Well the final month of the 2012 calendar year is upon us. The UFC is sprinting to the finish with a card 3 out of the 4 weeks. And all the cards are extremly watchable with fights of actual importance from the rankings perspective. UFC on FOX 5 is perhaps one of the best free cards if not best card all year. UFC 155 is the first PPV worth buying in a long time. Bellator also limps to the finish as they prepare for an early start in 2013 on their new home SPIKE.
DEC 07 2012 BFC - Bellator Fighting Championships 83
The Season 7 featherweight championship will be decied with Rad Martinez vs Shahbulat Shamhalaev. Shahbulat Shamhalaev has looked stellar in his Bellator run up to this point. The same goes for Rad Martinez, who was signed after an ESPN special aired about him. The winner of this fight gets a featherweight title shot, whenever his number in line gets called. Other fights on the card feature former bantamweight champion Zach Makovsky fighting Anthony Leone. Women’s champion (for now I guess) Zoila Frausto Gurgel will fight Jessica Eye in non-title action. That’s a pretty good womens fight even if they are now trapped in the Bellator machine.
DEC 08 2012 UFC on Fox 5 - Henderson vs. Diaz FOX (check local listing), FX, Facebook
Now this is more like it for a “Big” FOX card. The UFC lightweight title will be on the line as Ben Henderson defends against Nate Diaz. This fight is going to be awesome simply put Ben Henderson brings some freaky athleticisim and long body while Nate Diaz is well a Diaz brother. The best part of all the undercard for the FOX portion of the card is also awesome. Light Heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson will face former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Shogun Rua. Rua most recently was in a harder than expected fight with Brandon Vera. Rua has definitely aged in the cage and Gustafsson just might be to young and fast for him. BJ Penn also returns to the UFC, once again at welterweight facing top prospect Rory MacDonald. Yes this is BJ Penn at welterweight, a weight he has consistently looked bad at, but I’m willing to give Penn the benifit of the doubt. His boxing is still better than MacDonald, who was hit by solid killer Che Mills and his takedown defense is extremely good. It wouldn’t be out there to imagine Penn taking the first round before slowing and losing on the cards 28-29. At the sametime Rory could suplex Penn around in impressive fashion. Yes Matt Brown is fighting on FOX but him and Mike Swick should be a entertaining scrap.
The undercard will be airing on FX
. Heavyweight slugger Lavar Johnson takes on Brendan Schuab. Johnson hits really hard and that is it. Hitting hard though is just fine in the heavyweight division, especially if your opponent, Schuab, has been getting stopped violently recently. Schuab has an overall better game but Johnson should be able to catch him before that really matters.EDIT: Yea Card Subject to Change blah blah blah. Johnson is off the card along with Schuab. Which is a bummer since it was going to be an easy finish. Dennis Siver aka mini-Daniel Craig continues his featherweight campaign taking on Nam Phan. Nam Phan might not be the best featherweight ever but he throws body shots (something I adore). His boxing mixed with Siver’s kickboxing can make for interesting battlle on the range of the fight. Mike Easton might be fighting Raphael Assuncao. I say should since all of Easton’s opponents have been getting injured. Easton hasn’t looked that impressive in the octagon so far. Despite solid wins he just kind of goes halfway in terms of offense.
DEC 14 2012 BFC - Bellator Fighting Championships 84 Spike.com/Bellator.com and MTV2
Attila Vegh is the lineal Bellator light heavyweight time for him to get the actual belt. Vegh is a well traveled fighter with a mix of striking and submission victories. Christian M'Pumbu was good enough to beat the fighters in the first tournament. He is an undersized light heavyweight, which gives him a speed advantage and that is about it. It is possible M’Pumbu pulls it out but Vegh at worse can draw from the Travis Wiuff playbook and take this to the ground. The heavyweight final will be on the card between Richard Hale and Alexander Volkov. Hale has improved his boxing and can always take the fight to the ground against Volkov. He won’t get to fight Cole Konrad, but he might of been the best fight possible for the former champion.
DEC 14 2012 UFC on FX 6 - Sotiropoulos vs. Pearson FX, Fueltv, Facebook
This also serves as the TUF Australia: Smashes finale. Coaches George Sotiropoulos and Sean Pearson will square off. It’s a pretty perfunctory lightweight fight in the grand scheme of things. Pearson is coming up from featherweight while Sotiropoulos was last seen being KO’d badly. This is lightweight so it could be fun but don’t expect the next #1 contender from this fight. Heactor Lombard has to prove himself worth all that money Zuffa spent on him. Against Rousimar “Paul Harris” Palhares he just needs to worry about getting his leg ripped off. On the feet he should be able to box him and at worst win a ho hum decision in his adopted homecrowd. It is more important for him to win though. Former title challenger Chad Mendes continues rebuilding by taking on Hacran Diaz. Diaz is a great fighter out of Nova Uniao but with that affiliation it seems unlikely Diaz would ever fight Jose Aldo. Still Mendes will force Diaz to fight off his back and force him to become a better fighter. Igor Pokrajac and Joey Beltran are going to throw down. Nothing else needs to be said.
DEC 15 2012 UFC - The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale FX, Fuelttv, Facebook
I haven’t watched a single episode of this season of TUF. By all accounts it has been truly terrible. Other than the “Let Me Bang Bro” meme nothing remarkable has happened. The Finale card is actually kind of remarkable. It looks like there will be at most two fights featuring TUF cast members, the actual finals and soemthing else. The rest of the card is all UFC guys. Pat Barry vs Shane Del Rosario could be a entertaining kickboxing match or a sloppy M-1 level grappling match depending on what Del Rosario dose. Melvin Guillard will fight Jamie Varner, who actually made me a fan in his last fight against Joe Lauzon. Matt Mitrione is stepping in for an injured Shane Carwin. Mitrione is a a former NFL player who has looked pretty good for a guy with only 6 fights, having entered the UFC through TUF 10. Nelson is an all around superior fighter and should easily defeat his former TUF 10 castmember.
DEC 29 2012 UFC 155 - Dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2 PPV, FX, Facebook
If UFC on FOX 5 is an example of what a FOX card should look like this is what a PPV card should look like. I saw Dos Santos Velasquez 1 in person and was left wanting. I don’t think you can really draw a conclusive decision over who is the better fighter despite the emphatic finish. These two should fight five times honestly. Supporting Phil Davis vs Forrest Griffin, Jim Miller vs Joe Lauzon, and Yushin Okami vs Alan Belcher. That plus one of the other extremely entertaining cards makes for a product worth $55 or at least a trip to the bar to see it happen.
Some other fights on the undercard to look out for include Brad Pickett vs Eddie Wineland, Todd Duffee vs Philip De Fries, Chris Leben vs Karlos Vemola, and Chris Cariaso vs John Moraga. At worst just watch the FX prelims. The UFC seems to be finally in the mood of putting on cards with 5-6 fights that gets people actually excited and not just 1-2 with another 10 that hardcores may or may not be interested in.
5 Fights To Watch in December
- Benson Henderson vs Nate Diaz, UFC on FOX 5
- Junior Dos Santos vs Cain Velasquez, UFC 155
- BJ Penn vs Rory MacDonald, UFC on FOX 5
- Melvin Guillard vs Jamie Varner, TUF 16 Finale
- Phil Davis vs Forrest Griffin, UFC 155