I absolutely do not buy into the idea that MMA has become boring or that game plans and fights going to decision have ruined the sport. I have thoroughly enjoyed the year in MMA so far and there are plenty of bouts that I am anticipating with childlike glee. Here's my top five.
1 - Junior Dos Santos vs Alistair Overeem
It looks like, on May 26th Junior Dos Santos should defend his Heavyweight Title against Alistair Overeem. I should not have to explain why this is going to be great, the only thing that can wrong with this fight is if it is over too quickly. Dos Santos and Overeem are the two best strikers in their division and both come into this fight on the back of great knockout victories. Dos Santos is a boxer with supreme power and Overeem is a kickboxer with brutal knees. They both have the capability to hold their own on the ground, but it is unlikely to go there. This is destined to end with a beautiful knockout.
At the end of this month, the UFC takes a stacked card to Japan and the title fight between Ben Henderson and Frankie Edgar promises to be great. Edgar will be glad that this guy is not called BJ or Gray as he has fought two opponents in his last four fights. Ben Henderson faces a very different test for the champion with his insane pace and work rate and his powerful wrestling. Edgar is a decent wrestler himself and has some of the best boxing in MMA, should he be able to stand long enough to use it. Those factors, plus the fact that Frankie Edgar has been doing Rocky impressions in his past few fights, mean this is sure to entertain.
3 - Rousey vs Tate
Ronda Rousey talks the talk, on the 3rd of March we will see if she walks the walk. This fight is the most hyped fight in women's MMA since Gina Carano fought Cris Cyborg. There is debate about whether this is too soon for Rousey, but now that it is set it promises to be intriguing. Rousey is an olympic bronze medallist in Judo and has finished her first four MMA fights by armbar in the first minute. Miesha Tate is the newly crowned Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Champion and on a six fight win streak, including four finishes. Tate has a wrestling background and plenty of MMA experience, Rousey a Judo background and is untested at the top level.
All being well, this fight should finally go down on April 21st in Atlanta at UFC 145. It has been a while in the making as injuries and schedules got int he way of a fight that needs to happen. Jones and Evans fell out due to friction in their camp over the eventuality of them fighting each other. Ever since, a war of words in the media has built the hype. As Evans put away Phil Davis last month with a dominating performance, he took away the last obstacle between him and Jones. Now let's hope they both make it safely to the cage in April.
This June, probably in a Brazilian football stadium, Chael Sonnen is (hopefully) getting his rematch with Anderson Silva. In August of 2010, Sonnen came the close to upsetting the great Brazilian before he succumbed to to a triangle choke. A suspension, two wins and a lot of strange ranting later and Sonnen finds himself in a position to have another crack. Was Sonnen's good performance the result of his cheating? Was Anderson Silva out of sorts because of an injury or is Chael really his kryptonite? We should find out later this year.
So, what do you think? Have I left anything out or included fights that you could not care less about? Hit the comment section and let me know.
This post was first published at jiMMA.