Strikeforce - Nashville (April 17, 10 PM ET, CBS): A week after UFC 112, Strikeforce heads to Nashvegas with three title fights and one of UFC's bigger names freshly inked to a contract.
Dan Henderson, last seen obliterating Michael Bisping, will make his Strikeforce debut by immediately stepping in for a title shot. He'll face Jake Shields, who won a dominant - if tremendously boring - bout against Jason Miller in November for the belt at 185. Henderson can finish fights in a number of ways, giving him an edge over elite grappler but so-so striker Shields. Henderson is a championship wrestler as well, which means that if the fight goes to the ground it should be one heck of a technical exhibition and not the one-sided lay-on that Shields put on Miller.
Don't sleep on the undercard, either. Gegard Mousasi against "King Mo" Lawal for Mousasi's light heavyweight championship is one of the most anticipated fights of the year to date. Both men possess awesome striking power; Mousasi backs his with BJJ while Lawal has a wrestling background to help him out. On paper, it should be a top-notch fight, with the added bonus of Lawal's hilarious showmanship for the CBS fans. In the third title fight, champion Gilbert Melendez will be the underdog against Japanese submissions powerhouse, DREAM champion and consensus #2 lightweight (behind Penn) Shinya Aoki. Aoki is noted for his creative tapout work; look for him to try and show the US fans something special in this one.
WEC: Aldo vs. Faber (April 24, 10 PM ET, PPV): It's a stacked card for the third week in a row, but this one has some serious business implications as well. For the first time, WEC is taking their show off their cable home of Versus and putting it on pay-per-view. A failure here could accelerate the long-rumored possibility that WEC will be folded into UFC.
If WEC does fail, it won't be for lack of talent, as they're putting on an excellent card top-to-bottom. The headliner pits featherweight champion Jose Aldo, 16-1 and fresh off a knockout of Mike Brown for the belt, against "The California Kid" Urijah Faber. Aldo has finished every opponent put in front of him in WEC, although he has yet to face former long-time champ Faber. Faber's marketability plays a huge role in getting this fight despite two losses to Brown last year, but there's no question that Faber's worthy enough to merit a title shot. He'll have a tough time against Aldo's hurricane-like speed, however.