In the next few months the UFC will feature several great matchups on their PPV events. The main events over the next several PPVs will be worth ordering the event alone. The last few months have been somewhat lackluster for the UFC and their PPV events. While the main events have been worth watching, the rest of the event for that month have been somewhat disappointing.
Its somewhat disheartening when UFC Fight Night, a free event that was shown on Spike TV this past Wednesday night, had a better fight card assembled for it than some of the past PPVs. Granted the Fight Night event was the lead in for the new season of The Ultimate Fighter reality series, but there's no reason that a free event should be more of a draw than an event that the viewer would have to pay for. That all will change with the next several events coming up for the UFC. Again, the card as a whole for a particular event may not excite the above average fan such as myself, but the main event for that card will be worth the price of admission all by itself, something that can only be said for one of the past few PPV events when Matt Hughes lost to Georges St-Pierre. Speaking of GSP, that's where we'll start our tour of the upcoming UFC events.
UFC 83: Georges St-Pierre vs. Matt Serra 2 - April 19th, 10:00PM
Main Event - GSP vs. Serra: GSP looks to avenge his upset loss to Serra where he lost the welterweight title several months ago. The win put Serra on the UFC map. Since that fight Serra has been a coach on TUF and was set to defend his title against Matt Hughes at the conclusion of the show. Due to an injury, Serra had to step out and in stepped GSP. He dominated Hughes in their fight and won the interim welterweight title, something GSP could care less about. Now he gets his chance to get his title back and avenge his last loss to Serra. Oh, and I forgot to mention, this fight will take place in GSP's backyard of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Good luck Serra.
Also on the card
Travis Lutter vs. Rich Franklin: This could turn into a show stealer depending on how the GSP/Serra fight goes. Franklin is coming off another loss to Anderson Silva where he tried to get back the Middleweight title he lost to Silva back in October of 2006. Lutter hasn't fought in over a year. His last fight was also a loss to Silva back in February of last year. Both look to get back in the win column and start their road back to the Middleweight title.
UFC 84: Ill Will - May 24th, 10:00PM
Main Event - BJ Penn vs. Sean Sherk: This is a fight for the Lightweight title, a title that Sherk never lost in a fight. Instead Sherk lost his title due to testing positive for performance enhancers. He was stripped of his title last year. Penn ended up winning the vacant title by defeating Joe Stevenson back in January. One of, if not the most technical fighters in the sport, Penn will look to defend his title against a guy that will look to bounce back from what could be a career threatening decision that cost him his title.
Also on the card
Wanderlei Silva vs. Keith Jardine: This should be an interesting matchup. The winner of this fight could move up into the No. 1 contender spot for the Light-Heavyweight title currently held by Quinton Jackson. Silva is coming off a loss to Chuck Liddell while Jardine is actually coming off a win over the "Iceman." A win by Jardine should assure him a spot in line for the LHW title in the near future. A win by Silva could muddle things up a little.
Tito Ortiz vs. Lyoto Machida: This is most likely going to be Ortiz's last fight in the UFC. He's already stated that he wasn't going to sign a new contract with the UFC and this is the last fight on his current contract. Instead he plans to leave and go help another MMA organization called DREAM. Machida, on the other hand, is making a huge name for himself in the UFC. He comes into this fight with an undefeated record of 12-0. A win over Ortiz could catapult him into contention for the Light-Heavyweight title for sure.
UFC 85: Title TBD - June 7th, 3:00PM
Main Event - Chuck Liddell vs. Rashad Evans: This could end up going down as the fight of the year if both guys bring their "A game." Liddell is coming off a win over Wanderlei Silva back in December of last year after having lost two fights in a row for the first time in his career. He showed in his fight with Silva that the old Liddell is back and that he will go toe-to-toe with anyone willing to stand with him. Evans, on the other hand, is undefeated in his MMA career with a record of 16-0-1, the draw coming in a fight against Tito Ortiz back in July of last year. A win by either of these guys could leap frog them into contention for the Light-Heavyweight title with a handful of other fighters in that weight class.
Also on the card
Fabricio Werdum vs. Brandon Vera: A good matchup here in the heavyweight division. Werdum is coming off an impressive, and surprising, victory over one-time title contender, Gabriel Gonzaga, back in January. Vera, on the other hand, is coming off the first loss of his UFC career. A unanimous decision loss to Tim Sylvia back in October of last year derailed Vera's run at the HW title, currently held by Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. The pool of heavyweights in line for a title shot is somewhat shallow right now, so a win here could bounce one of these guys into contention.
UFC 86: Title TBD - July 5th, 10:00PM
Main Event - Quinton Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin: A fight that will be 13 weeks in the making as both of these guys are the coaches on "The Ultimate Fighter" this season. "Rampage" will defend his Light-Heavyweight title against Griffin in a matchup that fans have been hoping to see for months now. Jackson hasn't fought since September when he defeated Dan Henderson to unify the UFC and PRIDE LHW titles. Before that Jackson defeated fan favorite Chuck Liddell. So to say he's been on a role lately might be an understatement. Like Jackson, Griffin will come into this fight in July not having fought since September of last year. It was at that time he soundly defeated Mauricio Rua, a fighter most considered to be one of, if not the best in the world at the time. The win over Rua pushed Griffin into the No. 1 contender position for the LHW title. Its fitting that this fight will take place the day after the Fourth of July because there are sure to be fireworks going off during this fight. Of all the fights taking place over the next few months, this is the one I'm most looking forward to.
The next several months for the UFC are going to be big. They are starting to see some contention to their "monopoly" on the sport from other organizations, especially EliteXC. In order to keep themselves as the organization to watch, President Dana White is going to have to continue to put together fight cards worth paying $40 or $50 to watch on PPV. Time will tell how they fare against competition to their throne. All I know is that I will enjoy what the UFC has to offer to us as fans for the next several months.