"UFC Heavyweight Division Sees Notable Developments with Departure of Former Champion and Rise of New Kingpin Jon Jones"
ParallelDesk 01:19:46 PM, 27 April 2023
"Joy Division Documentary Mindmap" by Austin Kleon is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd-nc/2.0/jp/.
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The UFC heavyweight division has witnessed a series of remarkable events and matchups in recent weeks. One of the most significant developments was the resignation of the promotion's former heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou, and the coronation of a new divisional kingpin, Jon Jones. In January 2023, Ngannou was released from the promotion and stripped of his heavyweight title, leaving an open throne for the taking. Jones, a former light heavyweight champion, returned from a three-year hiatus from the MMA to face former interim heavyweight titleholder, Ciryl Gane, in March of this year. The Jones-Gane matchup, which had the vacant UFC heavyweight title at stake, saw Jones emerging victorious via a first-round submission. The win crowned Jones, the promotion's new heavyweight champion. While several other heavyweight matchups have taken place since then, more are expected in the future. One of the latest heavyweight bookings that made the news was Walt Harris' return to the octagon. Harris, a veteran MMA fighter and one of Jones' main training partners, suffered a first-round TKO defeat against Marcin Tybura in June 2021. "The Big Ticket" will now be looking to make a comeback in a heavyweight matchup against 33-year-old Josh Parisian, who is coming off a unanimous decision loss against Jamal Pogues in February 2023. The news of the Harris-Parisian fight was first reported by Marcel Dorff of Eurosport NL and later confirmed by MMA Junkie. However, the UFC has yet to announce the matchup officially. The fight is expected to take place at a Fight Night event on July 15, 2023. Harris' management, Team Iridium, has also confirmed the matchup via Twitter. As for the UFC heavyweight division and the title landscape in 2023, it is currently ruled by the legendary Jon Jones. However, there was widespread speculation that Jones might defend his title against former divisional champion Stipe Miocic during International Fight Week in July. Despite the hype, their July matchup didn't materialize, and Jones subsequently asserted that he'd love to fight Miocic at Madison Square Garden in November. Jones also suggested that he'd probably retire after the Miocic matchup. For now, neither the exact date nor the opponent of Jones' next octagon appearance has been officially announced. Meanwhile, rising star Sergei Pavlovich has lately been on a tear in the UFC heavyweight division. In his most recent fight, he bested divisional mainstay Curtis Blaydes via first-round TKO. The Russian KO artist has taken his win streak to six, with all of those victories coming by way of first-round KO/TKO. The consensus is that if the Jones-Miocic fight doesn't come to fruition, Pavlovich could potentially be next in line to face "Bones" for the title. The UFC heavyweight division is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and competitive in recent memory.
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