As we wrap up 2020, we can’t help but to look to what hopefully will be a bright 2021. Dana White and the UFC gritted their teeth and pushed through the pandemic to provide everyone the combat sports action we all love. As we look to the new year, we hope to see the return of live events, so we can enjoy rising stars, veterans, and champions as they battle it out in the Octagon. Here are some fighters to watch in 2021.
Three Fighters to Watch in 2021
Kevin Holland (Middleweight)
The “Trail Blazer” set the UFC on fire in 2020. He started his 2020 campaign by earning a TKO victory over Anthony Hernandez at UFC on ESPN 8. In August, he finished the hot prospect, Joaquin Buckley, in round number three. Holland picked up two more victories in September and October, knocking off Darren Stewart and Charlie Ontiveros. At UFC 256, Holland knocked out Ronaldo Souza in the first round to earn a Performance of the Night accolade.
For 2021, it would be interesting to see the 185-lb. star square off against Jack Hermansson. The pair was initially scheduled to square off at UFC on ESPN 19, but Holland was pulled from the fight after a positive Covid-19 test.
Mackenzie Dern (Strawweight)
The 27-year old Brazilian American capped off a perfect 2020 with a unanimous decision victory over Virna Jandiroba at UFC 256. Prior to her December victory, she finished Randa Markos and Hannah Cifers via first round submission. Currently sitting at #11 in the 115-lb. division, Dern could quickly move up the ranks with a similar 2021.
Looking forward, Dern could look to avenge her sole loss to Amanda Ribas, or she could face the likes of Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson to move up in rank.
Rafael Fiziev (Lightweight)
The Kyrgyzstani proved to be impressive in 2020. Enjoying a three-fight win streak, Fiziev earned a Fight of the Night bonus in his win over Marc Diakiese in July. At UFC 256, Fiziev stopped Renato Moicano in the first round, earning a Performance of the Night accolade. Still unranked in the 155-lb. division, Fiziev will look to move into the top fifteen in 2021. Wins over Drew Dober, Beneil Daruish, or Kevin Lee would certainly do just that.
Moving into 2021…
There are so many great fighters to watch in 2021. Michael Chandler, Johnny Walker, Khamzat Chimaev, Sean O’Malley, and the list goes on…Who are you most excited for in 2021?
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