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MMA Monthly Preview: January’s Top Fights

Huge Fights on the Horizon! UFC, Bellator, WSOF and RFA are all gearing up for a big month of January with a completely STACKED deck of fights! Here are the most significant noteworthy fights for you to feast on. The Top Fights for January:

10. Conor McGregor vs Denis Siver (Featherweight Bout)

UFC Fight Night: Boston Main Event; January 18, 2015

A total mismatch of a fight at least on paper; Conor McGregor seems like he’s getting the safest track to a title shot with Jose Aldo but if Denis Siver is anything it’s that he’s a tough nut with enough Taekwondo and kickboxing credentials to keep the fight entertaining for at least a round.

9. Joe Lauzon vs Al Iaquinta (Lightweight Bout)

UFC 183 Main Card; January 31, 2015
Joe Lauzon
Joe Lauzon wearing the crimson mask; credit: Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

If there ever was a UFC Heavyweight Entertainment Champion, Joe Lauzon would be holding it. The BJJ enthusiast is the UFC’s all-time leader in post-fight bonuses with thirteen with six of those being Fight of the Nights. Lauzon isn’t winning any official titles but he’s hardly ever in a boring fight. Al Iaquinta is no boring slouch himself and the Serra-Longo fighter is coming in hot. This could be an early contender for Fight of the Year.

8. Jordan Mein vs Thiago Alves (Welterweight Bout)

UFC 183 Main Card; January 31, 2015
Images via: UFC/ZUFFA LLC/ Getty
Images via: UFC/ZUFFA LLC/ Getty

One of the best undercard match-ups; both Jordan Mein and Thiago Alves are no strangers to brawls. Despite being only 25, Mein has 38 pro fights under his belt with a notable Fight of the Night with Matt Brown. Thiago Alves in his hay day was a wrecking ball laying out the likes of Matt Hughes, Karo Parisyan and Chris Lytle. The ATT fighter has been injured repeatedly and his best days are likely behind him. But he still has enough bite left to feature himself as the scrappy dog he’s known as.

7. Patricio Freire vs Daniel Straus (Bellator Featherweight Championship)

Bellator 132 Main event; January 16, 2015

Bellator’s main offering for the month of January features a rematch between newly crowned champion, Patrico Freire and former champion, Daniel Straus. The two previously met in the tournament finals back in 2011, an affair Freire won by scorecards. Since then, both have combined to go 12-2 with their only losses coming against Pat Curran, the former champion.

6. Ian McCall vs John Lineker (Flyweight Bout)

UFC 183 Prelims; January 31, 2015
McCall Lineker
McCall vs Lineker; via UFC/Zuffa LLC

What could’ve been one of the best scraps in late 2014 could now be one of the best scraps in early 2015! Ian McCall and John Lineker re-engage for the flyweight division’s number one contender’s spot. Here’s hoping both fighters make weight with no issues (McCall dropped out during the weigh-ins due to a blood infection) as this fight promises a full three-round affair with non-stop fast-paced back-and-forth action that very few can equal.

5. Donald Cerrone vs Myles Jury (Lightweight Bout)

UFC 182 Co-Main Event; January 3, 2015

Like Joe Lauzon earlier in the list, Donald Cerrone is a fighter whose fights are rarely ever boring or uneventful. The “Cowboy” has won his last five fights, four by finish. In his last ten fights, he’s only lost to the champion, Anthony Pettis and the number one contender, Rafael dos Anjos. Myles Jury is similarly on a hot streak. The unbeaten BJJ phenom has won all six of his UFC fights with his latest being a knockout of the iron-chinned legend, Takanori Gomi in Japan. A little bad blood between the two only helps add to the stakes of the fight. This one will be one to remember.

4. Benson Henderson vs Donald Cerrone (Lightweight Bout)

UFC Fight Night: Boston Co-Main Event; January 18, 2015

EDITED: Just two weeks into the year and Donald Cerrone is already on two fights. Fighter of the Year talk too early? Cerrone replaces Eddie Alvarez on a last minute basis to face Benson Henderson for the third time and the first time under the UFC banner. Cerrone and Henderson had previously met under WEC where Henderson won both fights, both for a Lightweight title. Momentum is on Cerrone’s side. Cowboy’s won six straight while Henderson is coming off his first TKO loss under Zuffa. Does Cerrone finally get over Benson Henderson or will “Bendo” make it three straight? It’ll be an amazing fight regardless.

3. Anderson Silva vs Nick Diaz (Middleweight Bout)

UFC 183 Main Event; January 31, 2015
Anderson "Spider" Silva
Anderson “Spider” Silva; via UFC/Zuffa LLC

The biggest non-title fight the UFC has put together arguably ever! Never mind the fact both fighters are on crushing two-fight losing streaks or that neither has fought in over a year; this is a bona-fide SUPERFIGHT in every definition and a return to over 750K PPV buys is likely. Anderson Silva is fighting for the first time since his horrendous leg injury to current champion, Chris Weidman and Nick Diaz is ending his personal hiatus after losing to then-Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre back in 2013. A very interesting stylistic match-up between two elite counter-strikers and notorious taunt artists and a fight that will have MMA fan talking whether it’s for the better or the worse of the sport.

2. Alexander Gustafsson vs Anthony Johnson (Light Heavyweight Bout)

UFC on FOX 14 Main Event; January 24, 2015

The biggest non-title fight this month quite literally. Both these goliaths hit like mallets and are a win away from fighting for the belt. Gustafsson to some is the uncrowned champion of the division after pushing Jon Jones to breaking point. An injury forced him out of the rematch and the frustrated Swede will look to take out his anger on one Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. The Blackzilian has been steamrolling his competition—eight wins in a row, five by KO. A win over the former title contender will definitely vault Rumble into the title picture. Fight is scheduled for five rounds but there’s high chances it doesn’t even need five minutes. Don’t miss what good ol’ J.R. says is a “good ol’ Slobberknocker!”

1. Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier (UFC Light Heavyweight Championship)

UFC 182 Main Event; January 3, 2015

The title fights of all title fights. A fight between two future Hall of Famers. A grudge match to end all grudge matches. Whatever this fight is hyped as and whether it delivers or not, this is easily the biggest fight of the month—possibly the year. The rivalry between Jones and Cormier took to historic levels after a stage brawl and off-air smack talks went viral (below).

Jon Jones despite his lack of fan support (to put it mildly) is arguably the greatest fighter to grace the octagon. Barring a controversial DQ loss to Matt Hamill, Jones is unbeaten with victories over former champions in Lyoto Machida, Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans. Jones inches ever so closely to Anderson Silva’s title defense record of ten (Jones has seven). Cormier on the other hand is undefeated with most of his fights coming at heavyweight. The former Olympian has key wins over former champions, Josh Barnett and Dan Henderson and Antonio “Big Foot” Silva. Two colossal forces on a collision course and it’s only one night away!

Honourable Mentions (Best of the Rest):
  • Marcus Brimage vs Cody Garbrandt (UFC 182)
  • Chidi Njokuani vs Gilbert Smith (RFA 22)
  • Jake Shields vs Brian Foster (WSOF 17)
  • Neil Seery vs Chris Beal (UFC on FOX 14)
  • Tyron Woodley vs Kelvin Gastelum (UFC 183)

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