Thursday, October 1, 2009

Playing Matchmaker: 10 Fights for 2010

Fight fans talk about the dream match-ups they'd like to see whenever they're given the opportunity. We breakdown mythical battles, sizing up the skills of the two combatants and diagnosing the fight as if it were happening before our very eyes.

Often times, we pick pairings that could not conceivably happen; organizational allegiances, differences in weight classes and any number of circumstances and situations make some of these fights impossible.

While much wanted battles like Brock Lesnar versus Fedor Emelianenko and Anderson Silva versus Lyoto Machida are on the slim side of taking place in the coming calendar year, here are ten fights that could take place every fight fan should be interested in seeing.

10. Alistair Overeem vs. Anyone

Strikeforce's Heavyweight champion has yet to defend his belt, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been fighting. The Dutch fighter has spent 2009 competing in K-1 events, recently defeating kickboxing legend Peter Aerts to advance in the World Grand Prix 16.

But it's been nearly a year now since he took part in an MMA event and it's would be nice to see "The Demolition Man" defend his belt for once. Ideally, that defense would come against Fedor, but at this point, beggars can't be choosers and just getting Overeem inside the cage would be an accomplishment.

9. Ronald "Jacare" Souza vs. Jason "Mayhem" Miller 3

Technically, Jacare could argue there is no need for a trilogy fight; after all, Mayhem has yet to defeat the Brazilian Abu Dhabi Superfight winner, as their second fight ended in a No Contest after Miller soccer kicked a downed Souza.

However, these two talk more trash about each other than anyone outside of Rampage and Rashad, and you know that should Miller come away with the Strikeforce Middleweight title around his waist, Jacare will be at the front of the line for his first defense.

If that scenario actually transpires, bump this one up to the Top 5 of fights for 2010.

8. Miguel Torres vs. Brian Bowles 2

You know the WEC is eventually going to make this happen, provided Bowles gets passed Dominick Cruz in his first defense and Torres can earn a win in his return to the cage.

Much like there was a need for Mike Brown and Urijah Faber to lock horns for a second time, the same theory applies here. Bowles stopped the long-standing champion and deserves the accolades being bestowed upon him.

But Torres deserves a chance for redemption, just as Faber did.

7. Mike Brown vs. Urijah Faber 3

Normally, trilogy fights when one guy is already up 2-0 don't make sense, but this is one of those cases where an exception needs to be made. Despite twice defeating "The California Kid," many still give Mike Brown's title reign the "Yeah But Treatment":

Person A: Brown beat him clean the first time.
Person B: Yeah, but Faber was trying a spinning back elbow and just got caught.

Person A: Faber beat in all five rounds the second time.
Person B: Yeah, but Faber broke his hand early and wasn't 100%.

Beating Faber a third consecutive time silences what few critics remain, not that Mike Brown really needs to.

6. Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir 3

Speaking of silencing the critics...

The two have traded victories, so a rubber match makes sense on that point alone. Add in the fact that these two just plain don't like each other and Lesnar has more critics than the ocean has fish, and you have a PPV spectacular that would look great atop the marquee at the 2010 year end show in Las Vegas.

5. Eddie Alvarez vs. Joachim Hansen 2

While this one may be a complete unknown to some fight fans, the Bellator Lightweight champ and the Norwegian known as "Hellboy" need to square off again in a big way.

For starters, their first fight was near the top of everyone's Fight of the Year lists for 2008 and with good reason; they beat the hell out of each other for 15 minutes with Alvarez winning a Unanimous Decision and advancing in the DREAM Lightweight Grand Prix.

But then came the twist: Alvarez was injured in his semi-final win over Tatsuya Kawajiri, while Hansen earned the right to act as his replacement by defeating Kultar Gill. Guess who ended up winning the finals?

Hansen laid a beating on Shinya Aoki, claiming the tournament and the DREAM Lightweight title. While Aoki is getting the first crack at Hansen and his title, Alvarez certainly deserves an opportunity as well.

4. Jamie Varner vs. Donald Cerrone

Regardless of the results of Cerrone's upcoming bout at WEC 43 against Ben "Smooth" Henderson, this one has got to go down before 2010 comes to a close.

Varner has been sidelined with various injuries since these two first met in January. Cerrone caught Varner with an illegal knee, and when the champ couldn't continue, it went to the scorecards and Varner came away with a Split Decision.

Ever since, Donald Cerrone has looked like a man possessed and talked smack about Varner whenever he could. Once Varner is medically cleared to return to the cage, this grudge match will get signed.

3. Sam Stout vs. Spencer Fisher 3

This one is a combination of Lesnar/Mir and Alvarez/Hansen.

Like the UFC heavyweights, they've split the first two meetings, so breaking the tie certainly seems reasonable and like the DREAM lightweights, each of their encounters has found their way onto Fight of the Year lists.

Stout has said he is very much interested in completing the trilogy and a route to the third installment could shape up in the next couple months, as Fisher meets Joe Stevenson at UFC 106 and Stout has been reported to be facing Joe Lauzon at UFC 108.

2. Rashad Evans vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson

Despite what he's said, Rampage isn't retired.

He's angry at Dana White, and rightfully so, which means that for now, he's focused on filming The A-Team. But once the movie wraps and he and El Presidente sit down, swear at each other and end the talk with hugs and hand-pounds, Rampage will be back and his first order of business will be settling things with Rashad.

There is too much real heat between these two for this fight to not take place, not to mention all the money the UFC invested in building the feud even more by pairing the two opposite each other on Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter.

1. Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre

This one might be a longshot, but it is unquestionably the biggest fight that stands a chance of taking place out there right now.

Both have cleaned out their divisions and a pairing of these two superstars would eclipse the largest number the UFC has put up in pay-per-view buys to date.

St-Pierre has said that he would like to add the additional 15 pounds of muscle needed to make the 185 pound limit properly, building muscle and then cutting to weight. With the welterweight division in total disarray, sorting out the standings while "Rush" packs on the pounds could be a possibility.


  1. Here is all the argument you need to justify a Brown-Faber III fight: It's an exciting fight.

    I think I'd rather see Mir-Nogeira II before the rubber match between Mir and Lesnar.

    I am not sure GSP is all that interested in fighting Anderson. Of course I'd love to see it but I think that GSP thinks that his body is just perfectly suited for 170.

  2. I really cannot fathom GSP stepping into the ring against Silva, at least, not anymore.

    Dana White himself said it's highly unlikely, when you have a guy wandering back and forth between divisions and destroying everything he touches, it's not a good start. Add in the fact he's perfectly comfortable putting on twenty pounds to go knocking out light heavyweights, the odds just go higher and higher.

    I say put GSP in against a top middleweight and see how he fares, say Dan Henderson or Nate the Great. If he dominates, fine, he's earned his shot. But don't go lining him up against the top fighter in the world just because he's number two.

    Plus we still have to see how his groin heals up, I have an honest concern he may not return to form 100%.

  3. I don't really think the fight would happen and I think Silva would win convincingly, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't shell out $50 to watch it.

    I too would like to see Mir-Nogueira II in the future, as I think Nog's injuries played a big part in the outcome. But I still want Lesnar to pound on Mir one more time...

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