Nick Diaz resumes fight talks and free agency from Kayla Harrison
October had a less explosive start than expected in the world of MMA, as powerful forwards Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker fought cautiously and went the distance in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night main event.
But a busy October has just started. Holly Holm returns to featherweight and main events a Fight Night card against Norma Dumont. That same night, the two Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix semi-final fights take place.
The following week, Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori both fight for the first time since losing the UFC middleweight title challenges to Israel Adesanya.
To close the month, the PFL is hosting their midweek championship on October 27, crowning six million dollar champions. Kayla Harrison is making headlines as she aims for her second women’s lightweight championship, and as a pending free agent, her future is poised to become a major topic of conversation.
Finally, UFC returns to Abu Dhabi for UFC 267, starring Jan Blachowicz’s light heavyweight title defense against Glover Teixeira, and an interim bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen.
A lot can happen over the next four weeks, so we’ve tasked our team to make some bold predictions for the rest of October. They range from future plans for Nick Diaz and Harrison to how Harrison’s decision could change the future of the UFC’s women’s featherweight division and how the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix could change the balance. pound for pound across the board.
Here’s what Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi, Jeff Wagenheim and Carlos Contreras Legaspi had to say:
Diaz will be in serious talks for another fight
Okamoto: I don’t know if Diaz will end reservation another fight in the next 30 days … as in, not sure if he will have a signed contract. But I’m going to make a bold prediction that he’s in serious talks about an opponent and a date.
The reason it’s daring is 1) He just went through a six year period in which he didn’t fight and 2) He basically admitted before his return last month that he didn’t want it anymore. to fight.
But we do know the UFC thought he performed well. UFC president Dana White went so far as to rave about his performance after the six-year layoff. And everyone around Diaz that I’ve spoken to says they’re in favor of him fighting again, and thinks he’ll look a lot better the next time he spawns because the inactivity won’t be such a big problem.
It’s always risky to predict a fight with Diaz. Nick and Nate are both subject to lengthy layoffs these days. But right now, I think there’s a desire on both sides (Diaz and the UFC) to keep him active, so I won’t be surprised if his next fight is a major talking point over the next 30 years. days.
Harrison wins second PFL title – and re-signs with promotion
Raimondi: Harrison will beat Taylor Guardado to claim her second PFL Women’s Title on the Promotion Championship card on October 27 in Hollywood, Florida. There is nothing bold about this prediction. Harrison is more than a 30-1 favorite in some sports betting. She’s not just supposed to win; she’s supposed to dominate. After all, the undefeated Harrison is a two-time Olympic Judo champion. And there hasn’t yet been an opponent who can really hold onto her physically.
Here’s where the daring part comes in. Harrison will capture an additional $ 1 million – then she’ll sign with PFL again afterwards. Harrison’s PFL contract is set to expire after this season, and there has been quite a bit of speculation. Many in the industry expect her to make the jump to the UFC, or maybe even Bellator for a monster fight against Cris Cyborg.
I don’t think either will happen.
I believe Harrison is returning to the PFL for another season. Another season to gain more experience; another season to perfect his already sublime game. PFL will support the proverbial truck full of cash all the way to Harrison’s South Florida driveway, and she will stay. The PFL have not invested in recruiting former Bellator champion Julia Budd for next season if they expect to lose Harrison. It was clearly a move to get better opposition to Harrison.
Honestly, Harrison is in a bit of a strange position here. There is no doubt that she is an incredible fighter and one of the best women participating in MMA on the planet. She just hasn’t really had a chance to prove exactly where she belongs in this conversation. She is currently fighting at 155 pounds, which is a non-existent division other than in the PFL. Even in the PFL, most 155-pound fighters go from 135 to 145. I would expect the 2022 season to have a 145-pound division (with Budd) as Harrison heads for a (a little) more. competitive and marketable weight class for the future.
On top of all that, there isn’t a ton of interesting fights for her, other than Cyborg and Amanda Nunes; the latter also happens to be his teammate in the American Top Team. I don’t feel like Nunes, Harrison or the ATT coaches would be too excited about this game at this point. They’ve just gone through a horrific breakup with Colby Covington, who had intra-gym beef with Jorge Masvidal and Dustin Poirier. But after Nunes in the UFC and Cyborg in Bellator, the other potential opponents in the two promotions aren’t as interesting. The UFC women’s 145-pound ranking beyond Champion Nunes does not exist.
It wouldn’t be Harrison’s worst idea to get a giant sack of cash in 2022 from the PFL, cross opposition again – including Budd – and make himself undeniable for 2023. In the meantime, maybe The UFC and Bellator may also set up 145-pound divisions that would suit someone of Harrison’s caliber better, so she can fight her way into a super fight.
Holm will revive Division 145 in UFC
Legaspi: UFC fans assumed the women’s featherweight division was over when Megan Anderson was released, and that made sense. But for now, that conversation is on hold with Holm, the fan favorite and former bantamweight champion, rising to 145 to face Norma Dumont.
Holm’s decision seemed odd at first, especially given her back-to-back wins over Irene Aldana and Raquel Pennington at bantamweight. It’s hard to say when Nunes would defend his 145-pound belt. If Nunes successfully defends her 135-pound title at UFC 269 against Julianna Peña, the landscape in both divisions looks uncertain. In addition to Nunes’ dominance in two divisions, the drumbeat for a trilogy fight against Valentina Shevchenko, who has also apparently run through most of her top competitions, will continue to intensify.
But Holm fighting at featherweight can open the door for other women to follow her for some interesting fights. The UFC would likely approve a move for Aspen Ladd, currently ranked No.4 in the bantamweight division, after his fight was called off after a difficult weight loss situation to watch on Friday, which wasn’t the first Ladd problem doing the bantamweight cut. Her scheduled opponent for this fight, Macy Chiasson, mentioned that she plans to return to 145 for her next fight.
Even without Nunes defending her women’s featherweight title, the division can come to life in the coming months. And despite what Marc mentioned, Harrison could very well find himself a free agent after this season in the PFL. If Harrison joined the fray at 145 in the UFC, the Division would start to gain depth very quickly.
Corey Anderson explains how a conversation with Daniel Cormier changed his perspective of making money fighting and led to his signing with Bellator MMA.
Corey Anderson will be the light heavyweight people are talking about by the end of the month.
Wagenheim: Several high-end 205 books are in action in October, including the UFC and Bellator champions. But UFC titlist Blachowicz defends October 30 against venerable badass Glover Teixeira, an opponent who is difficult to look good against. And Vadim Nemkov, the Bellator belt holder, fights on October 16 in a semi-final of the World Grand Prix against a late replacement foe, Julius Anglickas. So unless one of the challengers manages to dethrone, these two title fights might not add much to the highlight reel.
But on the same Bellator 268 card as Nemkov-Anglickas, the main co-event pits two of the promotion’s best 205 pounds – Anderson and former champion (and reigning heavyweight king) Ryan Bader – in the other Bellator. Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix semi-final. Both of these men are superb wrestlers, so that element could very well be negated, letting their strike decide the outcome. And while Bader is powerful, Anderson is faster and more explosive.
If Anderson were to claim victory in his third fight against Bellator, he would be one fight away from becoming a champion – a status that eluded him during a solid nearly six-year run in the UFC.