UFC 155 is just around the corner and I am here once more to provide you with the 5 fights you need to watch to get yourself mentally, physically and emotionally ready. In the main event Cain of Alaskas takes on the man with the most infectious smile of all time, for the right to be called the baddest man on the planet. The main card has suffered slightly from injuries, but it's still pretty solid with plenty of close and divisionally relevant match ups and the prelims are awesome. As usual I've tried to pick a mixture of main card and prelims fights to focus on, with a special emphasis on the hot bout for all you BECWers out there. So here are the 5 most important fights to watch to get ready for this weekend:
1) Cain Velasquez vs Junior Dos Santos. UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos. November 12, 2011.
Come on, you had to see this one coming. Despite the fact the fight was so short and both may have been injured and all this other stuff, the first fight is still important and can give us some idea of how the rematch is going to go. The first ever fight on Fox was for the Heavyweight title between the two best Heavyweights in the world. Cain was coming off a long injury lay off and surgery on his knee and looked a little soft at the weigh ins and on the day of the fight. He started quite sluggish and we didn't really see the agressive Cain that we are used to seeing. Dana was critical of him because he didn't shoot in but I think that's silly for 3 reasons. First JDS has amazing footwork which makes it tough for his opponent to shoot. Second he actually did try and shoot once but was easily stuffed. And third the fight was just over a minute. He didn't have the time to properly implement his gameplan. Junior was able to land the big shot behind the ear and finish with strikes on the ground.
Obviously this fight is very relevant for this weekend. The first fight showed us what many of us already knew; Cain gets hit a lot and Junior hits very effing hard. Whether or not the fight plays out the same we will have to wait and see but there is a possibilty the rematch will go very similair to this first encounter.
2) Joe Lauzon vs Jamie Varner. UFC On Fox: Shogun vs Vera. August 4, 2012.
This was my favourite fight of last year and I was delighted i 'had to' rewatch it for this and for my CW research. The fight had crazy momentum shifts and non-stop action both on the ground and on the feet. Varner was coming off his huge upset win over Barboza and Lauzon was trying to recover from being headkicked by Showtime. Varner surprised me with how good his stand up looked in this fight. He showed impressive power to rock and drop Lauzon twice. Lauzon was able to recover however and executed some beautful sweeps. He also managed to connect with some of his own shots on the feet. In the end Lauzon was able to hit a beautful sweep and transition into a slick triangle choke to get the win in a crazy war. This was also the fight that decided who won the CW last season as it was the hot bout in the final event and the excitement was unreal as the momentum swang several times throughout the fight.
This fight is incredibly relevant because both guys are fighting this weekend. Lauzon takes on another powerful wrestler with good submissions as he fights Jim Miller and Lauzon fights Melvin Guillard after it was cancelled last event. Lauzon showed he still has striking defensive deficiencies but he at least showed improved cardio, showing no signs of gassing and even getting a finish in the third round of what was a really high paced fight. He also continued the remarkable feat of having finished every one of his 22 wins. For his part Varner showed he still has the power and technique and he could use that against the suspect chin of Guillard who also has questionable fight IQ.
3) Melvin Guillard vs Jim Miller. UFC On FX: Guillard vs Miller. January 20, 2012.
Speaking of Guillard and his questionable fight IQ... This was another great fight and was the first event on FX. Both guys were coming off loses and needed a win to keep them from becoming irrelevant in the stacked LW division. Guillard started well and used his explosive athleticism and athlethic explosiveness to land some heavy shots on Miller which had him hurt early. Guillard then went full retard and started spamming flying knees which led to an easy takdedown for Miller. During the ensuing scramble Miller took Melvin's back like some kind of ninja monkey and got the RNC and the win.
Once again this fight is relevant because both guys are fighting this weekend as these two fights have switched around. It'l be interesting to see what kind of gameplan Miller comes up with for fighting Joe. I would say the stand up is fairly even but possibly give a slight edge to Joe. On the ground both guys are extremely talented with Miller having the better wrestling but Joe has the better submissions and killer instinct. Melvin could also learn a thing or two from this fight including not throwing so many flying knees against a wrestler that wants to time your strikes to take you down. He also needs to learn to relax a little if/when the fight goes to the ground because it looks like he freaks out and starts panicing which always leads to a sub loss.
4) Chris Cariaso vs Josh Feguson. UFC On Fuel TV: Munoz vs Weidman. 11 July, 2012.
Hot bout time mutherfukers. At least at the time of writing this anyway, Guillard/Varner is pretty close but I've already covered that. This was actually another pretty entertaining fight featuring two flyweights who previously fought at 135. The unanimous 30-27 clean sweep for Cariaso hides the fact that pretty much all three rounds were close and Ferguson had his moments, It was pretty clear that Cariaso was the better fighter though. His stand up looked sharp although as Jon Anik mentioned it was a little repetitive and predictable at times. He cut good angles though and used good footwork. Even though he was labelled as a Muay Thai fighter he actually showed some pretty decent wrestling himself against Ferguson. He hit a trip/foot sweep in the clinch on a number of occasions who somehow kept catching Ferguson by surprise. As well as that he also showed an impressive ability to get back to his feet quickly if he did manage to get taken down.
This fight is relevant for this weekend because Cariaso is fighting another wrestler with power in is hands in the form of John Moraga. It will be interesting to see if he can stuff the shots of Moraga and if he will be able to get back to his feet as Moraga was a D1 wrestler. It will also be interesting to see if Cariaso tries to shoot on him and if he mixes up his takedowns with his strikes again.
5) Chris Leben vs Mark Munoz. UFC 138. November 5, 2011.
The cat smasher is back! I'm really spoiling you guys now because this was also a really fun fight. The first non-title fght 5 rounder in UFC history but I think we all knew this one wasn't going the distance. Leben came out swinging as we've come to expect from him but Munoz immedidately took him down. Leben used his underrated ground game to get back to his feet and landed some bombs. But Munoz was able to take him down again and started to land some donkey kong ground and pound and opened up a nasty gash on Lebens face. Even though Leben threatened with some front chokes he never really came close to finishing and the fight was called off after the second round as Chris told his corner he couldn't see and they called it off. Unfortunately Chris failed his post fight drug test and got banned for a year. This weekend will be his come back fight.
And it's relevant because he is fighting another wrestler this weekend. Brunson is best known for bring that guy that Jacare KO'd and rightfully so. His striking defence is so bad he makes street fight videos on youtube look good in comparison. Honestly Leben should smash him this weekend and hopefully he has sorted out the problems in his personal life so we can get some more awesome fights out of him before he retires.
So there you have it. The 5 most important fights to watch to get you ready for this weekend. Let me know if you think I left anything important out and or what you think of my list.