive fights after a 12-fight winning streak and looks to reverse his fate this weekend. This is clearly a significant matchup for both men.
Li's second consecutive dominant Performance and third victory in four fights propels him up the welterweight rankings and puts him in line to face a Top 10 opponent next time out. Ferguson sees it as an opportunity to demonstrate that, despite a lengthy and mainly successful career, he is still the same dangerous man feared in the Octagon. This will be an engrossing battle for as long as it lasts.
There you go, Fighters! Our fight preview for the upcoming fight for this week. Remember to consistently train and purchase your training needs here at Hawkeye Fightwear.