In this week’s edition of “All Five Rounds”, we’ll take a look at what the UFC and world of mixed martial arts has to offer during the next few months, as well as some of the recent results from the ongoing action in Bellator.
Now that the busyy summer schedule is behind us and some of the more notable upcoming fights have been announced, many of the sport’s most intriguing weight classes will continue to be dominated by marquee matchups as we head into 2014.
While we’re currently at the tail end of an unprecedented schedule that included a title fight in almost every UFC weight class, the last few months of 2013 are sure to offer the same intensity inside the octagon that helped turn MMA into one of the world’s fastest growing sports.
On Friday, September 13th in Temecula, California, Spike TV aired the opening round of Bellator’s featherweight tournament, highlighted by a light heavyweight matchup between MMA veterans Vladimir Matyushenko (27-7-0) and Houston Alexander (15-10-2).
In the featherweight bouts, Patricio Freire (19-2-0), ended Diego Nuñes’ (18-5-0) night early in the first round with a vicious striking attack, moving forward into the next round of the 145 pound tournament.
Other 145 pound winners included Fabricio de Assis Costa da Silva (19-2-0), who won a three-round unanimous decision over Desmond Green (8-2-0), Joe Taimanglo (19-4-1), who defeated Andrew Fisher (12-5-1) with a three-round unanimous decision, and Justin Wilcox (12-5-1), who submitted Akop Stepanyan (13-6-0) in the second round of their meeting.
Other winners from the preliminary card include light heavyweight Hector Ramirez who defeated Savio Kosic by unanimous decision, welterweight Gavin Sterritt who won a split-decision over Andy Murad, featherweight Gotti Yamauchi who defeated Musa Toliver, and heavyweight Blagoi Ivanov who won courtesy of a first-round submission over Manny Lara.
Bellator will resume action on Friday, September 20th at 9 PM, at the Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix Arizona. The event will be highlighted by the welterweight tournament finals between Douglas Lima and Ben Saunders.
The lightweight tournament takes center stage on Friday, September 27th at 9 PM from the Moda Center in Portland Oregon.
Pettis to Make First Title Defense in December
New UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis [17-2-0], has continued to make headlines in the world of mixed martial arts on a consistent basis since winning the 155 pound belt from Benson Henderson on August 31st in Milwaukee.
After various rumors reported potential matchups with fighters such as featherweight champ Jose Aldo and lightweight contender TJ Grant, former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Josh Thomson[20-5-0, 1 NC], will be the first to challenge “Showtime” for his new title. The two will faceoff in the main event at UFC Fight Night on December 14th, 2013.
Thomson won his UFC debut on April 20th, earning “Knockout of the Night” honors when he became the only fighter to ever stop lightweight veteran Nate Diaz from going the distance. Currently the fifth-ranked 155- pound contender, Thomson is a tough opponent for anyone, and hasn’t been finished since his 2004 loss to Yves Edwards.
With talented lightweights such as Gray Maynard (4th), TJ Grant (3rd), Gilbert Melendez (2nd), and former champion Benson Henderson (1st), all ranked above Thomson, some feel that the UFC newcomer has been unfairly awarded a title shot far too early in his time with the sport’s top promotion.
Considering the concussion issues that have continued to sideline TJ Grant since June however, Thomson may be the most realistic option to challenge Pettis for the UFC lightweight belt at the present time.
Upcoming UFC Schedule
While it’s UFC 165 that is currently on the minds of fight fans everywhere, the next few months will also offer plenty of action involving some of the promotion’s most talented fighters.
Next up on the schedule is “UFC Fight Night” on Wednesday, October 9th, an event set to be headlined by a showdown between veteran welterweights Demian Maia (18-4-0), and Jake Shields (28-6-1), in the UFC’s return to Brazil. Also on the main card are welterweights Erick Silva (15-3-0, 1nc), who will face Dong Hyun Kim (17-2-1, 1 nc), along with Thiago Silva (15-3-0) who is scheduled to meet Matt Hamill (12-4-0) in a light heavyweight tilt.
The third installment of the ongoing battle between heavyweight champion Cain Velazquez (12-1-0) and top contender Junior dos Santos (16-2-0), will be featured as the main event for UFC 166 on October 19th. Other interesting matchups include second-ranked heavyweight contender Daniel Cormier (12-0), facing off against the always entertaining Roy “Big Country” Nelson (20-8-0), who is currently ranked ninth in the division.
Also scheduled to be featured on the main card at UFC 166, second-ranked 155 pounder Gilbert Melendez (21-3-0), meets veteran lightweight Diego Sanchez (26-5-0), while heavyweights Gabriel Gonzaga (15-7-0) and Shawn Jordan (15-4-0) are also set to faceoff on October 19th.
UFC Fight Night from Manchester, England is scheduled for Saturday, October 26th, and will feature several English-born fighters on the main card. In the main event, fourth-ranked middleweight contender and UFC veteran Michael Bisping (25-5-0), will take on the always dangerous Mark Munoz (13-3-0), who is currently the fifth-rated contender at 185 pounds.
Ultimate Fighter alum Ross Pearson (17-6-0), who is also a proud native of the U.K., will square off against Melvin Guillard (48-13-3, 1 nc) in a potential slugfest on the main card at UFC 166 as well.
Stay tuned every week for all of the most significant fight announcements and headlines from the UFC and world of MMA.