A Master Schedule: What’s on Deck in the UFC?

By Brian Knapp Feb 7, 2018


Max Holloway’s departure from UFC 222 and his scheduled defense of the featherweight crown against Frankie Edgar on March 3 in Las Vegas left a significant void in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s plans for the first quarter of 2018. Even so, there are a number of intriguing matchups at which to point.

Three title fights are in the pipeline between now and April 7, starting with the showdown between Yoel Romero and Luke Rockhold for the interim middleweight championship in the UFC 221 headliner this Saturday in Perth, Australia. The winner will move on to face undisputed titleholder Robert Whittaker in a unification bout later this year, once “Bobby Knuckles” recovers from knee surgery and a subsequent staph infection. Rockhold has compiled a 6-2 record since arriving in the UFC a little less than five years ago, his losses to Vitor Belfort and Michael Bisping offset by wins over Bisping, David Branch, Chris Weidman, Lyoto Machida, Tim Boetsch and Costas Philippou. The 40-year-old Romero saw his career-best eight-fight winning streak snapped in a unanimous decision defeat to Whittaker at UFC 213 in November.

An updated look at the UFC’s upcoming schedule:

UFC 221 “Romero vs. Rockhold”
Feb. 10 | Perth, Australia


185: Yoel Romero (12-2) vs. Luke Rockhold (16-3)
265: Mark Hunt (13-11-1) vs. Curtis Blaydes (8-1)
265: Cyril Asker (9-3) vs. Tai Tuivasa (6-0)
170: Jingliang Li (14-4) vs. Jake Matthews (11-3)
205: Tyson Pedro (6-1) vs. Saparbek Safarov (8-1)
155: Dong Hyun Kim (15-8-3) vs. Damien Brown (17-11)
185: Rob Wilkinson (11-1) vs. Israel Adesanya (11-0)
145: Jeremy Kennedy (11-0) vs. Alexander Volkanovski (16-1)
125: Jussier da Silva (20-5) vs. Ben Nguyen (16-6)
155: Ross Pearson (19-14) vs. Mizuto Hirota (18-8-2)
135: Teruto Ishihara (10-4-2) vs. Jose Alberto Quinonez (6-2)
170: Luke Jumeau (12-4) vs. Daichi Abe (6-0)

NOTES: Rockhold is one of four fighters to have held undisputed titles in both Strikeforce and the UFC. Frank Shamrock, Cristiane Justino and Ronda Rousey are the others ... Adesanya has knocked out all 11 of his opponents inside two rounds. Melvin Guillard was one of the victims ... More than half (five) of da Silva’s nine professional submission victories have come by rear-naked choke ... When Hunt made his professional MMA debut on June 20, 2004, Blaydes was 13 years old ... Pearson is the last remaining cast member from Season 9 of “The Ultimate Fighter” on the active UFC roster.

***


UFC Fight Night 126
Feb. 18 | Austin, Texas


170: Donald Cerrone (32-10) vs. Yancy Medeiros (15-4)
265: Derrick Lewis (18-5) vs. Marcin Tybura (16-3)
155: James Vick (12-1) vs. Francisco Trinaldo (22-5)
170: Thiago Alves (22-11) vs. Curtis Millender (14-3)
115: Jessica Aguilar (19-6) vs. Livia Renata Souza (11-1)
155: Sage Northcutt (9-2) vs. Thibault Gouti (12-3)
155: Jared Gordon (14-1) vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira (12-2)
170: Brian Camozzi (7-4) vs. Geoff Neal (8-2)
125: Joby Sanchez (11-2) vs. Roberto Sanchez (7-1)
135: Lucie Pudilova (7-2) vs. Sarah Moras (5-2)
145: Steven Peterson (16-6) vs. Humberto Bandenay (14-4)
185: Oskar Piechota (10-0-1) vs. Tim Williams (15-3)

NOTES: Cerrone is tied with Demian Maia for second on the UFC’s all-time list in victories with 19, trailing only Georges St. Pierre (20) and Michael Bisping (20) ... Neither Lewis nor Tybura has suffered back-to-back defeats in his career. They will enter their match together on the rebound, Lewis on the heels of a knockout loss to Mark Hunt, Tybura on the back of a decision defeat to Fabricio Werdum ... Alves, 34, has not fought more than twice in a calendar year since 2008 ... Vick owns five wins by submission: two by guillotine choke, one by brabo choke, one by rear-naked choke and one by armbar ... When Ferreira steps into the cage, 750 days will have passed since his most recent appearance -- a unanimous decision over Olivier Aubin-Mercier on Jan. 30, 2016

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UFC on Fox 28
Feb. 24 | Orlando, Florida


145: Josh Emmett (14-1) vs. Jeremy Stephens (27-14)
115: Jessica Andrade (17-6) vs. Tecia Torres (10-1)
205: Ovince St. Preux (22-10) vs. Ilir Latifi (13-5)
170: Mike Perry (11-2) vs. Max Griffin (13-4)
135: Renan Barao (34-5) vs. Brian Kelleher (18-8)
135: Sara McMann (11-4) vs. Marion Reneau (8-3-1)
115: Angela Hill (7-4) vs. Maryna Moroz (8-2)
170: Ben Saunders (21-8-2) vs. Alan Jouban (15-6)
155: Gilbert Burns (12-2) vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2)
205: Sam Alvey (31-10) vs. Marcin Prachnio (13-2)
135: Rani Yahya (24-9) vs. Russell Doane (15-7)
125: Eric Shelton (11-4) vs. Alex Perez (19-4)
205: Gadzhimurad Antigulov (20-4) vs. Aleksandar Rakic (9-1)
135: Albert Morales (7-3-1) vs. Manny Bermudez (10-0)

NOTES: Stephens has recorded 17 knockdowns in UFC competition, according to FightMetric. Only Anderson Silva (18) has more ... A former Superior Challenge champion, Latifi boasts three sub-minute finishes on his resume ... Kelleher has secured more than a quarter of his 18 career victories by guillotine choke-induced submission ... Alvey, 31, has gone the distance 18 times as a professional. He owns a 10-8 record in those bouts ... A master of sport in freestyle wrestling, Antigulov owns 15 wins by submission: four by rear-naked choke, four by armbar, four by guillotine choke, one by anaconda choke, one by kneebar and one by triangle choke.

***


UFC 222
March 3 | Las Vegas


265: Stefan Struve (28-9) vs. Andrei Arlovski (26-15)
185: Hector Lombard (34-8-1) vs. C.B. Dollaway (16-8)
115: Mackenzie Dern (5-0) vs. Ashley Yoder (5-3)
135: Cat Zingano (9-2) vs. Ketlen Vieira (9-0)
135: Sean O’Malley (9-0) vs. Andre Soukhamthath (12-5)
135: Bryan Caraway (21-7) vs. Cody Stamann (16-1)
205: Jordan Johnson (8-0) vs. Adam Milstead (8-1)
155: Beneil Dariush (14-3-1) vs. Bobby Green (24-8-1)

***


UFC Fight Night 127
March 17 | London


265: Fabricio Werdum (23-7-1) vs. Alexander Volkov (29-6)
170: Leon Edwards (14-3) vs. Peter Sobotta (17-5-1)
205: Paul Craig (9-2) vs. Magomed Ankalaev (9-0)
155: Nasrat Haqparast (8-2) vs. Alex Reyes (13-3)
205: Jimi Manuwa (17-3) vs. Jan Blachowicz (21-7)
155: Rustam Khabilov (22-3) vs. Kajan Johnson (22-12-1)
170: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (18-5) vs. Jack Marshman (22-7)
170: Danny Roberts (14-3) vs. Oliver Enkamp (7-1)
145: Hakeem Dawodu (7-0-1) vs. Danny Henry (11-2)
185: Charles Byrd (9-4) vs. John Phillips (21-6)
265: Mark Godbeer (13-3) vs. Dmitriy Sosnovskiy (10-0)

NOTES: Only three fighters have captured the Bellator MMA heavyweight championship. They are Volkov, Vitaly Minakov and Cole Konrad ... Manuwa has delivered 16 of his 17 career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission, 11 of them inside one round ... FightMetric credits Khabilov with 35 takedowns landed since he joined the UFC roster in 2012, tying him with Nik Lentz and Michel Prazeres for eighth all-time among lightweights ... Marshman has held titles in three different organizations: Cage Warriors Fighting Championship, the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts and Made 4 the Cage.

***


UFC 223 “Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov”
April 7 | Brooklyn, New York


155: Tony Ferguson (23-3) vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (25-0)
115: Rose Namajunas (7-3) vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-1)
115: Karolina Kowalkiewicz (11-2) vs. Felice Herrig (14-6)
155: Al Iaquinta (13-3-1) vs. Paul Felder (15-3)
155: Joe Lauzon (27-14) vs. Chris Gruetzemacher (13-3)
125: Ray Borg (11-3) vs. Brandon Moreno (14-4)
155: Anthony Pettis (20-7) vs. Michael Chiesa (14-3)
205: Devin Clark (8-2) vs. Mike Rodriguez (92)
125: Ashlee Evans-Smith (5-3) vs. Bec Rawlings (7-7)

***


UFC on Fox 29
April 14 | Glendale, Arizona


155: Dustin Poirier (22-5) vs. Justin Gaethje (18-1)
170: Carlos Condit (30-11) vs. Matt Brown (21-16)
265: Arjan Bhullar (7-0) vs. Adam Wieczorek (9-1)
125: Wilson Reis (22-8) vs. John Moraga (18-6)
185: Antonio Carlos Jr. (9-2) vs. Tim Boetsch (21-11)

***


UFC Fight Night 128
April 21 | Atlantic City, New Jersey


135: Aspen Ladd (6-0) vs. Leslie Smith (10-7-1)
135: Merab Dvalishvili (7-3) vs. Augusto Mendes (6-2)
125: Magomed Bibulatov (14-1) vs. Yuta Sasaki (20-5-2)
170: Siyar Bahadurzada (23-6-1) vs. Luan Chagas (15-2-1)

***


UFC 224
May 12 | Rio de Janeiro


170: Alberto Mina (13-0) vs. Ramazan Emeev (16-3)
265: Junior Albini (14-3) vs. Alexey Oleynik (55-11-1)
155: Davi Ramos (7-2) vs. Nick Hein (14-2)

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