Wrestling and MMA fans have certainly enjoyed the past few years. There have been some outstanding fights, even if a few legends have retired from the sports and moved on to other projects.
Critics of these sports may say the greatest boxer of all time is probably not going to come from the current crop of superstars, but fans of Conor McGregor would beg to differ, as many consider him to be one of the best boxers ever to grace MMA. While that may be so, with McGregor currently out of action, there is still some terrific entertainment on offer.
The MMA world is incredibly exciting, as UFC appears to be at its very peak. Attention to the sport is at an all-time high, while the level of performance at each event continues to impress.
With 2023 shaping up to be an exciting year for wrestling and MMA fans, we have broken down some of the most anticipated events in these sports. Below are five exciting wrestling and MMA matchups that you can look forward to watching this year.
1. A.J. McKee vs. Usman Nurmagomedov
One of the exciting fights that MMA fans can hopefully look forward to in 2023 is A.J. KcKee taking on Usman Nurmagomedov. These two are household names who have excelled inside the octagon over the past few years. Now they are set to do battle in a contest that may determine which of the two ends up getting the chance to compete for titles. The date is not set yet, but it’s expected to take place during the Bellator lightweight Grand Prix tournament, which starts on March 10 in San Jose.
A potential issue with this fight is that it may not be as entertaining as fans expect. Nurmagomedov is known as a grinding grappler, which means he does not always attempt flashy moves during his matches. McKee, however, does take risks, and he will be the one expected to lead the entertainment aspect of this fight.
2. Francis Ngannou vs. Sergei Pavlovich
These two fighters, Francis Ngannou and Sergei Pavlovich, are two of the most dominant heavyweights of the past few years. They have the power and ability to defeat anyone on their day, either through excellent kicks or powerful punches. If they come head to head in 2023, and everyone’s hoping they do, fans can expect fireworks in the octagon.
The beauty of watching two heavyweights is that you are very unlikely to get a boring bout. They will go all out, as that is all they know. Both athletes do have the ability to dodge punches and hold on when they are under the cosh, but they are at their best when being explosive and attacking.
3. Islam Makhachev vs. Charles Oliveira or Beneil Dariush
The outstanding UFC fighter Islam Makhachev continued his winning streak at the start of 2023, defeating Alexander Volkanovski in impressive fashion. After battling past Volkanovski, he will now wait to see who he will face in his next high-profile fight.
Makhachev is likely to fight either Charles Oliveira or Beneil Dariush, depending on who wins the match-up between the latter two. Oliviera and Dariush are set to go head-to-head this year, before the winner gets a chance to take on Makhachev.
4. Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane
Jon Jones is a huge star in the UFC light heavyweight division. He has won countless bouts and titles, but now he is pushing to take the next step in his career with a bold move up to heavyweight. In January 2023, UFC president Dana White announced that Jones will challenge Ciryl Gane for the heavyweight title at UFC 285 in Paradise, Nevada, on March 4, 2023. This is the move and the match-up that Jones fans have been waiting for!
5. Austin Theory vs. John Cena
One of the rumored wrestling fights that may happen in 2023 is Austin Theory taking on legend John Cena . While Cena is not a full-time wrestler these days, as he also works on his acting career, he has never shied away from getting back in the ring.
Austin Theory is one of the young rising stars in the WWE. Many fans have taken to him as a result of his personality and excellent skills in the ring. One of the ways the WWE may choose to get Theory more promotion and recognition is by pairing him up against Cena. The legend can play the role of the heel, ensuring Theory gets his chance to shine as the “good guy” in the proposed fight.
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