October is a great month for MMA fans. Coming off a weekend where Dominick Cruz defended his bantamweight title against Demetrious Johnson, the UFC has planned three more title fights this month. The folks at MFC and Bellator add their own title fights to the mix making this one of the best months for significant MMA fights. With so many fights taking place, it's impossible to really say which is the most important or even choose the five most important fights of the month. The below list are the fights that I'm most looking forward to.
For those that haven't watched Ryan Jimmo, you've been missing out. He's not only one of the best Light Heavyweights outside of the UFC, he's also extremely entertaining. He busts out the robot whenever he wins and he hasn't lost a fight since February 2007. Sokoudjou isn't who we thought he was when he was ranked in the top 10. However, he seems to finally have made the changes in his career and training to become a more complete fighter. He's currently on a three fight winning streak and has been staying pretty active. He possesses the power to give Jimmo problems and still always has the threat of a takedown.
These two have met twice before. In the first bout Gray Maynard straight up bodied Frankie Edgar and caused many to question if Edgar could hang with the big lightweights or if a move to 145 would be in the wrestler from New Jersey's future. The second fight took place at UFC 125. In the first round it looked like Maynard would finish Edgar after dropping him. Edgar survived and took the fight to Maynard for the remaining four rounds. It was scored a draw. This third and deciding fight has been pushed back due to injuries both fighters sustained late in the spring. If you can't get excited for this match I'm not sure you can get excited for any lightweight fight.
Oh the fight that could have been. The original plan was for St. Pierre to defend his UFC welterweight belt against the Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz. The fight was scrapped due to the apparent unprofessionalism displayed by Nick Diaz who no-showed two press conferences. His excuse was that he didn't know they were important to attend. The UFC decided to replace Diaz with Condit. Condit is the type of fighter who will continually press the action and should be able to push St. Pierre to fight. Many suspect that Condit is the man to defeat St. Pierre. It's the fight to see in October.
Bloody Elbow's Richard Wade put it perfectly when he said that B.J. Penn vs Carlos Condit was a perfect fight. Both fighters are extremely skilled and neither will back down. We aren't getting B.J. Penn vs Carlos Condit anymore due to the aforementioned Diaz shenanigans. Instead Diaz will be matched up with Penn in what could be considered a number one contenders match. Both have great boxing and BJJ so it will really be decided by whoever can impose their game plan more effectively.
Legitimately the best matchup that Bellator could make for Ben Askren's welterweight title. Jay Hieron is one of the top guyst at 170 outside of the UFC and this will be the first major test for Askren. Hieron possesses strong wrestling and heavy hands which will force Askren to adapt in this fight. This is one of the fights I'm most looking forward to and I just wish it wasn't taking place on the same night as UFC 137.
Other Fights to Watch:
- Jose Aldo vs Kenny Florian - UFC 136: Aldo is defending his belt against one of the most complete fighters in MMA. Florian has made massive strides since the first season of the Ultimate Fighter and has the skill set to potentially defeat Jose Aldo.
- Chael Sonnen vs Brian Stann - UFC 136: This is an interesting fight just to see how Sonnen will deal with a long lay off. Other point of interest is seeing how much Stann has improved his takedown defense as he makes the push towards the top of the middleweight division.
- George Roop vs Hatsu Hioki - UFC 137: Hioki is making his United States debut after ruling the featherweight division in Japan. He hopes to not follow the footsteps of his Japanese peers who have failed in the UFC. Roop is quietly building a resume for himself that includes wins over Chan Sung Jung and Josh Grispi. If Roop can defeat Hioki he could become a contender in the division. Hioki should be in line for a title fight should he defeat Roop.