To close out what has been an explosive year 2010, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is hosting its annual year-end event on New Year’s Day 2011.
UFC 125 will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on January 1st. Currently there aren't any fights scheduled but one can only speculate that UFC matchmaker Joe Silva is planning a massive fight card for the historic event.
In the past, the UFC’s year-end fight cards have been some of the most memorable events that the company has ever produced.
Unfortunately in 2009, their year-end event, UFC 108 was plagued with injuries and despite proving to be an exciting night of fights didn’t quite live up to the “big fight” feel of previous end of year UFC’s.
With that being said, let’s take a look at how Joe Silva should set up this card in order to provide the fans with the ultimate Happy New Year.
The Spike TV “UFC Prelims” special are a great way to draw more interest from casual fans into ordering the Pay-Per-View broadcast.
However, you have to present those casual observers with the most exciting free matchups possible in order to get them excited about shelling out 50 dollars to watch more fights.
Fresh off The Ultimate Fighter Season 11, Kris McCray and Brad Tavares have some slight name recognition from their stint on the show.
At the TUF 11 Finale, McCray was defeated by Court McGee whereas Tavares earned a hard fought decision victory over Seth Baczynski.
They established a close friendship on the show, but they are both hungry to prove they belong in the UFC’s middleweight division so surely they would be willing to put that aside.
Over the course of his UFC career, Tyson Griffin has developed the reputation for being one of the most exciting fighters in the lightweight division.
After suffering back-to-back losses to both Evan Dunham and Takanori Gomi, Griffin will have to work his way back into contender status.
Mark Bocek is the perfect opponent to see if Griffin still has what it takes to make a run at the upper echelon of the division.
Bocek is coming off a razor close split decision loss to Jim Miller, but prior to that the BJJ black belt was riding an impressive three-fight win streak with three consecutive rear naked choke submission victories.
Stylistically, this matchup has all the makings for an exciting fight so it makes perfect sense to be featured on Spike TV’s Prelim special.
What better way to kick off the pay-per-view broadcast than a battle between two hard-hitting heavyweights that don’t see eye to eye? This is a fight that would have a 99% chance of ending in an “Oh My God” moment.
Nelson and Carwin have been trading verbal shots via twitter ever since Carwin’s steroid allegations broke out in the media.
Both fighters are coming off losses to Junior dos Santos and Brock Lesnar respectively, but are still considered top contenders in the UFC’s heavyweight division.
The winner would remain in the upper echelon while the loser would likely fade into gatekeeper status.
After suffering consecutive defeats at the hands of Frankie Edgar, many are wondering what’s next for B.J Penn.
Penn himself is still unsure on what he will do moving forward but if he does decide to stick around in the lightweight division a rematch with Takanori Gomi would be very intriguing.
Penn submitted “The Fireball Kid” in his native Hawaii over seven years ago in a three round affair. Ever since then, Gomi has been gunning for a rematch and now that they are competing under the same roof it seems very likely that the fight will happen.
A brutal first round knockout over Tyson Griffin should be more than enough to position Gomi into a high profile pay-per-view matchup with “The Prodigy”.
Since moving up to 170-lbs, Nathan Diaz has looked absolutely vicious in his wins over Rory Markham and Marcus Davis.
Diaz might have unfinished business at 155-lbs but he needs to stay in the welterweight division and continue building momentum.
The winner of the upcoming UFC 119 rematch between former welterweight champ Matt Serra and Chris Lytle would be a great next matchup for Diaz.
Much like Diaz, Serra and Lytle love to stand and bang and are also extremely well-versed on the ground. Stylistically, either matchup would produce fireworks and truly test how good Diaz is and could be at 170-lbs.
With his dominant title defense over B.J Penn under his belt, Frankie Edgar will now look to avenge his only career loss against Gray Maynard. A date for this championship bout hasn’t been announced yet so it is very possible that it could be in the works for this year-end show.
In their first encounter, Maynard bullied Edgar around the Octagon with a relative amount of ease for three full rounds.
Since then, Edgar has evolved into the champion that he is today but there still remains doubt if Edgar will have “The Answer” for Maynard’s unbelievable wrestling prowess this time around.
It is a very compelling rematch that could easily headline a pay-per-view on its own, despite what some will have you believe.
Without a doubt, the UFC’s biggest PPV draw is their current heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. At UFC 121 in October, Lesnar will defend his title against relentless contender Cain Velasquez in Anaheim, California.
Whoever emerges victorious in that bout will then square off against Junior dos Santos for the heavyweight crown at a date that has yet to be announced.
Assuming the Lesnar/Velasquez winner will be ready to go by January this would be the perfect headliner to welcome the UFC into the year 2011.
Dos Santos is a Brazilian knockout artist who quite possibly has the best hands in the entire heavyweight division. If there is ever a heavyweight that could knock Lesnar and Velasquez out cold in the middle of the Octagon, it is dos Santos.
On the other hand, we have yet to see the Brazilian’s ground game tested against an elite level wrestler such as Lesnar or Velasquez.
Not to mention, both the current champion and number one contender also possess a tremendous amount of power in their strikes as well.
If the UFC can deliver this highly anticipated heavyweight contest it would be the icing on the cake for what should be a historic year-end fight card.
Mitch Ciccarelli is the sexiest MMA columnist on the face of the earth. His articles drive women crazy and make men extremely jealous. Mitch is a contributor to both HeavyMMA.com and Bleacher Report.
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