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6/1/16: Top Five MMA Fights Coming in June 2016
A stacked May schedule is now complete, and a busy June is upon us. Today I take a look at the five fights I’m anticipating most this month. Have others you’re looking forward to more? Send me your list to firstname.lastname@example.org!
5. Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping (UFC 199): Saturday’s main event is only my third most anticipated fight on that card. Honestly it’s not even entirely due to the opponent switch, because the rematch between Rockhold and Chris Weidman wasn’t that great to begin with. It was unnecessary given how the first fight played out, and now we’ve got an acceptable replacement which is nevertheless simply a default option. Bisping finally getting a UFC Title fight is a nice story, but there’s an aspect to this fight that makes it seem like nothing more than a time waster or place holder, and barring some miracle of an upset for Bisping that’s probably how it will pan out. Still, it’s a hell of a middleweight fight anyway, and should bring drama to Saturday’s event no matter how long it lasts.
4. Max Holloway vs. Ricardo Lamas (UFC 199): Third from the top on Saturday’s card in Inglewood, Calif., Max Holloway is hoping to continue a highly impressive run in the UFC’s featherweight field. Lamas has had his crack at that belt, coming up short against Jose Aldo, and he’s come back mostly strong since then save for a loss to another top contender in Chad Mendes. Holloway, still just 24, has won eight straight fights and hasn’t lost since dropping a decision to now-champion Conor McGregor back in 2013. This is a great featherweight fight, and from a competitive and intrigue standpoint I think it raises more questions than does the main event.
3. Marcos Galvao vs. Eduardo Dantas (Bellator 156): Bellator’s best fight in the month of June is one that will hopefully actually happen this time around. It’s been delayed several times now due to injury, but these former teammates are seemingly healthy and ready to finally take the next step in this feud on June 17. If Dantas wins the rematch to recapture the title, the feud is dead and behind Dantas with two wins over his former mentor. If Galvao wins to retain the title, we’re likely to eventually get a third fight, given Dantas is still likely to work back to another shot no matter what happens here.
2. Rory MacDonald vs. Stephen Thompson (UFC Fight Night 89): Two of the best and most exciting welterweights in the world headline the UFC’s debut event in Ottawa, and there isn’t a thing to dislike about the matchup. MacDonald’s pushing to make a free agent run when he finishes out his UFC deal, and a win over Thompson would continue giving him a further edge in negotiations. If Thompson wins, he’s moving right into a No. 1 contender fight, because the UFC likes him a lot and wants to see him in that position. It’s a fantastic Fox Sports 1 fight, and honestly that cable slot for the bout elevates it even further.
1. Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber III (UFC 199): I wasn’t much of a proponent for this fight, because the Cruz-T.J. Dillashaw rematch made a ton of sense to me, but this trilogy bout has been persistent and has snuck up on me as my most anticipated fight of the month. Faber, despite what may be a bit of a slowed down game in 2016, is one of the best fighters to ever compete in this division. Cruz, despite his injuries and lengthy layoffs, is as well, and so we see two veterans here trying to hold onto or regain their claim on the top spot in the bantamweight division. There’s every possibility Faber has it in him to pull it out, and that even sliver of possibility makes this one a fight just about every fan should be tuning in to see.
[Photo (c) Bob DeChiara via USA Today Sports]
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