For once the MMA community has a chance to breathe. UFC 116 put an exclamation point on a loaded June that bled into the July 4 weekend. Come August MMA events ramp up again with five major shows: UFC on Versus 2, UFC 117, Strikeforce: Houston, WEC 50 and UFC 118, when Boston will host its first MMA show to coincide with the UFC Fan Expo.
Have things slowed to a crawl? Not exactly. Here are a few headlines that made news this past week:
<strong>Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez headlines UFC 121</strong>
UFC president Dana White was hoping Brock Lesnar’s next heavyweight title defense would take place in September at UFC 119 to mark Zuffa’s Indianapolis debut. Instead, Lesnar will defend against No. 1 contender Cain Velasquez in the main event of UFC 121 in November in Anaheim, Calif. Lesnar’s wish to take a break to tend to his farm and spend time with family was granted. When he returns, Velasquez, undefeated in eight MMA fights, will be waiting. Velazquez has been idle since a first-round knockout of the legendary Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in February, but he and his camp were never concerned about any significant layoff. Although Lesnar proved himself as the world’s best heavyweight by surviving Shane Carwin’s onslaught to submit him in Round 2, Velasquez is a two time All-American collegiate wrestler from Arizona State and a junior college national champion from Iowa Central Community College. Like Carwin, he can hit. Like Carwin he can wrestle. He has just as good a chance to unseat the seemingly invincible champion.
<strong>Chris Lytle vs. Matt Serra added to UFC 119</strong>
Former welterweight champion Matt Serra also returns to action at UFC 119 when he meets Chris Lytle in a rematch of The Ultimate Fighter 4 Finale in November 2006. Serra won via split decision, earned a title shot and, of course, shocked Georges St. Pierre. Serra is off a first-round TKO win over Frank Trigg at UFC 109, while Lytle is on a UFC-best three-fight winning streak, the last a triangle choke/straight armbar finish of Matt Brown at UFC 116. Lytle's all-out fighting style has earned him seven "Fight Night" bonuses in his past nine UFC fights. The winner here will deserve consideration for a future shot at St. Pierre or Josh Koscheck. I’ve wondered for the longest time why Serra, the last man to defeat St. Pierre, and GSP haven’t been paired for a rubber match. Sure Serra would be a heavy underdog, but he wasn’t given any chance in hell in their first fight either.
<strong>Pettis - Roller winner could get lightweight title shot</strong>
It’s Ben Henderson’s preference to defend his WEC lightweight title against a fresh face in lieu of a rematch. But if Shane Roller defeats Anthony Pettis in the co-main event of WEC 50, Roller could get a chance to avenge his first-round knockout loss to Henderson in April 2009, <a href="http://mmajunkie.com/news/19904/wec-50s-pettis-vs-roller-co-main-event-winner-could-get-lightweight-title-shot.mma" target="_blank"><strong>reports MMAJunkie.com</strong></a>. Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz title defense against Joseph Benavidez is the other main event of this landmark show that lost out on Urijah Faber’s debut at bantamweight against Takeya Mizugaki when the former 145-pound champion was injured.
<strong>Kennedy-Jacare for vacant Strikeforce middleweight title</strong>
So much for a tournament and seeing whether Tim Kennedy or Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza could get past Cung Le and others to earn a title shot. Strikeforce decided that Kennedy and Jacare will meet August 21 in Houston for the middleweight championship vacated by Jake Shields. Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal also makes his first light-heavyweight title defense against Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante. The dynamic K.J. Noons will meet Jorge Gurgel and Bobby Lashley is also scheduled to compete.
Lashley (5-0 MMA, 1-0 SF) recently called out Fedor Emelianenko. Um, okay. Lashley is good, but Brock Lesnar good? Or Fedor good? Not even close. His biggest “name” opponent in a MMA career nearing two years was an overweight Wes Sims. Lesnar’s climb to the top was short, but he got there with wins over experienced veteran Heath Herring, Hall of Famer Randy Couture and avenged his first and only loss to former champ Frank Mir before he unified the title for a second time by defeating the previously unbeaten Carwin. Nobody in that group is Wes Sims.
Article originally posted on the FightLaunch.com MMA Blog.