Fedor Emelianenko's Debut Headlines a Month Filled with Questions

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Fedor Emelianenko's Debut Headlines a Month Filled with Questions

Remember when everyone thought August was going to be the greatest month in the history of Mixed Martial Arts, with Affliction: Trilogy, two UFC shows, WEC 42 and the Cyborg-Carano showdown?

The actual events couldn't compete with the pre-fight hype; Affliction folded, Miguel Torres and Gina Carano fell in the first round of their respective fights and UFC cards registered somewhere between solid and unspectacular.

Flying somewhat under the radar, the month of November offers four major events that have the potential to deliver some outstanding fights. These fights have the potential to answer some questions about the sport and some of it's biggest stars heading into 2010.

WILL STRIKEFORCE AND FEDOR BE A SUCCESS ON CBS?

In the aftermath of Affliction's demise, the Fedor Emelianenko sweepstakes became a major story, with Strikeforce eventually emerging as the winner and new home of the best heavyweight on the planet.

Now, the San Jose-based organization and the best fighter casual fans have never heard of are set to debut on CBS, headlining a card full of entertaining fights that could potentially catapult the company into full-fledge competition with the UFC.

While CBS has had success with their previous ventures into Mixed Martial Arts, the greatest of those successes came with Kimbo Slice, a fighter far more well-known to North Americans and the general public than Fedor. As sad as that sounds, it is the truth.

Hardcore fans are going to tune in for a chance to watch Fedor fight—and for free at that—isn't something to be passed up.

However, the success of this event and whether Strikeforce makes a second appearance on the network relies more on the casual fans, which is why Emelianenko and his opponent, Brett Rogers, were at the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns game over the weekend. They made an appearance in the CBS NFL studio.

A strong showing will have Strikeforce back in prime time in 2010, while likely increasing the UFC's continuing push for a network deal of their own. But if Fedor and company can't top Kimbo, say goodbye to Strikeforce on CBS.

WHAT ABOUT THE FIGHTS?

Lost amongst the continual discussions about the marketing and promotion of the Nov. 7 event, the fights themselves have taken somewhat of a backseat despite being less than a week away.

In addition to seeing arguably the greatest fighter the sport has ever known, fans will be able to watch emerging superstar Gegard Mousasi battle Sokoudjou, a fight that would have taken place in the DREAM Super Hulk tournament had Mousasi not been injured.

While the main event and Mousasi fights have been garnering the most attention, expect the Middleweight title fight between Jake Shields and Jason "Mayhem" Miller to challenge for Fight of the Night honors.

WHO HAS MORE TO PROVE: COUTURE OR VERA?

A week after Strikeforce hits network television from Chicago, UFC 105 will air free on Spike via tape delay from England. It will be headlined by Randy "The Natural" Couture's return to the Light Heavyweight division.

As great as his fight with Antonio Rodgrigo Nogueira was at UFC 102 in Portland, Couture still came out on the losing end.

Now, after two straight loses, the 46-year-old "Natural" drops down to 205 in an attempt to once again ascend to the top of the division and a third run as Light Heavyweight champ.

While Couture is seeking to prove to himself that he can still compete at the highest level despite his oft-mentioned advanced age, his opponent, Brandon Vera, will be looking to further prove himself to the UFC brass by earning the biggest win of his once-promising career.

WILL MIKE BROWN FINALLY GET SOME RESPECT?

Sandwiched between two UFC events and lacking even a sliver of marketing and promotions push being offered to Fedor's Strikeforce debut, WEC 44 rolls into Las Vegas for a Wednesday night card that will surely end up being the highlight of the month.

Headlining the event is a Featherweight title fight between champion Mike Brown and Jose Aldo. For all his success, Brown remains a chronically under-appreciated fighter.

Despite a 10 fight winning streak and two successful title defenses, Brown is still dogged by "what ifs" from his two victories over Urijah Faber.

Aldo is an extremely athletic and talented fighter, with his flying knee knockout of Cub Swanson serving as one of the Knockouts of the Year, and certainly will not be taken lightly by the champion.

Should Brown emerge victorious, what more will he have to do to finally silence the last of his critics?

HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BUY UFC 106?

Love him or hate him, Brock Lesnar is pay-per-view gold for the UFC.

Those who love him drop $50 to see him overwhelm his opponents, while those who hate him dig into their pockets in hope that the man standing across from him will be the one to take the title from around his massive waist and vanquish him for the sport for all eternity.

While Lesnar won't be leaving the sport any time soon, he also won't be taking part in his scheduled title defense at UFC 106. The heavyweight champion pulled out of the match earlier in the week, leaving Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin to headline the event in his place.

Lesnar's presence guaranteed this event 600,000 buys; left to be carried on the shoulders of a fighter making his return after more than a year on the shelf and an opponent last seen running from the ring after a disheartening loss. Anything in the area of 350,000 buys should be considered a success.

With four major events spread across three different organizations in the span of 21 days, the last question that remains is whether it will be a November to remember for fight fans?

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