6 Must-See Fights Remaining in August
Have the endless weekends of UFC and MMA events started to cause you some domestic grief? Wife mad at the number of fights you are watching as summer beats down to a close? The kids getting taller and bigger each time you come up from your weekly and even daily plunge of combat sports?
Strikeforce will show eight fights on August 18th from San Diego, California. Bellator 73 goes down this month and Ontario fight fans are gearing up for another Score Fighting Series Show on August 25th, in Hamilton.
There are many great fights remaining in the summer (barring injuries) and you can't possibly see every one without ending up alone in a cold dark place, so here are my picks for the top six from these shows for the rest of the month.
Jesse Ronson (10-2) vs Alex Ricci (5-0)
Score Fighting Series 5 - August 25, 2012
For Canadian fight fans this fight is as juicy a striking battle as it gets as former kickboxing champion turned MMA fighting machine Alex Ricci will take on feared Ontario striker Jesse Ronson. Ricci holds an undefeated 5-0 record in MMA and is coming off a quick knockout of Iraj Hadin in March at SFS 4.
Ricci is a lighting fast, top-level striker and has used that to knock out all five of his opponents thus far. His speed and length are a nightmare to handle and not many in Canada are eager to try.
Enter Jesse ``The Body Snatcher`` Ronson, a south-paw out of the famed Adrenaline Training Center who is riding a dominating five-fight winning streak. Ronson is a pin-point, powerful puncher who also has a couple submissions on his resume as well.
Count on these two to put on a real striking clinic before someone goes to sleep for the night in a knockout.
Donald Cerrone (18-4) vs Melvin Guillard (30-10)
UFC 150 - August 11, 2012
Can Melvin Guillard knock out The Cowboy Donald Cerrone? It is the only chance he has against the cooler and more well-rounded Cerrone is to punch him in flurries in hopes that one will find it's mark.
Cerrone has a bigger tool box of striking to choose from than Guillard and he is also a better submission fighter. Guillard has the power-punching edge but I'm not sure that Donald will want to stand in the pocket long enough for Melvin to hit him.
Nevertheless, this fight will be a fun, fast and intriguing dance with major lightweight implications and I see Cerrone coming out on top.
Pat Curran (17-4) vs Patricio Friere (17-1)
Bellator 73 - August 24th, 2012
Bellator Lightweight champion Pat Curran will defend his title later this month against a returning Patricio "Pitbull" Friere. Curran is coming off his masterful highlight-reel knockout of Joe Warren to take the title in March.
Friere lost to Warren in 2010, the only blemish on his record and hasn't fought in over a year. He is riding a three-fight winning streak and will look to blitz and pressure the champion all night
Curran has a large length advantage and should be able to use that to keep The Pitbull at a distance and wasting energy all night. Curran was on his game when he knocked out Warren and I think he will look to get right after his cage-rusty opponent.
This is a title fight and a very interesting matchup. These fighters have very bright futures in this sport and the winner will find himself at the top of the Bellator roster.
Josh Hill (8-0) vs John Fraser (10-3)
Score Fighting Series 5 - August 25th, 2012
In a true case of the old guard going up against the next big thing, Ontario veteran fighter John Fraser has been at the top of the Canadian bantamweight heap for many years now.
Young phenom Josh Hill is the next big thing in the division with an impressive 8-0 record in his professional career. These two were bound to meet at some point and the time is now for Hill to really see where he stands in his young career.
Fraser has been in the cage with the best in his weight class and more often than not he comes out on top. His slick and relentless wrestling and submission game are top-notch and he is a threat from everywhere on the feet and on the ground.
Hill is a superbly quick athlete, with endless cardio and decent compact striking. He is coming off a dominant win over Eric Wilson in March.
Fraser has not lost in three years and beat an over-matched Travis Reddinger in front of his hometown crowd in December of last year.
These two will get after each other hard and fast and I'm not sure if Hill is ready for the submission game of Fraser.
Ronda Rousey (5-0) vs Sarah Kaufman (15-1)
Strikeforce Rousey vs Kaufman - August 18th, 2012
Starting with her surprising and dominant win over then-champion Meisha Tate in March, Ronda Rousey has made quite a name for herself over the past few months. She will look to continue that momentum by defeating Canada's top female MMA fighter and 15-1 professional Sarah Kaufman.
Kaufman also has a win over Tate in 2010, and the only loss on her record came to Marloes Coenen later that year. Since that loss she has gone on a three-fight winning streak including convincing wins over Alexis Davis and Liz Carmouche.
Rousey will again look to use her size and strength to control Kaufman's striking game by staying in tight and smothering her all night. Rousey has size, strength and wrestling on her side and Kaufman has experience, speed and footwork on hers, and these two will not give an inch come August 18th in San Diego.
In the end, I believe this match will look very similar to the Rousey-Tate fight and despite Kaufman's well-rounded efforts, she will fall to the size and strength game and Rousey will defend the title.
Benson Henderson (16-2) vs Frankie Edgar (14-2)
UFC 150 - August 11, 2012
The long-awaited and much-anticipated rematch is here as Benson Henderson will defend the lightweight title this weekend against the man he took it from in February. It is no secret that the first match was razor-close and many felt that Edgar had done more to win.
Henderson was definitely the bigger and stronger fighter in the first one and Edgar was more active and hung in there every punch of the way. I see there being one significant difference in this fight and it will turn out to be the difference.
Henderson is now the defending champion and has had to deal with all the distractions that come with it since they last met in in Japan. He has been told he is the best and that he dominated the first fight with Edgar.
Meanwhile, Edgar has been criticized and important people were pushing him to move out of the division and move down to featherweight. Who do you think is the hungrier fighter coming in to Saturday night?
Edgar is a 16-2 former champion at lightweight and people don't think he can be successful in the division. But he has proven time and time again that he should not be counted out and he will use every trick and tool in his arsenal to take the belt back.
This fight will be every bit as exciting as the first one.
Dwight Wakabayashi is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report MMA, and guest blogger for Sportsnet.ca.
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