There’s a principally unavoidable cycle in sports activities the place the younger rookie takes goal on the veterans, garners expertise, and hits a peak all earlier than turning into the exact same veteran they sought to take out within the early phases of their profession.
In combating, that cycle consumes nearly all fighters, with only some nice exceptions getting out on high. For the remainder of the pack, the story ends in a not-so-favourable vogue, finishing the cycle by turning into the factor they fought to exchange.
The battle between the outdated guard and the brand new isn’t contemporary to this panorama, nonetheless, it’s an particularly prevalent theme for the UFC within the first quarter of 2024.
Yearly issues for the group, however 2024 is shaping to be notably vital for the promotion’s future. There are numerous upcoming fights in Q1 between the outdated and new guard that might end in many “passings of the torch”, shaping the brief and long-term for the corporate.
Previous vs. New – A New Guard…
Alexander “The Nice” Volkanovski vs Ilia “El Matador” Topuria
The controversial featherweight GOAT in Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski is about to defend his title for the sixth time in opposition to rising star Ilia “El Matador” Topuria, a well-rounded 27-year-old prodigy. This struggle, above all others, feels essentially the most like a passing of the torch. The 35-year-old Volkanovski has gathered tons of mileage through the years and the current knockout loss to Islam Makhachev put “The Nice” in a spot we have now by no means seen him in.
Given the truth that all 4 undisputed featherweight champions have hall-of-fame resumes, the following champ has huge sneakers to fill. When assessing age, expertise, and star energy, Topuria comes off as the proper fighter to hold the torch.
Charles “do Bronx” Oliviera vs Arman Tsarukyan
Fan favorite and former light-weight champion, Charles “do Bronx” Oliviera is seeking to reclaim what he as soon as misplaced after a submission loss to reigning champion, Makhachev. His re-ascension was kicked off with a formidable TKO win over Beneil Dariush and he seems to stake a declare for the Makhachev rematch with a win over 27-year-old budding star Arman Tsarukyan, who had revenge-fueled motives of his personal towards the light-weight champion.
With Tsarukyan aiming for Oliveira, this could possibly be one of many final cases we see the 34-year-old former champion within the thick of the title race ought to he lose to his UFC 300 opponent. For Tsarukyan, it is a step towards being within the title image, doubtlessly for years to return.
Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier vs Benoit “God of Warfare” St. Denis
Oliveira isn’t the one one relying his publish at light-weight, for “The Diamond” has answered the decision to attempt to fend off the brand new guard. On this occasion, he might be seeking to quell a really violent opponent in 28-year-old blossoming contender Benoit “God of Warfare” St. Denis.
With Poirier being a number of wins away from a title shot, a loss to the #11 ranked Frenchman would doubtless eliminate any championship hopes. For the Frenchman, a win over a top-three opponent would usher in a brand new face within the light-weight title image.
Gilbert “Durinho” Burns vs Jack Della Madellena
There’s a near-identical occasion of narrative to Poirier/St. Denis right here with Burns vs Della Madellena. The 37-year-old Brazilian has been in search of a manner again to title rivalry since shedding to then-champion Kamaru Usman in 2021.
For Burns, like Poirier, the aim is right here to safe a win with a purpose to preserve just a little safety on the high in opposition to a hungry up and comer in 27-year-old JDM. Identical to St Denis, the #11 ranked fighter is seeking to skip the road and hop into the highest 5 of his respective division with a formidable win.
Katlyn Chookagian vs Maycee “The Future” Barber
The highest three to 4 of the ladies’s flyweight division is turning into somewhat aggressive, with the very best of the division all gunning for champion Alexa Grasso. One fighter seeking to convey themselves to the combo is 26-year-old Maycee Barber, a well-rounded athlete at #6 strolling the same path because the aforementioned, Arman Tsarukyan.
Barber is driving a five-fight win streak, along with her final loss coming in opposition to the present champion. A win in opposition to #4 ranked veteran Katlyn Chookagian would put her within the image and presumably arrange a title struggle with championship and revenge implications on the road. For Chookagian, a loss right here would doubtless imply the top of title hopes for the 35-year-old.
Extra outdated guard vs new guard matchups to begin the yr
- Henry “Triple C” Cejudo vs Merab “The Machine” Dvalishvili
- Geoff “Handz of Metal” Neal vs Ian “The Future” Machado-Garry
- Petr “No Mercy” Yan vs Music Yadong
- Pedro “The Younger Punisher” Munhoz vs Kyler “The Matrix” Phillips