With a few weeks to cool off after a stretch of four events in four straight weeks, the UFC is getting set to end the year in style with six events in the final two months.
Over the course of the next few months, we’re set to go from a fight card that starts at 9 AM on Fuel TV to the always entertaining UFC year end card featuring almost two PPVs worth of quality fights.
Things are going to get interesting, as this is the most promising lineup of events the UFC has thrown together all year.
We get the return of Georges St-Pierre, the UFC’s first trip to China, the crowning of three new Ultimate Fighters and a three title fights, including a heavyweight rematch between current champ Junior dos Santos and former champ Cain Velasquez.
The next few weeks without a UFC event will be tough for some fans to deal with, but when UFC on Fuel 6 kicks off in early November, it will start an awesome eight-week stretch to be a fight fan.
When: December 14
Notable Fights: Ross Pearson vs. George Sotiropoulos, Hector Lombard vs. Rousimar Palhares, TUF Smashes Tournament Finals, Chad Mendes vs. Hacran Dias
The night before the U.S. version of TUF crowns the champion of it’s 16th season, the inaugural season of the UK vs Australia-based TUF Smashes will produce its first two winners.
It’s likely that the tournament finals in both the welterweight and lightweight divisions will be featured on the main card of the show, and with recent FX lineups only featuring four fights on the televised portion of the show, that gives half of the show to four fighters that have never fought in the Octagon or been on U.S. television.
Even with the two TUF finals on the card, this is a must-see event, if only due to the incredibly fun matchup between Hector Lombard and Rousimar Palhares.
Both fighters are coming off of losses in bouts with serious title implications, and a loss here is going to send one of the most explosive fighters in the division free falling down the middleweight ladder.
The headliner falls a bit flat here with George Sotiropoulos and Ross Pearson both sitting far outside of title contention, but it makes sense for the UFC to highlight the coaches of the show in the main event.
When: November 11
Notable Fights: Rich Franklin vs. Cung Le, Thiago Silva vs. Stanislav Nedkov, Dong Hyun Kim vs. Paulo Thiago, Mac Danzig vs. Takanori Gomi
The UFC’s first trip to China may not have the strongest card from top to bottom, but there are a few fights that are definitely worth checking out.
The main event between Rich Franklin and Cung Le doesn’t exactly propel the winner into title contention in the middleweight division, but it’s almost guaranteed to be an action-packed bout that could easily end up a fight of the year candidate.
The rest of the card has been filled in with a number of intriguing fights, with the co-headliner featuring Thiago Silva looking to get his first win since August of 2009 when he takes on Stanislav Nedkov.
Also on the card is a tough lightweight bout between Mac Danzig and Takanori Gomi and an interesting welterweight matchup between Paulo Thiago and Dong Hyun Kim.
When: December 15
Notable Fights: Shane Carwin vs. Roy Nelson, Pat Barry vs. Shane Del Rosario, Jonathan Brookins vs. Dustin Poirier, TUF 16 Tournament Final
As the ratings for the current season of The Ultimate Fighter continue to disappoint, it appears the UFC is going to finally make the reality show mean something at December’s finale.
This is the first TUF finale in quite sometime that has an undercard filled with fighters already signed by the promotion and won’t be filled in with cast members from the show, so the two fighters that make the finale may be the only ones who earn a contract with the UFC.
Besides a suddenly relevant tournament final, this card also features the fight between the coaches of the show with Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin in the main event, in a five-round battle between two of the toughest fighters to finish in the heavyweight division.
Throw in exciting fights in Pat Barry vs. Shane Del Rosario and Dustin Poirier vs. Jonathan Brookins, and this could be one of the most fun FX cards we’ve had all year.
When: November 17
Notable Fights: Georges St-Pierre vs. Carlos Condit, Johny Hendricks vs. Martin Kampmann, Tom Lawlor vs. Francis Carmont, Mark Bocek vs. Rafael Dos Anjos
After the UFC 151 debacle earlier this year, you would think the promotion would take a few more precautions and make sure there is a legitimate co-headliner in place for a PPV card.
For some reason, that didn’t happen here, and if either Georges St-Pierre or Carlos Condit get hurt close to fight time, the UFC could have a huge problem on their hands.
The co-main event between Martin Kampmann and Johny Hendricks is an extremely important fight, and the winner is likely going to get a chance at either GSP or Condit in the near future, but there’s no chance that the UFC will be able to use that fight as a backup plan.
The rest of the card is a mix of up-and-coming fighters and mid-tier veterans, which basically forces the entire promotion of the card to center around the return of St-Pierre.
Outside of the top two fights this PPV card may be one of the worst of the year, but with a huge title fight and the return of one of the biggest stars in the sport it remains one of the must-see events of the year.
When: December 8
Notable Fights: Benson Henderson vs. Nate Diaz, Shogun Rua vs. Alexander Gustafsson, BJ Penn vs. Rory MacDonald, Mike Swick vs. Matt Brown, TJ Dillashaw vs. Mike Easton
When the UFC first announced the trilogy of fights that highlight this event, it was obvious they were looking to make the last Fox card of 2012 the biggest of the year so far.
An entertaining scrap between Mike Swick and Matt Brown is set to kick off the main card, and once that fight is over, the high profile bouts take over.
BJ Penn and Rory MacDonald have been going after each other in the media for months now, and tension is likely going to be high by the time these two step into the cage in December. That fight, along with an extremely crucial light heavyweight bout between Shogun Rua and Alexander Gustafsson, spotlight an incredible undercard leading to the main event.
Headlining the card is a title fight in the UFC’s most competitive division, featuring champion Benson Henderson putting his title on the line against Nate Diaz.
This promises to be one of the best fights of the year on an already great night of fights, and UFC on Fox 5 could end up being the must-see event of the winter.
When: December 29
Notable Fights: Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez, Phil Davis vs. Forrest Griffin, Tim Boetsch vs. Chris Weidman, Joe Lauzon vs. Gray Maynard, Alan Belcher vs. Yushin Okami, Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland, Erik Koch vs. Ricardo Lamas
As great as the Fox 5 card is, nothing the UFC has done this year can compare to the lineup they have set for UFC 155.
Headlined by a rematch for the heavyweight title between champion Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez, the card has at least seven fights that could be considered main card-worthy and is easily the most stacked card the UFC has put together all year.
The main card is stacked, with the heavyweight title fight flanked by an intriguing light heavyweight matchup between Forrest Griffin and Phil Davis, along with a middleweight bout featuring one of the brightest young prospects in the sport in Chris Weidman taking on Time Boetsch.
Even before the PPV main card kicks off, we’re basically getting an impromptu FX card with the high quality of fights getting thrown on free TV, likely including guys like Erik Koch, Brad Pickett and Chris Leben.
UFC 155 isn’t just the most stacked card left this year; it’s one of the most stacked cards of all time.