With Brock Lesnar-Cain Velasquez Over, Here Are 25 Fights To Look Forward To

Trent WilliamsContributor INovember 1, 2010

With Brock Lesnar-Cain Velasquez Over, Here Are 25 Fights To Look Forward To

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    Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

    Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez epic battle for the heavyweight title is now in the rear view mirror and we look forward to the next big fights in MMA for the rest of the year and into the beginning of 2011.

    All fights are actually scheduled, no hypothetical fights here as we get excited at the idea of titles changing hands, and how the WEC being absorbed by the UFC instantly makes some fights more exciting.

Strikeforce Challengers: Ryan Couture vs. Juan Zapata

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    Maybe not the most interesting match-up for every MMA fan out there, but it will be interesting to see how Ryan Couture, son of MMA legend Randy Couture does in his second professional MMA fight.

    He won his first fight via triangle in just over a minute, and had a 5-1-1 amateur record. Who knows, he may turn out to not make a name like his father in the sport, but it is fun to watch the son of a all-time great compete in the same sport.

Tachi Palace Fights 7: James Irvin vs. Jorge Oliveira

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    At one point in time James Irvin was considered a top up-and-comer in the UFC's light heavyweight division, then a punch from Anderson Silva started him on a downward spiral, losing three fights then being cut from the promotion.

    In his first fight since being let go from the UFC, Irvin knocked out a clearly out-matched opponent and he'll continue his road back to the UFC against 4-2-1 Jorge Oliveira.

UFC 124: Thiago Alves vs. John Howard

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    The co-main event at UFC 124 features two guys coming off losses who are trying to stay relevant in the UFC's welterweight division. Alves was on the cusp of a title shot again but lost to Jon Fitch.

    Howard is coming off a loss to rising fighting Jake Ellenburger. If both of these guys come into this fight desperate, and on weight, it could be an exciting fight.

UFC 123: Phil Davis vs. Tim Boetsch

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    Undefeated Phil Davis can make himself more well known as he takes on Tim Boestch at UFC 123. A win for Davis will move him to 8-0 in his young career and the 26 year old will get some buzz as a next top fighter at 205 lbs.

    He is still a few wins away from top competition but will be interesting to watch his budding career unfold each fight.

UFC 123: George Sotiropoulos vs. Joe Lauzon

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    The winner of this lightweight fight will climb the ranks huge. Sotiropoulis is seemingly taking a step-down in competition here after wins over Kurt Pelligrino and Joe Stevenson, but Lauzon is no joke.

    He embarrassed Gabe Ruediger at their UFC 118 match and is fully recovered now from knee surgery.

WEC 53: Donald Cerrone vs. Chris Horodecki

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    With both fighters coming off impressive wins in the WEC, this fight will put the winner really close to the top of the lightweight division.

    It will be interesting to see how they will fit in the UFC, but the winner of this can throw their name in the large hat of fighter that could fight for the title in the near future.

UFC 125: Thiago Silva vs. Brandon Vera

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    This could be a loser-goes-home match in the UFC. I doubt it will be, but both guys are coming off of losses, against top competition mind you, but they are still blemishes on their record.

    They are each very talented and it will be interesting to see the game-plan each guy brings to try and defeat the other.

UFC 125: Chris Leben vs. Brian Stann

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    Chris Leben has been on a tear lately, winning two fights in two weeks he's had some time off to prepare for Brian Stann. The former WEC light heavyweight champion, Stann brings an interesting challenge for Leben though he has had an up and down record in the UFC since joining the promotion.

    We know Leben will come in and throw bombs, but he has also impressed with ground game as of late, submitting Yoshihiro Akiyama via triangle. Stann has some power in his fists but it seems like whenever Leben gets hit with a punch he doesn't go down, he just turns into a zombie.

UFC 125: Clay Guida vs. Takanori Gomi

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    The relentless pace of Clay Guida may pose some problems for former PRIDE champion Takanori Gomi in this match-up.

    Gomi has a wealth of experience and has some vicious knockout power for a lightweight, especially showing that coming out of his last fight with Tyson Griffin. Guida seems to be a machine though, so we'll see if Gomi can put the hammer down on him in this fight.

    Also, who doesn't love hearing Guida burp between the rounds?

UFC 125: Roy Nelson vs. ????????

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    Well, it was supposed to be against Shane Carwin but it is now up in the air as to who Roy Nelson will face at UFC 125, if it is anyone at all.

    Either way, we get to see the TUF champion back in action against hopefully another top heavyweight contender in the near future. If there is any positive coming out of this, it's the amount of smack that Nelson has talked about Carwin, which makes a future match-up between these two very interesting.

UFC 126: Forrest Griffin vs. Rich Franklin

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    Two of the fans favorite fighters square off in a match that will determine where both fit in the light heavyweight division.

    After recent fights at Franklinweight (195 lbs) and then a win over Chuck Liddell, it's unsure exactly where Franklin sits in the UFC's 205 lbs division. For Griffin, he's fought nothing but top competition these three years, and is coming off a win against Tito Ortiz, who isn't the same fighter he was back in 2002.

    The winner of this fight will get some buzz for a title shot, but may be two or three more wins away from one.

UFC 123: Matt Hughes vs. BJ Penn III

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    It is a perfect time to have these two fight to re-new their rivalry and have a rubber-match. Hughes is on a hot streak and BJ Penn is coming off back-to-back losses to Frankie Edgar and has moved up to 170lbs.

    These two don't like each other and both still have some time to give it their all and make this an entertaining fight.

    UFC 123:Matt Hughes vs. BJ Penn III

Strikeforce St. Louis: Scott Smith vs. Paul Daley

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    On the same card that delivers Hendo vs. Babalu, we get to see Paul Daley and Scott Smith, against each other. Some may not know what this means, but it looks to be a fight where someone is going to sleep, and quick.

    Both of these guys throw bombs, both love to stand and trade and forget about the ground game. It might not be the most technical fight ever, but it will be entertaining.

UFC 122: Nate Marquardt vs. Yushin Okami

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    The winner goes on to face the winner of Anderson Silva/Vitor Belfort for the Middleweight crown. It's been a long road for both of these fighters to get a shot at the title (again for Marquardt).

    This will be an entertaining fight as both fighters are so well rounded and can fight comfortably anywhere.

WEC 52: Urijah Faber vs. Takeya Mizugaki

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    The last fight for Urijah Faber in the WEC will be against Takeya Mizugaki. This is special in a lot of ways, for one it's a big for for both of these guys to start making a title run, and for Faber, he was the face of the WEC for so long.

    It will also be Faber's debut at Bantamweight (135 lbs). Even though he's fallen from grace a bit and no longer holds the title he really put the WEC on the map and was their main-guy for so long.

WEC 53: Dominick Cruz vs. Scott Jorgensen

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    Two of the top three bantamweight fighters face-off in a what will be the last title fight in the WEC's bantamweight division.

    The winner will next defend it as the UFC Bantamweight champ, and if that's not enough motivation to get top billing on a UFC card, the winner of this will all but certify themselves as the top 135lb fighter in the business.

Strikeforce St. Louis: Dan Henderson vs. Renato Sobral

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    Strikeforce doesn't put on nearly as many events as the UFC does per year, thus there not being as many Strikeforce fights on this list, but this fight is the next biggest one for the company, and is a very interesting rematch.

    We finally get to see Hendo back in action after his loss to Jake Shields and we all know Babalu always brings it to each one of his fights.

UFC 125: Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard

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    This rematch fight will show just how much Frankie Edgar has grown as a fighter—now that he is the UFC Lightweight Champion.

    After losing to Maynard in a decision loss earlier in his career, Edgar has gone on to become a champ while Maynard is still fighting to shed the idea that he is a human snuggie.

    I don't know if this will be the best time for Maynard to show his stand-up skills if he wants to win, but you never know how he will come out and fight. We will also get to see just how good the wrestling of Frankie Edgar is.

    He took down BJ Penn, but can he stop the take down in Maynard shoots?

WEC 53: Ben Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis

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    The winner of this fight will be on to face the winner of Frankie Edgar/Gray Maynard fight from UFC 125. Possibly more importantly, either Pettis or Henderson will be known as the last lightweight champion in  the WEC ever.

    Both of these guys have a lot of skill in all areas and both will thrive and be stars when under the UFC banner.

UFC 123: Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson vs. Lyoto Machida

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    What a matchup this is as a win here puts both of these guys back in title-contention in the light heavyweight division. Though both may need another win before getting a shot at the 205lb crown, its a great indicator of where these guys stand in the division.

    Will the technical striking of Machida be too much for Rampage? Or will Machida be gun-shy in the cage after his first career loss in devastation fashion. This fight has intrigue written all over it.

UFC 126: Jon Jones vs. Ryan Bader

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    The two biggest title prospects in the light heavyweight division are set to go at it on the UFC 126 card. Jon Jones bring a very interesting set of skills with his unorthodox strikes and impact wrestling.

    Meanwhile, Bader brings a very strong wrestling pedigree and crushing power. Both of these guys have been touted as the 'next best fighters' in the UFC's light heavyweight division and these are two guys that I could see having a trilogy of fights, and even being TUF coaches down the road against one another.

UFC 125: Jose Aldo vs. Josh Grispi

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    The fight big fight in the UFC after they absorbed the WEC will feature Jose Aldo and most likely Josh Grispi.

    This fight still isn't confirmed as there are reports that Mark Hominick could get the title shot. Either way, when Aldo steps into the cage, you watch as he has had no trouble walking through opponents in the WEC and now will take his talents to the UFC on a bigger stage and get exposed to a bigger audience.

UFC 126: Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort

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    After the disappointing positive steroid test produced by Chael Sonnen, Belfort has been given the title shot in the meantime, which is tentatively slotted in for UFC 126.

    We all know what Anderson Silva can do, but there is still some questions surrounding Belfort. He has been off for a long time and ring rust could be a big factor.

    If Belfort had another tune-up fight, I think I would be a little more excited for this fight, but it will be a great fight none-the-less.

UFC 12?: Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos

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    We don't know when this is going to happen, but when it does, there will be fireworks. There will be so much hype leading up to this heavyweight title fight that I am sure most minds will be blown.

    If I had to guess we'll see this fight around March or April, but that is purely a guess. Even if it is far away, it is already on a lot of people's minds as a top fight to look forward to.

UFC 124: George St. Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck

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    There really doesn't need to be a lot said about this fight and why you should be looking forward to it. After all the hype from TUF, all the shit talk coming from Koscheck, how will he fair in his rematch with GSP?

    It is the fight time Koscheck will get a shot at UFC gold, will he be able to handle the pressure, or will the 'riddum' of GSP be too much? This will prove to be a defining fight for both of these fighters careers. With a win, GSP will have defended the Welterweight title five times, pulling even with Matt Hughes for the most title defenses at 170lbs.