It's no "Brocktober," but November will still deliver plenty of compelling MMA action all over the globe. As usual, these are the five fights that have me giddy with anticipation. Vote for your favorite in our poll.
Penn solidified his status as a budding superstar by jumping up in weight to win the welterweight title from Hughes at UFC 46. The enigmatic Hawaiian then disappeared from the UFC scene. In a return bout, Penn did well in the early going before being overwhelmed in later rounds. This is a rubber match fans have been demanding ever since, delivered at the perfect time in each fighter's career. Neither is in their absolute prime, but both still have plenty to offer. Although a title isn't at stake, eternal bragging rights is nothing to scoff at. Expect both men, notorious for lackidasical training camps, to put the effort in for this fight.
4. Pete Spratt vs. Ryan Ford
MFC 27, November 12, 2010 (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
The Jesse Juarez-Douglas Lima main event should also be an amazing showdown. Juarez has won nine in a row and Lima is fresh off his upset win over MFC superstar Ryan Ford. But lurking on the undercard is this rematch between Ford and UFC veteran Pete Spratt. In the first fight Ford cracked Spratt with two elbows after the bell. Spratt was never the same and got choked out in the second round. I expect this grudge match to start fast and never slow down.
3. Urijah Faber vs. Takeya Mizugaki
WEC 52, November 11, 2010 (Las Vegas, Nevada)
This isn't an obscure undercard gem, but the main event of the penultimate WEC card is being slept on in the MMA media. Faber's debut at bantamweight is no gimme fight, and some have real concerns that the demands of his celebrity and ramped up schedule may be sucking away at valuable training time. Is Faber looking past the Japanese star? A loss here could alter some big plans for the WEC star in 2011.
My top fights of the month coming up after the break
2. Ricco Rodriguez vs. Daniel Tabera
Israeli Fight Club "Genesis," November 9, 2010 (Tel Aviv, Israel)
The UFC has welcomed home several blasts from the past in 2010, old school legends like Mark Coleman, Phil Baroni, and Yves Edwards. In 2011, look for that to continue. We've heard that the winner of an upcoming fight between Tim Sylvia and Pedro Rizzo will be ushered back into the Octagon and Ricco Rodriguez may be a win away as well. Now fighting as a light heavyweight, the former heavyweight champion takes on a tough Spaniard on a loaded card in Israel next week. The card is available on internet PPV by way of gofightlive.
This is one of those compelling style matchups that transcends the fighters involved. It's a classic "brains versus brawn" battle between the ultimate scientific striker and the ultimate raw boned brawler. While Jackson has tempered his furious style over the years, he still relies on fairly rudimentary boxing to overwhelm his opponents. Jackson is the king of the conventional - Machida something different entirely. His karate based style depends almost entirely on impeccable timing and quickness. It's like nothing else in MMA and always worth a PPV buy.