The term ‘March Madness’ definitely applies to the world of mixed martial arts this year. Things may start off innocently enough, but brace yourself, because by the end of the month we will be entering into 10 days of madness.
the UFC are the main instigators here as they begin to venture out from under the injury cloud that has affected many of their marquee stars in the past six months or so, and look to stack many of their upcoming cards.
First up this month though is another Zuffa entity, the WEC, who have a very appealing card lined up for the 6th March as WEC 47 sees some of the bantamweight divisions finest back in action.
Along with the title fight which sees current champ Brian Bowles attempt to defend his title for the first time against Dominick Cruz, the card also sees the former champion Miguel Torres begin his road back to the title against Joseph Benavidez. Jens Pulver also makes a return as he looks to take one last crack at getting back to winning ways.
After the WEC event we have a two week break until the next major event, and we recommend you use it to stock up in supplies and get plenty of rest, because you’ll need it to get through the 10 days of ‘March Madness’ that are to follow!
The 21st of the month brings the UFC’s first venture onto the Versus network, which is normally the home of the aforementioned WEC. The promotion are looking to make a good impression in their station debut and so have a very enticing card for the occasion.
Headlining the UFC On Versus 1 event will be Jon Jones Vs Brandon Vera, which should be an engrossing light-heavyweight showdown. The heavyweights will also be in action on the night with Junior Dos Santos looking to improve upon his impressive four fight unbeaten run in the UFC against fellow Brazilian Gabe Gonzaga, while Cheick Kongo attempts to get back to winning ways against Paul Buentello.
You’ll barely have time to draw breath after the Versus event before DREAM 13 arrives on the 22nd of March. As always with the Japanese promotion’s offerings, most of the card will likely be shrouded in mystery and subject to change up until the last possible moment.
What we do know however is that the DREAM featherweight title will be on the line as Bibiano Fernandez takes on Joachim Hansen. Superhulk tournament winner Ikuhisa Minowa also features, as he takes on another heavyweight opponent in the shape of Jimmy Ambriz (14-12-1). KJ Noons and Ryo Chonan will also make their DREAM debuts, and rumors suggest the likes of Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett could also feature.
Up next you’ll have a welcome four day break to recover before Strikeforce Challengers 7 arrives on the 26th, headlined by a heavyweight clash between Lamar Johnson,who returns after surviving a shooting at a family BBQ six months ago, and the undefeated Lolohea Mahe. ‘Abongo’ Humphries and female star Meisha Tate are also set to appear on the card.
A day later we come to the biggest event of the month as the UFC 111 rolls into Newark, New Jersey with not one but two titles fights. The first is the welterweight title fight between Georges St.Pierre and the UK’s Dan Hardy which will have been hyped up by a three-part ‘Primetime’ show leading up to the event.
The second sees Frank Mir back in action against Shane Carwin to decide the interim heavyweight champion who will then go on to fight Brock Lesnar in the summer for the real belt. The event will also bring an eagerly anticipated re-match between two of the welterweight division’s best, Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves.
Remarkably the UFC will fit in a third event into this 10 day spell as they head back to Spike on the 31st of March for Ultimate Fight Night 21, which will be fronted by former PRIDE star Takanori Gomi’s debut in the promotion against one of the division’s top contenders Kenny Florian.
Elsewhere on the card Roy Nelson makes his first appearance since winning the Ultimate Fighter Season 10 show against up and coming heavyweight talent Stefan Struve. TUF season 9 winner Ross Pearson will also be on the main card fighting Germany’s Denis Siver, along with two veterans in Nate Quarry and Jorge Rivera.
Oh yes, and don’t forget, The Ultimate Fighter Season 11 also premiere’s on the 31st!
And that just about does it for a hectic month of MMA action, and if you make it through all of that in one piece then standby for more major events coming your way in April!
- 6th March: WEC 47: Bowles Vs Cruz
- 21st March: UFC On Versus 1: Jones Vs Vera
- 22nd March: DREAM 13
- 26th March: Strikeforce Challengers 7
- 27th March: UFC 111: GSP Vs Dan Hardy
- 31st March: UFC Fight Night 21: Florian Vs Gomi
- 31st March: Ultimate Fighter Season 11 Premiere