UFC 298 preview: Start of a big year for Ian Machado Garry

Irish eyes will be on Ian Machado Garry as he gets his 2024 underway at UFC 298 against Geoff Neal.

Originally scheduled for UFC 292, an injury to Neal left Garry facing Neil Magny, who he defeated via decision.

Photo: SofaScore.

After going 3-0 in 2023, Garry will be aiming to make a statement in his toughest fight yet. A convincing win this Saturday could set him up for a big name in the top of the welterweight division, and possibly force the UFC back to Dublin.

It was a frustrating end to the year for Garry, who was scheduled to face Vicente Luque at UFC 296, but had to pull out due to illness.

In his first fight back, Neal will be no easy task, and arguably gave Shavkhat Rhakmaov his toughest fight yet, as he lost in a third round submission.

Garry will look to use his movement and pick apart Neal, who also could be set for a top five bout if ge was to give the Dublin man his first professional defeat

Main event

In the main event, Alexnader Volkanovski defends his featherweight title for the sixth time when he takes on the undefeated Ilia Tuporia.

Volkanovski will be aiming to put his last fight behind him, when he was knocked out by Islam Mackachev at UFC 294, in his second attempt to become lightweight champion.

Photo: Sofascore.

Just four months later, he faces Topuria, who dominated Josh Emmet last summer to set up his title shot. His power to end the fight with one shot, and has shown his submission game should the fight get to the ground, in what should be one of the fights of the year.

Should he defeat Volkanovski, he could become the next big superstar in European MMA, with his confidence in the lead up to Saturday’s bout clear for all to see.


In the co-main event, Robert Whittaker will be hoping to bounce back when he faces Paulo Costa in the middleweight division.

A fight that has been scheduled twice before, injuries to Costa led to him pulling out, as both fighters will be aiming to get back into title contention.

Photo: Sofascore.

For Whittaker, his last fight was a shock defeat to now champion Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 290, his first loss at middleweight to someone who wasn’t Israel Adesanya.

For Costa, this will be his first fight since defeating Luke Rockhold at UFC 278. The Brazilian was scheduled to faces Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294, but had to pull out due to injury.

With Du Plessis now the champion, and the next contender unclear, the middleweight division is wide open.

Bantamweight title eliminator

In the bantamweight division, two of the best wrestlers are set to clash as Merab Dvalishvili takes on Henry Cejudo.

Dvalishvili is on a nine-fight win streak, and a win on Saturday could set him up for a title shot, with Sean O’Malley and Marlon Vera to compete for the title in March.

Photo: Sofacore

His incredible pressure and stamina means he will constantly put pressure on Cejudo from the first second to the last, which was seen in his last victory over Peter Yan.

For Cejudo, he will be hoping for his first win since 2020. After taking a three-year break from the sport in 2020, he returned against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 288, which saw him lose via split-decision.

The former flyweight and bantamweight champion has hinted he could retire should he lose on Saturday.

Sourse: breakingnews.ie

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