It’s not quite an Oktoberfest of MMA this coming month, but there are a few shows to check out between now and the time you need to start thinking about your Halloween costume. Me? I’m thinking about going as Georges St-Pierre. Slutty Georges St-Pierre.
Dragon looks to make his first title defense by pushing Abobo off the conveyor belt.
UFC: Well, obviously October will just miss out on Wednesday night’s TUF fight between Kimbo Slice and Roy Nelson. It promises to be one of the most significant fights of the year, although it’s highly doubtful that it will be one of the most well-fought. TUF will continue to air through the month, but without Kimbo fighting (even if he wins, his next fight won’t air in October) it will be interesting to see if the show can sustain the ratings bump it’s received.
The big show is UFC 104: Lyoto Machida vs. Shogun Rua on October 24. All eyes are on Machida, who is looking to justify the rumblings that the Big Three at the top of the pound for pound rankings should really be a Big Four. With Rua not afraid to get in and throw bombs, Machida’s stellar striking defense should be tested again; I see the fight going much like the Thiago Silva fight (entertaining but perhaps too quick).
The other notable undercard fight is Cain Velasquez against Ben Rothwell. While I have to think that Couture will fight the winner of Lesnar/Carwin if only for the big PPV numbers, the undefeated Velasquez should be next in line if he can get past Rothwell here, who’s replacing Carwin. Rothwell shouldn’t be too much trouble for young Cain, but we’ll see for sure on the 24th.
I’m surprised by some of the choices UFC has made for the main card. I know Yushin Okami hasn’t fought in a year (and his last one was a bit… tedious) but if they’re serious about finding a middleweight challenger for Anderson Silva, this guy is SI’s #2 MW fighter and one of four men ever to beatthe Spider (if only by DQ). And he’s fighting in the prelims against a former WEC champion, Chael Sonnen! That boggles me. I’d much rather see that fight than Johnson-Yoshida or Stevenson-Fisher. And while I’m mentioning TUF alums, no love for the undefeated Ryan Bader in his return from injury? Gotta keep people thinking about him in the LHW division; I know he should breeze to victory, but I’m hoping they can squeeze that one in during the telecast. I don’t believe Machida-Rua will go the full five, so hopefully we’ll get to see some of these fights the night of.
WEC: October 10th is Donald Cerrone vs. Ben Henderson, live on Versus. The fight is for the WEC’s interim lightweight title and is a title rematch for Cerrone, who lost to the injured Jamie Varner but got another shot at the belt when Varner couldn’t defend. Henderson’s decent enough but as main events go this isn’t WEC’s best; the WEC lightweight title is essentially a minor league belt already and when you interim it? Gold is gold, I guess, but they might as well just make the belt out of pyrite and save a little cash.
I like the Richard Crunkilton Jr./Dave Jansen fight on the undercard, because Jansen is undefeated and Richard Crunkilton Jr. is named Richard Crunkilton Jr. I think if I ever become a multi-platinum rap artist, I’m going to call myself Richard Crunkilton Jr. Keep an eye on Raphael Assuncao at 145; the kid’s got skills and loves to get those sweet sweet tapouts.
DREAM: DREAM drops a pair of cards in Japan during the month.
The first, DREAM 11, is worth the effort to watch (and I’m not sure where it will air in the US, but it will be live on the Tokyo Broadcasting System for those of you with REALLY large satellite dishes). The DREAM Lightweight Title match between Joachim Hansen and Shinya Aoki is definitely worth the price of admission, but you’ll also get the semis and finals of their Featherweight Grand Prix in addition to another round of freakshow fights in their Super Hulk tournament. Has it been too long since you’ve seen Hong Man Choi and Bob Sapp? DREAM 11 may be for you. (The initial fight scheduled between Sokoudjou and Gegard Mousasi would have been much better, but Mousasi pulled out so it’s SAPPMAN to the rescue.)
DREAM 12, meanwhile, is mostly a cipher; the most firm piece of information about the card so far is that it’ll take place in a white cage. (After Labor Day! For shame.) Paulo Filho, Yoshiro Maeda, and Alistair Overeem are some of the name fighters confirmed, but I’m most interested in seeing Eddie Alvarez in his first fight after bursting onto the scene at the Bellator lightweight tournament.
Inactive Promotions: Strikeforce takes the month off, gearing up for a huge doubleheader at the start of November with both a Challengers card and the big Fedor/Rogers tilt on CBS. Sengoku airs nothing and will also return in November. Bellator is still in the offseason and the IFL, despite the fact that everybody seems to be talking about their fighters these days, is still bankrupt.
Image from 6th Round.