We're in the middle of an unexpected slow period of MMA. With the cancellation of UFC 151 and UFC 152 still a week and a half away, it doesn't feel like fight fans have much to look forward to. With a sport as constant as MMA, our attention spans are short. But hold on, Cagereaders. We still have plenty to look forward to in September. For example, in no particular order:
Joe Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson for the first UFC flyweight title at UFC 152, Sept. 22: Of course, the lion's share of publicity will go to the Jon Jones/Vitor Belfort at title fight, but expect the 125-lbers to steal the spotlight. Both Benavidez and Johnson bring exciting fights with them into every bout, and now they'll get to show off their skills for five rounds.
Dan Hardy vs. Amir Sadollah at UFC on Fuel 5, Sept. 29: Both Hardy and Sadollah are in need of a win and capable of finishing fights. Plus, I can't wait to hear how the crowd in Nottingham will erupt when Brit favorite Dan Hardy walks out.
Nordine Taleb vs. Marius Zaromskis at Bellator 74, Sept. 28: I always mark my calender when Zaromskis is fighting. Of his 18 wins, 13 are by knockout, but he is susceptible to being knocked out, too. Either way, this opening round bout of the Bellator welterweight tournament is likely to end in a highlight.
David Armas vs. Darrion Caldwell at Legacy Fighting, Sept. 14: This fight is highly anticipated by college wrestling fans. Caldwell won a national championship for North Carolina State over the highly touted Brent Metcalf from Iowa. Fans either love him or hate him, and will be tuning in with the hopes of Caldwell owning his MMA debut or him getting knocked out by Armas.
Jorge Santiago vs. Quinn Mulhern at Strikeforce, Sept. 29: Santiago had a tough go in the UFC, losing back-to-back fights before winning two fights in the Titan Fighting Championships. He will get another chance to prove himself at Strikeforce against Mulhern, who is riding a three-fight win streak.