On Dec. 30 at UFC 219 from Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Edson Barboza collide in a lightweight tilt that will likely determine who's next in line to fight reigning 155-pound kingpin Tony Ferguson. Make no mistake: The stakes are high in this one. This is a scrap that will determine the next top contender at lightweight.
Here's how the landscape of the division looks: The 33-year-old Ferguson currently holds the UFC's interim lightweight belt. "Notorious" Conor McGregor is technically still the champion at 155 pounds. But with the Irishman's future inside the Octagon a complete mystery, it's looking like the winner of Nurmagomedov vs. Barboza will get the next crack at championship gold against Ferguson.
With the stakes as high as they are, the UFC 219 between Nurmagomedov and Barboza is definitely an early pick to be a "Fight of the Night" contender. How will the fight play out? It's an intriguing stylistic match-up. Nurmagomedov, 29, is an undefeated grappling wizard and an elite-level submission expert.
At 24-0, he holds one of the longest win-streaks in MMA history. He's one of the most dangerous fighters on the ground. "The Eagle" is coming off a submission win over Michael Johnson -- a victory that proved he's deserving of being in the conversation for a title shot.
As for Barboza, he's arguably the most dynamic striker in the world at lightweight. The 31-year-old is riding a three-fight win streak, including victories over the likes of Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis.
Whoever wins the UFC 219 co-main will be the fighter who can implement his game plan effectively and efficiently. Tickets for UFC 219 can be scooped up right here on AXS.