UFC 257: Potential Main Events for the First Pay-Per-View of 2021

Nate Diaz UFC
Nate Diaz, UFC 244 Open Workout Credit: Marcus Rebelo/Cageside Press

While 2020 has been a rough year for most, the slate of UFC PPV headliners closing out the year is worth being positive about. Now that we know who’s rounding out 2020, who will the promotion call upon at UFC 257 to kick-off 2021?

Over the course of the last month-plus, the UFC has been busy scheduling fights at a frantic rate. With events every weekend from now until mid-December, there are a lot of slots to fill.

As of now, the promotion has their biggest match-ups in place. With multiple championships on the line at three of the final four PPVS of the year, the choices for UFC 257, likely in January, are narrowed down.

Yeah, we don’t know exactly when, or where, UFC 257 will take place. Yet (keep in mind, December 31 falls mid-week this year). But, when we do, it’s likely that one of these match-ups features in the main event.

Kamaru Usman UFC
Kamaru Usman Credit: Rodney James Edgar/Cageside Press

Who’s out?

As previously mentioned, many of the belts, the ones that the promotion apparently must have atop their cards, are being fought for in the months leading up to UFC 257.

That includes the middleweight title-fight between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa, and the bout for the vacant light heavyweight championship featuring Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz at UFC 253. Should either fight end quickly, a turnaround early in 2021 wouldn’t be crazy. But, as of now, both divisions are in need of another contender to step into the title-picture. Unless you already consider Jared Cannonier next in line for the 185-pound belt.

Don’t expect to see the winner of the lightweight title fight at UFC 254 between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje to compete in January, either. Although a built-in contender could be crowned that night, as Dustin Poirier versus Tony Ferguson is (hopefully still) being targeted for the same card.

Then, in late November, both flyweight belts will be fought for at UFC 255. So, that’ll likely rule out Deiveson Figueiredo, Cody Garbrandt, Valentina Shevchenko, and Jennifer Maia from potentially defending their belts just a handful of weeks later in early-2021.

The promotion is closing out the year with two more belts on the line at UFC 256 in December. In the main event, Gilbert Burns finally gets his shot at Kamaru Usman, which was supposed to happen over the summer. Amanda Nunes will look to continue her dominant run as Champ-Champ in a featherweight title-bout against Megan Anderson in the co-main event.

Next, we look at who’s available to top the UFC 257 card, including several fighters making their return after extended hiatuses.