The month of July is here and the calendar's seventh month is full of exciting fights, starting with Saturday's UFC 132 and finishing with "Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson" on July 30. The month has a ton of good action, but here are five fights that stand out above the rest:
With the female division scuffling in Strikeforce since the Zuffa purchase and the promotion's 145-pound champion leaving the company, this could be one of the last times to see a high-level women's fight in a major American promotion. Coenen had a rough go of it in her first title defense, losing three rounds to the inexperienced Liz Carmouche before pulling off an Anderson Silva-like triangle choke in the fourth round. That night in March, she was scheduled to face Tate, but Tate had to pull out due to a knee injury. Now they are scheduled to meet here in the co-main event. Can Tate finish what Carmouche started with her wrestling or will Coenen have made the necessary adjustments?
4) Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben (UFC 132 - July 2 - Las Vegas)
Silva makes his long-awaited return to the Octagon against hard-hitting and hard-chinned Chris Leben. Silva, the former PRIDE middleweight champion, hasn't fought since a decision win over Michael Bisping at UFC 110, a fight that seems like it happened ages ago. This one should be fun while it lasts. There's a lot of questions surrounding both fighters, as Silva's chin is in question due to all the wear and tear he's taken and Leben did not have a good outing in a TKO loss to Brian Stann in January. If Silva is going to make one last run, he needs a win here.
3) Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber (UFC 132 - July 2 - Las Vegas)
These two have been rivals for more than four years now and that finally culminates when the two meet in the UFC's first-ever bantamweight championship fight. Cruz is a virtual unknown to UFC fans but could really make a name for himself here with a breakout performance against Faber, the long-time face of the WEC. Time will tell if that happens, but the stakes are high for both men, not only from a fighting perspective, but in the long-term, as well.
June 24, 2010 in Louisville, Ky., was the site of the Bellator Season 2 featherweight tournament final. That night, Warren and Freire met for the first time and it was "Pitbull" who came out and nearly finished Warren in the first round. Warren was saved by the bell and went on to win the final two rounds on two of the three scorecards to earn a split decision victory. The decision was contested, as many thought Pitbull earned a 10-8 first round. Now, after Pitbull reeled off three straight wins to capture the Bellator Season 4 featherweight tournament, he earns a rematch with Warren, who now is the Bellator featherweight champion. This should be a barnburner in the main event of Bellator's debut in Ontario.
1) Fedor Emelianenko vs. Dan Henderson (Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson - July 30 - Hoffman Estates, Ill.)
This one needs no explanation. Two legends of the sport collide in a heavyweight contest just outside of Chicago when Emelianenko meets Henderson, the Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion. Emelianenko has stated if he loses to Henderson, which would be his third straight loss, he will retire. The stakes are high here because of that and it will be enjoyable to see two sure-fire Hall of Famers (if there were such a thing) battle in what is a very intriguing fight. Can Emelianenko return to form or can Henderson knock out his third straight opponent? This should be an incredible night.
Agree? Disagree? This is just one man's list, so let us know in the comments what yours is and don't forget to vote in the poll below for your favorite fight of the month.