5 UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator Fights to Watch in September

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Well, most kids are back to school and vacation time is over. With UFC 151 cancelled, we have not have a UFC event until UFC 152 on September 22.

That will be the biggest event of the month, however there are some serious scraps to keep your eye on outside of that card… and a few inside that card.

Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson (UFC 152, September 22)

For the first time ever, a flyweight champion will be crowned in the UFC. Joseph Benavidez won his semi-final match against Yasuhiro Urishitani by TKO back in March. While, Johnson had to fight Ian McCall twice to make it to the finals, as their first fight was unfortunately mis-scored and later announced a majority draw. Benavidez is coming into the fight at -280, with Johnson a +210.

The numbers are not extremely far apart and neither is this fight. It was set to be the main event, until UFC 151 was cancelled and Jones vs. Belfort will now serve as the UFC 152 main event. Both men show tremendous speed and athleticism, so the fans are in for a show. If you don’t know the flyweight division, you will after this fight. A champion will be crowned.

Matt Hamill vs. Vladimir Matyushenko (UFC 152, September 22)

Matt Hamill will make his return to the octagon after a short retirement from the sport. “The Hammer” has not graced the cage since losing to Alexander Gustafsson back at UFC 133 in August of 2011. He was expected to face Roger Hollett in his return bout, but due to injury he will now take on veteran fighter Vladimir Matyushenko. Both fighters are coming off of losses, in fact both to Gustafsson. Hamill is known for his ground and pound and so is Matyushenko. Both men come from wrestling backgrounds, but like to throw the fists. Look for a slugfest in this one.

Nordine Taleb vs. Marius Zaromskis (Bellator 74, September 28)

The former PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix winner, Marius Zaromskis will step back into the Bellator cage against the 8-1 Canadian Nordine Taleb. Zaromski’s is on a 4 fight winning streak and will look to push his way into the semi-finals of the Bellator Welterweight Tournament with a win over Taleb. The Canadian will be looking to do the same thing; he has not been defeated since 2008. Zaromski’s is known to throw caution to the wind, as 13 of his 18 wins have come by way of knockout. This is another fight where both fighters like to stand and trade. Look for one man to be knocked out before the final bell rings.

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Gilbert Melendez vs. Pat Healy (Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy, September 29)

This is my favorite fight of the month, even though I feel Gilbert Melendez deserves to be a part of the UFC’s lightweight roster. The champ has not lost since 2008, where he was on the short end of a decision to Josh Thomson. Since that loss he has gone on a 7 fight winning streak, with two of those against Thomson. He is known as one of the top lightweights in the world. Stepping in against him at September’s Strikeforce event is the former MFC welterweight champion Pat Healy. Healy is on a 5 fight winning streak, although his last fight was a controversial decision against Mizuto Hirota, as many people felt Hirota won rounds 1 and 2. He has felt that he is long deserving of a title shot and even though most see him as a grinding/boring fighter, he believes he has what it takes to defeat the champion. Melendez opened up as the odds on favorite, sitting at a whopping -900 and Healy coming in at +600 underdog. Does Healy have what it takes to upset the champ? Obviously he has a punchers chance, or in critics eyes, a wrestlers chance. Look for this one to go all five rounds and both men to be bleeding at the end of this tilt.

Stipe Miocic vs. Stefan Struve (UFC on FUEL TV 5: Struve vs. Miocic September 29)

Stefan Struve has 2 submission of the night wins in his last 3 fights and Stipe Miocic has knockout of the night in 1 of his last 3. Expect this one to be exciting. Struve is on a nice little win streak, with 3 in a row and finishes in all 3. While Miocic is currently undefeated, with an astounding 9-0 professional record. He’s fought 3 times inside the UFC octagon and won 2 of them by KO/TKO with the other going to a decision. Miocic is a former Golden Gloves champion and NCAA Division 1 wrestler, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Struve attempts to take this one to the ground at some point in the first round. On the other hand, Struve seems to like to keep fights on the feet until he takes somewhat of a beating, so I could see him throwing with Miocic and if he gets tagged a few times take the fight to the mat. Nonetheless this has Fight of the Night written all over it.

Honorable mentions: John Hathaway vs. John Maguire, Yves Jabouin vs. Brad Pickett, Caros Fodor vs. Josh Thomson, Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort and Michael Bisping vs. Brian Stann


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