If you haven’t yet been pulled into watching the Mixed Martial Arts combat wars that go down inside the now famous octagon of the Ultimate Fighting Championships, then April is full of a number of great fights to introduce you to the exciting sport.
If you are already a fan then you’re probably salivating at the mouth with it almost having been three weeks since the last UFC event in London, and you know that with three UFC events in April it’s going to be a hell of a month of fights.
Here are 5 April fights you’ll want to stay up for.
UFC 210 ON APRIL 9TH
1) DANIEL CORMIER VS ANTHONY JOHNSON FOR THE LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
The Main event at UFC 210 is a rematch for the 205lb Light Heavyweight title. Back in 2015 the long standing Light Heavyweight Champion, and pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, JON ‘BONES’ JONES, went on a crazy alcohol and drugged fuelled bender, resulting in him hitting a pregnant woman with his car, fleeing the scene of his and hiding out in a hotel room before finally turning himself into the police. His act not only got him arrested and charged but also forced the UFC to strips him of his belt. This resulted in a match between DANIEL CORMIER (DC) and ANTHONY ‘RUMBLE’ JOHNSON, for the vacant title.
At the time DC had only ever lost once in his career, in a title match to the ex-champion, Jon ‘Bone’ Jones. Rumble was actually next in line to fight Jones, and had already become known as the scariest man in the UFC, having knocked out 6 of his last 9 opponents, 5 of them being in the first round. Basically, if Rumble hits you, you go to sleep. And in the first fight boy did Rumble hit DC. He hit him so hard in the first round that DC literally flew across the octagon and bounded off the canvas. But that was the only real punch Rumble got on DC, who somehow survived, recovered and put his Olympic wrestling skills to immediate work. He picked Rumble up and took him to the ground like he had done to so many other opponents, and bang to wear him down with ground and pound, and pressure wrestling. And when Rumble was finally too tired to defend himself an longer, DC locked in a rear-naked choke and submitted the beast. Since then Rumble has gone back to KO’ing his last 3 opponents in the first round, hungry to once again fight for the belt.
DC and Rumble will now once again go to war, and this time DC has said that he will even stand toe- to-toe with Johnson and knock him out. With Rumble being 6’2 and having nuclear bombs for fist, and DC being 5’11 and largely using his Olympic level wrestling to win fights, DC saying he will knock Rumble out is probably just talk to hype the fight. To actually stand toe-to-toe with a fighter that is not only a lot longer and taller but possesses gunshot type power, would probably be considered an active attempt at suicide on DC’s part. But we’ll find out soon if Rumble can put DC’s lights out, or if DC will once again grind down the giant and submit him, or possibly shock the world by knocking out the knockout artist.
2) CHRIS WEIDMAN VS GERAD MOUSASI- THE UFC 210 CO-MAIN FIGHT
In case you didn’t know, CHRIS ‘ALL-AMERICAN’ WEIDMAN, is the man who beat Middleweight Champion, and legend, ANDERSON ‘THE SPIDER’ SILVA. Silva was, and still is, considered to be the greatest mixed martial arts fighter of all time, and when Chris Weidman KO’d him he not only won the 185lb Middleweight championship, but he showed that all the hype around his undefeated career was real.
Chris went on to defend the title three times, one of them being a rematch against Silva, where the fight was stopped in the first round when Chris checked a leg kick from Anderson with his shin and Anderson’s leg snapped clean in two. But then Weidman lost the belt, and his first match ever, to LUKE ROCKHOLD, by TKO (Technical Knockout), and then lost again by KO to YOEL ROMERO, who hit him with a brutal flying knee to the head, which split Weidman open and left him dazzled and confused on the canvas, with blood pouring from his forehead.
Weidman has gone from being an undefeated champion, and the man who dethroned the guy known as the best fighter in the history of the sport, to losing 2 fights in a row. Now he will fight the Dutch born, GEGARD MOUSASI, who is on a 4 fight win streak, and has stopped his last three opponents by TKO.
Weidman is ranked number 4 in the Middleweight division, and Mousasi is ranked just behind him at number 5. For Mousasi a win means he will take over the number 4 spot for sure, and will straightaway be one of the guys who might get a title shot soon. For Weidman a win will put him back on track to once again regain the title he lost, and it will also be a much needed boost to his confident.
The two are evenly matched. On the feet it could go either way, with none of them coming out as the superior striker. And on the ground Mousasi is a high level jiu jitsui fighter, but Weidman is a former All-American wrestler. Right now confidence goes to Mousasi, who is also a veteran of 47 fights, compared to the younger Weidman’s 15 fights. But Weidman needs a win for himself and his career, so desperation is on his side, but we’ll find out if that is a good or bad thing, in the co-main at UFC 210.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT APRIL 16th
3) DEMETRIOUS JONHSON VS WILSON REIS FOR THE FLYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
DEMETRIOUS ‘MIGHTY MOUSE’ JOHNSON is right now the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world! He is the reigning, and only fighter to ever hold the 125lb UFC Flyweight Championship belt. He is also probably the best all rounded and most technically sound fighter to ever compete in MMA. Last year, because Mighty Mouse beat all the top contenders in his division, some twice, the UFC done a tournament on their reality TV show, ‘The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).’ They got 16 of the top Flyweight Champions from other MMA organisations around the world, and they all fought to see who would face Mighty Mouse for his UFC title. The winner was a former UFC fighter called Tim Elliot, and even though he took Mighty Mouse to a decision, Mighty won unanimously on all 3 judge’s score cards. Now Mighty Mouse wants to beat Anderson Silva’s Record of 10 straight title defences, and if he wins this next fight he will tie Anderson’s record. But first he has to beat the Brazilian, WILSON REIS.
Reis was supposed to fight Mighty Mouse before the TUF tournament, but Johnson got injured and then was scheduled to fight the winner of the show. Having won his last 3 fights, the number 3 ranked Reis will now get his shot at the Champion, and even though Johnson’s record, and unbelievable technical ability, makes him the favourite in any fight, great champions have been dethroned before by fighters who step up and suddenly put in the performance of their life, as seen when TJ Dillashaw won the Bantamweight title by TKO’ing Renan Barao, who hadn’t lost in 10 years. Can Mighty Mouse continue to reign over the Flyweight division, or can the Brazilian jiu jitsui fighter, Reis, pull out a win that would be one of the biggest in the history of the UFC?
4) ROSE NAMAJUNAS VS MICHELLE WATERSON- CO MAIN FIGHT
‘THUG’ ROSE NAMAJUNAS VS MICHELLE ‘THE KARATE HOTTIE’ WATERSON, is a fight between maybe the two top technical fighters in the women’s 115lb Strawweight division.
Rose is a young fighter who has always been on the cusp of greatness. She went from winning by flying armbar, and then losing her next fight by decision, when she was in the women’s fighting promotion, ‘Invicta FC,’ to being a finalist on The Ultimate Fighter season 20. ON TUF 20 the UFC done a tournament to crown the first UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion. Rose got to the finals by submitting every girl she fought in the tournament, but then lost by submission to CARLA ESPARZA in the final championship fight. After that Rose won her next two fights by rear-naked choke, and a third fight by decision. But then Rose then missed out on a title shot when she lost to polish fighter, KAROLINA KOWALKIEWICZ.
Karate black belt, Michelle Waterson, is the former Invicta FC Atomweight Champion. She won her UFC debut fight back in 2015 but then was out for a year-and-a-half with a recurring hand injury. Returning to the UFC in late 2016, Michelle fought and submitted PAIGE VANZANT by a rear-naked choke. Rose also submitted Paige, by rear-naked choke, a few months earlier. With Michelle’s comeback win, Rose, and a few other fighters, called her out, with Rose getting the match.
Rose has gone from being a wild, young, emotional, submission based fighter, to a more technical boxer who shaven her head because she said, ‘the hair got in her way.’
Michelle has always been a mature, focused fighter, also being a mother and wife. She brings her Thai roots to the cage in how she use the 8-limbed Muay Thai fighting style against her opponents.
Both fighters are also very talented with submissions on the ground, but both have also been beaten by submission.
If Rose wins this fight she might be next for a shot at the Strawweight title. If Michelle wins she will no doubt also be talked about when it comes to fighting for the belt, and will fully show that even after a years-and-a-half off, she is one of the top fighters in the division.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT APRIL 23rd
5) CUB SWANSON VS ARTEM LOBOV- MAIN FIGHT
CUB SWANSON won what was by far the 2016 fight of the year, against the ‘KOREAN SUPERBOY’ DOO HO CHOI. The two fighters engaged in an all-out war of spinning elbows, near KO finishes, superman punches, wheel kicks and unbelievable combinations of kicks, punches, knees and elbows, which finished with Choi lying exhausted on the canvas, and Cub on his knees raising his hands gloriously to the sky. Cub won that fight by unanimous decision and showed why he is one of the top fighters in the 145lb Featherweight division.
Then you have ARTEM ‘THE RUSSIAN HAMMER’ LOBOV. The Russian born fighter who now hails from Ireland, is CONOR MCGREGOR’S close friend and teammate. Artem was a finalist on TUF season 22 but lost by decision to RYAN HALL, in the finals. After that Artem won 2 out of his next 3 fights but is still unranked, not even in the top 15. But being long time friends with Conor, Artem has learned that talking can get you far in the UFC and what it’s got him, as an unranked fighter, is a main event fight against the number 4 ranked Cub Swanson, simply by calling him out.
If Artem can beat Swanson he’ll go from unranked to probably being one of the top 5 fighters in the weight class and immediately be in the title picture. But, as much as talking can get you, the beauty of MMA is that in the end actions, or fist and legs, have to back the words up. When that cage door locks no amount of talking can win you a fight, unless you manage to verbally get so into your opponents head that they make a mistake, or you tell the Ref that you quit.
But Artem isn’t Conor, so can his hands do the talking and take out the ferocious Cub Swanson? Or will he find the wild storm that is Swanson, too much to handle? Talking got him the fight that he wanted, but when that cage door locks, will he wish he never spoke in the first place, or will we see a new title contender?
These are just five fights on 3 cards packed with exciting match ups, in April. Olympic level wrestling vs earth shaking power. An all American vs a Dutch man on a roll. A Brazilian trying to stop a Mighty Mouse from breaking a record. A Karate Hottie vs a Thug. And a wild Cub going up against a Russian Hammer. If you love UFC, in April it’s time to sit back, stay up late and enjoy. If you haven’t checked out the UFC yet, then pull up a seat and watch a sport where anything can happen in the blink of an eye.