The UFC has only been running a couple of events each month since August, but they're about to turn up the volume in December with a total of four shows. Starting with UFC on Fox 5 this weekend in Seattle and continuing on all the say to UFC 155 in Las Vegas on the 29th, you'll be getting over 40 fights to make the Christmas season that much more interesting. With that in mind, I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at some of the best fights you can check out (mostly for free) in the next 25 days.
I realize that my list will differ greatly from what yours might look like. So if you disagree with some of the choices, offer up some alternatives in the comments.
1. Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez, UFC 155 - The heavyweight title rematch is something I've been looking forward to ever since it was announced. I know that some are more interested in JDS vs. Alistair Overeem, but Cain should definitely not be counted out here. This has the makings of one of the best fights of 2012, and I can't wait for it.
2. Mauricio Rua vs. Alexander Gustafsson, UFC on Fox 5 - I love and hate this matchup at the same time. Shogun is one of my all-time favorites, and I've been high on Gustafsson since he fought Krzysztof Kulak in KSW. I don't want to see either guy lose, but this bout is going to be ridiculously good and it's what excites me most about the stacked Fox 5 card.
3. Ben Henderson vs. Nate Diaz, UFC on Fox 5 - I know it's kind of blasphemous to not have the this title bout at number two, but whatever. It's still obviously an excellent bout and could be a fight of the year contender as well. I'm just a bigger fan of Shogun and Gus than either of these guys.
4. B.J. Penn vs. Rory MacDonald, UFC on Fox 5 -Obviously I can't wait for this weekend, considering three of my top four fights are on UFC on Fox 5. I honestly never thought I'd see this matchup and I really hope BJ can bring it, but to me this is still a means to give Rory a signature win. The bottom line is this though - when was the last boring B.J. Penn fight? I can't remember a single one offhand. No matter how it turns out, this is going to rule.
5. Hector Lombard vs. Rousimar Palhares, - I've never bought into the Hector Lombard hype in the least, and I think Palhares is a terrible matchup for him. Lombard has never been submitted in his 36-fight career, but there's a first for everything!
6. Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller, UFC 155 - This is even better than the original Lauzon/Maynard fight to me, and has fight of the night written all over it. I still think Jim Miller is the most underappreciated fighter in the UFC, and this bout with Lauzon might be what he needs to get more fans behind him.
7. Chad Mendes vs. Hacran Dias, 6 -Probably the most underrated fight of the month. Dias' win over Yuri Alcantara slid under the radar a bit, but a win over Mendes sets Dias up as an immediate contender at featherweight. Dias and current champ Jose Aldo are good friends and training partners though, so who knows.
8. Pat Barry vs. Shane del Rosario, TUF 16 Finale - Dude, it's a Pat Barry fight. Who doesn't like Pat Barry fights? Del Rosario can hang with him on the feet too, which should make this pretty interesting.
9. Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland, UFC 155 - Another underrated fight, this time at bantamweight. This is a great style matchup and both of these guys are usually exciting. It should be a barnburner.
10. Chris Cariaso vs. John Moraga, UFC 155 - I'm sure a lot of you are wondering why this is here instead of something like Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner, but hear me out. Cariaso's only loss in the UFC was a split decision to top bantamweight contender Michael McDonald, and Moraga looked awesome while dismantling Ulysses Gomez in August. This absolutely could decide who gets the next flyweight title fight after John Dodson, and it's going to be an excellent bout. Don't sleep on the flyweights!