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10 UFC vs. Bellator Crossover Fights for 2023

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Fantasy matchmaking can make anything exciting.

Hundreds of thousands of mixed martial artists hope to become the best fighter on Earth showing their skillsets for a wide array of fight promotions. Two of the largest come in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Bellator MMA, both located in the United States and deemed two of the largest in the world.

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Fans are quick to make comparisons between the two organizations as they have competed years for viewership and the most talented athletic pool. With that comes a questioning thought: what would the outcome be if the UFC and Bellator had their competition face off against one another?

If there is somehow a way, here are 10 UFC versus Bellator fights for 2023 that would be worth the watch.


10. Miesha Tate vs. Cat Zingano II

Two veterans nearing the end of their careers come between the former foes of 36-year-old Miesha Tate and 40-year-old Cat Zingano.

In April of 2013, nearing ten years ago, the two pioneers met in the second-ever women’s UFC fight at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale headlined by Urijah Faber and Scott Jorgensen. The back-and-forth fight ended in favor of Zingano securing a third-round knockout in her promotional debut. Tate would later go on to become the UFC’s bantamweight champion with defeats the past two bouts after a brief retirement. Zingano saw quite the opposite with struggles in the octagon but recent success in Bellator with three victories since 2020.

Despite neither being at the peak of competitiveness they once were, it would be fitting for the two to have the opportunity to duke it out a final time.


9. Stipe Miocic vs. Ryan Bader

Ohio’s Stipe Miocic suffered the loss of his heavyweight title with a crushing second-round knockout to Francis Ngannou last year. Considered by some to be the greatest heavyweight in MMA history, Miocic is nearing his return to the cage and hopeful return to full form.

A perfect matchup would come against Ryan Bader, season eight winner of The Ultimate Fighter and a former simultaneous two-divisional Bellator champion. Bader fell short in the promotion’s 2021 Light Heavyweight Grand Prix to Corey Anderson but has two heavyweight defenses this year alone over both Valentin Moldavsky and Cheick Kongo.

The former footballers and NCAA Division I wrestlers bear similar credentials with stylistic similarities that would work well if paired with one another.


8. Paddy Pimblett vs. Soren Bak II

Paddy Pimblett, known simply by many as “The Baddy,” is undoubtedly the UFC’s hottest prospect at the moment. His personality, charismatic nature, Barstool Sports partnership and fighting ability are just a few of the many things that make him stand out amongst his competitors. The Englishman has won five in a row with four in the first round and three “Performance of the Night” bonuses.

Despite these feats, however, his last defeat fell in September of 2018 against Denmark’s Soren Bak by unanimous decision for the vacant Cage Warriors lightweight championship. Bak would relinquish his title to sign with Bellator in late 2019 and has gone three for three in appearances including a May decision over Charlie Leary on his route to the top.

How great could it be to see these two rising stars meet again in the near future?


7. Leon Edwards vs. Michael Page

Leon Edwards and Michael Page have overcome many odds throughout their careers to get to where they are today. The idea of both squaring off to make their name known as the best welterweight from England sure sounds exciting.

Edwards made his 10th straight UFC victory something to remember by not only avenging his 2015 defeat to Kamaru Usman but by accomplishing a come-from-behind knockout in the fifth round to secure the 170-pound championship. Page, although never securing a title with Bellator, came incredibly close in May of this year losing a split decision to Logan Storley for the interim strap.

Their trash talk and unorthodox striking techniques would be great if these two saw face-to-face.


6. Kamaru Usman vs. Yaroslav Amosov

All was well in the world for The Ultimate Fighter 21 winner Kamaru Usman after 15 straight UFC victories and five defenses of his welterweight championship. That was, however, until the aforementioned defeat to Leon Edwards in the closing seconds at UFC 278 just two months ago. Many proclaim the Trevor Wittman superstar as the greatest MMA fighter in the world as he now takes the steps toward climbing back to the top.

Again, in terms of style, a combination that lines up nicely comes against that of current Bellator champion Yaroslav Amosov. The Sambo specialist captured the strap over longtime veteran Douglas Lima in June last year and, at a young 29 years old, remains undefeated through 26 fights.

A timeline for return is uncertain for the time being as Amosov has actively served Ukraine during the attacks on their country, especially as soon as 2023. However, a return fight versus Usman would be well-warranted for Amosov’s sacrifices.


5. Deiveson Figueiredo / Brandon Moreno winner vs. Sergio Pettis

For the miraculous fourth time, Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno will battle for the UFC flyweight championship. The first fight in late 2020 ended in a draw, Moreno took the belt from Figueiredo by submission in their June 2021 meeting, and Figueiredo avenged the loss taking the title back in January. It appears, for the time being, that these two are the best of their athletic competition at 125 pounds.

Sergio Pettis, a former UFC competitor and flyweight, saw free agency pay off in a big way. Since signing with Bellator, the Roufusport talent has gone 4-0 in the bantamweight division including capturing the title away from Juan Archuleta and a comeback knockout defense over Kyoji Horiguchi.

Figueiredo has experienced weight-cut issues before, so the move-up could make things easier for his health and performance. Moreno and Pettis shared the Octagon at UFC Fight Night 114 in August of 2017 with Pettis taking the five-round main event over Moreno by unanimous decision.

Let the victor of Figueiredo and Moreno this January take on Pettis next.


4. Jiri Prochazka vs. Vadim Nemkov II

The final rematch suggestion on the list falls between light heavyweights Jiri Prochazka and Vadim Nemkov. A sensational first bout it was, Prochazka took the 2015 RIZIN World Grand Prix semifinals after 10 brutal minutes with Nemkov unable to continue on. That very same night, however, Prochazka suffered his last loss to date against Muhammed Lawal. He currently rides a 13-fight win streak with his most recent being a comeback fifth-round submission over Glover Teixeira for the UFC light heavyweight championship.

Nemkov, however, has since gone 9-1 capturing the Bellator light heavyweight title in 2020 over Ryan Bader. The Russian looks to rebound sooner rather than later after his April fight with Corey Anderson ended in a “No Contest.”

Seeing the pair in the cage again after how far they each have come would be a treat for any fan. The two combine for 43 wins through 50 fights and a victorious finishing rate of 93%.


3. Israel Adesanya vs. Gegard Mousasi

City Kickboxing’s Israel Adesanya sits second atop the UFC’s pound-for-pound podium as the promotional king of the middleweight division. After securing the interim belt, his reign officially began with a unification championship win over Robert Whittaker in late 2019 continuing on with five title defenses and two already in 2022 alone. His lone loss professionally came in an attempt to become a two-division titleholder, losing at 205 pounds to then-champion Jan Blachowicz.

The level of competition at middleweight has already faced defeat to the kickboxer’s hands, so a matchup with a veteran like Gegard Mousasi would be a perfect change of pace. Mousasi’s legacy dates back to his MMA beginnings in 2003 and has captured numerous titles in various promotions including Cage Warriors, Dream, Strikeforce, and, most recently, twice in Bellator. A recent bump in the road to Johnny Eblen in June did strip him of the promotional strap, but he remains in great fighting form all this time later.

Would Adesanya further show that no one stands in his way, or could Mousasi prove his experience is unmatched?


2. Michael Chandler / Dustin Poirier winner vs. A.J. McKee

Important lightweight implications will be settled between Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier, who are set to fight at UFC 281 in mid-November. Former three-time Bellator lightweight champion Chandler has had an exciting UFC tenure with two brutal knockout victories and two back-and-forth defeats. Poirier, an Octagon fan-favorite for many years, has never accomplished tackling an undisputed championship fight but has had his hand raised 20 times with the organization.

Meanwhile, former Bellator featherweight champion A.J. McKee saw his undefeated 18-0 hype train derail after a rematch defeat to Patricio Pitbull in April. The California native bounced back strong moving up in weight for the first time in his career to 155 pounds and scored a decision over Spike Carlyle earlier this month.

The winner between Chandler and Poirier taking on McKee seems like it has the makings for something special.


1. Alexander Volkanovski vs. Patricio Pitbull

Ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound, the UFC’s Alexander Volkanovski continues to further his growing legacy. The Australian’s well-rounded game and athleticism have resulted in 22 straight wins, including his 2019 featherweight title victory over Max Holloway and four subsequent defenses. Two wins this calendar year alone including a dominant fourth-round TKO over Chan Sung Jung and a trilogy closeout with Holloway make Volkanovski, with little thought, a “Fighter of the Year” contender.

Fans continue to point towards Bellator’s Patricio Pitbull as being Volkanovski’s most dangerous threat. A rightful case it is for the Brazilian with 27 fights under the organizational banner, four different reigns as both featherweight (3x) and lightweight (1x) champion, and eight total title defenses. Pitbull has avenged three of his five professional defeats over Pat Curran, Daniel Straus, and A.J. McKee. His current run as featherweight champion has included two five-round decisions this year over the aforementioned McKee for the strap and Adam Borics.

Who, right now, is the greatest fighter alive? Let Volkanovski and Pitbull settle it ASAP.

Additional suggestions: Taila Santos vs. Liz Carmouche (flyweight), Amanda Nunes vs. Cris Cyborg II (featherweight), T.J. Dillashaw vs. Raufeon Stots (bantamweight), Cory Sandhagen vs. Kyoji Horiguchi (bantamweight), Yair Rodriguez vs. Aaron Pico (featherweight), Charles Oliveira vs. Usman Nurmagomedov (lightweight), Justin Gaethje vs. Patricky Pitbull (lightweight), Khamzat Chimaev vs. Logan Storley (welterweight), Andrei Arlovski vs. Fedor Emelianenko II (heavyweight)

MMASUCKA FEATURED IMAGE:

UFC vs. Bellator

Paddy Pimblett (left) and Soren Bak battling for the vacant lightweight championship at Cage Warriors 96 on Saturday, September 1st from the Echo Arena in Liverpool (photo credits to Dolly Clew, Cage Warriors).

 

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Wesley Riddle is a 25-year-old writer out of Harrisonburg, Virginia and a recent graduate from Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, having obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Health and Physical Education. Watching the draw between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard from 2011 sparked his interest in the sport of mixed martial arts. He created "All That MMA" on Twitter, which came to birth in December of 2013. He would join with MMASucka in the later quarter of 2016. Some of Riddle's hobbies include music, playing golf, watching horror movies, and working with non-profit organizations throughout his community. You can follow him on Twitter at @AllThatMMA or @WesleyRiddleMMA, and on Instagram @WesleyRiddle.

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