Five For Fighting: December’s Best Fights

Pettis Melendez

After a pretty lackluster year of MMA we reach the last month of the twelve with an opportunity to take the mantle of “fight of the year” freely available. Arguably the best UFC event of the year was saved for last and will have two titles on the line – both of which are featured as I picked out the best quintet of bouts to look out for in the next 31 days.

5. Junior Dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic – UFC on Fox 13, December 13th.

This fight has been a long time in the making but due to injuries and bad timing these two top-5 heavyweights are only getting around to it now. And, with two titles floating around in the division, it could be very important. Dos Santos is a former UFC heavyweight champion who is in the usual limbo fighters find themselves after losing to the champion twice. Miocic will be looking to make him a stepping stone to get his first title tilt. Heavy leather should be exchanged in this one. Dos Santos loves to box his opponents up close in while Miocic uses his athleticism to get in and out of striking range. These are two of the most nimble and skilful big men in the UFC. It should be a wonderful scrap.

4. Nathan Diaz vs. Rafael Dos Anjos – UFC on Fox 13, December 13th.

After a long hiatus from the UFC (for being underpaid, under appreciated, under all kinds of shit) Stockton’s second son, Nathan Diaz, returns to action against Rafael Dos Anjos. That should be enough to get anyone excited but with title implications possibly on the line too it gives an added bit of spice. RDA knocked out former champion Benson Henderson in his last outing and will be looking to do the same again here. Diaz, though, will have no problem with that and should match fire with fire. It will be explosive.

3. Robbie Lawler vs Johny Hendricks – UFC 181, December 6th.

When a rematch for a UFC title happens it usually means the champion went on to defend his belt a few times while the challenger worked his way back up to another shot. This one is a little different though. Since Johny Hendricks defeated Robbie Lawler in March of this year for the vacant UFC welterweight strap he has been on the sidelines healing up from a whole range of injuries. This will be his first fight back and, for him, an immediate rematch with the man he last beat. It’s not an immediate rematch for Lawler, though. “Ruthless” has fought twice since March picking up impressive wins over Matt Brown and Jake Ellenberger. Entering this fight it’s a question of whether it’s better to be active or better to rest up your wounds and come back stronger. Either way, it should be a similar fight to the first with both men standing in the pocket throwing bombs with Hendricks probably adding in some more wrestling. This won’t be a bad fight and, depending on how it goes, we could be looking at a trilogy in the near future.

2. Abel Trujillo vs. Tony Ferguson – UFC 181, December 6th.

Simply put, this is going to be a old-fashioned rock ’em sock ’em robots scrap between two of the most exciting fighters in a UFC lightweight division full of exciting fighters. Ferguson garnered much praise and won himself many fans with his last fight inside the Octagon where veteran Danny Castillo tried to hold him down for three rounds. Ferguson refused to just lay there and gave everything in an eventual winning effort. Trujillo had the exact opposite type of fight as himself and Jamie Varner traded bungalows until one man fell (it was Varner). I’m no mathematician but if you add an exciting fighter to and exciting fighter what the result should be is an exciting fight. And it will be.

1. Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez – UFC 181, December 6th.

After a long lay off, the lightweight division can finally get back into action as former WEC champions battle it out for the UFC gold. This will be the first fight of 2014 for both men. Pettis’ last fight was in August of last year when he took the title from Benson Henderson via first round armbar while Melendez’ last outing was his best-fight-of-all-time contender with Diego Sanchez in October. This one has magic written all over it. Unorthodox striker is a good way to describe both men. Pettis is the more flashy practitioner who slams in kicks and punches from all angles while Melendez will plough forward and take one to give one. The wrestling of the former Strikeforce champion is also a huge factor in this fight with Pettis known to have struggled with such challenges in the past. For me, this is the best fight of the month and could very well end up the fight of the year.


Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook

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