Frankie Edgar's attempt to win the belt back is one of the ten fights to watch in the next month. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
UFC 149 stunk. It was awful. KJ Gould tried to defend a fight like Cheick Kongo vs. Shawn Jordan yesterday, but that fight is one of the worst I've seen in years. And that fight came in the middle of a bunch of other main card fights that were significantly lacking in action.
But the best part of being a fan of combat sports is that it's never too long until the next fight.
For fight fans, we've got some great bouts coming in the next 30 days that should wash the taste of UFC 149 right out of out mouths.
UFC on Fox 4 - August 4
- Mauricio Rua vs. Brandon Vera - Yeah, this fight joins the list of other recent fights that have been decimated by injury, and it's a huge step down for Rua. But that doesn't make the fight bad. In fact, I fully expect this to be full of violent fireworks. Vera isn't likely to be able to play a boring takedown and hold game against Rua and on the feet Vera is capable enough to turn the fight into an exciting firefight. And, to make things even better, it should end with some classic Rua violence.
- Lyoto Machida vs. Ryan Bader - Watching Machida is always a treat. It took a while for people to figure it out, but the puzzle he presents is so unique that his fights are extremely compelling. He also tends to feast on one trick opponents and Bader is "mostly" a wrestler but he can drop a big right hand as well. So we get to see Bader try to take a very simple, straight ahead gameplan and apply it against the puzzling Machida attack. Sometimes less is more and this is a style that Machida hasn't faced in at least 5 years (old Couture is nothing like Bader).
- Joe Lauzon vs. Jamie Varner - Varner is a lot of fun to watch, I've always thought that and it's why I was one of the seemingly very few people who were very publicly excited when he was signed to return to the UFC. Varner against Lauzon is a perfect kind of fight. They each present something that troubles the other and both have exciting styles. Anyone who doesn't like this fight or thinks it isn't worthy of main carding on Fox is out of their minds.
UFC 150 - August 11
- Ben Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar II - Do I really need to explain this one? The first fight was awesome and extremely competitive. Both of these guys fight their asses off every time out and seeing who can make the best adjustments after the first meeting is very intriguing. I'll care about too many rematches for the UFC lightweight title when the rematches stop kicking ass.
- Donald Cerrone vs. Melvin Guillard - Cerrone is 5-1 since the start of 2011. That's a ridiculously busy schedule and he's been pretty fantastic the whole time. He ran into a guy hitting his career peak in Nate Diaz back in December but then looked incredible taking Jeremy Stephens out in May. Guillard's title hopes may have been cut by Lauzon and Miller, but he always comes to fight. This is likely to be an explosive fight on the feet but could also turn into Cerrone just deciding that the takedown and submission path is the better way to go. Either way, it's not going to be boring.
- Yushin Okami vs. Rousimar Palhares - Palhares fights always come with a weird sense that something weird could happen. That could be him ruining somebody's leg or him losing his mind. Okami remains a solid, top-end middleweight who can strike well, wrestle well and has a capable ground game. This probably won't be quite as exciting as some of the other fights on the list in terms of bell-to-bell action, but I have a feeling there will be some crazy moments that make it memorable.
Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman - August 18
- Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman - Rousey is a future superstar. I say future because there's no proof that she's quite there yet in terms of actual public notoriety. Her performance against Miesha Tate was stunningly brutal and exciting. There was a tension in that fight that I hadn't seen since...well, since Kaufman fought Alexis Davis earlier that show. Kaufman vs. Davis didn't have the bad blood, but it was probably the better fight as the two women put on my personal pick for the best women's MMA fight I've ever seen. This is a deserving champion against a deserving challenger and we're going to see just where Rousey's star is when the ratings come out.
- Roger Bowling vs. Tarec Saffiedine - This is my pick for the fight that's going to sneak up and surprise everyone with how entertaining it ends up being. Aside from two fights with Bobby Voelker, Bowling has looked like a killer. Sure, he's a bit limited (which explains the Voelker fights) but he has the ability to stop anyone if he starts landing his shots. Saffiedine is more technical striker, but lacks the stopping power of Bowling. Don't sleep on this one.
- Miesha Tate vs. Julie Kedzie - This is set up as a bounce-back fight for Tate. For obvious reasons, Strikeforce would like to have Tate and Rousey rematch. But Kedzie is a veteran and is tough as nails. I think Tate takes her down, advances position and finishes, but it'll be exciting while it lasts.
So, that's only nine fights. What's the tenth?
- Tavoris Cloud vs. Jean Pascal - August 11 - Yes, I threw a boxing fight in. The Montreal crowd is fantastic for big fights like this and they'll be loud and rowdy for Pascal's return. Both of these guys can bang and they're going to come out from the opening bell and throw some huge shots. The combination of atmosphere and action will make this a fight that you'll want to check out on replay after UFC 150 ends.
See, fight fans? It does get better. Let's get 149 in our rear view and keep it there.