August: Month of the Title Fights
Jon Jones opened up the month of August 2010 in the MMA world with another impressive performance, this time in a victory over Vladimir Matyushenko in the 1st round. Bones will undoubtedly fight for a title one day in his UFC career. But, as for the here and now, check out the number of title fights from now until UFC 118 in Boston. 6. That’s right 6 titles are up for grabs within the UFC, WEC, Strikeforce, and Sengoku. Take a look at the list.
August title fights (in order of date):
UFC Middleweight Title
Who: Defending Champ Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen
When: UFC 117, August 7th
Where: Oakland, California
Why: Silva has been steam rolling through the UFC Middleweight division like an unstoppable rebel force. His last fight was entertaining for 3 rounds vs. Demian Maia, then turned just boring and weird. Sonnen claims he’s the better fighter (come on dude), he’s saying all the right things to make people want to watch this fight. I’m convinced he called Dana White and Joe Silva and said, “Listen, I know people are bored of Silva as a middleweight, but give me a shot and I will talk enough junk that everyone will want to tune in.” Well it worked, I want to watch, but I also think Silva could beat Sonnen so bad that we never see Chael again.
WEC Bantamweight Title
Who: Defending Champ Dominic Cruz vs. Joseph Benavidez
When: WEC 50, August 18th
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
Why: Cruz is 6-0 since losing to Faber in a featherweight title fight. He’s the consensus best bantamweight fighter in the world, and has already beaten Benavidez. These two last met a year ago, and Cruz won the “Fight of the Night” by decision, which prompted him to a title bout of his own against then champ Brian Bowles. Benavidez is coming of a “Submission of the Night” win over Miguel Torres, so he warrants a shot at the belt. Should be an exciting fight.
Strikeforce Middleweight Title (vacant)
Who: Tim Kennedy vs. Ronald “Jacare” Souza
When: Strikeforce: Houston, August 21th
Where: Houston, Texas
Why: They need a champ. Jake Shields has left Strikeforce for the UFC, and after initial plans of holding a middleweight tournament to crown the new champion at 185, Scott Coker and the Strikeforce crew decided to throw this match. Jacare is a solid middleweight with wins over Jason Miller and Matt Lindland to his credit. Kennedy also has beaten Miller as well as Nick Thompson and most recent Trevor Prangley. I like Jacare in this match up, but I would have liked a tournament even more.
Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Title
Who: Defending Champ Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal vs. Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante
When: Strikeforce: Houston, August 21st
Where: Houston, Texas
Why: King Mo gets his 1st title defense following his upset (I sure as hell thought it was an upset) win over Gegard Mousasi. Lawal is still undefeated in his MMA career, rumors circulated over who his next fight would be against, Babalu was suggested but apparently Sobral and Lawal are good friends and did not want to fight. Not good for Strikeforce considering they have probably 4-5 good light heavyweights. Cavalcante got the call, he’s 9-2 in his career, and has never fought for a title or anyone ranked in the Top 10. This fight proves once again how thin organizations outside the UFC really are. Where would Cavalcante be on the UFC ladder?
Sengoku Middleweight Title
Who: Defending Champ Jorge Santiago vs. Kazuo Misaki
When: Sengoku Raiden Championship 14, August 22nd
Where: Tokyo, Japan
Why: Rematch. These two met back in January of ’09 for the vacant Sengoku Middleweight Title, where Santiago won by submission. Misaki is actually coming off a loss in Dynamite! to Melvin Manhoef, but still got the title fight. Hard to get all that excited about it, Santiago picked up a lot of support in many MMA websites because of his 9 fight win streak recently (which ended his bout after the Misaki victory), but he lost his last two UFC fights (Chris Leben and Alan Belcher) did he really get that much better or did his opponents get weaker? I’ll go with the latter. But hey it’s a title fight!
UFC Lightweight Title
Who: Defending Champ Frankie Edgar vs. B.J. Penn
When: UFC 118, August 28th
Where: Boston, Massachusetts
Why: B.J. Penn was the top ranked lightweight in the world, and few gave Edgar a shot. Well he took advantage and out pointed the champ for a decision victory to take the belt. Even in the ever competitive and growing UFC lightweight division no one deserved a chance at Edgar’s newly won belt than the guy who just lost it, Penn. The main event at the first ever UFC card in the state of Massachusetts, Frankie Edgar gets back in the cage against the legend B.J. Penn. Can you say trilogy?
There you have it, 6 MMA titles are up for grabs in the next 3+ weeks. 2 UFC belts, 2 Strikeforce, 1 WEC, and 1 Sengoku. My quick picks: Silva, Cruz, Souza, Lawal, Misaki, and Penn.
Enjoy the fights!