The early 2018 UFC schedule will feature three title fights, as Daniel Cormier will defend his light heavyweight title at UFC 220 as he takes on Volkan Oezdemir, Stipe Moicic will defend his heavyweight title, also at UFC 220 against Francis Ngannou, and it will be Robert Whittaker defending his middleweight title against Luke Rockhold at UFC 221. Nine events for the first three months of 2018 have been announced by the UFC. Let’s look at the early schedule with a focus on Miocic vs. Ngannou and Whittaker vs. Rockhold.
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UFC Fight Night 124 - January 14, St. Louis, MO
The feature matchup in the first UFC event in 2018 has Jeremy Stephens going against Doo Ho Choi. Other announced bouts for this event are Uriah Hall vs. Vitor Belfort, Paige VanZant vs. Jessica Rose-Clark, Kamaru Usman vs. Emil Weber Meek, Kalinda Faria vs. Jessica Eye, Darren Elkins vs. Michael Johnson, Thiago Alves vs. Zak Cummings, James Krause vs. Alex White, Talita Bernardo vs. Irene Aldana, Matt Frevola vs. Marco Polo Reyes, Danielle Taylor vs. JJ Aldrich, Kyung Ho Kang vs. Guido Cannetti and Mike Santiago vs. Mads Burnell.
UFC 220: Miocic vs. Ngannou – January 20, Boston, MA
UFC 220 will feature a pair of title fights, as Miocic goes against Ngannou, while Cormier takes on Oezdemir. Other announced fights are Kyle Bochniak taking on Brandon Davis, Calvin Kattar vs. Shane Burgos, Dustin Ortiz vs. Alexandre Pantoja, Islam Makhachev vs. Gleison Tibau, Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Sabah Homasi, Thomas Almeida vs. Rob Font, Maryna Moroz vs. Jamie Moyle, Gian Villante vs. Francimar Barroso and Charles Rosa vs. Dan Ige.
The fight between Miocic and Ngannou should be an excellent matchup between two big time strikers. Miocic is 17-2 in his career, while Ngannou is 11-1. This fight may not last long, as Ngannou has won 10 straight fights by stoppage.
UFC on FOX 27 – January 27, Charlotte, NC
It will be a rematch between Ronaldo Souza and Derek Brunson in the feature fight at UFC on FOX 27. These two fought in 2012 in Strikeforce with Souza winning by knockout. Other announced fights are Ovince Saint Preux vs. Ilir Latifi, Randa Markos vs. Juliana Lima, Katlyn Chookagian vs. Mara Romero Borella, Justine Kish vs. Ji Yeon Kim, Vinc Pichel vs. Joaquim Silva, Jordan Rinaldi vs. Gregor Gillespie and Bobby Green vs. Erik Koch.
UFC Fight Night 125 – February 3, Belem, Brazil
The headliner at this event will have Lyoto Machida going against Eryk Anders. Other announced fights are Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Joseph Morales, Thiago Santos vs. Anthony Smith, Valentina Shevchenko vs. Priscila Cachoeira and Maia Stevenson vs. Polyana Viana.
UFC 221: Whittaker vs. Rockhold – February 11, Perth, Australia
The main event will have Whittaker going against Rockhold. Other announced fights are Tyson Pedro vs. Saparbek Safarov, Jussier Formiga vs. Ben Nguyen and Mark Hunt vs. Curtis Blaydes.
Georges St-Pierre vacated the middleweight title so Whittaker is now the undisputed champion. Whittaker is 19-4 and has won his last eight fights. He won the interim title in July as he defeated Yoel Romero. Rockhold is 16-3. Rockhold said to the Sydney Morning Herald that he knows he will be facing a hostile crowd in Perth. "I've been in this game for a long time, man, I've been against a lot of hostile crowds," Rockhold said. UFC Fight Night 126 – February 18, Austin, TX
The fights announced for this card in Austin so far are Ray Borg vs. Brandon Moreno and Derrick Lewis vs. Marcin Tybura.
UFC on FOX 28 – February 24, Orlando, FL
The early fights that are known for this event in Orlando are Jake Collier vs. Marcin Prachnio and Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier.
UFC 222 – March 3, Las Vegas, NV
The early announced fights for this event in Las Vegas are C.B. Dollaway vs. Hector Lombard and Cat Zingano vs. Ketlen Vieira.
UFC Fight Night 127 – March 17, London, England
The announced fights so far on this card are Leon Edwards vs. Peter Sobotta, Mark Godbeer vs. Dmitry Poberezhets and Paul Craig vs. Magomed Ankalaev.
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