Trilogy. To movie fans, you think of Lord of the Rings, or perhaps Star Wars...maybe the Matrix, or even Spider-man. Perhaps you're looking forward to the 'Epic Conclusion of the Dark Knight Legend' this July. But to MMA fans, the word trilogy can mean a few things. It can mean that it's time for a score to be settled, that it's time for one last cash in on aging stars, that it's the only option available...or that it's happening just because. This summer we are going to be treated to 4 different trilogy fights...and they range from perfect to...not perfect.
May 19th, 2012 - Strikeforce 40
The story: All 3 fights will have been for the Strikeforce Lightweight Title, Thomson won the first fight, Melendez won the 2nd fight...but fights were good, but this one probably won't be. Thomson is 3-1 since the 2nd fight with Melendez...and he has spent a lot of time on the sidelines with injuries. He put on a shit performance in his last fight(his words, not mine) against KJ Noons and is now getting a 3rd crack at Melendez. Melendez is on a huge roll, after beating Thomson, he added 3 more wins to his now 6 fight winning streak. Included in those 3 was Shinya Aoki, who earned Melendez his ticket to the top of the rankings.
Why is it happening?: Because right now, Melendez is stuck in Strikeforce and as far as Strikeforce goes, there are maybe two credible fighters he could face. Josh Thomson and Pat Healy. Healy is looking great at LW with a 6-1 record...but he isn't a name and his record overall is kinda crummy. With Thomson, they at least have a storyline to sell.
June 22nd, 2012 - UFC on FX 4
The story: Stout won his UFC debut over Fisher with a split decision back in March of 2006, Fisher avenged the loss with a unanimous decision win in June of 2007. Fisher is definitely on the downslide, having lost 4 of his last five while Stout had a 2 fight winning streak snapped at UFC 142
Why is it happening?: Not sure...other then the fact that both are in the UFC, coming off of losse to Thiago Tavares, and coincidentally have split two previous matchups...there doesn't seem to be much of a reason. So I'll go with 'Just Because'
July 7th, 2012
The Story: Tito Ortiz won the first fight by split decision in April of 2006, Forrest Griffin won the 2nd fight by split decision in November of 2009...both fights were pretty darn similar. Tito had his moments on top and Forrest had his moments doing his sort of 'I can't knock you out' stand up game.
Why is it happening?: Because Ortiz and Griffin have an agreement to fight once every 3rd year. But seriously, it's because both of them are fading, they aren't the names they used to be and they aren't the fighters they used to be(which is sad for Tito especially, because by today's standards, he USED to be a guy who lost every fight by decision, and now he is getting stopped)...Ortiz or Griffin vs some up and comer isn't really a big fight...but Ortiz vs Griffin, for the 3rd and final time...possibly as a retirement fight for both fighters...THAT has more than a few angles the UFC can jump on and market.
The Story: Cruz wasn't on a poster for an event he was fighting at, he signed on Faber's face, Faber didn't like it. When they fought, Faber tapped him in 90 seconds. Cruz dropped down to 135 and went on an unbeaten tear that saw him become champ. Faber eventually got chopped down to the 135 division courtesy of Jose Aldo and his scary kicks. Dominick Cruz won the rematch at UFC 132 via Unanimous Decision, Faber got a rebound win over Brian Bowles...and here we are.
Why is it happening? This one makes plenty of sense, it's very relevant, these guys have names, they are coaching on TUF, they split the first two meetings, they have beef, Urijah has a butt chin...it's all there. Wouldn't be too surprised if the whole 'two trilogy fights' thing becomes more of a marketing angle than it should for UFC 148...but we'll have to see.
So there you go...we're in for a summer talking about this trilogy and that trilogy and other potential trilogies we might see. I'm personally expecting Lyoto Machida vs Shogun Rua 3 to be announced next.