10. Chad Mendes vs Clay Guida- A fight that was originally booked for UFC on FOX 7 back in April, but Guida suffered an injury & Mendes ended up fighting Darren Elkins. The reason this fight cracked the top 10 certainly wasn't because of Guida, as 3 of his last 4 performances are amongst the most embarrassing I've ever seen. Mendes used to be known as a "lay-n-pray" guy himself, but has really grown out of that since joining the UFC. I like the way this fight sets up, as Guida seems to be exciting when he's fighting someone he cannot hold onto &/or shoulder shrug. Also, the winner is a in serious contender talk at FW as well.
9. Conor McGregor vs Max Holloway- 2 young extremely talented strikers that should make for a great fight, however long it may last. Conor has a lot more hype behind him coming into the fight & deservingly so, as he has some real star qualities. Holloway will be very game though, as he is coming off a fight that ended 3 fight winning streak where he slowed in the 3rd round but clearly won the first 2, despite the judges awarding the fight to Dennis Bermudez. Conor may prove too much for Holloway but boy will it be exciting.
8. Martin Kampmann vs Carlos Condit part 2- They UFC has labeled it "Condit vs Kampmann 2" which is a bit disrespectful to Kampmann in my personal opinion. Any who, this rematch is flying under the radar quite a bit & I can understand why. Its headlining the weakest of 4 Cards in a month & both main eventers are coming off of a L, or in Condit's case 2(if not 3). I like the fact that Kampmann took some time off after such a brutal knockout. If his chin is able to hold up this could be even better than the 1st encounter because its scheduled for 5 rounds. 2 Excellent kick-boxers with awesome jiu jitsu & poor wrestling should makes for another classic.
7. Josh Barnett vs Frank Mir- A long anticipated fight that could be special. It also has the potential to turn into a sloppy kick-boxing match between 2 past their prime heavyweights. I think Barnett will make it interesting no matter where it takes place though. If it does hit the ground, Mir doesn't mind playing from his guard & Barnett loves to smother with his top game.
6. Michael McDonald vs Brad Pickett- SOMEHOW, this fight is on the prelim portion of the FS1 premiere card. Not that big of deal since nearly the whole card will be broadcast anyway, but having it below the Hall & Lauzon fights bothers me. BANGFEST! Hand speed, power, combinations, cardio, WAR!!
5. Matt Brown vs Mike Pyle- I expect this to not be agreed upon by the masses, but I've become heavily invested in Matt Browns ascendency. Its a shame that Alves had to pull out from this fight because his name is a bit sexier than Pyle's, but Pyle's resume in the last 5 years is better PERIOD. He is on a nice resurgence of his own, & the winner may find themselves near a title shot with a win. Certainly the winner would be worthy of say the Kampmann/Condit winner. Both guys are very well-rounded, but I think Brown has the advantage as a faster starter, as well as having a better chin, & full-camp to prepare.
4. Alistair Overeem vs Travis Browne- A lot of questions for both fighters going into this fight. How is the Reem's, uh, umm, conditioning? Is Browne ready for Reem & was the outcome of his fight with Bigfoot determined by his hamstring injury? Will Greg Jackson have game plan? Will Reem fight like a Blackzillian? Heavyweight bangfest bro, winner moves into immediate title contention. I could even see the UFC giving Reem a shot at Cain, if both are successful in their next bouts. Not saying it would be right, but from a business standpoint I wouldn't put it past Lorenzo & Dana.
3. Jose Aldo vs Chan Sung Jung- Its in Brazil, the Zombie is coming off of a year layoff, plus he's been knocked out by George Roop. I do not give a funk because he always makes for an entertaining fight. Aldo probably will win, but if Florian & Hominick can go 5 rounds, Zombie certainly could too. His in your face pressure style could be effective against Aldo in fact. Aldo, though often compared to Anderson Silva, fights very differently. He likes to stalk & control the fight while Anderson is a counter-striker elite. Hominick actually had a lot of success standing against Aldo, except his chin couldn't match Aldo's. If this fight goes 2 minutes, 2 rounds or 25 minutes it will be insane no doubt about it. 2 of the most exciting fighters in the most exciting division the UFC has to offer.
2. Shogun Rua vs Chael Sonnen- Chael is coming off of 2 losses where he was finished, & Shogun hasn't been the same since Jones molly-whopped him. Who cares? 2 durable warriors who always come forward & are there to put on a show. Chael can be a bit boring from the top at times, but unless your Jon Jones, Shogun can create scrambles or hit sweeps on anyone especially someone who hasn't had success at 205 in the UFC at all. Shogun is easily one of my favorite fighters of all-time so I will be pulling for him. At least if he loses it wont be a soul-taking type of beating. My pick for FOTY & FOX will love it.
1. Benson Henderson vs Anthony Pettis part 2- The first fight was the kick heard round the world to top off the fight of the year for, 2010 was it? Maybe 2011? I'm not sure but I digress. There as been a lot of talk about how & why we got here with torn meniscuses & concussions but none of that matters. Pettis has said over the last year that Benson doesn't want to fight him, so there may be some nice heat leading up to this one. The fight itself will be hard to top the 1st one, but it just might. Pettis is coming off of 2 spectacular knockouts & while Benson has fought some close, but typically exciting fights since entering the UFC. I don't think Benson is the type to hold someone down & not try to do work, if he can even get Pettis down. He had a lot of trouble in the first fight as it wore on in getting the takedown. Remember, Ben likes to initiate his TDs from the clinch. He doesn't shoot much because he's not that good at it. Will Pettis let him get on the inside where Bendo will surely try & bully? These 2 are so contrasting in styles, I don't have a clue as to how this one plays out.