While one network is touting this month as "Brocktober," an array of fighters will look to make October their own. Three of the four major U.S.-based MMA organizations will contribute seven events this month, adding to one of the busiest years in the sport's history.
It begins this Saturday.
Saturday, October 9: Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons II
Strikeforce returns to action with a buzzworthy rematch that they've been mainly promoting via the Internet, even though they have plenty of footage and plenty of dislike between the two fighters to create a true preview special.
Then again, it would help if Nick Diaz actually contributed by being on media conference calls, but that's another story.
Diaz will defend his welterweight title against KJ Noons in San Jose, Calif., in a rematch of their first battle back in November 2007 for Elite XC. Noons won the belt after the first round due to nasty cuts above Diaz' eyes resulted in a doctor's stoppage. Diaz didn't agree, and the war of words extended to their families.
Women's 135-pound champ Sarah Kaufman vs. Marloes Coenen, Tyron Woodley vs. Andre Galvao, and Josh Thomson vs. JZ Calvacante round out the main card.
Thursday, October 14: Bellator 32
The organization returns to Kansas City, Mo., for the third time as the organization winds down their third season. The event will feature the finals of the heavyweight tournament as Cole Konrad and Neil Grove do battle. In addition, Zach Makovsky and Ed West will compete in the bantamweight finals.
Hopefully, people will be able to see it. A major frustration with Bellator is that Fox Sports Net affiliates have been either tape-delaying the events or not showing them at all. Here, in greater Boston, we haven't been treated to Bellator in nearly a month.
TV contracts are nice, but only if people can see the events.
Saturday, October 16: UFC 120
MMA fans will get some free PPV-style action when UFC 120 airs via tape delay on Spike TV from London, England. The action will be headlined by Michael Bisping vs.Yoshihiro Akiyama in a fight that will likely put the winner one fight away from a title shot.
The main card is well-rounded with prospects on the rise and veterans who need a win. Dan Hardy vs. Carlos Condit is the co-main event. This will be Hardy's first fight since losing to Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre in March.
Prospect John Hathaway takes on Mike Pyle, while Cheick Kongo looks to stay in the UFC against undefeated KO artist Travis Browne.
Thursday, October 21: Bellator 33
One of the biggest fights in the organization's history happens in Philadelphia, Penn., as Eddie Alvarez takes on Roger Huerta. Bellator has wanted this fight since they signed Huerta, even though he lost his debut to Pat Curran in last season's lightweight tourney.
The welterweight title will also be on the line as current champ Lyman Good defends against Season 2 tourney winner Ben Askren.
Friday, October 22: Strikeforce Challengers 11
One day later, the 11th edition of Strikeforce's series featuring young fighters returns to Fresno, Calif., with top prospect Roger Bowling headlining against Bobby Voelker in a rematch.
The two fought in May and the fight ended controversially after Bowling got poked in the eye in the third round. He couldn't continue and the bout went to the cards, giving Bowling a win by technical decision.
Billy Evangelista and Lavar Johnson are also scheduled for the card.
Saturday, October 23: UFC 121
With all respect to Bowling and Voelker, the biggest MMA event of the weekend will be in Anaheim, Calif., headlined by the biggest draw in the sport.
UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar returns to action against Cain Velasquez to complete "Brocktober," with Junior dos Santos waiting in the wings for the winner. Spike TV is airing old Lesnar fights and a new primetime series to hype the fight, one that will do great business on PPV.
Jake Shields will answer a lot of the questions surrounding him as makes his UFC debut on the undercard against Martin Kampmann, Tito Ortiz looks for where he's at in his career when he takes on Matt Hamill, while Diego Sanchez also looks for answers against Paulo Thiago.
An interesting battle of young vs. veteran rounds out the main card as Brendan Schaub fights Gabriel Gonzaga. Court McGee makes his post-TUF debut on the Spike TV card against Ryan Jensen, highlighting a great undercard. On paper, this could be up there for show of the year.
Thursday, October 28: Bellator 34
Bellator's third season wraps up in Hollywood, Fla., with two headlining fights. Middleweight Champion and absolute wrecking machine Hector Lombard defends against Alexander Shlemenko, while Megumi Fujii and Zoila Frausto will complete the 115-pound women's finals.
Again, these are great fights for the young organization, but people HAVE to be able to see them. Maybe live streaming on the Bellator site would be a good alternative if the Fox Sports affiliates aren't going to step up and show these fights as they happen.