AS THE UFC continues its early year hiatus from weekend televised events, we can continue to run our eyes over the movers and shakers in each weight class.
Having looked at the bantamweights, light heavyweights and lightweights last week, it’s time to see what shape the heavyweights, middleweights and welterweights are in.
This division is perhaps the most fluid and active in the organisation as former champs have recently retired and a couple of exciting additions have been added to the roster.
Not many men could fill the void left by a certain Brock Lesnar, but Alistair Overeem seems to be the perfect fit to plug a 266lb hole. Having battered Brock into retirement in his UFC debut, Overeem has been handed a shot at the newly-crowned champion Junior Dos Santos.
This week the UFC confirmed that the two will face off in May at UFC 146, an event which has an all heavyweight televised card. In a huge night in the heavyweight division, fans will see another former Strikeforce fighter make his UFC debut as Antionio “Big Foot” Silva takes on Roy “Big Country” Nelson.
Cain Velasquez and Frank Mir are also due to do battle with the winner likely to have a shot at the champ, while Mark Hunt takes on Stefan Struve.
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The man who sits on top of the middleweight division is arguably the most talented individual in the sport at the moment. Anderson Silva won the belt in his second UFC fight and he has held onto it in his next twelve outings, breaking records and fighter’s will along the way.
Despite being in the twilight of his career, he remains the man to beat and his nemesis, Chael Sonnen, will get a second chance in a highly charged event in Brazil later this summer. The whole division will be consumed by the hype in the lead-up to Silva Vs Sonnen 2, so it is left to the likes of Brian Stann, Demian Maia and Vitor Belfort to scrap it out to be best of the rest.
Stann is back in action in early April as he faces Alessio Sakara, while Belfort and Wanderlei Silva are both coaches in the Brazilian TUF series and are due to fight on the same card as Silva.
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Realistically the only way that any of the other welterweights were going to get their hands on the belt was if GSP injured himself, and sadly that’s exactly what happened.
With St Pierre side-lined, Nick Diaz was the heir apparent, but he blew his chance in the fight against Carlos Condit and possibly blew his chance in the UFC by being banned for testing positive for marijuana after that fight. The division’s perennial nearly-man, Josh Koscheck, takes on the man who shocked John Fitch last time out, Johnny Hendricks, in a fight that could determine the number one contender.
While no fight has been scheduled for the interim champ as of yet, everyone is waiting for GSP to come back and re-ignite the welterweight division.