Welcome to this week’s edition of “All Five Rounds”, our look at the world of MMA and some of the more intriguing storylines from the past seven days.
Now that the month of November is upon us, the year is almost over and 2014 is right around the corner, but before we begin to look towards the many potential matchups that are sure to make the new year one to remember, the UFC has once again delivered and given us an early Christmas present in the form of another busy month.
UFC Fight Night
Next up on the menu for the sport’s leading promotion is UFC Fight Night on Wednesday, November 6th, from Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The main event will feature former Strikeforce 185-pound contender Tim Kennedy (16-4-0), who will face Rafael Natal (17-4-1) in a middleweight showdown.
In just his third appearance in the UFC, Kennedy will look to build upon his victory over Roger Gracie this past July as he begins his journey up the middleweight ladder, and has won four of his last five bouts since losing to Ronaldo Souza in August of 2010.
Currently on a three-fight win streak, Natal defeated Tor Toreng in a three-round, unanimous decision his last time out, and has had his hand raised in five of his last six fights overall.
In other main card action, Liz Carmouche (8-3-0) takes on Alexis Davis (14-5-0), in a battle of women’s bantamweight contenders, while middleweights Ronny Markes (14-1-0) and Yoel Romero (5-1-0) will also do battle on the big stage.
Rounding out the featured bouts for November 6th, Jorge Masvidal (25-7-0) will face Rustam Khabilov (16-1-0), in a lightweight matchup, while Colton Smith (6-2-0) and Michael Chiesa (9-1-0) are also scheduled to meet in the155-pound division.
After next Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night, the action continues just three days later on Saturday, November 9th, with another edition of UFC Fight Night that will be headlined by a light heavyweight matchup between sixth-ranked contender Dan Henderson (29-10-0), and the always dangerous Vitor Belfort (23-10-0).
On Saturday, November 16th in Las Vegas, fight fans will finally be able to watch the highly-anticipated welterweight title fight between current champ Georges St. Pierre (24-2-0), and top-ranked contender Johny Hendricks (15-1-0) in the main event at UFC 167.
Also on the main card at UFC 167, Rashad Evans (23-3-1), will face the sport”s most prolific trash-talker when he enters the octagon against Chael Sonnen (29-13-1), in a light heavyweight tilt, while third-ranked welterweight contender Rory Macdonald (15-1-0), is scheduled to face veteran 170-pounder Robbie Lawler (21-9-0, 1 nc).
Finally, the month of November ends with “The Ultimate Fighter” finale on Saturday, November 30th in Las Vegas. The card will be highlighted by a flyweight title bout between 125-pound king Demetrious Johnson (18-2-1), and Joseph Benavidez (19-3-0). Also on the main card, fifth-ranked 155-pound contender Gray Maynard (12-2-1, 1 nc), faces Nate Diaz (16-9-0), in a bout between two fighters who are anxious to get back into title contention.
Machida Gets Next Opponent
After his recent knockout victory over his friend and training partner Mark Munoz during his debut in the middleweight division, Lyoto Machida’s future seemed somewhat uncertain without a clear path to a title shot at 185 pounds.
Fortunately for “The Dragon”, former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi (34-3-2) was paying attention to Machida’s impressive debut, and has decided that he wants to face the Brazilian in his next bout at 185 pounds.
Currently the eighth-ranked UFC light heavyweight contender, Mousasi won his first and only appearance to date under his new employer, and has reportedly chosen to join Machida (20-4-0) in the middleweight division rather than continue to compete at 205 pounds as first expected.
Scheduled for February 8th, 2014, the fight will take place in Machida’s home country of Brazil, and is scheduled as the five-round headliner on the main card that will be televised on Fox Sports 2.