By Stuart Ly
On November 6th, we will witness the UFC 268 event. As the third last fight of the main card, all UFC fans will be excited for this one: Justin Gaethje vs Michael Chandler. Both men have dangerous styles - but you can never close your eyes when one of them fights. Who will be sent to that realm where time doesn’t exist? As the co-main event, we find ourselves watching the women’s strawweight championship bout between Rose Namajunas and Zhang Weili. The first bout between the two happened back in April- where Namajunas won via 1st round TKO, taking Weili’s strawweight crown. Will Namajunas find herself 2-0 in the rivalry, or will Weili find her long-awaited vengeance? As the main event, this card entails the long-awaited rematch of welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and #1 contender Colby Covington. The two first met in December where Usman won via 5th round TKO. However, this is considered to be Usman’s toughest opponent to date. This created a long series of debates on who would be victorious in the rematch. Will Usman turn his remarkable winning streak to 16 or will Covington seek the revenge he’s been waiting for?
Starting off the three fights of the night: Justin Gaetje vs Michael Chandler. The two have styles that excite the eye of the MMA community, making this fight debatably the one that one should be most excited about. The last time the two fought was for the lightweight strap and unfortunately both lost. Chandler fought back in May against Brazil’s Charles Oliveira and lost via 2nd round TKO. Speaking of the second round, that is also the round Gaethje had been submitted by former lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov. As there is a lightweight title bout between Dustin Poirier and Charles Oliveira on December 11th, this fight will most likely determine who will be granted the next title shot. Who do I think will win? I personally think Michael Chandler will win, excluding my favouritism for him. I think he will incorporate his wrestling background into the fight and if he can perform the way he desires on the feet and more importantly, the ground, I believe that it will be a long, rough night for Gaethje. Unfortunately, we are only able to witness this absolute mayhem of a fight for three rounds rather than five, as usually, bouts that do not include titles consist of a three-round schedule.
Now, we go to the first title fight of the night: Zhang Weili vs Rose Namajunas. Like the main event, this one is also a rematch, as the two met back in April underneath the welterweight champion Kamaru Usman’s fight. Many consider this rematch “unnecessary” as they believe other strawweight contenders deserve rematches such as Carla Esparza. Now, Weili finds herself training with two-division champion Henry Cejudo. Before this bout, the two had already been titleholders - Zhang Weili had had 1 title defence against Joanna Jędrzejczyk before losing to Namajunas, and Namajunas became champ, defeating Joanna Jędrzejczyk, years ago. Who do I think will win? To be quite honest, I really don’t know because the fight can easily go either way. With Namajunas bouncing around or Weili’s power playing a factor? I don’t know who will come out victorious until I watch the fight itself.
Here, we move on to the main event of the night: Kamaru Usman vs Colby Covington 2; definitely the most anticipated rematch in a while. As Usman won the fight back in December of 2019, it didn’t change the pure competitiveness of the fight while it lasted. After their fight, Usman seemed to have more activity, making him look like the heavy favourite in this rematch. Usman has fought high contenders Gilbert Burns, and Jorge Masvidal twice. Usman’s new team, which is also the team of Namajunas and Gaethje, seemed to make Usman look like a different animal, as he knocked top welterweight contender Jorge Masvidal out cold, gaining him the most popularity he has ever received. Yet, Covington fought former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and dominated him for three of three rounds until the referee stopped him in September of 2020. We are here now, months later, anticipating the rematch between the two top welterweights UFC has today. My prediction? To be honest, I think Usman will win. I’ve seen him fight three times since their first fight but Covington has only fought once. Usman has recently looked unstoppable with his new head coach Trevor Wittman. But, I hope that like last time, Covington is still able to bring the best out of him, giving us fight fans an amazing fight to look forward to.