It’s the Thursday before a packed weekend of MMA, which means once again there are literally more cagefights about to go down than any single human could possibly keep track of or reasonably care about. So what to do if you’re a discerning fan? Should you pay attention to Bellator on Friday? What about the two UFCs happening on Saturday on UFC Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1? Well, fear not, because all the answers are right here, boiled down to just five bouts you need to give a crap about.
“Why these bouts?” you may ask? Because these are the ones everyone is going to talk about come Monday morning, and you’re supposed to be an MMA fan – why be left out?
- Daniel Straus vs. Justin Wilcox, Bellator 127 on Friday night - Straus has been kicking around the upper echelons of Bellator’s featherweight division for a while now, and for a brief spell was even the organization’s featherweight champ. He’ll be taking on stalwart Wilcox in a bout that ideally will put Straus back on track to title contention – or, at the very least, open Scott Coker up to matching Straus against a 145-pound predatory cat or robot built solely for destruction at a future Bellator show.
- Rory MacDonald vs. Tarec Saffiedine, UFC Fight Night 54 on Saturday night - If not for the occasional performances where it looks like he utterly sucks, MacDonald could probably be champ by now – or at least challenging for the belt. Oh well, at least he’ll get a crack at a former Strikeforce champ in Saffiedine, who’s marginally more exciting but will probably lose to the Canadian weirdo’s stifling game.
- Raphael Assuncao vs. Bryan Caraway, UFC Fight Night 54 on Saturday night - If not for guys like Dominick Cruz being infinitely more marketable, Assuncao would be fighting bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw for the title. Instead, we get to see him co-main event opposite Caraway, who is best known as Miesha Tate’s main squeeze and quite possibly the person who does all the cooking and cleaning in that household.
- Gunnar Nelson vs. Rick Story, UFC Fight Night 53 on Saturday afternoon - If on Saturday you’re presented with a choice between sitting in Barnes & Noble pretending to read “Atlas Shrugged” while perving on MILFs, lying in the grass at the park smoking bowls, and tuning in to Fight Pass to see some event in Sweden, you might as well choose the Swedish option. The main event features Nelson versus Story in a bout that should be a good gauge of where the Icelandic fighter belongs in the division.
- BattleGrounds MMA tournament final on Friday night - Forget whatever else is going on in the world. There’s an eight-man tournament going down in Oklahoma, and eight-man tournaments are like crack cocaine to fight fans. Sure, the field of competitors is stacked with has-beens and never-weres, but someone is fighting and winning three times that night, and that sort of thing is what this sport was built on. You’d best be tuning in to that!