Biggest UFC Week of the Year!!!!
This Thursday, we start down possibly the biggest stretch in terms of both business and quality of fights that the UFC has ever made. Kicking off the fun is a Fight Pass exclusive show on Thursday, Dec 10th, aka the "Paige and Sage" show. Friday night brings the TUF 22 Finale with a killer main event of Frankie Edgar vs. Chad Mendes. The next night is of course UFC 194 featuring a double main event of Weidman vs. Rockhold in a middleweight championship bout, and Aldo vs. McGregor in a featherweight championship unification bout. Finally, a week after that, UFC returns to FOX with a lightweight championship bout between Rafael Dos Anjos and Donald Cerrone.
Everyone knows about these fights and every UFC and MMA fan out there has been eagerly anticipating them for months. However, after examining these cards a little closer, I’ve found five fights that have flown under the radar, which should be also be awesome.
Fight Night 80 on Thursday --
This show is a Fight Pass exclusive and if seeing the new darlings of MMA isn’t enough for you, maybe you need to check out what should be a war at 155 with perennial contender Jim Miller going up against TUF 15 winner Michael Chiesa. Miller is a bulldog who always has exciting fights as evidenced by his seven post-fight performance bonuses. Chiesa is trying to break into the top 15 and will have to go through gatekeeper Miller to do it. With all the attention on the young guns, look for these two veterans to steal the show.
TUF 22 Finale on Friday --
Maybe you’ve been following the show all season and are going to be looking forward to the tournament finale. Obviously if you’re reading this, you are well aware of the main event of former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar going up against three time featherweight title challenger Chad Mendes, in an attempt to find the next contender at 145. Well, you may want to pay attention to another lightweight fight between Tony Ferguson and Edson Barboza.
Ferguson is another TUF winner, having won season 13 of the UFC reality show. He is on a six fight win streak in the ultra-tough 155 lb division, including four stoppages. In fact, he’s only lost once in his UFC career, a decision loss against Michael Johnson. Barboza was once thought to be the future of the division and burst onto the scene with his highlight reel headkick KO of Terry Etim that has been replayed thousands of times. He is still just 29 and a top 10 fighter who has won three of his last four. The winner here is probably just one fight away from challenging the Cerrone-Dos Anjos winner.
UFC 194 on Saturday --
As if the two big title fights on the top of the card weren’t enough to make you part with your $60 and buy the PPV (or pay 10 times that to see it in person) how about the middleweight bout between Yoel Romero and Jacare Souza? Yes, the #1 and #2 in the world are fighting for the title and the #3 and #4 fighters square off just underneath, likely to determine the next contender. Romero has scary power and was an Olympic level wrestler, a combination that has helped him tear through the division. Souza is a submission specialist who can trap anyone at any time. This fight was originally scheduled for February of this year on the undercard of UFC 184, but fight fans will finally get to see it here.
Also on Saturday’s PPV broadcast is another awesome featherweight bout. Max Holloway vs. Jeremy Stephens should kick off the card in dynamic fashion. Holloway is the only fighter that Conor McGregor has not finished in his UFC run, losing by decision. He is coming off his first UFC main event where he beat Charles Oliveira by TKO in August. Jeremy Stephens was last seen scoring a stunning KO of Dennis Bermudez at UFC 189. The long time UFC vet has been entering the Octagon since 2007 and has been in many fights of the night. If history is any indication, this fight should kick off the card with a bang.
UFC is giving fight fans an early Christmas present in 2015, maybe as a thank you for their biggest business year in history. Anything can happen in MMA, but what is a virtual guarantee is that the three cards this week have a little something for everyone, so be good for goodness sake!