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UFC 148: Silva-Sonnen II and the 6 Most Anticipated Fights of the Summer

Matthew RyderFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2016

UFC 148: Silva-Sonnen II and the 6 Most Anticipated Fights of the Summer

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    With UFC 148 now only a week away, hosting the most anticipated rematch in the history of MMA in Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen II, there’s plenty to talk about in the world of caged combat.

    Fans are enthusiastically looking forward to this one, but they’re not overlooking several other big fights happening this summer.

    Here are some of the biggest fights to look forward to.

UFC 148: Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz

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    Neither guy is as good as they once were, and the fight in and of itself is more or less irrelevant to the rankings at 205.

    Still, the first two meetings between Forrest Griffin and Tito Ortiz were underrated by most fans, and this could be their last hurrah.

    Griffin has grown increasingly disillusioned with being punched in the face for a living, while Ortiz has already stated that this is the end of the line for him.

    Nevertheless, for one more night, these two stars will bring the best out of one another and will settle the score once and for all.

UFC 149: Hector Lombard vs. Tim Boetsch

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    The man that many have suggested is the best 185-pound fighter in the world not named Anderson Silva will make his UFC debut a little earlier than initially expected.

    Hector Lombard, originally slated to fight Brian Stann at UFC on FOX 4 in August, will now have a chance to show the world what he’s made of against rugged Tim Boetsch.

    People are excited about Lombard, and Dana White has said he has a good chance at fighting for a title in his second UFC appearance if he looks good in a win against Boetsch.

    This is the most interesting free agent to join the world’s biggest promotion in a long time, and there’s significant anticipation for his debut in Calgary.

UFC 149: Urijah Faber vs. Renan Barao

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    When bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz was felled by a knee injury and forced to pull out of a defense against Faber, what was initially expected to be the other serious grudge match at UFC 148 became an interim title fight between two guys who could care less about one another.

    Barao stepped in and the fight was moved to UFC 149 to headline.

    People can say what they want, but the only true proven commodity in terms of marketability to come from the WEC to this point is Faber. People like the guy, and will pay to watch him fight.

    In Barao, he’s going to see a flashy, explosive opponent who absolutely should not be counted out despite some questions about opponent quality during his 28-fight unbeaten streak.

    Cruz-Faber III had intrigue and promised to be a more technical fight, but this one is probably more likely to be exciting.

UFC on FOX 4: Shogun Rua vs. Brandon Vera

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    With the feud between Dana White and Shogun Rua having cooled off, the affable Brazilian will take to the cage to headline a show on FOX against the obviously overmatched Brandon Vera.

    It’s probably going to be fun to watch, what with two strikers going toe-to-toe until one man goes down, but it’s only happening because Rua wouldn’t fight Glover Teixeira. Regardless, it should be interesting to see how he shows up in his first fight since White so publicly criticized him.

    Truthfully, Vera has done nothing to earn this opportunity and is among the biggest dud prospects in the history of MMA. If he wins this it will undeniably be the best thing he’ll ever accomplish in the sport. If he loses, it’s almost guaranteed that he’ll do so in incredible fashion simply based on the style of the matchup.

    That definitely has people anticipating the fight.

UFC 150: Benson Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar

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    After a hotly contested first meeting, Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar will meet once again to decide the lightweight title. The first fight was a close one, and this is likely to run much the same course.

    In Edgar, the UFC was finally developing a 155-pound star to fill the void left by BJ Penn. Built on the back of his thrashing of the Hawaiian and epic 2011 fights with Gray Maynard, the scrappy Jersey boy was earning a following.

    That is, until Henderson, a hulking lightweight with an unorthodox skill set, happened.

    The book is out on immediate rematches and whether or not they’re good for the sport. Either way, this one has fan interest piqued.

UFC 151: Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson

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    If Labour Day marks the official end of summer, that weekend will also provide the final anticipated fight of the summer when Jon Jones defends his light heavyweight strap against the timeless Dan Henderson.

    Jones, never good at avoiding hate at the best of times, will take to the cage for the first time since he landed in some legal trouble for a DUI—a particularly damaging incident for a young champion many accuse of being sanctimonious and holier-than-thou a lot of the time.

    Henderson, 42 years old by fight time, has enjoyed a career resurgence in the past couple of years and is seen as the ultimate foil to the man he’ll challenge. He's classy, authentic, humble and battle-tested.

    People can’t wait to see what Jones will do next inside the cage, others can’t wait to hate on him some more. In the midst of it all is the incredible story of Henderson aging like fine wine and trying to capture the only major promotional title ever to elude him.

    A great way to cap off the summer.

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