A Few Fights to Look Forward To
Many of us are saddened that the summer season is about to conclude. The opportunity to take a trip to the beach or lay out in the backyard by the pool and bbq is something we all cherish, but even though fall is fast approaching that doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot to look forward to. For those of us who are parents this time of the year means our kids will be returning to school! The one thing that the cooler weather doesn’t effect is the exciting cards and fights that we have to look forward to.
I was originally going to lead off with UFC 151 and the main event which featured 25-year-old light heavyweight champion defending his title against 41-year-old former Pride and Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson, but that has been cancelled. With that being said we still have some really good bouts ahead of us. Everyone has their own particular preference in what type of fights they like to watch, but at the end of the day we want to see two guys go in that cage and give it all they have. Let’s take a look at some of the fights that have the fans and the media buzzing right now.
Because there are so many interesting match-ups I am going to focus on the PPV cards for this article and then come up with another list for the UFC on FX, UFC on Fox and UFC on Fuel TV cards next week.
UFC 152- Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson- To Crown the 1st UFC Flyweight Champion:
Wow, that’s the best one word description I could come up with for this fight. Benavidez and Johnson have both contended for a bantamweight championship (Benavidez in the WEC, Johnson in the UFC) and lost to Dominick Cruz. Benavidez flattened Yasuhiro Urushitani to earn his shot at the 125lb. title and Johnson defeated Ian McCall by unanimous decision in their second fight after the first fight was ruled a draw. This bout has the potential to leave fans dizzy! It’s one of a few fights on this card that I am looking forward to.
UFC 152- Michael Bisping vs. Brian Stann- Middleweights:
Bisping believes that a win over Stann entitles him to a shot at Anderson Silva and the UFC Middleweight Championship. The outspoken Brit has always been his biggest fan, but if he claims an impressive enough victory the UFC could reward him with a title bout. Stann is coming off a first round knockout win over Alessio Sakara and a win over Bisping would be impressive and move him up the middleweight rankings. Stann has serious power in his hands and it will be interesting to see if he can catch Bisping and put him to sleep.
UFC 153: Erick Silva vs. Jon Fitch- Welterweights:
This has everything to do with gauging Silva’s progress and nothing to do with wanting to watch Fitch fight!! Silva has looked like a future contender in his short time with the organization. He needed just 40 seconds to dispatch Luis Ramos at UFC 134 and was about to put Carlo Prater out at UFC 142, but was disqualified (Unjustly in my opinion). After that he scored a submission of the night victory over Charlie Brenneman in June. Fitch may not be exciting, but he’s still a tough fight for anyone and it’ll be interesting to see how Silva responds to the step up in competition.
UFC 153- Quinton Jackson vs. Glover Teixeira- Light Heavyweights:
Will this really be Rampage’s last stand? Will he be a sacrificial lamb and help Teixeira become the star everyone believes he can be? Or will Jackson spoil the UFC’s plans and leave the organization a winner? Jackson has lost two in a row and looked awful in his loss to Ryan Bader at UFC 144 in Japan. He came in overweight and blamed it on knee problems which he recently had surgery on. Teixeira meanwhile made his long awaited UFC debut against Kyle Kingsbury at UFC 146 and dominated the TUF veteran. He has won 16 fights in a row and is considered a real threat to the division’s top fighters. It’ll be interesting to see which Rampage shows up.
UFC 154- Johny Hendricks vs. Martin Kampmann- Welterweight Title Eliminator????
Both men have been on a nice run. Hendricks has won four in a row and in the process became only the second man to have defeated both Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch, the other being Georges St. Pierre. Kampmann plays the role of the comeback kid well and has won three in a row. He has been on the brink of defeat in his last two bouts against Thiago Alves and Jake Ellenberger, but persevered and came out on top each time. Hendricks hits hard and Kampmann can take a punch! Hendricks has the wrestling pedigree while Kampmann has better submissions. The winner should get a shot at the welterweight title in their next fight.
UFC 154- GSP (Champion) vs. Carlos Condit (Interim Champion) Undisputed UFC Welterweight Championship:
It’ll be nearly 19 months since St. Pierre last competed when he steps inside the Octagon to face Carlos Condit to unify the welterweight titles. Condit himself hasn’t fought since February when he defeated Nick Diaz at UFC 143 to capture the interim title. He has been criticized for waiting for GSP to return rather than defending the interim championship. The big question here is how will GSP perform after such a long layoff and undergoing serious knee surgery? If he comes in and fights like we know he can he is the clear favorite, but Condit is a smart, tough fighter who will take advantage of any opening he sees. The Montreal fans are going to be rabid and a boisterous crowd always seems to make the fight more exciting.
UFC 155- Cain Velasquez (Challenger) vs. JDS (Champion)- UFC Heavyweight Championship:
The former champion faces the man he lost the title to just 13 months earlier. Velasquez looked like a man possessed when he bludgeoned Antonio Silva at UFC 146 and seemed to be sending a message that he was back to his old self. Dos Santos was equally impressive as he knocked Frank Mir out in the second round of his first title defense. Velasquez knows he needs to get this fight to the ground; Dos Santos is just too quick and has too much power to try and stand with him. No one has truly tested Dos Santos’ ground game, but you better believe we will see whether or not he can stuff Cain’s takedowns and whether or not he can get back to his feet should Velasquez find a way to put him on his back. I have a feeling this won’t be the last fight between the two.
UFC 155- Joe Lauzon vs. Gray Maynard: Lightweights
Lauzon is never in a boring fight and Maynard is probably still pissed about the way his bout with Clay Guida went down. This is a tough fight to call. Maynard has better wrestling and more power, but Lauzon is great off of his back and can pull of a submission from just about anywhere. I love these types of fights where you can truly expect the unexpected. Maynard wants another shot at the lightweight title and with Edgar out of the picture for the time being he isn’t that far off. Lauzon likes to collect bonus checks and he has a great opportunity to bring another one home here.