December’s Top Five Must-see UFC Fights

2013 has been a very good year for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization is on course to close it out with a bang.

The month of December brings two free cards to fans around the world, and the ultra-stacked UFC 168 pay-per-view might just turn out to be the biggest event in MMA history.

Here are five UFC fights that are certainly worth watching in December:

1. Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman 2 (middleweight title fight)

No surprise here, Weidman (10-0-0, 4 KOs) became the first man to defeat Silva (33-5-0, 20 KOs) inside the Octagon at UFC 162, knocking “The Spider” out during the second round of their title tilt. However, given Silva’s excessive clowning around during the fight, many are eager to find out if it was all just a fluke.

Regardless of who emerges victorious at UFC 168, the result will have a significant impact on the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s middleweight division.

If Silva wins, the loss to Weidman will quickly fade away from the mind of MMA fans — just like GSP’s loss to Weidman’s mentor Matt Serra — and he could very well go on to dominate the 185-pound division until he decides to retire. Heck, a super-fight against Jon Jones would no longer be out of the picture.

For Weidman, a win silences his critics, once and for all, and the UFC gets an undefeated, undisputed 29-year-old champion, who has two victories against the greatest fighter in the promotion’s history.

It’s a win-win situation for the UFC, fans, and the sport of MMA in general.

Broadcast: Dec. 28 at 9 p.m. (ET) on pay-per-view.

2. Carlos Condit vs. Matt Brown

What happens when a natural born killer meets an immortal inside a cage? A very entertaining battle is a strong possibility.

Simply put, Condit (29-7-0, 14 KOs) is a beast who came close to finishing welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre during their UFC 154 scrap, and a decent number of MMA fans feel he should have been declared the winner of his bout against Johny Hendricks. Then there’s the fact a long list of respected welterweights like Jake Ellenberger, Nick Diaz, and Rory MacDonald have all fallen short against “The Natural Born Killer.”

After going 5-5 to start off his UFC career, Brown (18-11-0, 11 KOs) found his groove, and he hasn’t lost a fight inside the Octagon since. He was particularly impressive during his last bout against Mike Pyle, bringing the contest to an end 29 seconds into the first round.

Condit vs. Brown is an excellent matchup featuring two aggressive, well-rounded strikers with no quit in them whatsoever, meaning hardcore and casual MMA fans alike are in for a treat. A free treat even those without cable subscriptions can enjoy.

Broadcast: Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. (ET) on FOX.

3. Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate 2 (women’s bantamweight title fight)

From the opening moments to the climatic ending, every second of the first fight between these two was entertaining. The rematch shouldn’t be any different.

The roles are clearly reversed this time around though.

Ronda (7-0-0, 7 armbars) was the fan-favorite looking to dethrone the champ heading into their first fight, but that will be Tate’s role going into UFC 168 thanks to Rousey’s sometimes unprofessional behavior while working as a coach on the 18th season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

Tate (13-4-0, 6 submissions) is tough as nails, and she seems to be controlling her emotions a bit better heading into the rematch. Rousey on the other hand comes off as more stressed out than usual, so it’ll be interesting to see if that affects her negatively come fight time.

Broadcast: Dec. 28 at 9 p.m. (ET) on pay-per-view.

4. Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne

“The Warmaster” couldn’t have looked any better during his return to the Octagon, walking right through Frank Mir. He’s clearly hungry for a shot at the UFC’s heavyweight title, and so is his opponent.

Browne struggled early on during his last fight against Alistair Overeem, but he eventually put “The Demolition Man” away with a front kick.

The win propelled Browne (15-1-1, 11 KOs) to the fifth spot in the UFC’s heavyweight rankings while Barnett (33-6-0, 20 submissions) sits at the sixth. A win for either man at UFC 168 would insert them into the heavyweight title conversation, more than enough motivation to guarantee an engaging bout.

Broadcast: Dec. 28 at 9 p.m. (ET) on pay-per-view.

5. Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez

These two put on a technical striking display the last time they shared the Octagon and that will likely continue at UFC on Fox 9.

Johnson (18-2-1, 7 submissions) was awarded with the split decision afterwards and he’s been impressive ever since. He defeated John Dodson — and snagged “Fight of the Night” honors — during his next outing, then followed it up with a “Submission of the Night” winning performance against John Moraga at UFC on Fox 8.

Benavidez (19-3-0, 8 submissions) has been just as imposing since his loss to DJ, defeating Ian McCall via unanimous decision, then he made his striking coach, Duane Ludwig, proud with entertaining knockout victories against Darren Uyenoyama and Jussier Formiga.

Needless to say, the rematch between these two is going to be good.

Broadcast: Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. (ET) on FOX.

Notable mentions: Urijah Faber vs. Michael McDonald, Dustin Poirier vs. Diego Brandao, Uriah Hall vs. Chris Leben, Chad Mendes vs. Nik Lentz, and Antonio Silva vs. Mark Hunt.

David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 8 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter and check out his blog.


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