The UFC is back in New York, and they brought one of the best cards of 2021 with them. UFC 268 is stacked top to bottom. Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington headlines the card in a very heated rematch. The co-main event sees another rematch in which Rose Namajunas defends her strawweight title against Zhang Weili. Then, if those fights aren’t good enough for whatever reason, we also get an absolutely ridiculous violent fight between Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler. However, if you look past those fights, there are some under-the-radar storylines.
Must win for Edmen Shahbazyan
Almost two years ago to the day, Edmen Shahbazyan knocked out Brad Tavares in Madison Square Garden in a little over two minutes at UFC 244. Fast forward to today, and the 23-year old is on a two-fight losing streak and on the brink of getting cut. Now, will the UFC cut Shahbazyan if he loses on Saturday? Probably not, but you never know. Especially with them bringing in so much more new talent from season five of Dana White’s Contender Series. However, if Shahbazyan does lose, his dreams of becoming a title contender are gone for a while. Yes, his last two losses are to the No. 4 and No. 6 ranked middleweights, but they were bad losses that exploited him. He faces a challenging but winnable fight against Nassourdine Imavov. A win for Shahbazyan will do wonders for the young fighter; a loss could be severely detrimental.
From one Armenian to another. Melsik Baghdasaryan returns from his second UFC fight against Bruno Souza, who makes his UFC debut. Baghdasaryan is must-watch television, and you really shouldn’t blink either. His first four wins lasted a combined 62 seconds! The kickboxer-turned MMA fighter went to a decision for the first time in his career last year on Dana White’s Contender Series but got back to his finishing ways by knocking out Collin Anglin in his UFC debut. Baghdasaryan is very fun, and him in front of a Madison Square Garden crowd should be bonkers. Don’t miss him; he is the second fight on the prelims.
— UFC (@ufc) August 1, 2021
Banger of the Week
Shane Burgos vs. Billy Quarantillo is the banger of the week, and it should be the fight of the night. Both men have never been in a boring fight in their careers and ALWAYS bring it. Both men have something to prove as well. Billy Q will be trying to snatch Shane Burgos’ No. 14 ranking and prove he is a top fighter in the featherweight division. Burgos is simply pissed off and is calling himself a sore loser from his last outing. At UFC 262, he was bizarrely knocked out by Edson Barboza when his body had a delayed reaction causing him to fall, retreat to the fence, and go unconscious. He is also on the first two-fight losing streak of his career and wants to snap that. This fight is incredible, I cannot wait, and neither should you.
Welcome to the UFC, Alex Pereira
Ah yes, the man who knocked out current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in kickboxing back in 2017 has finally arrived in the UFC. To say the hype is real might be an understatement. While he has a record of 3-1 in MMA, his kickboxing career speaks for itself, and in his last MMA fight, he slept Thomas Powell bad. Pereira faces Andreas Michailidis in his UFC debut, who is tough and hits hard. There is no doubt if he wins on Saturday, the fans will be shouting for a Pereira vs. Adesanya fight; however, in his media day interview, he said he is not chasing his former foe.
The Return of Raging Al
Al Iaquinta is back!!! He has been out of action since his co-main event loss to Dan Hooker at UFC 243. Injuries have kept Iaquinta on the sidelines as well as coaching his teammates. The New York native is riding the first two-fight losing streak of his UFC career as he returns this weekend. He faces Bobby Green in what should be an awesome fight, not only because of the skill level between the two, but there is also some heat between the two. Iaquinta also lost his top 15 ranking due to his inactivity, so he will be out to prove a point.
Welcome to the UFC, Ian Garry
Another talented fighter from the promotion Cage Warriors makes his UFC debut at UFC 268. Ian ‘The Future’ Garry enters the UFC with a 7-0 record with five finishes. He is the former Cage Warriors welterweight champion, winning the title in his last outing in June. Garry is fighting out of Ireland, and he has the whole country behind him. The Irish fighter faces Jordan Williams in his UFC debut. Williams is on the verge of getting released, so he has a lot riding on this fight. Ireland could use another superstar in UFC, and Garry has the chance to be the one.
- Is Frankie Edgar washed?
- Gian Villante retirement
- CJ Vergara’s UFC debut
- Chris Barnett’s second UFC fight
- Welcome to the UFC, Chris Curtis- FINALLY
- Another short notice fight for Dustin Jacoby
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MMA and Entertainment Journalist. Graduated from CSUN with a B.A in Journalism. I love MMA and have been watching consistently since 2004.