Sure, Ronda Rousey’s return will be hyped to the brim.
And the upcoming interim featherweight title fight between Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway is sure to be fireworks.
Oh, and Cody Garbrandt challenging Dominick Cruz for bantamweight supremacy is awesome.
But there fights that have no title on the line are really ones that I am looking forward to before we close the door on this very interesting 2016 calendar year.
– First up is Donald Cerrone vs. Matt Brown at UFC 206.
Honestly, Cerrone has placed himself on the short list of contenders since moving up to welterweight and could wait on the sidelines for an eliminator bout. But this is “Cowboy” we are talking about and he has not desire to waste time not competing.
Brown, meanwhile, has lost two straight and four of his last five after stringing together a seven-fight win streak between 2012-14.
– Next, Sage Northcutt and Mickey Gall square off at UFC on FOX 22.
Northcutt showed his mental toughness when he rebounded from his first career loss in July with a decision win over Enrique Marin. In January, the uber-prospect lost to Bryan Barberena via submission.
Gall, of course, ended the dream of Phil “CM Punk” Brooks in the MMA debut for the former WWE superstar. Gall did what most everyone expected him to do: dominate, submitting Brooks in the first round.
– And finally, former heavyweight champions – and opponents – Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez battle it out at UFC 207.
Werdum captured the first meeting when he submitted Velasquez back at UFC 188 in 2015. However, he dropped the title to Stipe Miocic this past May in his first defense before rebounding with a decision over Travis Browne.
Velasquez has battled injuries over his career, but is 5-1 since a loss to Junior dos Santos in his last six. That includes finishes of Browne, dos Santos and twice vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.
Of course, all of this is contingent on the fighters remaining healthy and making it to their scheduled dates.