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Bellator and the UFC go head-to-head in a huge night for MMA

With Bellator 192 and UFC 220 happening at the same time, the MMA world is in for quite a night

January 20th, 2018 will be a night to remember for the mixed martial arts world. Under the bright lights of California and Boston, two companies look to outshine the other. On this rare night, Bellator MMA and the UFC will fight for brand supremacy. No, not literally. The two biggest MMA companies can create history with Bellator 192 in Inglewood, California and UFC 220 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Not since the Monday Night Wars between WWE and WCW has one night felt as important in the combat sports world as it does today. One rising company looks to continue it’s hot streak it had in 2017, while the veteran juggernaut looks towards a potential history-making night. Multiple fighters have already switched sides and an invasion technically happened (thanks Conor). All we need is for The Undertaker to magically appear and we got ourselves a nice story to tell.

The future is uncertain when it comes to combat sports. One thing is for sure though: the time is now for the UFC and Bellator, and they are not going to waste it. Let’s preview these two huge MMA events, shall we?

UFC 220

The “Big Brother” of MMA, the UFC is looking to start the New Year off right. The main event features two of the most dominant heavyweight fighters of the last few years in Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou. Even before Ngannou (11-1) brutally knocked out Alistair Overeem at UFC 218, destiny has been knocking on his door. A true powerhouse, he is the clear favorite to take the title off of Miocic (17-2), who is going for his third straight successful defense of the UFC Heavyweight Title. That would break a UFC record. On the outside, it appears that the UFC is hoping the 31-year old will beat Miocic. Nothing is guaranteed in the MMA world, and Miocic is dangerous on the ground. If all goes according to plan, we could be witnessing one of the best heavyweight fights shown on PPV in a long time.

Below that is the co-main event of Daniel Cormier defending his Light Heavyweight Championship against Volkan Oezdemir. Coming off of a technical loss against Jon Jones before Jones failed a drug test, Cormier (19-1(1)) is looking to prove he is the true champion. A lot is on the line for Cormier, as he faces a man in Oezdemir (15-1) who has won five fights in a row. If Cormier can get him on the ground, expect the wrestler in him to dominate the fight.

Other fights to look out for include Shane Burgos looking to get stay undefeated at 11-0 against Calvin Kattar. A win here could bring the featherweight one step closer to a title shot at either Max Holloway or Frankie Edgar. You also have Long Island’s Gian Villante (15-9) looking to get back on track against Francimar Barroso. Also on the card is the 26-year old Islam Makhachev (14-1) looking to win his third straight fight against Gleison Tibau.

Bellator 192

On the other side of things, there is a lot more on the line for Bellator. Debuting on the new Paramount Network (the old Spike TV), Bellator is looking to show the network made a good investment by sticking with them. After a very successful 2017, Bellator decided to start the year off right with young talent. They also have a few elder statesmen.

The supposed main event will feature Quinton “Rampage” Jackson v. Chael Sonnen in the first round of the Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix Tournament. This might be a big mistake due to the young talent that is signed on for the card. Unfortunately, Bellator President Scott Coker has stated before that it was “The Network” that made the call. After not having a heavyweight champion for quite some time, this tournament could be the thing to give Bellator some much-needed momentum. Sonnen (30-15-1) is fighting for the third time under the Bellator banner and Jackson (37-12) is just returning after re-signing with Bellator in November. While it may be an ugly fight, it is sure to be entertaining in many ways.

In what should be the true main event in many eyes, Douglas Lima defends his Welterweight Title against Rory MacDonald. This bout has been hyped up for months, and these two know all eyes will truly be on them. A staple of the Bellator brand, Lima (29-6) is looking for his second successful title defense. The 30-year old has a tough task in front of him in MacDonald (19-4), who debuted in Bellator last May in a win against Paul Daley. If MacDonald could bring back the magic he had against Robbie Lawler at UFC 189 (the winner of the 2015 Fight of the Year), Lima will have his toughest challenge to date.

Following a small break, Michael Chandler makes his return to the octagon against a contender in Goiti Yamauchi (22-3). The former two-time Bellator Lightweight Champion (16-4) is looking ahead, even far away from the Heavyweight Grand Prix. A much-needed win will be the first step in the right direction for the 31-year old Chandler.

The rookies are looking to take over the event as well. Uber prospect Aaron Pico will face Shane Kruchten in his third ever professional fight. After losing his first fight in the first round via submission to Zach Freeman at Bellator NYC, Pico came roaring back with a powerful first round KO win against Justin Linn at Bellator 183. The former Olympian will try and continue his rise up the ranks on the way to potential superstardom. Another rookie looking to make an impact will be 24-year old Joey Davis (2-0). He will be looking for his third straight win as a professional against Ian Butler. When it comes to young, hungry talent, Bellator breeds the best.

Competition is key in business. That statement is especially true when it comes to sports. With talent looking to shine from every direction, MMA fans are in for a big treat tonight. New champions could be crowned and fight of the year candidates could take place. If that is guaranteed, it should be a great night for MMA in general.

What are you looking forward to, Bellator 192 or UFC 220? Sound off fight fans. It’s almost that time!

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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