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

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Aljamain Sterling UFC 250 post-fight
Aljamain Sterling Credit: Cageside Press

Who’s available?

According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the UFC is targeting January for a rematch between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz.

The promotion would have no problem putting that bout atop a PPV, as they’ve done before, and utilizing the BMF belt as their “championship” of choice at UFC 257. It would be even more fitting if the likes of Nick Diaz, who is apparently looking to return in early 2021, was on the card as well.

Who Nick could fight, or when he’ll fight, is anyone’s guess. As is where he’d end up on a PPV card. With the right opponent, a main event wouldn’t be crazy.

After that, there’s the crowd from UFC 251 earlier this year.

Although it likely wouldn’t be the main event, were it paired with another of these available title fights, the next match-up for the strawweight championship would be fun to add to the card. It looks as though Rose Namajunas is next in line for Weili Zhang, after “Thug Rose” defeated former champ Jessica Andrade at UFC 251.

Bantamweight champ Petr Yan’s upcoming title bout with Aljamain Sterling could land on this card, too. Yan previously targeted October, but with much of the main and co-main event slots booked on PPVs throughout 2020, early 2021 looks like their best bet. Does that mean January? Maybe. Either way, we’ll be ready for this fantastic match-up whenever it happens.

While the top contenders at featherweight sort themselves out during the rest of this year, the potential trilogy match between 145-pound title-holder Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway would fit atop UFC 257 nicely. Volkanovski may not agree, though. If he’d rather hold out for another contender, we may end up waiting longer for Volkanovski’s next title defense.

Stipe Miocic, UFC 252
Stipe Miocic, UFC 252 post-fight press conference Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

There’s also whatever is going on at heavyweight.

A rematch between Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou seemed like the obvious choice for the next heavyweight title bout not too long ago. Then Jon Jones, and potentially Brock Lesnar, entered the fray. Miocic-Ngannou 2 is still currently the clear top option, which gives Jones time to adjust his frame, and the promotion to see how serious Lesnar could be about another fight.

If Miocic is healthy and agrees to it, Miocic-Ngannou 2 would make sense for UFC 257. But with the talk of Diaz-Masvidal 2, Nick Diaz’s return, and the other handful of solid options available, taking time to sort out the details atop the heavyweight division and pushing Miocic’s next title defense down the road a bit feels more likely.

Dana White and Co. have plenty of options for their first headline PPV bout of 2021. From big names to interesting title bouts, the UFC has a lot to work with to start next year. That’s saying something, given the solid slate of title fights the promotion is ending 2020 with.

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