Every month I pick the five fights that have me the most pumped. After a dearth of great fights last month, this month it was particularly hard to choose. Lots of great fights failed to make the cut here, as the UFC and Strikeforce both have two shows in February and there is plenty of significant action on the independent scene as well. In the end, these were my five, but more than ever, your mileage may vary. Choose your favorite in our poll.
It's mind boggling that we'll be seeing Drew Fickett inside the MFC ring. Fickett and MFC owner Mark Pavelich had one of the most intense fighter-promoter breakups in the history of MMA. Threats were issued back and forth and the situation seemed likely to escalate into real life violence.
Time, as they say, heals all wounds. Fickett is finally making his MFC debut and what a way to make a first impression. Antonio McKee may be reeling from his poor UFC appearance, but he's still going to be a handful for Fickett or anyone else in the division. I'm looking forward to seeing how this plays out in the ring and behind the scenes.
4. Ulysses Gomez vs. Darrell Montague (Tachi Palace Fights 8, Feb 18th, Lemoore, California)
Gomez and Montague are two of the top prospects in a flyweight division just waiting for an opportunity to explode into the MMA mainstream. Gomez is the current TPF champion and a Marc Laimon protege who finishes most of his fights on the mat. I didn't know as much about Montague, so I called in the big guns to help. Tommy Messano from ULTMMA is one of the country's leading experts on up and coming fighters. I asked him to share his opinion of Montague:
A pro since 2008 flyweight prospect Darrell Montague (8-1) is one of the most exciting 125 pounds fighters on the US regional circuit. At just 23 years of age Montague fought as high as 155 pounds before he inked a deal with California's Tachi Palace Fights in the spring of 2010. Nicknamed "The Mongoose" for his quick and unorthodox striking style Montague works out of the Millennia MMA gym with WEC vets Manny Tapia and Charlie Valencia as well as current Bellator FC 145er Georgi Karakhanyan.
Impressive finishes in his first two Tachi Palace Fights bouts has earned Montague his crack at the promotion's 125 pound champion Ulysses Gomez (7-1). With a breakneck fighting style that has netted him seven finishes in eight fights and still two years away from his 25th birthday, Montague is the kind of flyweight prospect the UFC would love to work with if they ever chose to add a eighth weight class to their promotional umbrella.
Both of these guys are excellent, multifaceted fighters. But I won't lie. I'm hoping this one devolves into something primal. I don't believe "stand and bang" is the end all be all of MMA. But sometimes it's fun to watch guys let it all hang lose. This may be the best bet for seeing that happen this month.
It's always great to see a legend like Fedor in action. Normally his fight would be highly anticipated in the Snowden household. But of all the potential fights for the former heavyweight champion, I never imagined Silva vs. Fedor. Well, I did, but the Silva in question was always Anderson. This is a good, competitive fight. It's just not a fight dreams are made of. That one will come in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix semifinals, assuming Fedor and Overeem both advance.
Anderson Silva is one of the best fighters the sport has ever known. Two years ago he would have wiped the mat with Vitor Belfort, danced a little, then wiped it some more. It's only the aging process that has made this fight interesting, and we're all better off for it. Vitor has the kind of power punching that could stop Silva in his tracks if he chooses to stand with his hands at his hips. I can't wait to see what happens!