The month of March is synonymous with college basketball, and that is fine, they earned it. (Let’s ignore the fact that the Final 4 is actually played in April.) But this year the world of Mixed Martial Arts is making a push for center stage. The WEC put on a card last weekend, and we still have three UFC events, yes three, as well as one from DREAM.
With only one of the next four MMA events being a pay-per-view, this is as good a time as any for non-fight fans to get involved. Here is a Cliff’s Notes version of what to watch this month.
On Sunday, March 21st, the UFC makes its Versus debut with the aptly named UFC on Versus 1. Unless you have DirecTV you will be able to watch these fights in the comfort of your own home. Four main-card bouts are scheduled for the televised portion of the card, and they are all worth watching.
Dorchester’s own John “Doomsday” Howard battles Daniel Roberts, who is filling in for the injured Anthony Johnson. Howard is a perfect 3-0 in his UFC career and looking to climb up the welterweight ladder.
Two solid heavyweight match-ups will lead into the main event. Cheick Kongo vs. Paul Buentello and Junior Dos Santos vs. Gabe Gonzaga. All four of these guys are Top 15 heavyweights in the world, a loss for any one of them would significantly hurt their title chances.
UFC on Versus 1 concludes with a light heavyweight showdown between Jon Jones and Brandon Vera. Jones is coming off his first “loss” of his career. He was DQ’d for illegal downward strikes in a bout with Matt Hamill. Jones was absolutely dominating the fight, something even Hamill admitted to afterwards. So it is safe to say Jones is going to come out with a lot to prove, and he faces the toughest opponent of his career in Vera. “The Truth” is a former heavyweight who has been in the cage with some of the best the sport has to offer including Frank Mir, Tim Sylvia, Fabricio Werdum, Keith Jardine, and most recently UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture.
Just one night following UFC on Versus 1 it’s DREAM 13 from Japan on March 22nd. (This is where DirecTV subscribers get one back, as the main card airs on HDNet.) One of the best pound for pound fighters in the world headlines the card. Joachim Hansen, a top lightweight, drops down to featherweight to square off with Bibiano Fernandez for the organization’s featherweight championship.
The UFC holds their lone PPV event on March 27th in Newark, New Jersey at UFC 111. If you like welterweights this is the card for you. The title is on the line between the nearly indestructible Georges St. Pierre and surprising contender Dan Hardy. Since being upset by Matt Serra, GSP has ripped of 6 impressive wins against the very best the UFC has to offer.
Two of those six wins cames against Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves who will have their re-match on the main-card. Fitch won the previous bout via TKO in the 2nd round all the way back in June of 2006. The winner of this fight puts themselves in great shape for another title shot vs. the either St. Pierre or Hardy.
The interim heavyweight title is also up for grabs at UFC 111. With the injury/illness to Brock Lesnar, the heavyweight title picture was put on hold. Lesnar was scheduled to fight Shane Carwin, before he was forced out of action. Frank Mir got a win over Kongo back in December, and it just made since to put these two in the cage. So the co-headliner will feature an incredible heavyweight match up for the interim title between Carwin and Mir.
The month comes to a close with UFC Fight Night 21 on March 31st. The main-card will be live on Spike TV. There is some good local flavor at Fight Night 21. Jorge Rivera, born in Milford, MA, takes on tough middleweight Nate Quarry, both fighters were featured on different seasons of The Ultimate Fighter.
In the main event Kenny Florian, born in Westwood, MA, and former Boston College soccer player, faces Takanori Gomi, in Gomi’s UFC debut. Ken-Flo has fought twice for the lightweight title, falling short both times, once to Sean Sherk and once to B.J. Penn. Those are his only 2 losses in his past 12 UFC fights. Gomi had been regarded as the top lightweight in the world while fighting in PRIDE. Gomi then lost back-to-back fights, he is now looking to get back to the top, of what has become a very strong lightweight division in the UFC.
Yes that is four fight cards in a 10-day span. Enjoy the action, and keep coming back to www.985thesportshub.com as there will be lots of MMA coverage.
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