Let's look at the best of the cards scheduled for November 2021 in Boxing and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), the most notable fights on them, and who the favorites are.
November 6th: (BOXING) Saul “Canelo” Álvarez vs. Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant
November 13th: (BOXING) Jose Uzcategui vs. David Benavidez
November 19th: (BOXING) Demetrius Andrade vs. Jason Quigley
November 20th: (BOXING) Shawn Porter vs. Terence Crawford
November 6th: (MMA) Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington 2
November 13th: (MMA) Max Holloway vs. Yair Rodriguez
November 20th: (MMA) Ketlen Vieira vs. Miesha Tate
November 6th: Saul “Canelo” Álvarez vs. Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant
Talk about starting off strong! This is the match everyone has been talking about since it was announced. Saul “Canelo” Álvarez, the #1 fighter in the world, is attempting to unify the 168-pound division by defeating IBF super middleweight champ Caleb Plant. Let’s first take a look at the #1 pound for pound fighter in the world.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez: Canelo is unarguably the best fighter in the world right now, and his resume speaks for him far more than I could. With names like Gennady Golovkin, Billy Joe Saunders, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, and Shane Mosley under Mr. Álvarez’s belt, it’s impossible to deny he’s got the goods. As for his style, Canelo is a true student of the game and can do it all, but like anyone, he has a few trademarks. Canelo is easily the scariest body puncher in the sport for my money, and his head movement makes it a certainty he will get a chance to get inside and unleash those devastating shovel hooks into Plant’s ribs. Look for Canelo to pressure intelligently and force his way inside Plant’s long jab to do his damage.
Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant: Caleb Plant is a game challenger, and it might be personal bias because his style and my own are similar, but I think people might be overlooking him a bit in this match. Granted that’s partly due to the fact that his resume is not fantastic--the biggest name on his list is Jose Uzcategui who stylistically is a gimme for a fighter like Plant, but I also think people just don’t think he’s got the goods, and I think that’s just flat wrong. Plant is an extremely skilled technician/outside boxer, and he’s fast. As long as he works his cardio and stays responsible defensively, I think he’ll put on a good show. Look for him to stay on his bike and use his long reach to try and keep Canelo from being able to load up on his power punches.
Prediction: Canelo Álvarez by KO/TKO. Listen, I know I just spent a paragraph explaining that I think Caleb’s actually pretty good, and I do...I just think Canelo is better. He’s stronger, he’s a fantastic boxer, he’s been in with better opponents, and he’s already shown in the smith and billy joe fights that if he doesn’t respect your power, he will never back off.
HOW TO WATCH: Live on Showtime on November 6, 2021 at 9:00 PM ET.
November 13th: Jose Uzcategui vs. David Benavidez
There are actually a number of amazing fights on the 13th, Martinez vs. Galahad among them, but I chose this one because David Benavidez is quite frankly one of the most exciting fighters in the sport, and Uzcategui is a tough come forward puncher that will brawl with Benavidez. However long it lasts, there will be fireworks.
David Benavidez: Benavidez is a fast, skillful, dangerous fighter with amazing combinations backed by an incredible gas tank, and for my money the best super middleweight not named Canelo Álvarez. Every single time he fights, there are fireworks, and this won’t be an exception. Look for Benevidez to come forward and hunt for places to unleash his blistering combinations.
Jose Uzcategui: Uzcategui is an old school warrior. He walks people down, and demands respect with his power. His defense is passable, and he’s not as technically unsound as say Deontay Wilder, but he’s a brawler not a boxer. He’s built his name on bravery, strength, and knockout power. Look for him to do what he’s always done, come forward and try and guts out a victory.
Prediction: Benavidez by KO/TKO. This is going to be a fun fight, not a competitive one. Benavidez should win this fight comfortably, and if he loses, it will be a huge setback for him. Uzcategui isn’t a nobody, but he’s one-dimensional and is starting to get old enough that ‘walk forward and punch’ isn’t as viable a strategy as it once was for him.
HOW TO WATCH: Live on Showtime on November 13, 2021 at 10:00 PM ET.
November 19th: Demetrius Andrade vs. Jason Quigley
Demetrius Andrade faces easily his best challenger in Jason Quigley, who proved himself worthy by overcoming Shane Mosley, Jr. in his last outing. Quigley is a solid inside fighter who can box a bit when he has to, whereas Andrade is a classic ‘jab and grab’ stick and move fighter.
Demetrius Andrade: Man, I wish Andrade could get a fight against a top dog. I really do think he’s a good fighter. He’s clever, he’s fast, and he’s elusive, but unfortunately he’s just not exciting to a lot of people, making him a high risk and low reward fight for a lot of the best fighters in his division (Golovkin, Charlo, etc). That said, I think fighting Quigley is a small step in the right direction. With Andrade’s elusiveness taken into account, I think we’ll see him moving beautifully and looking for a decision against the aggressive Quigley.
Jason Quigley: I actually think Quigley is a very solid challenger, much more solid than the odds give him credit for. He’s a tough guy that’s not easily hurt, which Andrade has had trouble with in the past, and he’s an aggressive pressure fighter who has a little boxing in his back pocket when he needs it. Look for him to mix his aggressive pressure in with some boxing to try and make Andrade uncomfortable and force a more gritty fight.
Prediction: Andrade by Decision. I actually think Quigley has a good chance here, but I do think Andrade has a deeper toolbox, and if he’s on his A-game, he should win the decision by virtue of being the better, more elusive boxer.
HOW TO WATCH: Live on DAZN on November 19, 2021 at 9:00 PM ET.
November 20th: Shawn Porter vs. Terence Crawford
Shawn Porter vs. Terence Crawford is probably the fight I’m looking forward to most this month, if only because we finally get to see Crawford go up against an elite fighter with a strong chin.
Shawn Porter: Porter is a very good, rough fighter that is no stranger to high-level competition. He’s defeated Paul Malignaggi, Adrien Broner, Andre Berto, and Danny Garcia, and he’s got the experience and the grit to make Crawford have a very bad night if his opponent isn’t on his toes. Look for him to come forward, press the action, and attempt to maul Crawford on the inside.
Terence Crawford: Crawford is very skilled, but until now, he hasn’t had opposition that can challenge him. His best opponent by far before this fight was Amir Khan, who is a fantastic boxer but is notoriously glass jawed and so not a high-risk for someone as accurate as Crawford. Against Porter though, we may finally get to see what happens when Crawford is asked for his best. Look for him to use his switch hitting angles and excellent boxing sense to attempt to dominate the fight from the mid-range.
Prediction: Crawford by Decision. Porter has never been knocked out, and I don’t expect Crawford to be the first to do so, but I do think Crawford will win this fight. His switching angles will cause problems for Porter’s main strategy, and his speed will help him stay out of harm’s way.
HOW TO WATCH: Live on ESPN+ on November 20, 2021 at 9:00 PM ET.
November 6th: Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington 2
Easily the MMA contest I’m most excited about this month, this rematch promises to be a fantastic fight with Covington’s mouth and Usman’s skills.
Kamaru Usman: Kamaru Usman is a very skilled striker who has been making waves since his entry into the UFC--his sole defeat coming from grappler Jose Caceres via submission. However, on the whole, his takedown defense is very solid, and his good use of range to keep people on the end of his kicks makes it hard for grapplers to exploit any potential weakness in his ground game. Look for Usman to strike from range and utilize his excellent range control to corral Covington.
Colby Covington: Covington, for as much as I wish he was more of a sportsman, is an extremely talented fighter. He’s fast, strong, and able to adapt beautifully to different situations. He lost the first fight by a 5th round TKO but says that was due to bad refereeing. He has the chance to prove that in the octagon on November 6th. Look for him to try and force his way inside and take Usman to the ground where his superior ground game will give him a significant advantage.
Prediction: Usman by KO/TKO. I think Usman is just a little too slick and too fast for Covington to pin down. If his boxing and footwork were just a little better, I might actually give the edge to Covington, but as it stands, I just don’t think Covington has the ability to cut off space enough to pin down a dedicated striker like Usman.
HOW TO WATCH: Live on ESPN+ on November 6, 2021 at 10:00 PM ET.
November 13th: Max Holloway vs. Yair Rodriguez
Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez, two high-level striking specialists, meeting in the ring brings with it a certain expectation of fireworks and exchanges that makes this contest exciting.
Max Holloway: Former featherweight champion Max Holloway is on a bit of a skid, losing 3 of its last 5 contests. He’s hoping to reverse that losing streak with a win over tough striker Yair Rodriguez. Holloway is one of the most creative strikers in the sport, and it's his dynamic combinations that won him the UFC championship at featherweight. Look for him to try and make this a rangy contest where his creativity can work to his advantage.
Yair Rodriguez: Yair Rodriguez is a tough, veteran contender that is more than comfortable in a fist fight. Fast, durable, and strong, Rodriguez isn’t the kind of fighter to try and take many angles or wait for his opponent to give him opportunities, preferring to create them by forcing a brawl. This has caused him some issues, such as his win over Jeremy Stephens being ruled a no contest after an eye poke. Look for him to press the action on the inside and try to force Holloway into a rough fight.
Prediction: Holloway by KO/TKO. I think Holloway’s deeper toolbox, range, and ability to fight on the outside give him the edge against Rodriguez here. Of course, Rodriguez has a puncher’s chance, but I don’t give him much more of a chance than that.
HOW TO WATCH: Live on ESPN+ on November 13, 2021 at 4:00 PM ET.
November 20th: Ketlen Vieira vs. Miesha Tate
This fight was rescheduled recently. It was originally slated for October but was moved following Tate’s COVID-19 diagnosis.
Miesha Tate: Miesha Tate is a UFC and MMA legend and one of the most prolific fighters on the women’s side of the sport. Having been in the ring with Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Amanda Nunes, and Raquel Pennington, she’s proven time and time again that she isn’t afraid to fight the best. After coming out of retirement and running through her tune-up fight with flying colors, she’s set to return against fellow grappling ace Ketlen Vieira. Look for her to show no fear and attempt to bully her way inside on the taller fighter with smart striking and accurate takedowns to force a fight.
Ketlen Vieira: Ketlen Vieira started off very well in the UFC, sprinting through her first 10 opponents in an impressive fashion. However, she’s lost 2 of her last 3 fights, both of which she was listed as the favorite to win. In facing Tate, she is also facing by far her most elite opponent, at least on paper. Tate is highly skilled but father time is cruel, and there is always the chance that the battles of the past start to wear on Tate. As for Vieira, she’s a tall, long, well-rounded grappler. Look for her to play patiently, seeking submission opportunities while biding time striking at range.
Prediction: Ketlen Vieira by KO/TKO. Before the reschedule, I was confident Tate was a shoo-in. Now, however, I’m not so sure. Fighters and especially veteran fighters, who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 have consistently had stamina issues in fights following their recovery, and I can’t think Tate is magically going to be an exception.
HOW TO WATCH: Live on ESPN+ on November 20, 2021 at 4:00 PM ET.
Note: All information is accurate as of October 27, 2021.