Mike Thomas Brown, king of the 145 lb division and WEC featherweight champion, has found his next opponent. After crushing Urijah Faber and Leonard Garcia and then earning a tough decision against Faber in their rematch, Brown must face rising superstar Jose Aldo. The fight has been signed but WEC isn’t sure whether they’re going to put it on WEC 44 or 45 yet.
Right now the fight is tentatively scheduled for WEC 44 in November but that isn’t a given. No matter what though the fans will be treated to quite a show as Aldo will bring in his 15-1 record with 12 stoppages against pound for pound one of the toughest fighters on the planet. Aldo, a veteran of Shooto and Pancrase, before running off a five fight win streak in the WEC, and coming off a brutal flying knee KO of Cub Swanson, is set to be the next big star at featherweight. We’ll see if his blazing speed and vicious striking power can dethrone Brown and his excellent grappling game and power striking.
The Martin Kampmann v. Mike Swick fight at UFC 103 will officially decide the new number one contender for Georges St. Pierre’s welterweight belt. While I have no qualms about this I think GSP is better off facing Anderson Silva next than fighting either of these two. Thiago Alves is a much better striker than either of these fighters and we all saw what GSP did to him this month and that was on one bad leg for half the fight. With that said this should be an awesome fight and whoever wins does deserve the next title shot.
Yushin Okami will finally return to the Octagon 10 months after his last fight in December at UFC 104. He will take on a resurgent Chael Sonnen who is coming off an impressive unanimous decision win over Dan Miller. This is an important fight for both men. Sonnen can ill afford another loss in the UFC and Okami, who was once the number one middleweight contender, needs this win to start regaining momentum back toward another title shot.
And in one of the more shocking announcements in awhile it was announced that Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin will square off once again. They will hook horns at UFC 103. Everyone knew Franklin was headlining the card but no one knew who his opponent would be until a few days ago.
This is a strange move considering these two just fought back in January. Granted it was a very debatable split decision but what’s puzzling is that Henderson just crushed Mike Bisping to earn another title shot at Anderson Silva but now he’s going to move back up in weight to take on a fighter he already beat this year?
This fight makes no sense to me other than that the UFC needed a marquee name to help Franklin headline the card and Henderson would have to wait until Silva healed up from his fight with Forrest Griffin next month anyway. I would much rather see Franklin start to take on true light heavyweights rather than guys like Henderson and Wanderlei Silva who appear to be fluctuating between 185 and 205. Couldn’t Luiz Cane step in? He last fought in April and hasn’t even been rumored on any future cards yet.
Marius Zaromskis won the welterweight grand prix this past Monday by beating Japanese MMA legend Hayato Sakurai and Jason High, both by head kick. This guy came out of nowhere to win this tournament but by beating two quality opponents in one night, both in devastating fashion, he has to be someone to keep an eye on.
Also coming off the heels of DREAM 10 was the announcement that after Shinya Aoki defeated Vitor Ribeiro this Monday he would take on Joachim Hansen for the lightweight title that he beat Aoki for back at DREAM 5. This will take place at DREAM 11 in October.
This week the semi finals of DREAM’s “Super Hulk” grand prix were announced which will also take place at DREAM 11. The 7’2″ monster Hong Man Choi will take on Japanese legend Ikuhisa Minowa. And former top middleweight Gegard Mousasi will take on a rebounding Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou.
Sticking with the Japanese theme, top lightweight Satoru Kitaoka will defend his title against Mizotu Hirota. This fight will take place at World Victory Road’s Sengoku 9 card in August.
An interesting fight between Muhammed Lawal and Don Frye was announced for M-1 Global’s first major show. “Breakthrough” will take place in L.A. in August. This will be the first major card M-1 has promoted on their own.
Last but not least in disappointing news just announced today Allistair Overeem has to pull out of his title defense against Fabricio Werdum on the Strikeforce card August 15th. Overeem aggravated a previous hand injury in training and no timetable was set for his return. This is an unfortunate hit to a card that was looking stacked with four title fights and Roger Gracie’s debut. Now the main card is still solid but definitely is not packing the same punch unless they can find a good replacement for Werdum to fight.