April is absolutely chalk full of MMA action, as some of the industries top promotions have huge events planned throughout the month. April’s can’t miss fights will take us to some sunny destinations for some red hot scraps. Narrowing down the list to just five is more challenging than trying to fit into skinny jeans, but we have you covered. Here are five must see bouts in April.
5: Cris Cyborg vs Arlene Blencowe II (April 23, Honolulu)
Cris Cyborg (25-2-1NC, 4-0 Bellator) will defend her featherweight belt, when she meets number one ranked Arlene Blencowe (15-8, 8-4 Bellator). Bellator 279 will go down in Honolulu, Hawaii on Saturday, April 23. The event is stacked with intriguing match ups, and caps off back to back events for the promotion. Cyborg vs Blencowe will serve as the main event of the evening, to determine the best at 145lbs.
Cris Cyborg has long been regarded as one of the world’s best mixed martial artists. With only two losses in nearly eighteen years as a pro, Cris has proven she belongs in the discussion when speaking of the world’s greatest. She’s fought, and won belts in four major organizations that include the UFC, and Strikeforce. Everywhere Cyborg goes, she dominates and Bellator has been no different. She’s currently 4-0 inside the Bellator cage, and she’s riding a five fight win streak that dates back to 2019. Cyborg has four straight finishes, including a submission victory over Blencowe at Bellator 249 in 2020.
Arlene Blencowe is a Bellator veteran, who possesses ungodly strength in her hands. Half of Arlene’s Bellator victories have come via KO, and ‘Angerfist’ has never knocked out herself. Since the loss to Cyborg, Bloncowe’s been on a mission, winning two straight. The performances over Dayana Silva, and Pam Sorenson have granted Arlene another shot at Bellator gold. Blencowe will be a huge underdog going into the fight against Cyborg, as she’ll be looking to shock the world, and prove she’s the best 145lb female on the planet.
4: Rob Font vs Marlon Vera (April 30, Las Vegas)
Rob Font (19-5, 9-4 UFC) will face off against fellow top ten bantamweight Marlon Vera (20-7-1, 12-6 UFC). The bout is to serve as the evenings main event, at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Two proven finishers will look to add to their body count, as they have a mind bowing thirty finishes combined. Font vs Vera is must see TV, if you’re a fan of the arts.
Before dropping a unanimous decision to Jose Aldo in his last outing, Rob Font was on a four fight win streak. One that saw him tear through tough competition, with the likes of Cody Garbrandt, and Marlon Moraes. Font is a jack of all trades, as he has slick boxing mixed with incredible ground skills. Rob can also drown you, and dominate you the entire time in the cage. Font is currently credited with 8 KO victories, 4 submission wins, and 7 decision nods. It’s no fluke he’s ranked 5th in the ever churning bantamweight division, and he’ll be looking to make a statement on April 30.
Marlon Vera is confidently riding a two fight win streak, as he’s been making progress up the bantamweight ladder. In his last outing, ‘Chito’ took care of veteran Frankie Edgar with a front kick that left Edgar looking like Droopy Dog. Vera is vicious anywhere the fight goes. He holds 8 wins via KO, and an impressive 10 finishes by submission. ‘Chito’ is as durable as they come. In his 28 pro MMA bouts, he’s never once been finished himself. Sitting at number 8 in the rankings, an impressive victory over a tough Font will surely catapult the 29 year old into title contention.
3: Patchy Mix vs Kyoji Horiguchi (April 23, Honolulu)
Bellator 279 not only features the intense main event previously mentioned, but also boasts the opening round of their bantamweight grand prix. Patchy Mix (15-1, 4-1 Bellator) will dance with wiley veteran Kyoji Horiguchi (29-4, 1-1 Bellator) in an effort to advance towards bantamweight gold. A classic grappler vs striker scrap that’s sure to set the Bellator cage on fire.
Patchy Mix is a finisher tried and true. His last ten victories have all come via stoppage. A mix of wrestling, and Jiu Jitsu make for one of the most dangerous bantamweights on the planet. ‘No Love’ is currently riding a two fight win streak, as he choked out both Albert Morales, and James Gallagher in 2021. Patchy will have one objective when the fight begins, as he’ll be looking to take things to the ground immediately.
Kyoji Horiguchi will be looking to turn things around, after ending up on the wrong end of a highlight KO in his last scrap. The UFC, and Rizin veteran got caught with a perfectly placed spinning backfist against Sergio Pettis at Bellator 272. Horiguchi has hands of granite, and has proven power with 15 knockouts on his ever evolving resume. Kyoji has no problem taking you to the final bell if he can’t get the finish, he’s been given the judges nod 11 times in his pro career. Horiguchi’s power and durability will crash head on with Patchy’s strong ground game, and we get to watch ot all unfold.
2: AJ McKee vs Patricio Pitbull II (April 15, San Jose)
The SAP center in San Jose, California will be rocking on Friday, April 15, as Bellator has a glorious card lined up for us. Capping off Bellator 277 will be a showdown for the featherweight belt, as AJ McKee (18-0) is ready to defend his strap against Patricio Pitbull (32-5, 20-5 Bellator).
The undefeated AJ McKee has spent his entire pro career with Bellator, as he’s torn through any competition put in front of him. Since turning pro in 2015, ‘Mercenary’ has racked up 13 finishes. Durable, dangerous, and on top of the featherweight division, McKee struts with a confidence few humans know. The fact that AJ has already beaten Patricio in convincing fashion can only add to his confidence, as he’ll be looking for another quick finish.
Patricio Pitbull was riding high on a seven fight win streak, before running into McKee in his last outing. Pitbull has been a Bellator staple since he made his debut back in 2010 at Bellator 15. Since then, the Brazilian has shown very few holes in his game, with just 5 loses. He’s faced, and finished some of MMA’s best in his long career. He holds an unheard of 23 finishes thus far as a pro, with 12 victories via KO, and 11 submissions. With 36 combined finishes, there’s a high chance this title fight won’t need the judges.
1: Gilbert Burns vs Khamzat Chimaev (April 9, Jacksonville)
UFC 273 comes to us from sunny Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday, April 9. The red hot event is stacked to the rafters with intense match ups, including a feature welterweight bout with Gilbert Burns (20-4, 13-4 UFC) taking on Khamzat Chimaev (10-0, 4-0 UFC). The scrap has huge implications as far as rankings, and could solidify a shot at the title for either man. UFC 273 also features two title fights as Aljamain Sterling faces Petr Yan at bantamweight, and Alexander Volkanovski takes on Chan Sung Jung for the featherweight belt.
Number two ranked Gilbert Burns is looking for another chance at gold, as he’s coming off a dominant decision victory over Stephen Thompson at UFC 264 last summer. ‘Durinho’ is as well rounded as they get, as he boasts 6 KO wins, 8 wins via submission, and 6 nods via decision. Gilbert is an absolute wizard on the ground, as he possesses amazing knowledge and skill in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Burns has an ability to adapt well to various situations that arise inside the Octagon, and it’ll be interesting to see how long the fight will remain standing.
Khamzat Chimaev burst into the UFC in July of 2020, and has literally blown through anyone in his path. ‘Borz’ has four straight wins on the world’s biggest stage, as he’s both shocked, and amazed fans and fighters alike. In his last fight, he made it look easy against Jingliang Li, choking him out cold early in the first round. Chimaev holds a finish rate of 100% heading into the biggest scrap in his life thus far. With five KO’s, and five submissions, Khamzat has never had to rely on the judges. Chimaev is a nightmare for any man locked in the cage with him. His slams, chokes, and convincing power has him on the doorstep to becoming one of MMA’s greatest.
Featured image credit to Embed from Getty Images