Rashad Evans vs Thiago Silva / January 2nd
Long rumored but now confirmed … I guess this means Dana White ain’t holding his breath on Quinton Jackson coming back. Thiago Silva has only been knocked out once but pretty much all his fights start with him eating it hardcore. It’ll be interesting to see if Rashad has the balls to try and exploit that or if he’ll be gunshy after his own Lyoto KO experience.
Nate Marquardt vs Chael Sonnen / February 21st
Goddamnit, why is Dan Henderson such a fucking idiot? The UFC offered him a good enough deal but instead of accepting it and fighting in September and again in February he’s sitting on the sidelines flirting with Scott Coker. So now we get Dan Henderson lite, aka Chael Sonnen, against Nate Marquardt. Ah well. At least we’ll learn if Chael really has taken it to the next level or if Yushin Okami just had a bad night.
Cris Cyborg vs Marloes Coenen / January 30th
I’m torn here … on one hand I want Cyborg to beat the Dutch out of Marloes Coenen for subbing our girl Roxy Modafferi. But on the other hand, it’s better to be beaten by the champ than a chump, so it’d be cool to see Marloes win the belt. Both chicks are strikers first and foremost, so this should be a pretty epic slugfest.
Matt Hughes vs Renzo Gracie / February 6th
Heavy.com has been doing a good enough job with their UFC coverage lately that I’ll include their scoop on this fight announcement, but if they’re wrong about it make sure to blame them and not me. It seems pretty likely though … UFC brass has been teasing us with Renzo chatter for a while now and even half the UFC’s main events falling apart wasn’t enough to make Matt Hughes step in against proper competition. So I figure he must be waiting for something juicy like this. Hey, I loves me some Renzo Gracie, but the dude is 42 years old and his MMA skills are probably trapped somewhere circa 2005 . At least you can anticipate a scrappier fight than his cousin Royce gave.
Stefan Struve vs Paul Buentello / December 12th
Struve is replacing Todd Duffee who’s out with a back injury (which is never a good injury to hear someone has), and it will be interesting to see if the 6’11 fighter can hack it against non-shit opposition. Engaging in a war with Denis Stojnic and almost losing is never a good sign, but his win over Chase Gormley wasn’t too shabby. Still, Paul Buentello is a few steps above those standard heavyweight cans and has been in the game enough to know that few guys get three shots in the UFC.
Igor Pokrajac vs James Te Huna / February 21st
One of the ‘drastic’ changes to Mirko Crocop’s training camp was ditching sparring partner Igor Pokrajac, so that’s not a good sign. Also not a good sign: Igor was not only outwrestled by Vladimir Matyushenko in his first UFC fight but outsruck as well. Still, Te Huna is local flavor for the UFC’s Australian card and you know how bad those regional signings usually are. At least this fight will probably stay on the feet.