It’s hard to compete with a month like March, which featured several UFC title fights over the course of multiple pay-per-view events. But there’s still some great fights on the way for the promotion in April.
The first quarter of the 2021 MMA calendar comes to a close in April. With three events, rather than the four generally scheduled throughout a month, the first weekend of April is our first weekend of the year without a UFC event since the end of January.
Even with the rare break, the promotion has another three title fight pay-per-view currently slated for the end of the month. That event will also apparently feature a full capacity crowd in Florida.
With three belts on the line and a couple of major middleweight main events, what’s left for the rest of April’s UFC slate? Depending on the shade of glasses, every fight could be considered interesting on paper. But these are non-main event match-ups that stand-out from the rest, checking all of the boxes that make us tune in each week.
UFC on ABC: Till vs. Vettori on April 10th
Making its 2021 US network television debut, the UFC will be on ABC for their first event of April. So, getting the likes of Mackenzie Dern and Nina Ansaroff on the card makes a lot of sense.
Dern is currently on a three fight winning streak, following her loss (the first, and currently only, loss of her career) to Amanda Ribas in 2019. She’ll be getting another tough test in Ansaroff, who makes her return to the Octagon following becoming a mother last year. Ansaroff last fought in 2019, when she had her four-fight winning streak snapped by Tatiana Suarez. If Dern is serious about a title run, a win over the fifth-ranked Ansaroff would go a long way toward improving her resume.
A couple of rising young fighters with impressive UFC resumes are also on the card: Arnold Allen and Sodiq Yusuff. Someone’s perfect record will get scuffed when the up-and-coming featherweights fight in the co-main event.
Tallying a 7-0 record in the promotion since signing with the UFC in 2015, Allen has earned his spot in the 145-pound rankings. Coming off of wins over Gilbert Melendez and Nik Lentz, Allen will be facing a different kind of match-up with Yusuff. The 22-year-old is on a four-fight winning streak of his own in the UFC. He’s won six consecutive fights overall, including a win on Dana White’s Contender Series in July of 2018.
Former KSW featherweight and lightweight champion Mateusz Gamrot lost his perfect record in his UFC debut last October. Now 17-1, the 30-year-old gets another bout in the Octagon in April against dangerous veteran Scott Holtzman. Although he’s coming off of a loss to Beneil Dariush, Holtzman is 5-2 in his last seven UFC fights, and has been in the promotion since 2015.
In what everyone hopes becomes a grappling clinic, veteran and fan-favorite Jim Miller takes on Joe Solecki in the featured prelim of the card. Miller has racked up 10 submission victories in the UFC, with each of his last four wins coming via submission. While Solecki, 27, hasn’t quite reached that mark, he is 2-0 in the UFC (with one win coming by submission) and on a five-fight winning streak. Of Solecki’s 10 career wins, seven have been submission finishes.
UFC 261: Usman-Masvidal 2 on April 24th
The three title-fights will at UFC 261 will deservedly garner much of the attention leading up to the event. But a few other fights caught our attention for various reasons.
We’ll find out what Chris Weidman has left in the tank on the card. The former middleweight title-holder earned his first win since July of 2017 last August, taking a gritty decision over Omari Akhmedov. It marked his return to 185-pounds, after a quick step-up to light heavyweight which resulted in getting knocked out by Dominick Reyes in less than two minutes.
The next test for Weidman comes in the form of a rematch from a title shot that took place more than a decade ago. Weidman defeated Uriah Hall via first-round TKO for the Ring of Combat middleweight title in 2010. Now, Hall gets his chance to even the score in the Octagon. Hall is on a decidedly different trajectory to Weidman, winning three straight fights. Most recently Hall defeated Anderson Silva via TKO on Halloween last year.
Although his 4-3 record in the UFC may not stand-out, Karl Roberson has some impressive wins in his time in the promotion. Despite those wins, he still needs a marquee victory to take the next step in his career. He had that opportunity last June, but lost a bout to Marvin Vettori, and also missed weight.
The road doesn’t get much easier for Roberson, as he’ll share the Octagon with former LFA middleweight champion Brendan Allen at UFC 261. Allen is 3-1 in the UFC since his win on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2019. He’s coming off of his first loss in the promotion, which came against Sean Strickland in a catchweight 195-pound bout last November.
Also keep an eye on the fight between Danaa Batgerel and Kevin Natividad. Batgerel is a Mongolian muay thai and kickboxing champion, who in his UFC Profile lists his favorite striking technique as “all the spinning kicks.” He’s currently 1-1 in the UFC, and 8-2 in his MMA career. Meanwhile, Natividad is looking for his first career UFC win. Natividad was defeated by Miles Johns last October in his promotional debut, following a 4-1 run in LFA.
Anytime three title fights are on a UFC PPV, it’s going to get some attention. Outside of those title fights, and the other main events taking place throughout April, there are several match-ups that deserve your attention. These are those fights.