The Must-Watch MMA Fights in Winter 2017

UFC Picks: UFC Betting Odds for Fall 2016 Biggest Fights

No Conor McGregor, no problem. The first two months of the year already have a number of sick winter 2017 fights to keep you watching until the Irishman returns in the spring.

It’d be a bit too easy to just list the main MMA fights and fight odds on upcoming cards. Because on a few of them, there are fights that simply have more entertainment value. Those are the scraps we’re focusing on today.

Let’s take a look at a few of our best fight picks scheduled through February. We’ve added odds where available, and you can head over to to bet on fights. In some cases, MMA odds will release closer to fight week.

Donald Cerrone vs Jorge Masvidal

UFC on FOX 23, January 28

Fight Picks: UFC Fox 23

A Striker’s Delight

Cerrone just capped off a 4-0 2016 where he tore through a new division, scoring finishes against an increasing level of competition. In fact, “Cowboy’s” newfound speed and energy at 170 has taken his elite kickboxing skills to another gear. But now he’ll be facing a fighter who appears to be every bit his equal on the feet.

A former backyard brawler, Jorge Masvidal’s combinations and footwork are as smooth as butter. Watching him go to work is like watching a sushi chef carve up a giant piece of tuna. The American Top Team ace cold, calculated but not afraid to showboat a bit. Both guys are legitimate badasses – this is just a perfect bit of matchmaking from Sean Shelby.

Dennis Bermudez vs The Korean Zombie

UFC Fight Night 104, February 4

UFC Fight Night 104 Odds: Korean Zombie vs Dennis Bermudez

The Zombie Lives Again

After a mandatory two-year stint in the South Korean military, “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung is back at age 29 to pick up where he left off. In case you forgot, his last fight was a title challenge against then-champion Jose Aldo. Before that, he put on Fight of the Year candidates in 2011 and 2012 for all-out wars with Leonard Garcia and Dustin Poirier.

Zombie seems physically incapable of a boring fight – he never stops coming forward, eating whatever limbs his opponents feed him. The same goes for Dennis Bermudez, the fighter tasked for welcoming him back, in the UFC 104 odds. Bermudez is a stocky, gritty dude who throws and wrestles with brutal power.

Fedor Emelianenko vs Matt Mitrione

Bellator 172, February 18

Bellator Odds: Bellator 172 Fedor Emelianenko vs Matt Mitrione

Back from the Dead

You win, Bellator. Somewhat shamefully, I’ll admit that I – along with millions of other MMA fans – am intrigued by the legends you keep digging out of their graves and throwing into the ring.

Scott Coker might’ve just snagged the biggest old fish of them all: the legendary Fedor Emelianenko. Though the stoic Russian is just a shell of his former self, his name alone piques great interest.

Bellator ain’t giving him a cakewalk fight just so he can relive past glories, either. He’ll face former top-10 UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione, who was one of the hardest punchers in the octagon. After scraping by UFC washout Fabio Maldonado this past June, the 40-year old Fedor is in real danger of getting tuned up by a legit heavyweight.

Glover Teixeira vs Jared Cannonier

UFC 208, February 11


The Killa Gorilla

The UFC light heavyweight division is in desperate need of new talent. Enter Jared Cannonier, a former heavyweight who is now a massive 205-pounder. On top of that, his ridiculous power has stayed intact, but he looks faster and more explosive at his new weight. Fresh off an impressive win over Ion Cutelaba, “The Killa Gorilla” now gets the opportunity to make a huge leap in the rankings.

Just two months after his last fight, Cannonier meets Glover Teixeira, a perennial top-10 fighter and one of the division’s most notable knockout artists. Pitting two sluggers with killshot against each other is always a good time, but the fact that Cannonier could announce his arrival as a contender gives this fight particular significance.

For more MMA betting news, check out New UFC Fighters to Watch in 2017

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Abe first encountered MMA in 2000, watching a VHS tape of Kazushi Sakuraba kicking the legs of a downed Royce Gracie in Pride Fighting Championships. He's been hooked ever since. Abe has penned NBA and NFL articles for Sports Illustrated and RotoExperts. In 2010, Abe signed on as the lead MMA writer for, and is now dedicated to helping fellow fans beat the odds.