By Benjamin Bieker
UFC Fight Night 29
Mike Pierce vs. Rousimar Palhares
Mike Pierce always seems to be on the raw end of the match making lottery. He is 8-2 in his last ten fights with losses only coming to number one contender Johnny Hendricks and Josh Koscheck by split decision. He also has finished two of his last four opponents by TKO. Now, he is set to take on Palhares who is on a two fight losing streak by TKO in the first round, has been suspended due to elevated testosterone, and has never even fought at welterweight. This is still an intriguing fight but it makes no sense from a matchmaking standpoint.
UFC Fight Night 30
Alessio Sakara vs. Tom Watson
This could be a loser leaves the octagon forever match, because both of these fighters seem to be a bit one sided in terms of their fighting ability. Sakara has lost three straight to Chris Weidman, Brain Stann, and Patrick Cote even though the loss to Cote was because of illegal strikes. Sakara has a long tenure with the promotion having fought for them since 2005. Watson has only been in the promotion for a year, and his tenure has had its ups and downs already. He has only gone 1-2 with a win over Stanislav Nedkov, but has been beaten by Brad Tavares and Thales Leites. One more loss and he may have to go back to the regional circuit.
Ryan Jimmo vs. Jimi Manuwa
Jimmo is catching a lot of heat for his boring decision win over Igor Pokrajac, but a lot of people forget he was like that for a long time in the MFC and was coming off his first loss in years. Now, he has been matched up with one of the hardest hitting fighters the UFC has. Manuwa has knocked out all but one of his 13 wins, and he has never been beaten. This will be a power versus technique bout where Jimmo will try to keep Manuwa’s power at bay while Manuwa will try to knock Jimmo’s head off.
UFC Fight Night 31
Dan Henderson vs. Vitor Belfort
This is a rematch years in the making when these two rematch from a fight back in 2006 at PRIDE 32. Belfort and Henderson have had their ups and downs since then, but they have a lot on the line in this fight. With a loss, Belfort will lose the momentum he gained with two head kick knockout victories. Even worse for Henderson is that he will have lost three straight fights and at the age of 43 it may be time to hang it up for him.
*Rumored* Jessica Eye vs. Sarah Kaufman
While it has not been announced that Eye and Kaufman will make their debut against one another, it has been announced that the former Bellator fighter has signed with the UFC. Eye is the universally recognized top flyweight in the world, but she will make the jump up to bantamweight to fight in the UFC. It is not known why she did not sign with Invictica FC, but maybe the dream of UFC Gold in a belt and in money outweighed her having a weight advantage. Or, this could just be a slap int he face to Bellator from the UFC after the Eddie Alvarez debacle.
Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald
Lawler and MacDonald have been rumored for a match since the two last fought on FOX. Now, they will be on the same PPV that GSP defends his belt against Johnny Hendricks. Barring anyone suffering a major injury, we may know the next welterweight title fight after this PPV goes dark. The winner of Hendricks and GSP will be the champion, and as of right now MacDonald sits just under Carlos Condit and Hendricks in the UFC rankings. Outside of Demian Maia and Matt Brown, everyone else in the top ten besides MacDonald and Lawler is coming off a loss or have not made their debut in the promotion. If Lawler can knockout MacDonald like he has everyone else than who can deny him his title shot?
What are your thoughts?