Must-See MMA Fights for the Month of April

Nathan McCarter@McCarterNFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2013

Must-See MMA Fights for the Month of April

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    April is a month full of MMA action.

    Bellator got the action underway on Thursday night with their season finale, but there are plenty of top-quality fights remaining. Invicta FC puts on their fifth show on Friday night, and the UFC has four shows this month.

    It is definitely MMA overload.

    Championships will be defended, contenders and pretenders will be found out, and we will get to witness a slew of exciting fights every weekend this month. It is a great time to be a fan of this sport.

    This is a look at 10 of the must-see fights this month.

No. 10: Bec Hyatt vs. Jasminka Cive

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    You will not have to wait long for this fight as it takes place Friday evening on the Invicta FC 5 main card.

    Jasminka Cive and Bec Hyatt have had a back-and-forth on social media, and Invicta released a good pre-fight video featuring both women earlier in the week. This is a fight with serious heat between two very good strawweights.

    Hyatt is coming off a loss in the inaugural Invicta FC Strawweight Championship bout against Carla Esparza, but she made a lasting impression in the fight.

    Cive has a list of stoppages to her credit.

    With both women wanting to hurt the other, this is a fight you do not want to miss. And it is sandwiched between a litany of other quality female bouts for only $9.95. Check this fight out.

No. 9: The Ultimate Fighter Finale

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    The semi-finals are set and will air next week on FX, but it certainly looks like it will be Josh Samman against Uriah Hall in the finals. I don't think it is coincidence they are the two fighters featured in multiple TV spots during the show.

    Regardless, this has been a very fun season of The Ultimate Fighter.

    No matter which of the four end up on the finale fighting for the contract, you should tune in.

    They have given us quality action week in and week out. It is worth your time to see which middleweight will take down the contract for this season of the show. They earned it.

No. 8: Sara McMann vs. Sheila Gaff

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    UFC 159 will see another women's bantamweight bout under the UFC banner, and highly touted prospect Sara McMann will make her long-awaited debut for the organization.

    Opposite her will be Sheila Gaff.

    Gaff is a solid fighter, but she is a flyweight who is moving up to join the biggest organization in the world. No one can fault her for that decision, but she is definitely fighting an uphill battle against the likes of McMann.

    Simply put, you should tune in to watch the former Olympian.

    If she shows remarkable improvement, she will instantly be a name to watch in the title discussions. The potential of an all-Olympian title fight is appealing. Even more so when you consider it brings along the classic wrestling vs. judo debate.

    McMann's UFC debut will be something you want to make sure you see.

No. 7: Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher

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    This fight might have been higher on the list if both fighters were not coming off losses in the middleweight division.

    Nonetheless, it is a significant fight for the division.

    Michael Bisping will try to rebound from his knockout loss to Vitor Belfort, and Alan Belcher seeks to erase the memory of another lackluster showing against Yushin Okami. No shame in either loss. These are the elite fighters at 185-pounds right now.

    The winner of the bout will jump right back in to the thick of things while the loser will have to re-evaluate where he stands. Two well-rounded veterans who are looking for one last run toward the title.

No. 6: Marcus Brimage vs. Conor McGregor

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    This featherweight fight is unjustly stuck on the Facebook prelims of Saturday's card from Sweden, but you need to find time to watch it early Saturday.

    Marcus Brimage and Conor McGregor bring it. They bring it!

    This is going to be one hell of a fight.

    It won't have a big effect on the divisional rankings as that is currently log-jammed with a who's who, but it is tapped as an early Fight of the Night contender. And rightly so.

    This could be one of the most exciting fights in the entire month, and that is why it lands here. Forget divisional relevance and all the other nonsense. This is just a damn good fight.

No. 5: Frank Mir vs. Daniel Cormier

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    Daniel Cormier is set to make his UFC debut against one of the greatest heavyweights in MMA history, Frank Mir.

    First, this has significant implications in the heavyweight division. Both fighters are highly ranked and former champions: Mir in the UFC and Cormier as the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion.

    Secondly, you should tune in to watch Cormier just in case you never had the opportunity previously. He is an excellent fighter that is about to blow up under the bright lights of the UFC.

    Should Cormier win, he may even drop to light heavyweight and eye a bout against Jon Jones. That fight is significantly more interesting and relevant than a "superfight" with a middleweight. Trust me when I say, you will want to watch Cormier's UFC debut.

No. 4: Nate Diaz vs. Josh Thomson

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    Nate Diaz was unsuccessful in his title bid, and he will return in an exciting bout against Josh Thomson.

    The Bay Area will get to see two local lightweights throw down for their entertainment at UFC on FOX.

    Thomson is making his return to the UFC after more than eight years away from the Octagon. The 34-year-old had a successful run in Strikeforce in that absence.

    This is an important fight for each man and the division. Diaz will want to rebound from the loss, and Thomson has a chance to throw his name in the mix at 155 pounds. And neither will shy away from the fight.

    The stylistic matchup is what makes it exciting. These guys are fighters' fighters. Catch it on FOX.

No. 3: Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen

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    This is a mismatch and we know it is a mismatch, but when one of the greatest fighters is fighting, you need to sit down and watch his brilliance.

    Jon Jones is entering a stage in his career where he demands our attention. Each fight is something special. We are witnessing the greatest light heavyweight fighter in history, and he is only 25 years of age.

    Sonnen will go after Jones, but he is not going to get the job done. Jones is too good.

    Jones' work inside the cage is worth your money. He does not point fight, and he constantly looks for the finish. And he almost always gets the finish he seeks, and in devastating fashion no less. He is a must-watch fighter.

No. 2: Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez

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    Some will undoubtedly argue that this should be the No. 1 fight to watch this month, and I respect that argument. This is an amazing fight between two champions.

    The Strikeforce Lightweight Champion, Gilbert Melendez, will meet the UFC Lightweight Champion, Benson Henderson, to determine the true no. 1 lightweight. That is exciting.

    What makes it even better is that these two guys are simply a joy to watch. All-around fighters who are aggressive.

    What makes it even more special is that we get to see this scrap for free. On FOX. Fantastic.

    There is no excuse to miss this free fight that has so much importance surrounding it. We need to support the lighter weight classes with good ratings. Stay in and contribute.

No. 1: Miesha Tate vs. Cat Zingano

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    The No. 1 fight to watch this month is the battle between Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano.

    It is not main evening The Ultimate Fighter finale, but it should be. The winner will get a double award. They will receive a shot at the UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship, and be the opposing coach to Ronda Rousey on next season's show.

    Also, these two women will put on the best show of the night. When the bell sounds, they will throw down.

    Even the pre-fight and post-fight interviews should be good, regardless of who comes out on top. They can sell the fight and their spot against Rousey. This fight is very interesting no matter which way you slice it.

    The second-ever UFC women's bout needs to deliver, and it will. Make sure you don't miss it.