UFC 237 and Bellator 221: Six fights to follow on a huge weekend of MMA

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This weekend sees a double-header of mixed martial action from Brazil and the United States, with both the UFC and Bellator MMA hosting big shows. RT Sport picks out the big fights to follow across both events.

ROSE NAMAJUNAS VS JESSICA ANDRADE

Reigning UFC women’s strawweight world champion Rose Namajunas is stepping into enemy territory to face dangerous title challenger Jessica Andrade in the night’s main event.

Andrade is one of the most aggressive, powerful athletes in the UFC strawweight division, and she underlined that fact with a stunning one-punch knockout of Karolina Kowalkiewicz in her last outing.

But Namajunas is one of the most talented female athletes in UFC history. She is in the best form of her career having submitted Michelle Waterson, then defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk twice in back-to-back contests as she won, then defended, the strawweight title.

Namajunas knows what it’s like to fight through adversity, and she may well have to call upon that experience tonight.

JARED CANNONIER VS ANDERSON SILVA

After a less-than-successful stint as a light-heavyweight, former UFC heavyweight Jared Cannonier has dropped down to middleweight and found form once again.

His second-round finish of former two-division WSOF champion David Branch showed that Cannonier has found his ideal weight class. And now he faces the biggest test of his career.

That’s because he’s been picked to face UFC legend and all-time great Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva in what may well prove to be the Brazilian’s final fight in the octagon.

Silva will surely be inspired by the opportunity to thrill the Brazilian fans one more time before hanging up his four-ounce gloves. But against a heavy-handed striker like Cannonier, he will have to keep his chin tucked.

Can ‘The Spider’ turn back the clock for one more highlight-reel performance, or will the ‘Killa Gorilla’ spoil the party?

JOSE ALDO VS ALEXANDER VOLKANOVSKI

Former UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo is MMA royalty in Rio, and he’ll look to continue his path back to the title when he faces surging contender Alexander Volkanovski.

But the Australian former rugby league player has more than proved his worth inside the octagon, with his superb finish of Chad Mendes in his last outing proving that he’s a bona-fide contender at 145lbs.

If ‘Alexander The Great’ can defeat Aldo in Rio, that will almost certainly propel him into a title shot against reigning featherweight champ Max Holloway.

But a win for Aldo could see him move one step to a third matchup with the Hawaiian, who has already beaten him twice.

The chance to avenge those losses and become a three-time champion is sure to be a big motivating factor this weekend.

MICHAEL CHANDLER VS PATRICIO PITBULL

Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler’s long-running rivalry with the Freire brothers – better known as the Pitbull brothers – continues as he puts his title on the line against featherweight champion Patricio Pitbull in a real grudge match.

Chandler holds two victories over Patricio’s brother Patricky, including a huge one-punch knockout in their most recent meeting back in 2016.

And now Patricio is stepping up from featherweight to lightweight to avenge his brother and dethrone the American in the process.

Chandler is one of the best lightweights outside of the UFC, but Pitbull will be all fired up for revenge – and the title. Don’t blink!

DOUGLAS LIMA VS MICHAEL PAGE

The Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix continues with the semi-final clash between former world champion Douglas Lima and British human highlight reel Michael ‘Venom’ Page.

Lima has been there, seen it and done it in the Bellator welterweight division, while Page is looking to regain some momentum after a disappointing display in victory over British rival Paul Daley last time out.

Lima will have no qualms about striking with Page, and that could play to the Brit’s advantage. But Lima has an excellent ground game, too, and his all-round MMA game will give ‘MVP’ the biggest test of his undefeated MMA career to date.

Will Lima move one step closer to the title, or will Page step up and produce another stunning finish to propel himself to the top of the division?

AJ MCKEE VS PAT CURRAN

Featherweight prospect AJ McKee has shown already that he is a serious threat to the best of Bellator’s 145-pound division. And now he gets the chance to prove his worth as a legitimate contender as he faces former champion Pat Curran.

Curran is a seasoned campaigner who has held world championship gold in Bellator MMA. He’s looking to halt the McKee hype train and push himself back into the title conversation once again.

But McKee is a man on a mission, and if he can claim victory over Curran, big things will be in his future.

rt.com

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