December’s always been the month for kicking back and making the most of the end-of-the-year festivities. In the fight world, however, it has been synonymous with major events ever since the days of Pride FC.
In keeping with tradition, the UFC has put together a marathon of fistic delights for fight fans to relish, and the month of holiday cheer can now be one of hard-core action as well. The party will start warming up with the December 8 show in Seattle, Washington. On the 15th, the promotion will pitch its tent in Australia, before heading straight back across the ocean to Las Vegas, where they have one event set for the 16th and another for the 30th, when they close out the year in grand style with Cigano vs. Velasquez Part Two.
Here’s a breakdown of the coming attractions:
UFC on Fox 5, December 8
In early December, the city of Seattle, Washington, will get treated to Benson Henderson defending his lightweight title against the equally talented Nate Diaz. The event will also feature a light heavyweight tilt between Mauricio Shogun and rising star Alexander Gustafsson just before the Henderson-Diaz main event. And if that’s not enough excitement for UFC fans, BJ Penn will have a stern test ahead of him, as he takes on stalwart Canadian welterweight Rory MacDonald. Click here for the card.
UFC on FX 5, December 15
The Gold Coast, in Queensland, Australia, will get to host a card somewhat less stellar; but what it lacks in star power it makes up for in the promise of excitement. Submission whiz Rousimar Palhares is healed up from injury and will square off with Cuban middleweight judoka Hector Lombard in the co-main event. The marquee fight will be a lightweight affair, with Jiu-Jitsu black belt George Sotiropulos taking on Ross Pearson. Another Jiu-Jitsu stylist in the show is Nova União representative Hacran Dias, who will have his hands full against the game Chad Mendes. Click here for the card.
The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale, December 16
Besides getting a glimpse at the UFC’s next batch of promising upstarts, MMA fans will be served a big helping of heavyweight action, with TUF 16 coaches Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin going toe to toe in what looks sure to be a bona fide barnburner. As the card awaits definition of the finalists from the reality show, the full card has not yet been released. The event will take place Sunday the 16th, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
UFC 155 – Dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2, December 29th
Again in Las Vegas, the promotion has a big night planned for the MGM Grand Garden Arena the day before New Year’s Eve. Junior Cigano will be defending his belt from Cain Velasquez, the very man he took it from decisively with a first-round knockout a year ago. And the highly touted Chris Weidman will lock horns with the seasoned Tim Boetsch, as he steers a course to his coveted showdown with the Spider. Another big name on the card is Gray Maynard, a blue belt who has been doing his training at team Nova União, and who will be taking on the Jiu-Jitsu-savvy Joe Lauzon. Click here for the card.