May is an action packed month in the MMA world with high quality events coming thick and fast throughout the month. Bellator will wrap up their season with title fights and tournament finals, Strikeforce will finally conclude their heavyweight grand-prix and the UFC holds 3 events, rounding off the month with a heavyweight title-fight.
Once again, I’ve selected 5 fights that should be worthy of your attention in the coming weeks have tried to avoid selecting major headlining fights, so hopefully your eyes might be opened to some sleeper fights that have not received too much media attention.
David Rickels vs. Karl Amoussou – Bellator 67, May 4th
There are plenty of tournament fights worthy in your attention in May, but I think that the two welterweight tournament semi-finals have the most potential to be the pick of the bunch. David Rickels came into the tournament without much hype, but with an impressive 3-0 record in Bellator with all of his victories by stoppage. He continued his run with a dazzling 22 second quarter-final TKO of Jordan Smith. Rickels showed in his previous fights that he is highly capable of grinding his opponents down before getting the finish and has now demonstrated his ability to shut down an opponent quickly
Amoussou has certainly shown the ability to end fights quickly and violently, and he has done so in his last couple of Bellator fights. The promotional push he seems to be getting recently seems to be trying to persuade viewers that he is some kind of unstoppable monster, though that is definitely not the case. Rickels certainly has the tools to beat Amoussou, and potentially in some sort of spectacular come-from-behind style victory after an early onslaught from the Frenchman.
More fights in the full post
Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller - UFC on Fox: Diaz vs. Miller, May 5th
I know I’m cheating a bit by using picking the headline fight from UFC on Fox, but this is a 5 round lightweight fight between two of the best in the division. That spells-out fight-of-the-year potential.
Diaz is fresh from embarrassing Donald Cerrone at UFC 141 and a win over Miller will increase his win-streak to 3 and could secure him a title shot against the winner of Benson Henderson and Frank Edgar for the lightweight title. Miller is also coming off a high profile win over Melvin Guillard, and will not be too far off title contention again if he can get the W.
Diaz will be looking to hit Miller with endless amounts of punches, but he will not have such an easy target as he did with Cerrone. Miller will probably be looking for takedowns, but Diaz’s bjj skills should make for an exciting fight on the ground too. Both fighters excel in all areas, and capable of going full-pet for 5 whole rounds. I expect a classic
Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson III – Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier, May 19th
Though not the headliner, this lightweight title fight is the stand out fight at Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand-Prix Final event. Once again, this is a 5 round fight between 2 elite lightweights so two very important features of another FOTY candidate are in place. You can also look to the fact that their previous fight was one of the very best fights of 2009.
Though Thomson won the first fight with Melendez convincingly in 2008, Melendez was the favourite for the rematch after putting together an impressive run winning and defending the interim lightweight championship while
Thomson battled injuries. He certainly deserved the win against Thomson in the rematch, though the fight was a lot closer than many people had predicted based on Melendez’s form and Thomson’s long layoff. Since then, Melendez has continued to look impressive and he has established himself as one of the top 3 lightweights in the world. Thomson has been less convincing, but it would be a mistake to write him off, as he always seems to raise his game for a fight with Melendez.
Donald Cerrone vs. Jeremy Stephens – UFC on Fuel TV: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier, May 15th
Though the headline fight at this event is bound to be a cracker, no fight has more potential for truly explosive violence than this lightweight match-up. Both Donald Cerrone and Jeremy Stevens are coming off losses to top contenders (Nate Diaz and Anthony Pettis respectively), and they will be fired up and out to prove a point this time out. Cerrone has an overwhelming advantage on the ground, but both of these guys love to brawl, and Cerrone has been more than happy to stand and trade when his best interests may have lain elsewhere. Rather than any more analysis, I think it best to simply remind everyone of what these men are capable of.
Mark Hunt vs. Stefan Struve – UFC 146: Dos Santos vs. Mir, May 26th
The UFC will round off the month of May with an event with a big heavyweight presence at UFC 146. While almost every other fight on the main card of this event features more ‘quality’ fighters, this is the most even match-up, and it could go either way.
Mark Hunt can knock almost any man out with one punch, and Stefan Struve is definitely hittable and liable to get blown up in spectacular fashion. On the other hand, Struve has a decent ground game, and Hunt’s is terrible, so if the fight hits the mat Struve could easily rip off a slick submission.
Furthermore, there will be a little extra anticipation for this fight because of what a beloved figure hunt has become after his 3 fight win streak as an underdog over the last 18 months. Though the #rallyformarkhunt campaign failed and he won’t be fighting for the title this month. He still has the chance to beat a credible heavyweight, become even more beloved by fans and take another step closer to the most unlikely of title shots.