UFC 101: The Best Card Of The Year

Nick ColonSenior Analyst IJuly 31, 2009

CULVER CITY, CA - MAY 30:  UFC fighter Anderson Silva accepts the 'Most Dangerous Man' award onstage during the taping of Spike TV's 2nd Annual 'Guys Choice' Awards held at Sony Studios on May 30, 2008 in Culver City, California.  The show airs on June 22, 2008 at 10PM ET/PT on Spike TV.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

UFC 101 was meant to be a follow-up event to the historic, monumental event known as UFC 100 held in early July.

If fighters fight as they can and if fans throw out the fact that UFC 101 doesn't look phenomenally appealing on paper, then this event could not only wind up being the best MMA event this summer, but of the entire year.

The truth of the matter is that the UFC, and other organizations haven't put on fights this year that have been, well, unforgettable and amazing.

Sure, fights like Brock Lesnar versus Frank Mir and George St. Pierre versus BJ Penn have had the name recognition to promote the events, but when is the last time fans can remember saying, "Wow. This is one of the best fights I've ever seen."

I know that I haven't seen a fight worth talking about since Roger Huerta fought Leonard Garcia, or Clay Guida faced off with Huerta. Those are fights that keep people talking. Those, quite simply, are what make the UFC the UFC.

So, excuse me if some fights on the UFC 101 card don't look as appealing to the natural eye as other stacked events do. Just remember that no one knew who Clay Guida was until you saw him get in the octagon and scrap around with a true fighter like Tyson Griffin.

Want a quick heads up on whom to watch out for in terms of fight quality?

Three fights jump right off the board. Danillo Villefort has great submission skills and they were on display against WEC fighter Mike Campbell. Expect Villefort to come out with the same intensity against UFC newcomer Jesse Lennox, who also looked very sharp in his 2nd Rd. KO win over the WEC's Blas Avena.

Another intriguing bout to watch will be the rematch of Aaron Riley versus Shane Nelson. If fight fans remember correctly, the first bout between the two ended in controversy over a quick referee stoppage in favor of Nelson. If the first fight was any indicator, the rematch should have some fireworks.

A third fight that piques the interest of many fight fans might be the fight between Kendall Grove and Ricardo Almeida. Both need a win very much to continue their rise to the top of the heap known as the Middleweight division.

Grove is on a two fight win streak that was much needed following his UFC 80 loss to Jorge Rivera. The "TUF" product appears to have found the same swagger that led him towards being crowned the TUF Season 3 winner.

Almeida is also on a win streak, albeit a lone win over Matt Horwich at UFN 18 at the beginning of April. Almeida resurrected his career in coming back to the UFC to fight Patrick Cote at UFC 86, but lost a close split decision fight that helped Cote go on to fight Anderson Silva for the Middleweight title at UFC 90.

These three, as well as some other sleeper bouts may shock fans come August 8th.  The shock would be a pleasant one for UFC fans, as Brock Lesnar's saliva just might not be exactly what they will be looking for by the end of this night.