UFC 236 this upcoming weekend will showcase two fights for interim title belts, as well as multiple fighters looking to make it into the title picture.
The main event of the evening will be between Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title. While Khabib Nurmagomedov is suspended, a new champion must be crowned for the division.
Poirier is currently on a streak as he has not lost in his last five fights and lost only one of his last 10. The fighters that Poirier has recently beaten are top-tier fighters that have prepared him well for an emergence into the title scene. Four of Poirier’s last five fights have come against former champions and fighters ranked in the top five of the division.
However, Max Holloway has just as many top-tier wins to his name.
Holloway beat Brian Ortega to hand him his first loss, Jose Aldo twice, Anthony Pettis, Charles Oliveira and multiple other well-known fighters as well. In fact, Holloway has been so dominant in his position that he has not lost since August 2013.
Now that he has accomplished so much in the featherweight division, Holloway is looking to become the fourth fighter in UFC history to hold the title for two weight divisions at the same time.
The co-main event of the evening is a bout between Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya for the interim middleweight title.
Originally the fight was supposed to be between Gastelum and Robert Whittaker for the belt back in February, but an abdominal hernia quickly took Whittaker out of action and left the division open for the taking.
Between injuries and cancelled fights, it has almost been a year since the last time Gastelum has fought. His last fight was in May 2018 when he faced Ronaldo Souza in Brazil.
Each of Gastelum’s last three wins have come against veteran fighters in the division, including Souza as well as Tim Kennedy and former champion Michael Bisping. Now Gastelum looks to step away from taking out veterans and set his sights on a much younger target in order to be crowned the king of the division.
Israel Adesanya is seen as the next major star in the UFC. His last fight was a decision win against UFC legend Anderson Silva, which many saw as the passing of the torch.
Adesanya is currently undefeated and has shown his ability to stay energized deep into fights. However, he is very much still a knockout threat as his height and reach are a strong advantage for the Nigerian. In the Gastelum fight, his reach and height advantage will be on display as Adesanya will have a seven-inch height advantage and an eight-and-a-half-inch reach advantage.
Despite the outcome of either fight, we are setting up for the rebuilding of two divisions at UFC 236. At this event, we will not only crown the king of the division, but will also put a target on his back.