The UFC has consistently delivered performances that have left imprints on the annals of mixed martial arts history. As we reflect on the year, notable events stand out: Jon Jones’ heavyweight title acquisition and Israel Adesanya’s triumph at UFC 287, followed by his unexpected loss at UFC 293. The sporting world has been kept on its toes with these dynamic shifts in the fighters’ fortunes.
The momentum shows no sign of slowing as we approach the culmination of the year. Reports indicate that the UFC is meticulously planning its first pay-per-view for 2024, with Dana White’s promotion reportedly involving fighters like Alexander Volkanovski, Henry Cejudo, and the emerging talent, Ilia Topuria.
The chosen venue for this spectacle is Toronto, Canada, with UFC 297 scheduled for January 20, 2024. It is worth noting that this is not the UFC’s first foray into Toronto. In 2018, the city played host to UFC 231, which was headlined by a featherweight title defense. Max Holloway, the reigning champion back then, squared off against the grappling specialist, Brian Ortega.
Fast forward to the present, and history seems to be echoing itself. UFC 297 is rumored to feature a featherweight title bout, with Alexander Volkanovski potentially defending his title against the unbeaten Ilia Topuria. The scenario is eerily reminiscent of 2018, given that Brian Ortega was also undefeated when he challenged Max Holloway.
However, this potential matchup has a shadow of doubt cast over it. Volkanovski’s recent setback—a knockout loss to Islam Makhachev at UFC 294—has raised legitimate concerns regarding his ability to compete so soon. Although Volkanovski expressed a keen interest in staying active during his post-fight interview, his participation remains contingent on medical evaluations.
In the event that Volkanovski is deemed unfit to compete, the UFC may be compelled to explore alternatives. One rumor that has gained traction suggests the possibility of an interim featherweight title fight between the seasoned Max Holloway and Ilia Topuria.
Beyond the main event intrigue, the undercard for UFC 297 seems to be shaping up robustly. Arnold Allen, aiming to re-establish his position, is set to face the undefeated Russian, Movsar Evloev. This matchup has been anticipated since Evloev’s callout last year. Other matchups to watch out for include bantamweight bouts featuring Brad Katona against Garrett Armfield and Serhiy Sidey taking on Ramon Taveras.
Further diversifying the card, a middleweight clash has been announced between Chris Curtis and Marc-Andre Barriault. The flyweight division will see Malcolm Gordon against Jimmy Flick, while the welterweight category will feature Mike Malott squaring off with Neil Magny. On the women’s front, Gillian Robertson and Polyana Viana are slated for a strawweight bout. However, the situation regarding Canadian women’s flyweight, Jasmine Jasudavicius, remains uncertain due to the absence of a confirmed opponent.
Additional reports hint at potential matchups involving Merab Dvalishvili, who is on an impressive nine-fight winning streak, and Henry Cejudo, who is eager to regain his footing after a loss to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 288.
As for the location, while an official announcement is pending, industry sources are pointing towards the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto as the probable venue for UFC 297. This multi-purpose arena, renowned for hosting numerous sporting events, seems a fitting choice for an event of this magnitude.
UFC 297 is poised to be a pivotal event, setting the tone for the promotion’s trajectory in 2024. As the event’s details continue to unravel, enthusiasts and analysts alike will be keenly observing developments, eager for another chapter in the ever-evolving narrative of mixed martial arts.