With MMA's second wave of TRT drama seemingly over, a cornicopia of injuries to UFC 133 that caused headliner Rashad Evans to change opponents and Rich Franklin lose a fight altogether, Overeem's removal from the Heavyweight Grand Prix, and sponsors leaving the UFC and Strikeforce shows due to the sponsor tax, MMA fans can use a break from all the bad, and take a quick peak towards the future and great fighters we're tentatively scheduled to see.
It seems like every day Zuffa is announcing two or three bouts for upcoming cards, with announced events sprinkled in there. Coming off some poor buy rates and ratings (albeit exciting cards), Zuffa has to really kick things up if they want to match their record setting PPV buys from previous years, which by all indicators is unlikely. With a recent increase in fight cards scheduled, they'll try to at least make it interesting.
Here is a quick breakdown of the rest of the Saturday's with scheduled and rumored events:
(Friday) July 22nd: Strikeforce Challengers:Bowling vs Voekler III
July 30th: Strikeforce: Fedor vs Henderson- Coenen vs Tate, Lawler vs Kennedy, Daley vs Woodley
August 6th: UFC 133- Evans vs Ortiz, Belfort vs Akiyama, Mendes vs Yahya
(Friday) August 12th: Strikeforce Challengers: Gurgel vs. Duarte
(Sunday) August 14th: UFC Live Hardy vs Lytle- Miller vs Henderson, Oliveira vs Cerrone, Benavidez vs Wineland
August 27th: UFC 134 Silva vs Okami, Rua vs Griffin II, Nogueira vs Schaub
September 10th: Strikeforce 36- Souza vs Rockhold, Silva vs Cormier, Barnett vs Kharitonov, Gracie vs Lawal
September 17th: UFC Fight Night 25: Battle on the Bayou- Shields vs Ellenberger, Dunham vs Bailey, Rocha vs McKenzie
September 24th: UFC 135- Jones vs Jackson, Sanchez vs Hughes, Gomi vs Diaz
October 1st: UFC on Versus 6- Brenneman vs Johnson, Wiman vs Danzig
October 8th: UFC 136- Edgar vs Maynard III, Aldo vs Florian, Sonnen vs Stann, Lauzon vs Guillard, Maia vs Santiago, Pettis vs Stephens
October 29th: UFC 137- St-Pierre vs Diaz, Penn vs Condit, Siver vs Stout, Kongo vs Mitrione
November 5th: UFC 138 Leben vs Munoz, Alves vs Abedi, Njokuani vs Taylor
November 19th: UFC 139- Velasquez vs dos Santos, Koscheck vs ??, Weidman vs Lawlor
December 3rd: TUF 14 Finale- Bisping vs Miller, Bantamweight Finalist 1 vs Bantamweight Finalist 2 (Wikipedia says Featherweight and Bantamweight, does this season feature Featherweights too?)
I took some liberties with rumored bouts/cards and put up what might happen.
Wow. And that's not including whatever Pay Per Views Zuffa schedules for December with 4 open Saturdays, one of them being New Years Eve, which the UFC likes to do big. Strikeforce will also probably have a big card or two in that time frame, one of them possibly completing the tournament.
If my math is correct, 14 of the next 20 weekends contain a fight card. I haven't crunched the numbers, but that seems like a pace that Zuffa hasn't ventured into before. Now, some of these cards are going to be ravaged by injuries. We'll probably see a main event or two go down. It happens. But since the rest of the year is so stacked, we're going to end up seeing dozens of amazing fight regardless. But until those injuries happen, we may as well sit back, ignore the negativity, and call each other idiots like we usually do for picking a fight a certain way. Have at it.
Bonus Poll! Which scheduled title fight are you most looking forward to?
Anderson Silva vs Yushin Okami (UFC 134) (7 votes)
Jon Jones vs Rampage Jackson (UFC 135) (24 votes)
Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard III (UFC 136) (9 votes)
Jose Aldo vs Kenny Florian (UFC 136) (3 votes)
Georges St-Pierre vs Nick Diaz (UFC 137) (38 votes)
Cain Velasquez vs Junior dos Santos (UFC 138) (22 votes)
Jacare Souza vs Luke Rockhold (Strikeforce 36) (1 vote)
104 total votes