Welcome to the seventh addition of “All Five Rounds”, our weekly look back at some of the fighters and announcements that have recently made headlines in the world of the UFC and mixed martial arts.
On the eve of “UFC on Fox 8″, fight fans everywhere are making their plans to watch Saturday night’s UFC Flyweight Championship fight between Demetrious Johnson and challenger John Moraga. With several intriguing matchups and the highly anticipated welterweight bout between Rory McDonald and Jake Ellenberger, Saturday’s card looks to be full of fan-friendly potential.
During the past few weeks, the UFC has made numerous fight announcements that have helped to give both the fans and media a better idea as to the future of several of the promotions most interesting weight classes. With a new UFC Middleweight Champion already and the flyweight belt on the line tomorrow night, all of the UFC championship belts will have been contested within less than eight months.
It’s an exciting time in the world of MMA and fortunately enough, the UFC has recently entered into a schedule that will consistently provide both free, as well as pay-per-view events to fight fans everywhere until after the new year.
Sonnen Beginning New Chapter
Seemingly unable to stay out of the headlines, current light heavyweight and former middleweight contender Chael Sonnen (27-13-1), recently signed a new five-fight contract with the UFC prior to his August 17th bout against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in Boston.
Making the announcement this past Tuesday night on ” Fuel TV”, Sonnen also revealed that after his upcoming fight he will return to the middleweight division with plans to contend for a title shot at 185 pounds.
Having lost each of his last two trips into the octagon, both title fights, Sonnen has also decided to leave “Team Quest”, the gym where the veteran has done the majority of his pre–fight training and preparation in Portland, Oregon. Never an easy decision for an MMA fighter, Sonnen plans to relocate his training regimen to Lake Forest, California and become a member of “Reign Training Center”.
Competing in the main event at the upcoming premier broadcast of “Fox Sports One” on the 17th of August as a light heavyweight, the sports most verbally engaging fighter seems anxious to return to the middleweight division and feels as though he possesses the ability to contend for a title shot in an increasingly crowded weight class.
Without hesitation, Sonnen made it clear that he would like to face middleweight contender Vitor Belfort in his return to 185 pounds and has also stated his desire to fight middleweight fan-favorite Wanderlei Silva in the near future.
Cormier To Face Nelson in Final Heavyweight Tilt
Top heavyweight contender Daniel Cormier (12-0), recently announced his intentions to drop down to the light heavyweight division and in his last appearance as a heavyweight will face Roy “Big Country” Nelson at UFC 166 in Houston on October 19th.
Now scheduled as the co–main event with the third installment of Velasquez-dos Santos, it’s no secret that the reason for Cormier’s drop is largely based upon his current close friendship with training partner and UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez, who if given the opportunity, he (Cormier) would refuse to fight.
During his unanimous decision victory over heavyweight Frank Mir on April 20th, Cormier lacked his usual aggressiveness and at times seemed almost uninterested in the actions of his opponent. After the win, Cormier immediately began to express his desire to compete at 205 pounds despite several rumors regarding a potential matchup against heavyweight contender Fabricio Werdum.
Having recently signed a new multi–fight contract, Roy Nelson (19-8) would definitely benefit from a win over Cormier, especially after his unexpected loss to UFC newcomer Stipe Miocic during his last venture into the octagon.
A former Olympian, Cormier plans to begin his weight cut to 205 pounds “sometime in November”, and is expected to be on the short list of future challengers to current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones title reign.
Aldo to Defend Belt at UFC 163
Among the many potentially explosive matchups on the UFC calendar, Featherweight Champion José Aldo (22-1-0) is set to defend his belt for the fifth time against Chan Jung Sung (13-3-0), at UFC 163 on August 3rd in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Coming off of a five-round unanimous decision win over top featherweight contender Frankie Edgar this past February, Aldo it is widely considered one of the top pound for pound MMA fighters on the planet and hasn’t lost a bout since 2005, an unprecedented span of eight years.
Most recently, Aldo was scheduled to face the always exciting Anthony Pettis, who interestingly enough, would have been making his featherweight debut in the title fight after deciding that he (Pettis), didn’t want to wait until the next available opportunity to compete for the light weight belt against current champ Benson Henderson.
Unfortunately for Pettis, a nagging knee injury forced the explosive contender to withdraw from the August 3rd bout against Aldo, opening up a once in a lifetime opportunity for the fighter known simply as the “Korean Zombie”.
During his last fight, Chan Sung Jung managed to outlast a formidable opponent in Dustin Poirier and won the bout by fourth-round submission. Formerly a successful kickboxer, “The Korean Zombie” is currently undefeated in his UFC career (3-0) and has quickly developed a dedicated fan base with his aggressive style and ability compete with the best in the world at his weight class.
Having won 15 straight fights, Aldo is the only featherweight champion in UFC history and will be defending his title in front of his fellow countrymen in Brazil.
Upcoming UFC Schedule Full of Potential
As previously mentioned, the UFC recently entered into an unprecedented period in the promotion’s history and beginning with the July 6th middleweight title fight between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman, fight fans will be treated to seven separate events over a span of just 60 days.
Besides tomorrow night’s “UFC on Fox 8″ which is the second of the seven events, UFC 163 featuring José Aldo’s fifth title defense as the main event will take place on August 3rd in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Up next on the schedule, Chael Sonnen will face Mauricio Rua in the main event of “Fox Sports 1″, on a stacked card that also features a heavyweight battle between Alistair Overeem (36-12-1) and Travis Browne (14-1-1). Also on the card, bantamweight Uriah Faber (28-6-0), will face Yuri Alcantara (27-4-0, 1 NC), while hard-hitting newcomer Conor McGregor (13-2-0), will take on Max Holloway (7-2-0) in a lightweight bout.
On August 28th, top welterweight contenders Carlos Condit (28-7-0), and Martin Kampmann (20-6-0), are scheduled to meet for a second time, with the winner likely to face either GSP or Johny Hendricks in the near future. Other intriguing matchup include a lightweight bout between Donald “The Cowboy” Cerrone (20-5-0, 1 NC) and Rafael dos Anjos (19-6-0), as well as a women’s bantamweight fight between Sarah Kaufman (15-2-0) and Sarah McMann (7-0-0).
UFC 164 is scheduled for Saturday, August 31st in Milwaukee and now features an intriguing lightweight title fight between current champ Benson Henderson (18-2-0), and Anthony Pettis (14-2-0), who will be competing in front of his hometown fans. Also on the card, veteran UFC heavyweight Frank Mir (16-7-0), will welcome back fellow MMA veteran Josh Barnett, (32-6-0) into the sport’s top promotion, while featherweights Chad Mendes (14-1-0) and fan favorite Clay Guida (30-10-0), are set to face off in a potential slugfest.
Finally, “UFC on Fox Sports” is scheduled for September 4th and features a main event between the up and coming Glover Teixeira (21-2-0), and former top light heavyweight contender Ryan Bader (16-3-0). Middleweight Yushin Okami (30-7-0), is also scheduled to face the always dangerous Ronaldo Souza (18-3-0, 1 NC), and flyweights Joseph Benavidez (18-3-0) and Jussier Formiga (15-2-0), will also battle it out on the events main card.