10 September Tussles Worth Watching

By Tim Leidecker Aug 30, 2008
After a comparatively slow August, promoters will pick up the pace again next month, with the UFC, Dream, Strikeforce, Shooto and others having scheduled major shows. The obvious newsmakers aside -- the comebacks of former UFC lightweight champion Chuck Liddell (Pictures) and 2006 Pride Open Weight Grand Prix winner Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (Pictures) are hot topics -- there will be many more excellent bouts throughout all weight classes around the world.

Sherdog.com has compiled a top 10 list of fights that any real mixed martial arts fan should not miss in September.

10. Phil Baroni (Pictures) vs. Olaf Alfonso (Pictures)
Palace Fighting Championship 10, Sept. 26 -- Lemoore, Calif.

If there is such a thing as a custom-made matchup, this has to be it. On one side, you’ve got Baroni (12-10), a man lauded for his one-punch knockout power. On the other, you’ve got Alfonso (7-8), a man who promoters apparently book for the sole purpose of him being knocked out in spectacular fashion. If everything goes according to plan, this bout should produce one of the most spectacular KOs of the year.

9. Ansar Chalangov (Pictures) vs. Jordan Radev (Pictures)
M-1 Challenge, Sept. 27 -- Nottingham, England

These two UFC veterans will go to war within the M-1 Challenge framework. Both men have rebounded from mediocre showings stateside and are now considered mainstays for Team Europe and Russia’s Team Legion. Chalangov (8-4) won for the first time in nearly three years in June, as he submitted Eulogio Fernandez on the M-1 Challenge tour. Radev (13-3), meanwhile, has been on a hot streak since he left the Octagon, as he spoiled the retirement bout of Polish legend Grzegorz Jakubowski and submitted rookie Alexander Stefkovski in a little more than three minutes in his most recent bout in June.

8. Jan Blachowicz vs. Moise Rimbon (Pictures)
KSW “Extra,” Sept. 13 -- Dabrowa Gornicza, Poland

Just three weeks after his successful Japan debut, Rimbon (13-7-3) -- the well-traveled French Muay Thai fighter -- will be in action for the Polish promotion KSW. His opponent will be far from a cakewalk, as he will face reigning KSW light heavyweight tournament champion Blachowicz (3-1) in a classic striker-versus-grappler affair. The 25-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist won a hard-fought decision over Germany’s Martin Zawada before he submitted Antoni Chmielewski and Aziz Karaoglu in May.

7. Nathan Marquardt (Pictures) vs. Martin Kampmann (Pictures)
UFC 88 “Breakthrough,” Sept. 6 -- Atlanta

Though not officially announced as a title eliminator, the winner of this battle between Marquardt (26-8-2), a former King of Pancrase, and Kampmann (13-1), a man on a nine-fight winning streak, should at least move into second place in the unofficial UFC middleweight rankings. Marquardt has performed nicely since his unsuccessful title challenge in July 2007, and Kampmann shows no signs of ring rust after a 15-month layoff. Both are worthy challengers to Anderson Silva (Pictures)’s middleweight throne.

6. Wilson Reis (Pictures) vs. Bao Quach (Pictures)
Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Wilson Reis (bottom) will take a
step up in competition when he
faces Bao Quach on Sept. 26.
ShoXC “Elite Challenger Series,” Sept. 26 -- Santa Ynez, Calif.

Roughly 20 months into its existence, EliteXC appears ready to crown its first-ever bantamweight champion. Reis (5-0) -- originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil -- has youth and momentum on his side. Quach (15-8-1), meanwhile, has traveled to Japan and Hawaii with mixed results in the past but will enter this title fight on a nine-bout winning streak. Can Quach come up with the unlikely knockout, or will Reis become EliteXC’s latest Brazilian champion?

5. Leigh Remedios (Pictures) vs. Robbie Olivier (Pictures)
Cage Rage 28 “VIP,” Sept. 20 -- London

Almost three years have passed since Britain’s Remedios (15-6-2) last fought. The submission specialist, who hails from Huddersfield in central England, has been busy training other fighters and trolling Internet forums since October 2005. At 32, he wants to find out if he still has what it takes to be successful in the cage and will challenges Olivier for the Cage Rage British featherweight title. Olivier (15-8-1) holds wins over Thomas Hytten (Pictures), Bendy Casimir (Pictures) and Brad Pickett (Pictures) and will certainly not give up his belt without a fight.

4. Hector Lombard (Pictures) vs. Brian Ebersole (Pictures)
Cage Fighting Championships 5 “Showdown,” Sept. 12 -- Sydney, Australia

EliteXC and the UFC tried to bring in Lombard (16-2-1) and both failed. Visa issues have kept the 30-year-old Cuban powerhouse fighting in his adoptive home in Australia. The Cage Fighting Championships promotion has done a good job finding worthy challengers for the Judoka. Ebersole (36-14), a protégé of former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion Frank Shamrock (Pictures), should pose a serious challenge to Lombard with his experience, strong wrestling background and expertise on the ground.

3. Masakatsu Ueda (Pictures) vs. Marcos Galvao (Pictures)
Shooto “Tradition 3,” Sept. 28 -- Tokyo

Reigning Shooto featherweight champion Ueda (8-0-1) will make his first title defense after capturing the crown in March with a unanimous decision win over Koetsu Okazaki (Pictures). The undefeated Japanese veteran will be challenged by the Brazilian-born Galvao. Often criticized for his top-heavy approach to fighting -- which has led to all six of his wins coming by decision -- Galvao (6-2) comes equipped with grappling and submission skills that can test anyone in the 132-pound division. This will be a high-level chess match on the ground.

2. Urijah Faber (Pictures) vs. Mike Thomas Brown (Pictures)
WEC 36, Sept. 10 -- Hollywood, Fla.

The top-ranked fighters in the 145-pound division will duke it out for the WEC featherweight championship. Faber (21-1) has stormed through competition in his last 13 bouts but may find the going more difficult against American Top Team’s Brown (17-4), an able veteran opponent who may be able to match his wrestling and ground fighting skills. Can Olympic gold medalist Howard Davis Jr. bring Brown’s hands up to speed for his showdown with the champion?

1. Melvin Manhoef (Pictures) vs. Gegard Mousasi (Pictures)
Dream 6, Sept. 23 -- Saitama, Japan

Mousasi (22-2-1) has asked for a bout with Manhoef for months and now, in the semi-finals of the Dream middleweight grand prix, he will get his wish. Mousasi has stopped seven of his last eight opponents in the first round and wants to prove to the fans in Holland, his adoptive homeland, that he has what it takes to stand toe-to-toe with the dangerous Dutchman. Manhoef (22-4-1), meanwhile, has been working diligently on his submission defense in Florida. He has secured 21 of his 22 wins by KO or TKO.
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