With 2009 coming to a close, MMA fans have had more than their fill of action this year. From UFC 100, Fedor fighting on prime-time network television, to the success of smaller promotions such as Bellator Fighting and DREAM, the population has had more MMA this year than any previous.
With rumored bouts and wish lists assembled for next year events, MMA is undoubtedly going to reach an even higher pinnacle in 2010, but lets not forget we still have plenty of action coming in the final stretch. Come along as I remind you December is a month you won’t forget…
First up is The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale. Just when you thought you’ve had all the turkey and pumpkin pie slices you can handle, in comes one more slice you can’t resist, Kimbo Slice. December 5th, live on Spike TV, Kimbo takes on fellow slugger Houston Alexander. Like it or not, there is no doubt Kimbo Slice has contributed to the huge ratings jump for the reality show and putting him up against someone who will stand up and bang with him, will be a huge draw for viewers. In the main event you have two very tough light heavyweights in Matt Hamill vs. Jon Jones in a bout that could very well catapult either fighter in MMA’s deepest division. In the co-main event you have undefeated Matt Veach facing Frankie Edgar, who is coming off his most impressive win to date against Sean Sherk. Other notable bouts is the return of “Superman”, when Dennis Hallman squares up against John Howard, Brian Stann vs. Rodney Wallace, and two finalists from the house will face off for the highly coveted “six figure contract”.
Up next is UFC 107 on December 12th. The pay-per-view event has been ever changing in the past few months, but has now settled into one overall strong card. The main card features UFC Lightweight champion B.J. Penn vs. Diego Sanchez, in what will be the last UFC title bout of 2009. Former two-time lightweight contender Kenny Florian squares off against the non-stop Clay Guida, in a match that has Fight of the Night written all over it. A heavyweight showdown between former champ Frank Mir and Check Kongo is scheduled, along with Jon Fitch vs. Mike Pierce to round out the main card. Preliminary bouts feature the likes of Alan Beacher facing Wilson Gouveia and the return of Rousimar Palhares vs. UFC newcomer Lucio Linhares. Other notables include the homecoming of hard punching Paul Buentello vs. Stefan Struve and former TUF contestants Shane Nelson vs. Matt Wiman face off in a lightweight bout.
Be sure to set your DVR’s for December 19th when the WEC and Strikeforce go head to head in two must see events.
First, WEC 45 live on Versus, features a headline bout between Donald Cerrone vs. Ed Ratcliff. Cerrone is coming off a loss to Ben Henderson in what was arguably one of the best fights of 2009, while “9MM” is looking to stay in the winners circle after a decision win at WEC 42. IFL standout Chris Horodecki makes his WEC debut against Anthony Njokuani, while submission wizard Rani Yahya faces Joseph Benavidez. Other notable fights include Bart Palaszewski vs. Anthony Pettis and Scott Jorgenson vs. Takeya Mizugaki.
Strikeforce Challengers live on Showtime also on December 19th, has a card not officially confirmed as of yet, but strong none the less. The main event features a championship bout between champion Josh Thomson against interim champ Gilbert Melendez. This will be Thomson’s first fight since September of 2008. Also on the card is fighter turned actor turned fighter Cung Le against Scott Smith. Le stepped down as Strikeforce middleweight champion only a few months ago, but has relented to us fans request and decided to fight again. Other bouts include Mohammed “King Mo” Lawal debuting against heavyweight Mike Whitehead and Matt Lindland vs. Ronald “Jacare” Souza. Other fighters rumored to participate in the event are Robbie Lawler, Antwain Britt, and Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos.
Rounding out the year we have DREAM/ FEG’s Dynamite! 2009. The event set to air on HDNet features a headline bout pitting MMA newcomer Satoshi Ishii vs. Hidehiko Yoshida. Ishii, the former Olympic Judo gold medalist, was a highly sought after prospect since entering MMA, will face off against fellow Olympic medalist in Yoshida. And in what seems to have taken forever, the finale of the DREAM Super Hulk tournament will come to an end. Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou are set to do battle to crown the “Super Hulk” champion. Minowa won his last bout against Hong Man Choi, where Sokoudjou ground and pounded his way to the finale against Bob Sapp. Other notable bouts include Katsuki Ishida vs. Shota Shimada and Masato vs. Andy Souwer.
So there you have it, four more stacked events to send you off into the New Year. But don’t get too comfortable because the UFC is scheduled to hold its “year end event” on January 2nd. Behind that, you have a WEC, UFC Fight Night, and Strikeforce event all set for the first month of 2010.
It’s a great time to be a MMA fan…..