I woke up this morning and it seemed like any other day. I ate, took a shower, went to the gym, ran errands and then sat down to write.
I sat there for a few minutes and then I finally realized what day this is. Its May 27, the first day in the biggest summer of mixed martial arts the world has ever seen!
Today at 7pm EST/4pm PST the UFC 130 weigh-ins kick off 18 weeks of championship bouts, grudge matches, and slugfests the scale that the world has never seen before.
The UFC, Strikeforce, Dream and Bellator Fighting Championships have secured big events from the onset of the summer May 28 until it gives way to fall on Sept. 17.
Dana White is often asked where the UFC is going. He often replies by saying that they are going everywhere. It is starting to be a very prophetic statement.
In central Tennessee the forecast is calling for a steamy 88 degrees Fahrenheit. The wet of a spring will make this a hot and humid day indeed. Saturday May 28, 2011 marks the start of summer in the great state of Tennessee.
On that same day mixed martial arts will start a journey from top-tier fringe sport to a global phenomenon. It is happening and it couldn't have happened too soon for the sport, its fans, its competitors and all those involved.
1. May 28, 2011 UFC 130 Las Vegas, Nevada
With both Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar hurt and unable to fight, the Rampage Jackson vs. Matt Hamill matchup has been made the main event.
The card also features several other great bouts including Frank Mir facing Roy Nelson, Travis Browne squaring off against Stefan Struve, Jorge Santiago's return to the Octagon against Brian Stann and a welterweight showdown between Rick "Horror" Story and Thiago Alves.
2. June 4, 2011 The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale Las Vegas, Nev.
The 13th season of TUF will conclude next Wednesday and the finale follows on Saturday June 4. The card features UFC contender Clay Guida taking on Anthony "Showtime" Pettis in a lightweight battle.
The card also features the finals of TUF 13 and another lightweight war as Octagon newcomer Danny "Danny Boy" Downes squares off with Jeremy Stephens.
3. June 11, 2011 UFC 131 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
A return of the debilitating intestinal disease diverticulitis left Brock Lesnar no choice. He had to pull out of UFC 131 and a bout with top heavyweight Junior Dos Santos.
The main event may have gotten even better. Now Shane Carwin steps in the cage to face JDS in the main event.
The card also features a middleweight showdown between Mark Munoz and Demian Maia, as well as Kenny Florian's featherweight debut and a heavyweight showdown between ADCC grappling champion Jon Olav Einemo and powerful Dave Herman.
4. June 18, 2011 Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum Dallas, Texas
The Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix rolls on and makes a stop in Texas with an epic showdown between Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum.
They say everything is bigger in Texas and this card does not fall off the beaten path. Strikeforce has put together a very nice fight card for their first trip to Dallas.
The main card features four heavyweight bouts and the return of popular women's MMA fighter Gina Carano. The main event is a quarterfinal bout of the heavyweight grand prix and a rematch of two savvy Pride Fighting veterans. In 2006, Fabricio Werdum submitted Alistair with a kimura.
Now, Overeem will look to get that loss back and to move on to face Antonio Silva in the semifinal round.
Alistair's brother Valentijn will face Chad Griggs, Jeff Monson will square off with wrestling ace Daniel Cormier and the co-main event will see former UFC champion Josh Barnett battle hard hitter Brett Rogers for a chance to face Sergei Kharitonov.
5. June 25, 2011 Strikeforce Challengers 16 Kent, Wash.
This is another of Strikeforce's showcase of new talent. This nine fight card features up-and-coming fighers Ryan Couture and Antwain Britt.
6. June 25, 2011 Bellator 46 Hollywood, Fla.
Bellator features another fine card and yet another tournament. This night in sunny Florida will include the featherweight quarterfinals with Pat Curran and Ronnie Mann.
7. June 26, 2011 UFC on Versus 4 Pittsburgh, Pa.
This is an excellent free card and a great return for the Versus network series. as the UFC makes a stop in the Steel City.
The main card features two heavyweight bouts and two welterweight bouts that would each be main events in any regional show. The main card looks like this:
- Anthony "Rumble" Johnson vs. Nate "the Great" Marquardt
- Pat Barry vs. Cheick Kongo
- John "Doomsday" Howard vs. Martin "Hitman" Kampmann
- Matt Mitrione vs. Christian Morecraft
8. July 2, 2011 UFC 132 Las Vegas, Nevada
This is one of the most stacked cards I have ever seen. That pretty much sums this one up, fight fans.
The main event is a grudge match between champ Dominic Cruz and former long-time WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber.
In their first bout Cruz was only 21 and fell short in his bid to become champion. Now it is Urijah who is seeking a championship.
This is one of several awesome matchups. It is going to be one hell of a fight night in the desert.
- UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber
- Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben
- Ryan Bader vs. Tito Ortiz
- Carlos Condit vs. Dong Hyun Kim
- Dennis Siver vs. Matt Wiman
- Melvin Guillard vs. Shane Roller
- Rafael dos Anjos vs. George Sotiropoulos
- Brian Bowles vs. Tikeya Mizugaki
9. July 22, 2011 Strikeforce Challengers 17 Las Vegas, Nevada
No fights have been announced yet.
10. July 23, 2011 Bellator 47
No location has been set as of today. The semifinals of the summer Bellator featherweight tournament are expected.
11. July 30, 2011 Strikeforce Chicago, IL
Fedor and Dan Henderson square off in a matchup of two MMA legends. Other bouts will be added over the next eight weeks.
Strikeforce makes a stop in the city on the lake for a legendary battle. The event is rumored to take place at Sears Centre.
12. August 6, 2011 UFC 133 Philadelphia
This card is stacked and no better place to have a fight in the dog days of August than in Philly. This card is headlined by light heavyweights Phil Davis and Rashad Evans.
Davis is a former Penn State wrestling stud who is looking to get into title contention and Evans is the former UFC light heavyweight champion who eagerly awaits his shot at Jon Jones. Here is what we are in for on Aug. 6.
- Phil Davis vs. Rashad Evans
- Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Vitor Belfort
- Rich Franklin vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
- Johny Hendricks vs. Mike Pierce
- Jorge Rivera vs. Alessio Sakara
- Alexander Gustafsson vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
- Mike Brown vs. Nam Phan
- Chad Mendes vs, Rani Yahya
13. Aug. 14, 2011 UFC on Versus 5 Milwaukee, Wisc.
Another awesome night and another stacked card. A night of mostly smaller weight classes promises some fast-paced action. Wisconsin hosts the UFC in Milwaukee for the first time. Here is the lineup.
- Dan Hardy vs. Chris Lytle
- Ben Henderson vs. Jim Miller
- Cole Miller vs. T.J. O'Brien
- Joseph Benavidez vs. Eddie Wineland
- Duane Ludwig vs. Amir Sadollah
- Stephan Bonnar vs. Karlos Vemola
14. August 17, 2011 UFC 134 in Rio & Bellator
Bellator has no announced fights and has no venue as of today.
UFC 134 is one of the most stacked cards of all time. MMA pound for pound kingpin and UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva looks to avenge his last loss before joining the UFC and he will do it at home in Brazil.
The UFC returns to Brazil after a 13-year absence. Literally every matchup is an exciting one! Check this card out:
- UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami
- Forrest Griffin vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Brendan Schaub
- Edson Barboza vs. Ross Pearson
- Erick Silva vs. Mike Swick
- Luiz Cane vs. Stanislav Nedkov
- Spencer Fisher vs. Thiago Tavares
- David Mitchell vs. Paulo Thiago
- Alexandre "Cacareco" Ferreira vs. Rousimar Palhares
15. September 17, 2011 UFC Battle on the Bayou New Orleans, La.
Two bouts have been revealed for this battle in the Big Easy. Alan Belcher will battle submission specialist Jason Macdonald and Court McGee squares off against Dongi Yang.
This is an unprecedented summer of action we have been blessed with. Hopefully the world will learn to truly understand, admire and respect this great sport.
It is martial arts not some sideshow event and this summer will be a slap in the face of all those who have attempted to hold it back. MMA is here to stay.
To stay up on all that is MMA this summer, come to Bleacher Report MMA.