We are just over halfway through the year and we’ve had some incredible fights and finishes. However, there is plenty more to come. In this article the top must-see fights (that are booked) will be highlighted below. We have some incredibly exciting and interesting fights coming up for 2019, and this is just a short list of the ones you have to watch.
#5. Colby Covington vs Robbie Lawler – UFC on ESPN 5
I put this fight on the list because personally, I find it extremely intriguing. Colby Covington is genuinely one of the most hated fighters in combat sports, and has been carrying around an Interim Championship since UFC 225. His controversial personality has led to fight fans forgetting how good he really is. He is 14-1 with 5 of those being submissions. When you take his personality out of the equation, he is no push over in the Octagon.
Robbie is coming off of a controversial submission loss to Ben Askren, you’d have to think he wants to get that taste out of his mouth with a win over Covington. Robbie is a killer and I believe Colby is underrated, this is a super interesting fight that should not be overlooked.
#4. Nate Diaz vs Anthony Pettis – UFC 241
This is just one of those fights that you can not believe is going to happen. Nate hasn’t fought since his loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 202 in 2016. Diaz is one of the toughest, most resilient fighter in UFC history. He has taken huge shots and kept walking forward. Although Nate’s record is sort of inconsistent at 19-11 and he is coming off of a three year layoff, he should not be overlooked.
Nate is not returning against an easy opponent in any way, Anthony Pettis is a killer. He is coming off of a brutal knockout against Stephen Thompson in March. He is another fighter that is as tough as it gets and honestly I just can’t wait to see which warrior will go down first. This should be a war and an absolutely insane fight. Without a doubt, it’s one of my most anticipated fights of the year.
#3. Justin Gaethje vs Donald Cerrone – Fight Night 158
Speaking of fights that will be absolutely insane, this will be no different. I want to start off by talking about Cowboy because even though he has always been motivated since the birth of his son, he wants the championship. Although his last fight ended in dissapointment, 3 of his 4 last fights have ended in dominant victories. Iaquinta, Hernandez, Perry are all extremely impressive victories. Much like Nate, Cerrone just keeps on coming and is tough as nails. He has fought once every month since May and this fight keeps that going.
What do I need to say about Justin Gaethje? He is coming off of two first round knockouts in a row against Edson Barboza and James Vick. I don’t really know what exactly to expect in this fight, but that is what makes it so exciting.
#2. Israel Adesanya vs Robert Whittaker – UFC 243
This fight could break attendance records in Austrailia and it’s easy to see why. When Adesanya won the Interim Championship against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236, it was genuinely one of the best fights this year. Adesanya’s performances against Kelvin Gastelum and Anderson Silva not only solidified him as a star of the company, but also as the best in the division. However, I think Robert Whittaker will be his biggest challenge yet.
Whittaker and Gastelum were supposed to fight at UFC 234, but Whittaker had to pull out. I believe Whittaker would’ve beat Kelvin, but it was the perfect opportunity for Adesanya to add his name to the mix. 13 of Izzy’s 17 professional fights have ended in knockout, his power is not to be underestimated. Whittaker is coming off of back-to-back wins over Yoel Remero, which is an accomplishment in itself.
I expect this to be a fire fight and I think it will be Adesanya’s crowing moment, creating UFC’s next big star.
#1. Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Dustin Poirier – UFC 242
There was only one option for #1 wasn’t there? Dustin is coming off a dominant win against arguably the greatest featherweight of all time, Max Holloway. Dustin’s last four wins: Max Holloway, Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, and Anthony Pettis, finishing 3 of the 4. He has been underrated and overlooked for years and it is no surprise he is the underdog against the undefeated Khabib.
Khabib is coming off a win against Conor McGregor at UFC 229 and is 27-0. He is the most dominant champion in combat sports right now, and the most intriguing part of undefeated fighters is if the streak will break. I think fans, whether it be MMA or Boxing, love an underdog fight and you will not find a bigger underdog than Dustin.
Dustin has the ability to beat Khabib, but let’s not forget that 27 others have not been able to do so, and Dustin is looking to be that one. This is the most exciting, interesting, and the single must-watch fight of 2019.
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The Scrap’s Austin Luff is broadcasting student with a passion for watching and writing about mixed martial arts and professional wrestling. Make sure to follow Austin on Twitter (@Ginger_Guy_).