By Kelvin Hunt
The year 2012 will start off with a bang with a slew of fights. There are 3 major events taking place this month alone, so we take a look at ten fights worth watching in the month of January 2012.
UFC 142: Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes
This matchup is for the UFC featherweight title as Jose Aldo will be defending his title for the fifth time against top three featherweight Chad Mendes. It’s an interesting fight as Aldo will be fighting arguably the best wrestler he has faced since becoming a champion. The fight will take place in Aldo’s native Brazil so the atmosphere should be electric. Aldo has looked rather human in his past two fights with both going decisions although he won both fights in convincing fashion. Many feel that Mendes has a style that could give the champion problems because of his wrestling background and excellent cardio. This fight will be the main event of UFC 142 which will take place on January 14th.
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UFC 142: Vitor Belfort vs. Anthony Johnson
This fight is a very important fight in the UFC middleweight division. It will Anthony Johnson’s first fight as a middleweight, but stylistically it’s a winnable fight for Johnson although he is the underdog according to odds makers. Although Johnson will be moving up from the welterweight division, he will probably still have a size advantage over Vitor Belfort. Belfort is looking to get enough wins to gain a rematch against Anderson Silva. A win for Johnson here puts him on the fast track towards a title shot in the near future which is important since Anderson Silva has pretty much cleaned out the division.
UFC 142: Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim
This fight doesn’t have much importance in regards to the UFC lightweight title picture, but it does feature two very exciting fighters in what should be a great fight. Edson Barboza is undefeated and Terry Etim just came back to win in impressive fashion after a lengthy layoff last year. Barboza is a devastating striker but he’ll be giving up a sizable reach advantage to Etim, plus Etim is pretty crafty on the ground as well.
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UFC on FX: Melvin Guillard vs. Jim Miller
Melvin Guillard has stated that this is a #1 contender eliminator match. Both fighters are coming off losses while both were probably in line for a title shot had they won their last fights respectively. Guillard is a good striker with a wrestling background while Jim Miller has a wrestling background while also being well versed in submissions. The winner of this fight is right back in the thick of things in regards to the UFC lightweight title picture and it’ll serve as the main event on the UFC on FX card that will take place on January 20th.
UFC on FOX 2: Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis
This fight will determine who UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will face later this year. The beef between Rashad Evans and Jones is well documented and that fight will do huge numbers should Evans be victorious here. Phil Davis is the one light heavyweight that can match Jones in regards to size and wrestling ability. However, he’s coming off a very long layoff due to a knee injury. Davis will have a size advantage and on paper is the better wrestling on paper with Evans being the better striker and possibly having a speed advantage. This fight will be the main event of the UFC on FOX 2 event that will take place on January 28th.