5 Best Upcoming Striker vs. Striker Matchups in the UFC
Everybody loves a good knockout, and these five fights guarantee that to the fullest. If not a knockout, they will be memorable bouts from start to finish, and that makes them can't-miss fights on every MMA fans' calendar.
Some of the best fights this year have been fights featuring two strikers trading blows on the feet. Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry and Jose Aldo vs. Mark Hominick were two of them, and nobody expected anything less.
While there isn't a UFC event until August 6, the month is packed with fights and will feature championship bouts and intriguing undercard matchups you don't want to miss.
Notable Mention: Nate Diaz vs. Takanori Gomi: UFC 135
Depending on where this fight takes place, it could end up being one of the most exciting matchups of the year.
Everyone remembers the war Nick Diaz had with Takanori Gomi in 2007's fight of the year. It ended on the ground with Diaz submitting the Japanese standout, but it was a back-and-forth war on the feet for the majority of the bout.
Nate Diaz has shown solid stand-up skills in his UFC career—he even outboxed the former boxer Marcus Davis. He may even plan on using them here with the hard-punching Gomi.
No. 5: Jorge Rivera vs. Alessio Sakara: UFC 133
Jorge Rivera (19-8) and Alessio Sakara (15-8) will finally meet at UFC 133 after their bout was cancelled the day of the event back at UFC 122.
Both were riding three-fight win streaks when they were scheduled to meet in the co-main event. Since then, each of them have lost. Rivera lost to Michael Bisping while Sakara lost to up-and-comer Chris Weidman. This should make the fighters that much hungrier and more aggressive to get the victory.
No. 4: Dan Hardy vs. Chris Lytle: UFC Live
Currently riding a three-fight losing streak, Dan "The Outlaw" Hardy (23-9) will be looking to take out every ounce of frustration on MMA veteran Chris "Lights Out" Lytle (30-18-5) at UFC Live, August 14.
This is one of the few fights that doesn't promise a knockout because of the two competitors' chins, but it does promise to be non-stop fight action.
Lytle has never been finished in a career of more than 50 fights while Hardy has only been knocked out once in more than 30 bouts, which includes a five-round championship bout with UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre.
No. 3: Ross Pearson vs. Edson Barboza: UFC 134
This lightweight attraction matches up two very exciting strikers who are on their way up in the division.
Ultimate Fighter 9 winner Ross Pearson (12-4) will be looking to get his second win in a row while unbeaten and fast-rising prospect Edson Barboza (8-0) looks to expand his movement up the lightweight ranks.
Pearson recently defeated Spencer Fisher at UFC 127 while Barboza beat Anthony Njokuani at UFC 128. Both were exciting stand-up battles that went the distance.
The bout will happen at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The main event will feature Anderson Silva and Yushin Okami, but this fight has all the makings to steal the show.
No. 2: Vitor Belfort vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama: UFC 133
Former UFC light-heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort (19-8) makes his return to the Octagon since losing to Anderson Silva at UFC 126.
His opponent, Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-3), is currently on a two-fight losing streak but has had three consecutive fight of the night bouts in the UFC.
Fans have criticized the Japanese Judoka for not utilizing his superior grappling skills against his opponents, and it doesn't appear it will happen here against Belfort, who will have a distinct size advantage.
Both have hard chins to crack so this should be a 15-minute battle.
No. 1: Rich Franklin vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: UFC 133
While Rich Franklin (28-6) and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (19-5) both are well-rounded mixed martial artists, this fight has the potential to showcase both fighters' stand-up skills.
Franklin was once regarded as the best striker in the middleweight division. He was the dominant champion until he met Nogueira's training partner, Anderson Silva.
Nogueira gets a break from a three-fight stretch against wrestlers, and it should bring out the best of his stand up that he only had a chance to show in his UFC debut versus Luiz Cane.
Both are coming off losses so expect both fighters to go for the win every second of the fight.