After a slow start to the year, the MMA schedule is about to heat up in March, with multiple UFC events and a Bellator card on the schedule. Which fights are the must-sees? Here are the top three:

3. Kelvin Gastelum vs. Vitor Befort at UFC Fight Night 106

Two aggressive southpaws that love to trade punches should make for an action-packed fight, even if it doesn’t go past the first round.

Gastelum has dealt with weight issues in the past, which is why he’s fighting at middleweight instead of welterweight here. However, he is on a two-fight winning streak, defeating former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks by unanimous decision at UFC 200, and then destroying long-time middleweight contender Tim Kennedy with a TKO stoppage at UFC 206.

Belfort, on the other hand, is on a two-fight losing streak, via first-round TKO against Ronaldo Souza at UFC 198 and second-round TKO against Gegard Mousasi at UFC 204. Despite that, the veteran knockout artist is always dangerous, and he should have the size advantage against Gastelum. It’s likely this fight ends with a knockout.

2. Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson at UFC 209

This fight is for the interim lightweight title in Conor McGregor’s absence, and it could very easily take the top spot on this list.

Nurmagomedov has been perfect throughout his MMA career, piling up a record of 24-0. Few opponents have been able to even look competitive against him, as he is a sambo expert with likely the best grappling in the division. His most recent appearance was at UFC 205, where he beat down Michael Johnson for two rounds before submitting him in the third with a kimura.

Tony Ferguson has a 22-3 record which includes a nine-fight winning streak, the longest in the history of the UFC lightweight division. He’s an unorthodox fighter who loves to get in a brawl and will throw wild strikes from all angles. He also has a crafty grappling and submission game, including his favorite submission, the D’Arce choke. In his most recent performance, he defeated former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in a thrilling unanimous decision.

This should be an extremely competitive fight, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see either man win by knockout, submission or decision.

1. Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson at UFC 209

UFC 209 is an absolutely stacked card, and it’s headlined by Woodley against Thompson, two men who already fought to a draw at UFC 205. Their first fight featured incredible moments by both men, and with it being so competitive, online sports betting sites have had a hard time setting a favorite for this match.

Woodley comes in as the slight underdog, despite the fact that he’s the champion. He’s no stranger to being in this position, as he has been the underdog quite a few times in his career. Woodley possesses huge knockout power in his right hand and powerful wrestling, both of which he used well against Thompson in their first fight.

Thompson has an elusive and unique Kenpo karate striking style. His distancing is as high level as it gets, and his kicks are both beautiful and deadly. He is also steadily improving his grappling, which was once a weak spot.

This fight could go either way, but Woodley has one major advantage – he nearly knocked out and submitted Thompson in their first fight. He came far closer to the finish than Thompson did, and that finishing ability of Woodley could be the X-factor in this rematch.

These are only a few of the great fights taking place in March. On that UFC 209 card, Mark Hunt will be fighting Alistair Overeem in what should be a thrilling fight between two heavyweight knockout artists. Bellator has a long-awaited rematch between Quinton Jackson and Muhammad Lawal. All things considered, March will be an exciting month for MMA fans.

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About The Author

Staff Writer/Betting Analyst

Phil Oscarson is a sports writer and betting odds analyst with over 10 years experience in the sports betting industry. When not writing about sports, he loves to play golf, basketball and tennis.