13 Must-See MMA Fights in the Month of August

Tim McTiernanCorrespondent IJuly 30, 2014

13 Must-See MMA Fights in the Month of August

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    August isn't the biggest upcoming month on the calendar for MMA, but there are still some huge fights coming during the month.

    The UFC will hold four events, three of which are Fight Night cards, including two cards on the same day. The UFC's final event of the month will be a Pay-Per-View featuring two title fights.

    In addition to the UFC events, there will also be events held by the World Series of Fighting, ONE Fighting Championships and many more.

    Let's take a look at 13 must-see fights for the upcoming month of August.

Ryan Bader vs. Ovince St. Preux: UFC Fight Night 47

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    The main event of UFC Fight Night 47 features a light heavyweight matchup between The Ultimate Fighter season-eight winner, Ryan Bader, taking on the surging Strikeforce veteran, Ovince St. Preux.

    Bader will be coming into the fight on a two-fight win streak, having scored decisions over Anthony Perosh and Rafael Cavalcante. Overall, Bader is 10-4 in the Octagon with four finishes including three by (T)KO.

    St. Preux is currently riding a five-fight win streak, dating back to his final fight in Strikeforce in August 2012. In the UFC, St. Preux is 4-0 with two wins by submission and one by knockout. He has also earned one Performance of the Night award.

    This fight is big in the light heavyweight division because Bader is ranked No. 8 and St. Preux is No. 10. A win for either one would cement them in the top 10 of the division, which would open up a lot of interesting fights for either one.

    UFC Fight Night 47 takes place on August 16.

Ross Pearson vs. Abel Trujillo: UFC Fight Night 47

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    The co-main event of UFC Fight Night 47 features a lightweight matchup between The Ultimate Fighter season-nine winner, Ross Pearson, and Abel Trujillo.

    Pearson last fought in early June, when Diego Sanchez was awarded a split-decision victory over Pearson. While Pearson did take the loss, Dana White has decided to treat the situation as though Pearson won.

    Pearson last won in April 2013 with a second-round TKO victory over Ryan Couture. Before that, Pearson scored a third-round TKO over George Sotiropoulos. Pearson will look to score another TKO when he faces Trujillo.

    Trujillo is 3-1 [1 NC] in the UFC, although he has won his last two straight, both by (T)KO. In Trujillo's last fight, he scored a second-round knockout of Jamie Varner, which earned him a Knockout of the Night award while both would win Fight of the Night.

    Trujillo has finished his opponent in eight of his 12 wins, and Pearson has finished 10 out of 15 wins. There's a good chance this fight won't make it the full 15 minutes.

Jussier Formiga vs. Zach Makovsky: UFC Fight Night 47

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    This fight will be pretty far down the card on UFC Fight Night 47, but it could be huge in the flyweight division. Jussier Formiga and Zach Makovsky were originally supposed to meet at UFC 176, but after that event was cancelled their fight was moved to this card.

    Formiga has gone 2-2 in his time with the UFC, scoring wins over Chris Cariaso and Scott Jorgensen, with a loss to John Dodson and Joseph Benavidez coming before each of those wins respectively.

    Formiga is currently ranked No. 6 in the division, and as the No. 8-ranked flyweight received the next title shot, and the fact that the champion, Demetrious Johnson, has beaten everyone ranked above Formiga, he could be next in line with a win.

    Makovsky is on a four-fight win streak, including his first two appearances in the Octagon. Makovsky has beaten both Scott Jorgensen and Josh Sampo by unanimous decision, and is ranked No. 9 in the division.

    Makovsky is the former Bellator bantamweight champion and also the former RFA flyweight champion. He would be a marketable contender for Johnson, and Makovsky could earn himself a title shot with a win over Formiga.

Sara McMann vs. Lauren Murphy: UFC Fight Night 47

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    Another fight from UFC Fight Night 47 that may be buried on the card is a women's bantamweight matchup between former Olympian, Sara McMann, and the former Invicta bantamweight champion, Lauren Murphy.

    McMann was last seen at UFC 170 when she took on Ronda Rousey. Rousey would win the fight early in the first round after a knee to the body dropped McMann.

    Prior to that, McMann had gone 7-0 with two submission victories and two TKO victories. She had also won a bantamweight title eliminator in Invicta before signing with the UFC. Her first fight in the Octagon was a TKO victory over Sheila Gaff in just over four minutes.

    Murphy will be making her UFC debut in this fight. Overall, she is 8-0 with six wins by TKO. In fact, she won all of her first five fights by TKO. Her sixth TKO came in the fourth round of her fight for the Invicta bantamweight title against Miriam Nakamoto.

    Now she makes her move to the UFC, and a win over the No. 4-ranked bantamweight would be huge for Murphy, and could even earn her the next title shot. The same goes for McMann, as a big win could give her a chance to prove that the Rousey fight was a fluke.

Michael Bisping vs. Cung Le: UFC Fight Night 48

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    On August 23, the UFC goes to Macau, China for Fight Night 48: Bisping vs. Le. The main event features a middleweight bout between No. 8 ranked, Michael Bisping, and former Strikeforce middleweight champion, Cung Le.

    Bisping has been inconsistent since 2011, having gone 2-3 in his last five fights, alternating losses and wins. He has dropped bouts to Chael Sonnen and Tim Kennedy by decision, and one to Vitor Belfort by knockout. He has earned wins over Brian Stann and Alan Belcher, both by decision.

    Le last fought in November 2012 when he scored a Knockout of the Night victory over former middleweight champ, Rich Franklin. Prior to that, Le earned a unanimous decision over Patrick Cote in July 2012.

    Le doesn't fight often, but he takes fights that are likely to be exciting. This match with Bisping will be no different. Both fighters are more than comfortable on the feet, and there's a good chance this one ends with a knockout.

Tyron Woodley vs. Dong Hyun Kim: UFC Fight Night 48

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    The co-main event of Fight Night 48 features a very interesting matchup in the welterweight division between the former Strikeforce title challenger, Tyron Woodley, and the rapidly improving Dong Hyun Kim.

    Woodley last fought at UFC 174 in June when he dropped a unanimous decision to Rory MacDonald. Prior to that he had knocked out Josh Koscheck and scored a TKO by leg kicks against Carlos Condit. In fact, all three of Woodley's wins since joining the UFC have come by knockout.

    Kim last fought in March, when he scored a knockout by spinning back elbow over John Hathaway. Before that, Kim knocked out Erick Silva, and before that he scored unanimous-decision victories over Siyar Bahadurzada and Paulo Thiago.

    These two have explosive power, and when you also consider Woodley's wrestling credentials and Kim's judo, this has the makings of an exciting fight wherever it ends up.

Benson Henderson vs. Rafael Dos Anjos: UFC Fight Night 49

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    In the main event of UFC Fight Night 49, former lightweight champion, Benson Henderson, will face off against the No. 5-ranked lightweight, Rafael dos Anjos.

    Henderson last fought in June, when he earned a Performance of the Night award for his fourth-round submission over Rustam Khabilov. In the fight before that, Henderson earned a split decision over Josh Thomson.

    Inside the Octagon, Henderson is 9-1 with eight wins by decision, one by submission and has earned two Fight of the Night awards. He is a tough out for anybody, and that will be no different for dos Anjos.

    Dos Anjos has been with the UFC since 2008, and has racked up a 10-5 record in that time. He cemented himself as a threat in the division starting in 2012 when he won three straight over Kamal Shalorus, Anthony Njokuani and Mark Bocek. In 2013, Dos Anjos beat Evan Dunham and current No. 4 lightweight, Donald Cerrone.

    A fight against a former UFC champion will be the biggest of Dos Anjos' career, and for Henderson it is a chance to get people thinking about another title shot.

Demian Maia vs. Mike Pyle: UFC Fight Night 49

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    The third fight on the main card of Fight Night 49 features a welterweight matchup between one of the best grapplers on the planet, Demian Maia, and the former WEC welterweight champion, Mike Pyle.

    Maia has done rather well for himself since dropping to welterweight. He won his first three fights over Dong Hyun Kim, Rick Story and Jon Fitch, before dropping two straight decisions to Jake Shields and Rory MacDonald. He got back to his winning ways in late May with a unanimous decision over Alexander Yakovlev.

    Pyle is currently ranked No. 13 in the division as he's close to the top 10, but has been unable to crack it. He is 9-4 in the UFC, but he has dropped important fights against Matt Brown, Rory MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger, while beating guys like Rick Story and TJ Waldburger.

    This fight gives Maia a chance to get on track with a win over a solid competitor in the division, while it gives Pyle another opportunity to prove he is elite within the division.

Mirko Cro Cop vs. Satoshi Ishii: Inoki Genome Fight 2

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    On August 23, former Pride Openweight Grand Prix champion, Mirko Cro Cop will face off against the former Olympian, Satoshi Ishii in Japan.

    Cro Cop's last MMA fight came in November 2013, where he lost by submission to Oleksiy Oliynyk, who recently won his first UFC fight with the same submission. Prior to that, Cro Cop had fought in December 2012, where he won by submission.

    Cro Cop has had two kickboxing matches in 2014. The first was a decision loss to Remy Bonjasky in March, and the second was a decision win over Jarrell Miller in June.

    Ishii is a sixth dan in Judo, has a brown belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu and won a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics for judo. In his MMA career, he is 12-2-1 and has been fighting since 2009.

    Ishii has won seven fights by decision, four by submission and one by TKO. He has fought and defeated many notable opponents, including Phil De Fries, Jeff Monson, Sean McCorkle, Ikuhisa Minowa, Pedro Rizzo and former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia. Ishii also faced Fedor Emelianenko, but was knocked out inside of two-and-a-half minutes.

    Anybody who is a fan of Cro Cop is definitely going to want to check this one out, and as Ishii is only 27 years old, he could become someone to know in the near future.

Nobutatsu Suzuki vs. Ben Askren: ONE FC 19

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    On August 29 at ONE FC 19, Ben Askren will have his second fight since leaving Bellator, when he takes on Nobutatsu Suzuki with the ONE FC welterweight title on the line.

    Askren's Bellator contract expired following a fourth-round TKO victory over Andrey Koreshkov and Askren would move on to ONE FC. He won his first fight with a submission in the first round, and he called out Suzuki for a title fight. Now he gets his chance.

    Suzuki has racked up a record of 11-1-2, with the lone loss coming from a UFC veteran, Keita Nakamura. Suzuki has already had two fights with ONE FC. In his first, he scored a first-round TKO over Phil Baroni, and he won the title in his second, with a unanimous decision over Brock Larson.

    Askren isn't always the most exciting fighter, but if anyone wanted to follow him after his time with Bellator, you'd better be sure not to miss this fight.

Shinya Aoki vs. Kamal Shalorus: ONE FC 19

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    In the co-main event of ONE FC 19, Shinya Aoki will look to defend his lightweight title against the UFC veteran, Kamal Shalorus.

    Aoki won the title in his second fight with ONE FC. His first was a first-round technical submission over Arnaud Lepont, and his second was a second-round submission over Kotetsu Boku to win the title.

    Aoki dropped to featherweight for his next fight—which he won by unanimous decision—but returns to lightweight to defend his title against Shalorus.

    Shalorus was cut from the UFC in 2012 after losing three straight, and being finished in all three. Since then, he has had two fights with ONE FC, both decision victories, over Eduard Folayang and Ariel Sexton.

    This fight may not have much casual appeal, but who doesn't love to watch Aoki fight?

T.J. Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao: UFC 177

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    At UFC 177, the rematch that nobody wanted takes place, as TJ Dillashaw looks to defend his bantamweight title against the man he took it from, Renan Barao.

    Dillashaw won the title with a fifth-round TKO over Renan Barao in a fight that Dillashaw entirely dominated. Dillashaw won both Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night for his efforts in that bout, and proved to the world that he was the best bantamweight in the world. 

    Prior to that fight, Dillashaw had beaten Mike Easton by unanimous decision, and before that, he had a Fight of the Night with Raphael Assuncao, which Assuncao would take by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).

    Barao dropped the fight to Dillashaw at UFC 173, but before that fight, Barao had been on a 33-fight unbeaten streak, with 32 wins and one no contest. 

    He first won the interim bantamweight title at UFC 149 with a unanimous decision over Urijah Faber. He would defend the interim title twice, first with a fourth-round submission over Michael McDonald and then with a second round TKO of Eddie Wineland. He was later promoted to undisputed champion, a title which he defended once with a first-round TKO of Urijah Faber.

    This fight was incredibly exciting the first time, it is almost sure to be more exciting when it happens again.

Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso: UFC 177

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    In the co-main event of UFC 177, Demetrious Johnson will look to defend his title for a fifth time against No. 8-ranked Chris Cariaso.

    Johnson has been unstoppable at flyweight, with his only blemish being a majority draw with Ian McCall in Johnson's first fight in the division. He would beat McCall by unanimous decision in an immediate rematch, and then he would go on to win the inaugural flyweight title with a split decision over Joseph Benavidez.

    Johnson has now defended the title four times, with decisions over John Dodson and Ali Bagautinov, a submission of John Moraga and a knockout of Joseph Benavidez. The top-five fighters in the division have all lost to Johnson.

    Cariaso is 4-2 in the flyweight division, but has won his last three in a row. In October 2013 he scored a TKO over Iliarde Santos and then he scored two decision victories in 2014, first over Danny Martinez and then over Louis Smolka.

    Even if most people assume that Johnson will easily defend his title, he has been extremely exciting as of late, and you're not going to want to miss this fight.