2019 rolls on forward and with each new month comes plenty of great new fights to get excited for. April is no different.
Let’s not beat around the bush. Here are the top 5 upcoming fights for April 2019.
Honorable mentions: Ali Bagautinov vs Vartan Asatryan, (C)Martin Nguyen vs Narantungalag Jadambaa, Luis Santos vs James Nakashima, Eryk Anders vs Khalil Rountree, Wilson Reis vs Alexandre Pantoja, Montel Jackson vs Andre Soukhamthath, Ovince Saint Preux vs Nikita Krylov, Alan Jouban vs Dwight Grant, Poliana Botelho vs Lauren Mueller, Curtis Millender vs Belal Muhammad, Sergey Pavlovich vs Marcelo Golm, Roxanne Modaferri vs Antonina Shevchenko, Keita Nakamura vs Sultan Aliev, Devin Clark vs Ivan Shtyrkov, Islam Makhachev vs Arman Tsarukyan, Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk, Satoru Kitaoka vs Roberto Souza, Koji Takeda vs Damien Brown, Mikuru Asakura vs Luiz Gustavo, Kyoji Horiguchi vs Ben Nguyen, Ben Saunders vs Takashi Sato, Alex Oliveira vs Mike Perry, Jessica Penne vs Jodie Esquibel, Jim Miller vs Jason Gonzalez, Carla Esparza vs Livia Renata Souza, Glover Teixeira vs Ion Cutelaba, Yoel Romero vs Jacare Souza, Benson Henderson vs Adam Piccolotti, (C)Rory MacDonald vs Jon Fitch
T-5. John Lineker vs Cory Sandhagen – UFC Fort Lauderdale, Apr 27
Yes, we’re starting things off with a tie. There are just too many options to choose from! Which is of course, never a bad problem to have.
The bantamweight showdown between John Lineker and Cory Sandhagen was set to go down in January at UFC Brooklyn and made the honorable mentions for that month. Unfortunately, Lineker would sustain an injury thus pulling him from the fight.
At the event, Sandhagen would instead face and defeat Mario Bautista in a thrilling three-minute affair. Therefore continuing to show that he is a rising prospect to be reckoned with.
Matched with the ever exciting and durable brawler Lineker, this fight has all the makings to be a show stealer in the UFC’s return to Florida.
T-5. Alexander Volkov vs Alistair Overeem – UFC St-Petersburg, Apr 22
The UFC is back in Russia this month and it gets a fantastic match-up in the heavyweight division.
Alistair Overeem got back to his winning ways in Beijing, China with a TKO win over the
Both men are arguably the two very best pure strikers in the division and stylistically, it would be pretty stunning to see this fight go to the judge’s scorecards.
Will Overeem land a pinpoint counter to close the show? Or perhaps Volkov’s fluid and accurate combinations will be too much for “The Demolition Man.” Then there’s the threat of the clinch from either man as well as Overeem’s underrated ground game. Either way, don’t blink once this one begins.
4. (IC) – Kelvin Gastelum vs Israel Adesanya – UFC 236, Apr 13
With undisputed champion, Robert Whittaker sidelined, a new interim champion will be crowned.
One of the men competing for that title will be the man who was supposed to face Whittaker at UFC 234 in The Ultimate Fighter season 17 winner, Kelvin Gastelum. His new opponent actually did end up fighting on that card when he defeated Anderson Silva, Israel “The Last Stylenender” Adesanya.
A wrestler turned sharp striker, Gastelum will be competing in his first title fight and he’ll have no easy hurdle to leap against the undefeated kickboxing sensation in Adesanya. Having shown solid takedown defense to this point with unmatched striking, Adesanya should have his hands full with Gastelum and vice versa.
3. (C)Ilima-Lei MacFarlane vs Veta Arteaga – Bellator 220, Apr 27
The undefeated 9-0 Bellator flyweight queen, Ilima-Lei MacFarlane has established herself as one of the best 125-pound fighters in the world.
Always in entertaining bouts, she’ll next be taking on one of the division’s ultimate underdogs in Veta Arteaga. Seemingly counted out more often than not, Arteaga has continually proved people wrong in her winning performances and she’ll be looking to do so at the champion’s expense this next time out.
Both fighters are very well rounded and about as gritty as it gets. With five rounds to play with, that’s more than enough time for another awesome Bellator flyweight title bout to unfold before our eyes.
2. (C) – Jiri Prochazka vs Muhammad Lawal – RIZIN 15, Apr 21
Former Strikeforce light heavyweight king, Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal and top worldwide 205-pound
As for King Mo, the story has been quite the opposite. Since the fight, he has gone 2-4 with all but one of those losses coming via TKO. Riding a two-fight losing streak, he’ll look to rebound by becoming the first ever RIZIN light heavyweight champion.
The trajectories of each fighter are obviously headed in different directions, but seeing how the first fight played out and now
1. (IC) – (FW C)Max Holloway vs Dustin Poirier – UFC 236, Apr 13
Both current UFC flyweight champion, Max Holloway and top five lightweight contender, Dustin Poirier are two of the most exciting fighters in MMA today… So could their interim lightweight title rematch have been slotted anywhere else but the top choice?
With their rematch happening seven years after their first encounter, a lot has changed since the men first met. For starters, when they fought in 2012 it was at featherweight and Holloway was making his UFC debut while Poirier was four fights removed from the WEC.
Bright futures for each were obvious back then, but now they’ve been crafted and they’ll do battle once again looking to leave marks in the history books.
With so much time between the fights, it barely feels like a rematch at all as both men are entirely different fighters now. And for the champion in Holloway, this will be his first fight back at lightweight since directly before he made his UFC debut against Poirier. Not having to go through that usual weight cut could make the already phenomenal champion that much better… Which is an insane thought.
One way or another, the entire MMA community simply can’t wait to find out.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/2/2019