June is here and there are plenty of MMA cards to keep your eyes on.  The UFC, Strikeforce, WEC, Bellator, and Sengoku are all putting on at least one event in the next 30 days.  Here is your guide to the 10 best fights this month has to offer.

 Who: Pat Curran vs. Toby Imada

When: Bellator 21 – June 10

Why: It’s the Bellator Season 2 Lightweight Tournament Finals.  The winner gets a shot at Eddie Alvarez and the organizations 155 pound title.  Curran upset Roger Huerta in the semis while Imada is looking for a rematch with Alvarez. 

Who: Chuck Liddell vs. Rich Franklin

When: UFC 115 – June 12

Why: A match up of two great former champions.  Emphasis might have to be on the “former.”  I think Franklin could have something left in the tank, but in the Light Heavyweight division?  If the Iceman gets knocked out I hope he hangs it up. 

Who: Mirko Cro Cop vs. Patrick Barry

When: UFC 115 – June 12

Why: You want a KO?  There is a good chance you’ll get one in this Heavyweight showdown.  Cro Cop has been an enigma since joining the UFC, but the chance for a KO (either by him or his opponent) is always a high kick away.  Barry, meanwhile, is 5-1 with all 5 wins by KO or TKO.  As they say, don’t blink.

Who: Paulo Thiago vs. Martin Kampmann

When: UFC 115 – June 12

Why: Two ranked welterweights looking to move up the ladder and eventually get a shot at GSP.  Until Jake Shields gets to the UFC, the 170 division is led by GSP, Fitch, Alves.. and then a group that includes Kos, Hardy, and these two guys. 

Who: Robbie Lawler vs. Babalu Sobral

When: Strikeforce: Los Angeles – June 16

Why: Two of the biggest names in the sports, former UFC fighters now trying to continue their careers and improve their legacies in Strikeforce.  Who has something left? 

Who: Matt Hamill vs. Keith Jardine

When: The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale – June 19

Why: Jardine has lost 3 in a row, 4 of 5, and 6 of his last 8 fights.  Brutal.  His 2 wins in that span?  Both split decision (Liddell & Vera).  Yikes.  The former Top 10 Light Heavyweight is in a desperate need of a win.  He’ll face Hamill who comes in winner of 3 straight fights, although he was getting dominated by Jon Jones before Bone was DQ’d for an illegal strike. 

Who: Finalist TBD vs. Finalist TBD

When: The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale – June 19

Why: We don’t know who will be in the Finals yet for TUF 11: Team Liddell vs. Team Ortiz, but we do know whoever it is they join a select group.  Past winners include: Diego Sanchez, Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Joe Stevenson, Michael Bisping, Matt Serra, Nate Diaz, and Roy Nelson.  Needless to say, the winner of the show has a decent chance of being in contention in the near future. 

Who: Jorge Santiago vs. Kazuo Misaki

When: Sengoku Raiden Championships 13

Why: Two of the best middleweights in the world not employed by the UFC.  I personally believe Santiago is overrated.  He is 10-1 since leaving the UFC, where he was just 1-2.  Misaki gets the rematch that he’s wanted since tapping out to Santiago back in early ’09. 

Who: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Fabricio Werdum

When: Strikeforce and M-1 – June 26

Why: It’s the best Heavyweight in the world.  Right?  It’s certainly not unanimous anymore.  With the chances of Fedor fighting Brock, Carwin, or Cain seemingly zero, many fans are tired of the dangerous Russian.  A win over Werdum though sets up the best possible Fedor match up, and that’s against Strikeforce champ, Alistair Overeem. 

Who: Cung Le vs. Scott Smith

When: Strikeforce and M-1 – June 26

Why: Fighter turned actor turned fighter Cung Le will not face another long lay off this time around.  Le gets a chance for immediate revenge against the only man to beat him in Scott Smith.  Smith scored a KO last December.  Can Le regain the form that had him ranked right near the top of the Middleweight division?

Be sure to check BostonThrowdown.com throughout the month to keep up with all the action.  Plus a long overdue updated MMA Rankings will be released soon. 

Follow Rich Keefe and the rest of the guys on twitter @BostonThrowdown and facebook.com/BostonThrowdown


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