The UFC‘s final card of 2022 looks set to get stronger with the likely addition of a featherweight banger between Dan Ige and Ilia Topuria.
Despite talk over a possible short-notice bout with Bryce Mitchell early next month appearing to fall through, it still appears that Topuria will fit another fight into this calendar year.
Per Setanta Sports’ Giorgi Kokiashvili, Topuria will have the chance to rise the ranks at 145 pounds when he meets Ige at UFC Vegas 66 on December 17. While the report states that contracts aren’t signed as of yet, the matchup is described as “likely” to happen.
For the unbeaten Topuria (12-0), who’s currently ranked #14 at featherweight, the bout will mark his first contest in the division since July 2021. After ascending the ladder with wins over Youssef Zalal, Damon Jackson, and Ryan Hall, a weight-cutting issue prior to UFC 270 saw him test the lightweight waters in his most recent outing.
And after an early scare at UFC London this past March, “El Matador” brutally knocked out Jai Herbert in England’s capital. While the Georgian-Spaniard has expressed a desire to compete across both weight classes, a win on December 17 will see him move close to contention at featherweight.
In his way, however, looks set to be the #11-ranked Ige (15-6). After rising towards the top of the division with six consecutive wins, including over veteran Edson Barboza, “50K” had his title hopes stalled by Calvin Kattar. And since an initial rebound knockout against Gavin Tucker, the Hawaiian has lost three straight against Chan Sung Jung, Josh Emmett, and Movsar Evloev.
If Ige can bounce back my becoming the first to blemish Topuria’s record, he’ll firmly revive his presence as a player in the 145-pound rankings.
The current fights expected to take place at UFC Vegas 66 on December 17 are as follows:
Jared Cannonier vs. Sean Strickland (middleweight main event)
Arman Tsarukyan vs. Damir Ismagulov (lightweight)
Dan Ige vs. Ilia Topuria (featherweight)
Said Nurmagomedov vs. Saidyokub Kakhramonov (bantamweight)
Julian Marquez vs. Deron Winn (middleweight)
Michael Morales vs. Rinat Fakhretdinov (welterweight)
Albert Duraev vs. Michał Oleksiejczuk (middleweight)
Cheyanne Vlismas vs. Cory McKenna (women’s strawweight)
Sergey Morosov vs. Journey Newson (bantamweight)
Hayisaer Maheshate vs. Rafa Garcia (lightweight)
Jamal Pogues vs. Tafon Nchukwi (light heavyweight)
MMA Twitter Reacts To Ige/Topuria Booking
Following reports of the matchup emerging, a number of MMA enthusiasts took to social media to give their take on the likely addition to the UFC’s year-ending event.
Some had very different opinions of the matchup. While one fan suggested that Ige represents a far easier opponent for Topuria than Mitchell would have, another insisted that the durable 31-year-old will mark a stiff test for “El Matador.”
Regardless of opponent, some were just happy to be closer to seeing Topuria back inside the Octagon.
Meanwhile, many pointed out the gameness of Ige. Despite being on a losing skid, the Hawaiian isn’t shying away from tough matchups.
While some offered predictions, others simply commented on the quality of the matchup, with the consensus being that regardless of the result, the featherweight scrap will bring fireworks to the December 17 card.
Who do you think will have their hand raised on December 17 if this matchup comes to fruition, Dan Ige or Ilia Topuria?