UFC vs Bellator? Why Not Both
The UFC and Bellator look to outdo each other for this October. Both feature their most stacked events within two weeks of each other. Bellator 300 opens on October 7 with four title fights while the UFC returns to Abu Dhabi for a hotly anticipated title rematch. The best part for fans: they’re just two of the best MMA upcoming events for the month.
Date/Time: October 21, 11:00 a.m. ET
Location: Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Stream: Pay-per-view, ESPN (Prelims)
One year ago, Islam Makhachev made short work of Charles Oliveira to capture the UFC lightweight belt in front of 18,000 of his fans. This is the sequel, as it will be Oliveira returning to hostile territory to reclaim his belt.
The MMA odds are still in favor of Makhachev at around -340. Oliveira is the +250 underdog. And the first fight was not close. But Oliveira’s impressive knock out of Beneil Dariush, coupled with Makhachev’s struggles against Alexander Volkanovski, has stoked intrigue in this rematch.
If it stays together, the co-main event makes this UFC 294 one of the best MMA upcoming events. Khamzat Chimaev, who now represents the UAE, faces former middleweight title challenger Paulo Costa as the strong favorite (-350). This could be a title eliminator for Chimaev as he looks to challenge for the 185-pound belt in a suddenly wide-open division.
🥊 Bellator 300🥊
Date/Time: October 7, 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: Pechanga Arena, San Diego, CA
Stream: Showtime, YouTube (Prelims)
You read that right. Bellator is piling four championship bouts into one FREE (if you have Showtime) card. That’s headlined by the undefeated Usman Nurmagomedov, cousin and training partner of the great Khabib Nurmagomedov. He defends his lightweight belt against former champion Brent Primus as a whopping -1250 favorite (Primus is +700).
Nurmagomedov isn’t the only dominant champion in this Bellator event. Featherweight queen Cris “Cyborg” Justino will defend her 145-pound strap against former UFC title challenger Cat Zingano. Cyborg opened as a -500 favorite, with Zingano at +375.
Ryan Bader and Liz Carmouch round out the other two title fights as the defending champions. Both are favorites at -180 and -260 for their heavyweight and flyweight title bouts, respectively. Linton Vassell (+150) and Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (+200) are the underdog challengers.
Best of the Rest: Other Must-Watch MMA Events
Contender Series (Tuesday, ESPN+)
- Oct 3: Bellato vs Talha
- Oct 10: Taveras vs Romious
Dana White’s Contender Series wraps up with two events in October. The first sees a light heavyweight main event between Rodolfo Bellato and undefeated grappler Murtaza Talha. Bellator has only lost to Vitor Petrino, who is undefeated and 2-0 in the UFC now. The second event is headlined by bantamweights Ramon Taveras and Cortavious Romious.
ONE Fight Night: Le vs Freymanov (Oct. 6, Amazon Prime)
ONE’s second Amazon-broadcasted event in two weeks features an interim lightweight title fight between two lethal strikers. Between Thanh Le and Ilya Freymanov, they have 21 combined knockouts in 30 fights. This one is unlikely to go to a decision and could be an underrated bout regarding the best MMA upcoming events.
UFC Fight Night: Dawson vs Green (Oct. 7, ESPN+)
Prospect-turned-contender Grant Dawson gets his chance to shine in the main event against Bobby Green. The UFC odds have him as a wide, -400, favorite over the fan favorite at +300. Dawson is undefeated in the UFC (8-0-1), and if he can beat Green and resolve his weight issues, he could be fighting for a belt by next year.
UFC Fight Night: Yusuff vs Barboza (Oct. 14, ESPN+)
Featherweights clash in this main event as both Sodiq Yusuff and Edson Barboza look to get one step closer to a spot in the top five. Yusuff is slightly favored at -160, while Barboza is an underdog yet again (+130). The Brazilian has won his last three bouts as an underdog.