10 Fights We Would Love to See on UFC on Fox Sports 1 Card
On August 17, the SPEED network is being rebranded as Fox Sports 1, and the bad boys from the UFC are throwing them a housewarming party with the oddly-named UFC on Fox Sports 1 1.
Currently, only two matchups have been reported for the Boston card. Welterweights Thiago Alves and Matt Brown will meet (according to MMAJunkie.com) and on Monday, it was announced by MMAweekly.com that Joe Lauzon will return home to meet Ultimate Fighter runner-up Michael Johnson.
Sounds like Joe Silva and Co. have some work to do. Thankfully, we are here to make his job a little easier. Here is a look at 10 fights we would love to see on the UFC on Fox Sports 1 card.
Authors Note: There are a lot of big-name matchups listed in this slideshow. By no means are we suggesting that all of these fights should be booked on the event. However, any of these pairings would make our anticipatory saliva begin to roll down our chin.
Matt Grice vs. Nam Phan
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At UFC 157, Matt Grice and Dennis Bermudez electrified audiences with the first true contender for 2013's Fight of the Year. The featherweights went toe-to-toe in a test of tremendous heart and endurance which Grice lost via razor-thin decision.
Pairing up Grice with an exciting foe who is willing to engage is a must, and I can't think of a single option better than Ultimate Fighter alum Nam Phan.
Despite a paltry 2-4 record inside the Octagon, Phan has become a fan favorite based on his wars with Leonard Garcia and Cole Miller. This kind of scrap would be a great way to kick off the first card on a new network.
Josh Thomson vs. Gilbert Melendez
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Speaking of surefire wars, there are few pairings in MMA history that can be repeatedly made and remain thrilling each and every time. One of those rarities comes between Strikeforce champions Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thomson.
On three occasions, these lightweights have gone five full rounds and not once have they disappointed a single member of the audience. Considering that their rubber match ended via split decision, a fourth fight is certainly not out of the question.
Melendez recently lost a split decision in a bid for the UFC championship. Meanwhile, on the same card, Thomson knocked out recent title contender Nate Diaz. As the No. 1 and No. 4 contenders, respectively, Melendez and Thomson are perfect for the August card.
Eddie Alvarez vs. Donald Cerrone
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Keep in mind that this is a list of fights that we would love to see. It doesn't necessarily mean that all of the fights have to be likely to occur.
Eddie Alvarez is a top name in the MMA world who is currently engaged in a bitter lawsuit against Bellator Fighting Championship. "Cowboy" Cerrone is the No. 5 contender who is scheduled to compete at the end of this month against K.J. Noons.
There is a beacon of hope that this fight could happen in August. Should Viacom finally recognize the negative impact of their lawsuit against Alvarez and decide to drop it, the former champion would have three months to prepare for his Octagon debut. Plus, Cerrone is one of the most active fighters in the sport and has competed with less than a three-month turnaround six times since 2010.
Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva
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Long-rumored as the headliner for UFC on Fox Sports 1, Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva has yet to be booked, despite Sonnen's best efforts.
Sonnen and Silva are two of the biggest names that the sport has ever known. Both men are winding down their careers and with little hope of ever receiving a UFC title shot before retirement, neither seems to want to make the cut to 185 pounds anymore.
Travis Browne vs. Roy Nelson
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Just because Daniel Cormier and Roy Nelson have exchanged words does not mean that "DC" is the best opponent for "Big Country" at the moment.
Nelson is a knockout artist with a granite chin and is also very capable on the ground. With five fight night bonuses to his credit, his talents should not be wasted in a matchup against an opponent who recently hugged his way to victory against Frank Mir.
Instead, the TUF coach should meet Travis Browne, a ranked heavyweight with a similar tendency to finish fights in the first round. Most recently, Browne knocked out Gabriel Gonzaga with vicious elbows in only 71 seconds.
Brian Stann vs. Brandon Vera
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Brian Stann might say that his return to the light heavyweight division was only for one fight against Wanderlei Silva, but the Marine will take the fights that make the most sense for his career.
Right now, Stann needs to get back on track following losses in three of his last four contests. It is important that he meet an opponent who is willing to remain standing so he can employ his powerful striking and put on an entertaining affair.
Who better to meet Stann that fellow struggling-striker Brandon Vera?
Vera last competed in August, where he put on a thrilling performance against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in what could have been the best showing of his career. Ultimately, the muay thai machine came up short, but his resilience in the scrap revitalized his seemingly crashing career.
Martin Kampmann vs. Mike Swick
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At UFC 103, Martin Kampmann and Mike Swick were scheduled to meet in a title-eliminator for the UFC welterweight championship. Unfortunately, Swick was forced to withdraw due to injury and Kampmann was knocked out by late-replacement Paul Daley.
Swick suffered a similar fate two months later when he was upset by British striker Dan Hardy.
Neither fighter has been able to recapture their momentum and earn the long-elusive title shot.
With a combined 30 appearances between them inside the Octagon and similar UFC tenures, this fight is absolutely inevitable. Currently, both fighters are on the heels of a knockout loss at the hands of a dirty brawler. A matchup between these technical equals could prove to be one of the best fights of the year.
Urijah Faber vs. Brad Pickett
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Former WEC champion Urijah Faber has never lost a non-title fight in his entire career. In other words, "The California Kid" has spent his career knocking off several contenders of the UFC bantamweight division.
It is a wonder how Faber has never come into a battle with longtime standout Brad Pickett.
Currently, Faber and Pickett are respectively the No. 2 and No. 5 contenders to the UFC bantamweight championship, and as the highest-ranked fighters who are both unbooked and coming off of a win, the time is now for them to finally collide.
Both men competed in early April and would be ready for an August matchup.
Daniel Cormier vs. Alistair Overeem
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How about this one: The final Strikeforce heavyweight champion against the guy who took his spot in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix and eventually won the whole tournament.
Cormier recently stated that he would love to be a part of this card, and that he will take at least one more fight in the heavyweight division before potentially making the move to light-heavyweight. I can think of none better than Alistair Overeem to meet him
For anyone who witnessed Cormier's UFC debut against Frank Mir, you are by now aware that the Olympian is susceptible to body kicks, as evidenced by the trouble he faced during the final round. Considering that Overeem is a world-class striker with vicious body shots, he poses a serious threat to the wrestler.
The only problem with this booking is the fact that Overeem is coming off of a loss. However, other than Travis Browne and Roy Nelson, "The Reem" is the only unbooked heavyweight who is ranked according to the UFC.
Rich Franklin vs. Michael Bisping
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It is in the UFC's best interests to pursue a solid co-main event that would serve as a headliner in the event that Wanderlei Silva vs. Chael Sonnen doesn't come to fruition.
Rich Franklin wants to fight Michael Bisping. Considering that the former UFC champion has filled in on multiple occasions in order to save an event, Dana White and co. owe him a favor or two.
"I look at my Twitter and a lot of people talk about Bisping," Franklin told MMA Weekly. "That would be an exciting fight and something the fans would want to see. I'm an exciting fighter, he's an exciting fighter, and we both like to throw down."
The Count is certainly not opposed to a matchup with Franklin, however, he has made it clear (via ESPN.co.uk) that he has no ill-feelings towards the surefire Hall of Famer.
I've always looked up to Rich Franklin, he's an incredible fighter, he's got incredible passion for the sport, we match up well in terms of a fight, and he'd be a tough fight. I'd like to fight him out of respect, he's one of the all-time greats. I've got nothing but respect for Rich, he's a fantastic fighter.
Franklin famously filled in for an injured Tito Ortiz during Season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter. It is the only time that a coach has been replaced mid-season during 17 seasons of the popular reality show.
Once again, "Ace" bailed out Dana White when Vitor Belfort was forced from a UFC 147 scrap with Wanderlei Silva. Despite already being booked against Cung Le at UFC 148, Franklin was willing to travel to Brazil and fight two weeks earlier than he had planned.