The UFC’s year-end pay-per-view event is now just days away, as UFC 232 is set to take place Saturday (Dec. 29) from The Forum in Inglewood, California. Despite some recent controversy that led to the event being moved from Las Vegas to California just this week, the card remains one of the promotion’s best of the year.
In the main event, a rematch five years in the making will take place. Former longtime 205-pound titleholder Jon Jones is scheduled to make his long-awaited return to action against Alexander Gustafsson. In the co-main event, a bonafide women’s super fight will occur as 145-pound champion Cris Cyborg puts her title on the line in a legacy-defining fight against bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes.
Given the magnitude of the event’s marquee fights, it’s understandable why much of the attention is being placed on those two bouts, but UFC 232 is quite a stacked card. With that being said, let’s take a look at three must-see fights that seem to be flying under the radar.
Carlos Condit vs. Michael Chiesa
Right before UFC 232’s co-main event and main event take place, a highly intriguing welterweight showdown between former interim 170-pound champion Carlos Condit and The Ultimate Fighter: Season 15 winner Michael Chiesa will take place.
Condit, once considered to be one of the very best the welterweight division had to offer, has seemed to become a bit of a forgotten fighter due to the fact that he’s won only two of his last nine fights. He is currently riding a four-fight losing streak.
At age 34 with 42 professional fights under his belt, perhaps Condit doesn’t have much left in the tank. But if he can return to form, his unique blend of creative Muay Thai and high-level submission skills is a treat to watch.
Moving on to Chiesa, the 31-year-old has also hit a bit of a rough stretch, losing back-to-back fights to Kevin Lee and Anthony Pettis, but he’ll be moving up to 170 pounds for this bout and may be revitalized.
Ultimately, both men have a lot on the line in this bout and it may turn out to be an entertaining contest.
Chad Mendes vs. Alex Volkanovski
Serving as the main card opener, this fight hasn’t received a ton of attention, but it should intrigue fight fans as it holds major title implications in the highly entertaining featherweight division.
Recently returning from a two-year suspension, former 145-pound title challenger Chad Mendes emphatically put himself back into the title picture with a first-round stoppage victory over Myles Jury in July. Blending his wrestling background with explosive knockout power, Mendes represents a dangerous test for anyone in the division and he proved that he isn’t done yet despite the layoff.
Standing opposite him will be Alex Volkanovski, one of the division’s rising contenders. A well-rounded fighter, Volkanovski holds an impressive 18-1 professional record with 10 victories coming by way of T/KO.
He’s undefeated in the UFC and coming off of an impressive victory over Darren Elkins, but a win over Mendes would put him dangerously close to earning a UFC title shot.
Cat Zingano vs. Megan Anderson
Taking place on the preliminary portion of the card is a pivotal women’s featherweight fight between Cat Zingano and Megan Anderson that could determine the next challenger to the 145-pound title.
Zingano, a former 135-pound title challenger, returned to action this year after what was nearly a two-year layoff. She suffered a split-decision loss to Ketlen Vieira. However, she then bounced back with a unanimous decision victory over Marion Reneau this past July.
Anderson, a natural featherweight and the former Invicta FC featherweight champion, was scheduled to challenge Cris Cyborg at UFC 214 in July 2017 but she then pulled out of the fight due to personal issues. She then made her promotional debut at UFC 225, losing a one-sided decision to Holly Holm.
One of the few legitimate featherweights on the roster, it would make sense that Anderson would next challenge for the belt if she can top Zingano. And if Zingano, who’s making her featherweight debut, comes out on top, she too could find herself in another title fight.
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