After a relentless fight schedule over the past few months, the first month of 2017 offers up a distinct change of pace for the UFC, hosting just two events and no pay-per-view event, giving Bellator a chance to shine with one of their biggest ever events.
Saturday, January 14th: Invicta FC 21 – Anderson Vs Tweet
Where: Kansas City, USA
Woman’s MMA action gets the month underway with Invicta FC 21 featuring two 6ft tall featherweights, Megan Anderson and Charmaine Tweet battling it out in the main event of the evening.
Sunday, January 15th: UFC Fight Night 103 – Rodriguez Vs Penn
Where: Pheonix, USA
The much delayed return of UFC legend BJ Penn will finally take place at UFC Fight Night 103, where he’ll face a tough return to action against the in-form TUF: Latin America winner Yair Rodriguez.
The co-main event is currently being reshuffled at the time of writing after Bryan Caraway pulled out of his fight with Jimmie Rivera, but also look out for Court McGee fighting Ben Saunders on the main card.
Saturday, January 21st: Bellator 170 – Sonnen Vs Ortiz
Where: California, USA
The most heavily publicized fight of the month will undoubtedly be Bellator 170’s main event clash of former UFC stars Chael Sonnen and Tito Ortiz, in what’s expected to be ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’s’ final fight before retirement.
The event will also feature Paul Daley going up against Brennan Ward, while Ralek Gracie is also on-board fighting Hisaki Kato.
Friday, January 27th: Bellator 171 – Rickels Vs Derrow
Where: Kansas, USA
Bellator squeeze a second show into the January schedule just a week later, though at this stage details regarding the line-up are few and far between other than an announced match-up between lightweights David Rickels and Aaron Derrow.
Saturday, January 28th: UFC On FOX 23 – Shevchenko Vs Pena
Where: Denver, USA
The final show of the month finds the UFC back on FOX with an important fight in the woman’s bantamweight division between two top contenders Valentina Shevchenko and Julianna Pena taking on headline duties.
Also look out for a fun welterweight battle between Donald Cerrone and Jorge Masvidal, plus Hector Lombard Vs Brad Tavares and Andrei Arlovski against Francis Ngannou.