Six must see scraps: November 2012

by • November 1, 2012 • NewsComments (0)

It’s November and the sun is setting earlier, the leaves are beginning to fall off the trees, and another month of mixed martial arts action is upon us.

Two major events –UFC on FUEL TV 6, UFC 154– round out the November MMA schedule with plenty of pivotal match-ups on tap. There will be battles for respect, relevance, contendership and most important of all: championship glory.

November will undeniably have a number of memorable fights, however, only six can make the list. With that said, here are the fights you CANNOT miss this coming month.

(In chronological order)

The Who: Dong Hyun Kim vs. Paulo Thiago (Welterweight Bout)
The When: Saturday, November 10th – UFC on FUEL TV 6: Franklin vs. Le
The Where: Cotai Arena at the Venetian Macau Resort Hotel in Macau, China
The Goods: A welterweight bout between Dong Hyun Kim and Paulo Thiago will serve as one of the six main card bouts when the UFC travels to China for the first time on Nov. 10 for UFC on FUEL TV 6.

Kim (15-2-1, 1 NC) missed out on the opportunity to compete in Japan when the UFC held an event there earlier this year, but will have the chance to fight on Asian soil for the first time since Oct. 2007 when he fights at UFC on FUEL TV 6. Kim is a dangerous and overwhelming grappling specialist who is quickly improving his striking abilities and comes as an all-around threat to his opponents. After losing to Demian Maia as the result of a rib injury at UF 148, “The Stun Gun” attempts to get back in the win column not far from his home country of South Korea.

Thiago (14-4) is as much in need of a win as anyone on the UFC on FUEL TV 6 fight card, as the Brazilian has lost three of his last four UFC fights including a brutal 42-second knockout defeat at the hands of Siyar Bahadurzada last April. The 31-year-old has had issues with injuries in recent years which has only allowed him to compete three times in the last 24-months. When he is fighting at 100 percent, Thiago possesses heavy hands and above average grappling that gives many opponents fits.

The Verdict: Kim and Thiago were both defeated in their last UFC bouts and badly need a victory to get back on track. Both men are well-rounded and come out to fight hard every time they step into the cage. It was not long ago Kim and Thiago were flirting with the top-10 in the world at 170-pounds, now they are fighting simply to hold on to relevance in the welterweight division.

The Who: Rich Franklin vs. Cung Le (Middleweight Bout)
The When: Saturday, November 10th – UFC on FUEL TV 6: Franklin vs. Le
The Where: Cotai Arena at the Venetian Macau Resort Hotel in Macau, China
The Goods: One of the UFC’s biggest Asian stars headlines the organization’s debut event in the country of China as the former Strikeforce middleweight champion takes on one of the UFC’s biggest stars overall, former UFC middleweight champion Rich “Ace” Franklin in a 185-pound affair.

Franklin (29-6) returned from over one-year away from the sport with a unanimous decision win over Wanderlei Silva at UFC 148. The 37-year-old announced his return to the middleweight division earlier this year, however his fight against Silva took place at a 190-pound catchweight due to the short-notice nature of the contest. UFC on FUEL TV 6 marks Franklin’s first 185-pound fight since April 2008 and the future Hall-of-Fame inductee looks to make an emphatic return to the division he once ruled with an iron fist.

Le (8-2) picked up his long-awaited first UFC victory when he beat Patrick Cote by unanimous decision at UFC 148. Le is an exciting fighter to watch due to his unique style that is heavy on spinning attacks and kicks. The UFC made it known that they wanted the Vietnamese fighter to headline the UFC on FUEL TV 6 fight card, and the organization got their wish as the fighter/actor headlines a UFC event for the first time.

The Verdict: Franklin and Le were scheduled to face one another at UFC 148 in July, but a number of injuries resulted in Franklin fighting Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147 and Le facing Patrick Cote at UFC 148. With both men coming out of their fights victorious, it was clear the UFC still wanted the fight to happen and they put it together, and on a free television event no less. Franklin vs. Le is an above average main event for a FUEL TV card and the fans should be thankful they get to see two of the UFC’s top middleweights go to battle on free television.

The Who: Ivan Menjivar vs. Azamat Gashimov (Bantamweight Bout)
The When: Saturday, November 17th – UFC 154: St-Pierre vs. Condit
The Where: Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The Goods: Montreal resident Ivan Menjivar fights in the province of Quebec for the first time in over two-years when he welcomes Azamat Gashimov to the UFC roster in a bantamweight affair at UFC 154.

Menjivar (24-9) was on the rise towards bantamweight title contention earlier this year, however was sent to the back of the line after a disappointing defeat at the hands of Mike Easton at UFC 148. The “Pride of El Salvador” came out of a four-year retirement in early 2010 and has gone 4-2 since returning to the sport. Menjivar fights in Canada for the second time in his UFC career at UFC 154.

Gashimov (7-1) has fought professionally since 2007 with all of his bouts taking place in Russia and the Ukraine. “Tough Guy” is a well-rounded fighter who has finished all but one of his opponents by submission or knock out. Gashimov meets a top-ranked veteran in his first UFC fight and has the chance to make an immediate splash in the UFC at 135-pounds.

The Verdict: UFC 154 is a huge fight for both Menjivar and Gashimov. Menjivar looked terrible in his last fight against Mike Easton and needs to put on a strong performance in order to prove to the higher-ups at the UFC, as well as the fans, that his career is not coming to an end. While Menjivar will be fighting to prove something, there is no pressure on the debuting Gashimov. If the 22-year-old Russian can take Menjivar out in his UFC debut then he will be a fighter to keep an eye on moving forward.

The Who: Sam Stout vs. John Makdessi (Lightweight Bout)
The When: Saturday, November 17th – UFC 154: St-Pierre vs. Condit
The Where: Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The Goods: Featured on the preliminary portion of the UFC 154 fight card is an all-Canadian lightweight bout pitting Ontario’s Sam “Hands of Stone” Stout against Quebec’s John “The Bull” Makdessi.

Stout (18-7-1) last fought at UFC on FX 4 in July where he defeated Spencer Fisher to win the trilogy over his longtime rival. UFC 154 marks the fourteenth octagon appearance for Stout with the 28-year-old earning a 7-6 record to date. Stout is regarded as one of the most technical strikers in the world at 155-pounds but has fought to a decision in nine of his last ten bouts.

Makdessi (9-2) likely will be fighting for his UFC career at UFC 154 after suffering back-to-back losses. The 27-year-old opened his octagon career with consecutive wins but hit a number of setbacks and now has his back against the wall. Makdessi has never been knocked out in his 11 fights as a professional.

The Verdict: It is rare the UFC will match up a fighter coming off a win (Stout) against a fighter coming off of not just one, but two losses (Makdessi). Clearly matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby saw potential in the match up and it makes sense as, when allowed to fight in their comfort zones, Stout and Makdessi have two of the most fan-pleasing styles in the lightweight division. Stout always comes to fight as seen by his five post-fight bonuses while Makdessi has proven to be an exciting fighter in his own right.

The Who: Martin Kampmann vs. Johny Hendricks (Welterweight Bout)
The When: Saturday, November 17th – UFC 154: St-Pierre vs. Condit
The Where: Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The Goods: A welterweight bout between top contenders Martin “The Hitman” Kampmann and Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks serves as the co-main event at UFC 154 in Montreal.

Kampmann (20-5) is currently riding his first three-fight win streak as a welterweight with wins over Rick Story, Thiago Alves and most recently, Jake Ellenberger. The Danish fighter has recently proved to be somewhat of a comeback specialist, but will need a strong performance from start to finish to get by Hendricks and prove he is the top contender in the welterweight division.

Hendricks (13-1) has quickly surged up the rankings with back-to-back wins over established top-5 welterweights in Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck. Hendricks is an impressive 8-1 in the UFC with his lone loss coming to Rick Story via unanimous decision in December of 2010. The American is one of the hardest hitters at 170 pounds and will be out for his fifth consecutive victory when he travels north of the border for the second time in his career.

The Verdict: While the UFC has not made anything official, the winner of Kampmann vs. Hendricks is likely to be named the No. 1 contender in the UFC welterweight division. Unfortunately, there is no telling when that shot may come until the night’s main event between Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit comes to a conclusion. If GSP wins, he may fight Anderson Silva before defending his welterweight title again. However, if Condit wins, we will likely see him face the winner of Kampmann vs. Hendricks in the near future. Nevertheless, Hendricks vs. Kampmann is an intriguing bout for the UFC welterweight division and the winner will be have a big fight in their immediate future.

The Who: Georges St-Pierre vs. Carlos Condit (Welterweight Championship Bout)
The When: Saturday, November 17th – UFC 154: St-Pierre vs. Condit
The Where: Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The Goods: For the first time since April 2011 the undisputed UFC welterweight championship of the world will be up for grabs when long-time welterweight champ Georges “Rush” St-Pierre returns from injury to face interim 170-pound title-holder “The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit in the main event of UFC 154.

St-Pierre (22-2) has not competed since a unanimous decision victory over Jake Shields at UFC 129 back in April 2011. The one-plus year absence from fighting is the longest St-Pierre has had since beginning his career back in 2002. One of the top-ranked pound-for-pound fighters in all of MMA, the 30-year-old is currently riding a 10-fight winning streak and has not lost a bout since a TKO defeat at the hands of Matt Serra all the way back in 2007. He will look to push that streak to an unbelievable 11-fights when he attempts to make his seventh title defense while unifying the two belts against Condit.

Condit (28-5) won the UFC interim welterweight championship last February at UFC 143 by defeating Nick Diaz via unanimous decision in a hotly contested bout. It was only Condit’s second decision victory in his 33-fight career and by far the most significant victory in the American’s career to date. Condit had the option to defend his interim belt against one of his fellow contenders in the welterweight division, but opted to wait for St-Pierre to return to the octagon in order to ensure he had the chance to challenge one of the top stars in the sport.

The Verdict: St-Pierre’s return to the sport is one of the most significant events of the year for the UFC and he faces an extremely threatening opponent in Condit. There is no telling what St-Pierre’s knee is going to be like after a major surgery and there is no doubt Condit is going to try and take advantage of GSP entering the fight off a long layoff. Condit is capable of ending the fight at any time with his tremendous knockout power while St-Pierre is an expert at taking opponents out of their comfort zone.

The UFC 154 main event plays a huge role on the future of the welterweight division as St-Pierre winning could mean the title will be on hold while he fights Anderson Silva. On the flip side, Condit still has a lot more fighters to beat in the UFC at 170-pounds and the championship could be defended much more frequently should he emerge victorious.

There is no doubt St-Pierre vs. Condit is one of the biggest fights of 2012.

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