It was just a few short weeks ago that I listed some of the more exciting bouts MMA has in store over the next few months. There is nothing better than going through a period where we are able to watch some great fights week in and week out.
As I looked more closely at we have to look forward to I realized that the month of June is going to be insane. The UFC has three cards in June alone with a fourth (UFC 132) just two days into July.
Just as UFC 130 is ending, Dream will be hosting their first event in some time as they present Dream 17: Fight for Japan that will air on tape delay via HDNET on June 3. MMA needs to be successful in Japan even if it means that their best fighters will be snatched up the UFC eventually.
June 4 brings us what promises to be one of the more action-packed, balls-to-the-wall fights as Clay Guida will look to make life a living hell for the last reigning WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. The two will meet in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale.
Just one week later, the UFC invades Vancouver for the second time in two years with UFC 131: Dos Santos vs. Carwin. Brock Lesnar was originally slated to face off against Dos Santos for the right to face UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, but was sidelined due to a recurrence of the diverticulitis that cost him a year away from action.
Strikeforce will continue with its Heavyweight Grand Prix on June 18 when they present Overeem vs. Werdum. The first round continues as Overeem will look to extract some revenge against Werdum who submitted him during their Pride days, many years and many pounds ago.
The Strikeforce Challenger Series continues on June 24 from Kent, Wash. This card is actually pretty loaded and includes UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture's son Ryan as he continues to learn the ropes and follow in his father's footsteps.
Bellator will offer up a solid card featuring four featherweight tournament quarterfinal bouts. The event will take place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla. Bellator 46 will mark host the debut of former Sengoku featherweight champion Marlon Sandro.
Last, but certainly not least, the UFC returns to the Versus Network with UFC on Versus 4: Marquardt vs. Johnson. The main event will feature the debut of Nate Marquardt's run in the welterweight division. He will face another fighter who is gigantic for the 170-pound division in Anthony Johnson.
Dream has been out of commission since Sept. 25 of last year. The organization has fallen on hard times marked by serious financial problems that threaten to shut the doors of the promotion forever. Dream has also had problems with payroll as some fighters have had to wait over a year to be compensated.
Hopefully, someone will ride in to their rescue because the sport needs to be successful in Japan. Without a legitimate organization we could see children becoming less and less involved with martial arts. As we have seen in the past the country has produced some very good fighters and the sport needs that to continue.
Dream 17 will see the beginning of their bantamweight tournament with four first-round bouts with the winners meeting later on in the night to determine the two finalists. Fans will be treated to a Joachim Hansen vs. Mitsuhiro Ishida featherweight bout that promises to produce fireworks.
What Dream event would be worth anything without having their lightweight champion Shinya Aoki participating in a fight? This time around, for the time being I might add, he will face UFC veteran Rich Clementi in a non-title fight. Aoki was rumored to be fighting a laundry list of opponents including Jamie Varner, Shane Nelson and Antonio McKee.
All told, their will be 11 bouts for your viewing pleasure. This is definitely a great way to start off the month of June!
Here is the complete list of scheduled matchups:
- Uyenoyama vs. Yamamoto winner vs. Maeda vs. Tokoro winner (Japan bantamweight tourney semifinal)
- Fujiwara vs. Imanari winner vs. Osawa vs. Otsuka winner (Japan bantamweight tourney semifinal)
- Shinya Aoki vs. Rich Clementi
- Katsunori Kikuno vs. Daisuke Nakamura
- Akiyo "Wicky" Nishiura vs. Caol Uno
- Takeshi Inoue vs. Koichiro Matsumoto
- Joachim Hansen vs. Mitsuhiro Ishida
- Kenji Osawa vs. Takafumi Otsuka (Japan bantamweight tourney first round)
- Keisuke Fujiwara vs. Masakazu Imanari (Japan bantamweight tourney first round)
- Yoshiro Maeda vs. Hideo Tokoro (Japan bantamweight tourney first round)
- Yusaku Nakamura vs. Atsushi Yamamoto (Japan bantamweight tourney first round)
In my honest opinion, you will be hard-pressed to find a matchup that has the potential to be as exciting as the lightweight tilt fans will get to see for free next Saturday on SpikeTV. WEC lightweight champion chose to take a fight against Clay Guida and risk his guaranteed UFC lightweight title shot rather than sit on the sidelines while Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard finish their trilogy.
That decision looks even better now that both Maynard and Edgar were both forced to pull out of tonight's UFC 130 main event with various injuries. It goes to show you the type of fighter Pettis is, he is as tough and dedicated as he is fast and exciting. The winner of this matchup may certainly wind up in the No. 1 contender's spot regardless.
Two UFC middleweights known for their go-for-broke style and crowd-pleasing fights will make their return to the Octagon against each other as Tim Credeur will face Ed Herman. Credeur was last seen putting on a Fight of the Night performance in a losing effort against Nate Quarry at UFC Fight Night 19. He had been scheduled for two fights since, but was forced out of both bouts due to injuries.
The last time fans saw Herman in the Octagon he had severely injured his knee against Aaron Simpson, but tried to soldier on until he could no longer put any weight on his leg. That was at UFC 102 in August of 2009. Although his UFC record is 4-5 he usually puts on an exciting performance. Both he and Credeur will be looking to make an impression which is a good sign for the fans.
Josh Grispi will look to show that his loss to the unheralded Dustin Poirier at UFC 125 was just an off night for him as he takes on George Roop. The loss to Poirier also cost Grispi a shot at the UFC featherweight title as he was considered the No. 1 contender to Jose Aldo's title.
I haven't followed The Ultimate Fighter all that much, but hopefully the finals will produce an exciting, competitive fight. If not, the UFC has Kyle Kingsbury, Jeremy Stephens and Scott Jorgensen to rely on to bolster this card.
Here is the full breakdown of scheduled fights:
- Clay Guida vs. Anthony Pettis
- Finalist No. 1 vs. finalist No. 2
- Kyle Kingsbury vs. Fabio Maldonado
- Danny Downes vs. Jeremy Stephens
- Tim Credeur vs. Ed Herman
- Josh Grispi vs. George Roop
- Scott Jorgensen vs. Ken Stone
- Reuben Duran vs. Francisco Rivera
There are also bouts yet to be announced because the UFC doesn't want to spoil the results of the TUF 13 semifinal bouts.
Exactly seven days after The Ultimate Fighter Finale 13, the UFC returns to Vancouver for UFC 131.
The original main event was supposed to be Brock Lesnar vs. Junior dos Santos in a bout where the winner would go on to face current UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, but Lesnar was forced out due to surgery and Carwin will now step in in an attempt to win the title for the second time.
Dos Santos vs. Carwin isn't all that much different than if he were to fight Lesnar so it shouldn't effect his training all that much. Carwin has been out of action since losing to Lesnar at UFC 116 in July of 2010 due to surgery he had on his neck. He was supposed to face UFC newcomer Jon Olav Einemo, but jumped at the chance to face JDS in a No. 1 contender's bout.
Kenny Florian will make his debut as a featherweight when he takes on Diego Nunes. Florian has been a mainstay in the UFC's lightweight division since he started with the organization. He has fought and lost in two title bouts and also lost to Gray Maynard in a No. 1 contender's fight last August. A potential Florian vs. Aldo matchup has a nice ring to it, but first he has to beat Nunes.
Demian Maia will face Mark Munoz in a matchup of an outstanding wrestler and a high level BJJ practicioner. Munoz failed when he took on Yushin Okami in what was his first stern test, but has since rebounded with wins over Aaron Simpson and C.B. Dolloway. Maia has won two straight since losing to Anderson Silva at UFC 112 and will continue his march towards another title shot.
Take a look at the rest of the card: There are a lot of good fights on here. Edwards vs. Stout is one that sticks out.
Main Card (PPV)
- Junior dos Santos vs. Shane Carwin
- Kenny Florian vs. Diego Nunes
- Jon Olav Einemo vs. Dave Herman
- Demian Maia vs. Mark Munoz
- Donald Cerrone vs. Vagner Rocha
Preliminary Card (Spike TV)
- Yves Edwards vs. Sam Stout
- Jesse Bongfeldt vs. Chris Weidman
- Igor Pokrajac vs. Krzysztof Soszynski
- James Head vs. Nick Ring
- Dustin Poirier vs. Jason Young
- Joey Beltran vs. Aaron Rosa
- Darren Elkins vs. Michihiro Omigawa
For just the second time since winning the Strikeforce heavyweight championship in November of 2007, Alistair Overeem will be fighting in a Strikeforce cage. The current Dream, K-1 and Strikeforce heavyweight champion will face a familiar foe in Fabricio Werdum when they meet in the first round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix in Dallas, Texas.
Werdum defeated Overeem via Kimura back at Pride Total Elimination Absolute in May of 2006. Since then Overeem has fought all over the world and Werdum has had a four fight run in the UFC and was dumped after being knocked out by Junior dos Santos in his UFC debut. Since joining Strikeforce, Werdum has gone 3-0 with victories over Mike Kyle, Antonio Silva and of course, Fedor Emelianenko.
Josh Barnett will take on Brett Rogers in the last remaining quarterfinal bout. Barnett has not fought since July of last year when he defeated Geronimo dos Santos at Impact FC in Australia. Rogers started off his career by going 10-0 before losing to Fedor on CBS in November of 2007, he then lost to Overeem before getting back in the win column with a decision win over Ruben Villareal in October.
This card will also mark the long awaited return of Gina Carano as she will face Sarah D'Alelio in her first fight since losing to Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos in August of 2009. This bout will make history as it will be the first women's bout promoted by Zuffa. Carano has been making movies since her last fight so it will be interesting to see how the ring rust affects her.
The rest of the card is full of interesting matchups with top heavyweight prospect Daniel Cormier taking on veteran Jeff Monson, this will certainly be Cormier's biggest test to date. Other fighters on the card include Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante, K.J. Noons and Valentijn Overeem.
This promises to be an exciting card which will finally set the Heavyweight Grand Prix semifinals after the first round of quarterfinals were set back in February.
Here is the full card:
- Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum (heavyweight grand-prix opening round)
- Josh Barnett vs. Brett Rogers (heavyweight grand-prix opening round)
- Gina Carano vs. Sarah D'Alelio
- Daniel Cormier vs. Jeff Monson
- Chad Griggs vs. Valentijn Overeem
- Jorge Masvidal vs. K.J. Noons
- Julie Kedzie vs. Amanda Nunes
- Gesias Cavalcante vs. Justin Wilcox
- Magno Almeida vs. Conor Heun
- Mike Bronzoulis vs. Todd Moore
I normally wouldn't include this card, but it has some very good fights on it. Headlined by a lightweight fight between Washington native Caros Fodor and James Terry, Strikeforce Challengers has added some quality fighters to both the main card and the undercard. There are rumors floating around that now that Zuffa owns Strikeforce all of these cards will be held at the Palms in Las Vegas, Nev.
Ryan Couture, the son of UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, will look to run his professional record to 3-0 as he takes on Matt Ricehouse. Couture has finished both of his previous fights one by rear-naked choke and the other by triangle choke. He is not the same type of fighter that his dad was, but he has the same blood running through his veins. If anything, he works hard and has a never-say-die attitude.
The brothers Villefort will be fighting on the same card as one fight UFC veteran Danillo will battle Antwain Britt who will be making his middleweight debut. Britt lost three of his last four fights as a light heavyweight after starting his career at 10-2. Jason High who was won his last four fights will meet Quinn Mulhern.
Here is how the whole card looks:
- Caros Fodor vs. James Terry
- Ryan Couture vs. Matt Ricehouse
- Lorenz Larkin vs. Gian Villante
- Antwain Britt vs. Danillo Villefort
- Julia Budd vs. Germaine de Randamie
Preliminary Card (Un-aired)
- Jason High vs. Quinn Mulhern
- Derek Brunson vs. Jeremy Hamilton
- Travis Bush vs. Yuri Villefort
- Keith Berry vs. Trevor Smith
What can a great month of mixed martial arts be without Bellator? This event will feature the beginning of the eight-man featherweight tournament. There will be four quarterfinal bouts held at The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
Former Sengoku featherweight champion Marlon Sandro will face Genair da Silva. Season 2 lightweight tournament winner Pat Curran who lost to Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez via five-round decision will drop down and try his hand as a featherweight. His quarterfinal opponent will be Luis Palomino.
The two remaining bouts will pit current Shark Fight featherweight champion Ronnie Mann against Adam Schindler. Last but not least, Nazareno Malegarie will face Jacob DeVree.
Fans will also have an opportunity to watch the ladies in action as Jessica Aguilar and Carla Esparaza will fight on the undercard. Heavyweight Tony Johnson Jr., the former King of the Cage heavyweight champion, will face a yet-to-be-named opponent.
Here is the entire card:
- Genair da Silva vs. Marlon Sandro (featherweight tourney quarterfinal)
- Ronnie Mann vs. Adam Schindler (featherweight tourney quarterfinal)
- Pat Curran vs. Luis Palomino (featherweight tourney quarterfinal)
- Jacob Devree vs. Nazareno Malegarie (featherweight tourney quarterfinal)
Preliminary Card (Un-aired)
- Jessica Aguilar vs. Carla Esparza
- Tony Johnson Jr. vs. TBA
The UFC caps off an outstanding month with their third show in the span of a little over three weeks, what is even more amazing is that they will be in Las Vegas less than a week after this card for UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber 2 which is scheduled for Saturday, July 2, 2011. Add the two Strikeforce shows and Zuffa is really pulling out all the stops to give their fans as much MMA as possible.
All eyes will be on the main event where Nate Marquardt will attempt to make his debut as a welterweight. I always thought he was a pretty big middleweight, very muscular and cut with very little body fat. Where he is going to find and additional 15 pounds to cut from is beyond me. As luck would have it he is facing another huge welterweight in Anthony Johnson who has had his share of weight issues in the past.
Both men are coming off of impressive wins. At UFC 128, Marquardt fighting as a middleweight took on the always-game Dan Miller. Marquardt won a three-round decision, but Miller deserves some credit for taking the fight on short notice. Yoshihiro Akiyama was Marquardt's original opponent, but pulled out after the earthquakes in Japan.
Johnson returned to the Octagon after almost 18 months on the shelf due to a knee injury. He fought former No. 1 welterweight contender Dan Hardy at UFC Fight Night: Davis vs. Nogueira. Both men promised to stand and trade, but Johnson went back to his wrestling roots and cruised to a unanimous decision victory.
Cheick Kongo returns after a six month layoff. He will face fellow kickboxer Pat Barry in what could be an explosive fight. Kongo, for some reason or another, thinks he is a wrestler sometimes and goes for takedowns, but has no idea what to do after he is successful. Barry is looking for one thing and one thing only, a knockout.
Rounding out the main card is a welterweight showdown between hard-luck Martin Kampmann who has lost two extremely close fights in a row to Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez, his opponent will be John Howard who has lost two fights in a row. He was TKO'd by Jake Ellenberger, the referee stopped the fight because Howard's left eye was swollen shut. He then was beat up by Thiago Alves at UFC 124.
The man who got in Tito Ortiz's face at the recent UFC Summit Meetings, Matt Mitrione will look to run his record to a perfect 5-0 when he takes on Christian Morecraft. Mitrione last fought in January at Fight for the Troops 2 and knocked out Tim Hague in less than three minutes. Morecraft suffered his first career loss to Stefan Struve, but bounced back to choke out Seam McCorkle this past March.
The undercard is no joke as it is loaded with solid matchups. Tyson Griffin in his featherweight debut battles Manny Gamburyan, Joe Stevenson will also make his debut at 145 pounds in a bid to save his job as he has lost three fights in a row; he will face Javier Vasquez. Joe Lauzon, Matt Brown, Nik Lentz, Michael Johnson and others will be in action on what should be a spectacular and free card.