Five For Fighting – July’s Best Upcoming Fights

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Normally, picking the five best fights in a single month isn’t that tough of a task. The handful of events usually have stand-out bouts headlining and a few fun scraps scattered elsewhere. July 2014 is different. This article could be entitled fifteen for fighting with mouth-watering bouts all throughout the thirty-one days. I’ve managed to whittle it down to five though and, boy, are they good.

5 – Justin Gaethje v Nick Newell, WSOF 11, July 5th

Nick Newell is always must see TV. If you don’t know him, Newell is a one armed fighter who has overcome his disability to earn a lightweight title shot in the world series of fighting promotion. He is undefeated in eleven fights; the exact same as his opponent. In those eleven fights Newell has eight submission victories while Gaethje has nine knockout wins. That tells you all you need to know. Newell is a talented wrestler who will wrap up a neck like lightening. Gaethje is an ultra attacking fighter on the feet with quick, powerful hands. This is the first real test in either man’s career. A UFC spot shouldn’t be too far down the road for the winner.

4 – Ian McCall v Brad Pickett, UFC Dublin, July 19th

This is a fight which was due to happen in London earlier in the year but when McCall was forced to pull out through injury Dubliner Neil Seery stepped in to fight Pickett. Now, the remade fight will take place in Seery’s home town with a title shot not too far away for the winner. Pickett is all about power striking. The Englishman has a largely boxing based attack but, as he showed against Seery, his ground game is ever improving. He’ll need that against McCall who is a strong wrestler with hurtful ground and pound. The American doesn’t have the power of Pickett but he certainly packs a punch with his crisp, quick, technical kick boxing. This is a very evenly matched fight between two of the world’s best at flyweight and should enthrall the Dublin crowd.

3 – Robbie Lawler v Matt Brown, UFC on Fox, July 26th

Every UFC promo these days seems to have Joe Rogan’s sound-bite of “this is pure madness”. Well, this fight deserves it. Both of these men have no problem laying it all on the line for the W. Lawler is a power striker whose boxing technique and takedown defense has come on leaps and bounds over the years. Matt Brown is a relentless cardio machine who will come forward on the feet and bully opponents on the ground. This fight has all the makings of fight of the year if Brown’s body can survive early. For as long as it lasts, though, it will be epic.

2 – Conor McGregor v Diego Brandao, UFC Dublin, July 19th

What more needs to be said? For five years every Irish MMA fan has longed for the octagon to return to the emerald isle and it finally has with an interesting main event. Brandao replaces Cole Miller as McGregor’s opponent and brings a whole different and more dangerous attack. The Brazilian is a power puncher who swings hard early and has elite jiu-jitsu if it hits the floor. McGregor is all about speed, technique and power. The early exchanges should be exciting as McGregor counters the overhand rights of Brandao with his wicked left hook. Styles make fights and these two men should be the perfect foil for each other. Coming back from an ACL tear this is a huge test for Conor McGregor and one which will put him on course for a move up in the pecking order should he win.

1 – Chris Weidman v Lyoto Machida, UFC 175, July 5th

For the first time in seven years Anderson Silva won’t be involved in a middleweight title fight. Instead, his friend and teammate Lyoto Machida challenges the man who took Silva’s title, Chris Weidman. Initially, Vitor Belfort was due to take on Weidman but the TRT ban meant the fight was cancelled and former light-heavyweight champion Machida stepped in. The Brazilian is one of the most unique fighters in the UFC. He is a jiu-jitsu black belt who has been a karate expert from a young age. Weidman, on the other hand, is a wrestler who has developed solid hands and submissions in his short career to date. This is the best fight in the month of July simply because nobody knows what will happen. Machida has had success against wrestlers in the past, beating Dan Henderson, Rashad Evans, Mark Munoz and more. His takedown defense is one of the best in the division which, coupled with his unorthodox striking, could be the answer for Weidman. Saying that, nobody has solved the Weidman dilemma yet and he has the ability to win this fight in any area; just like Machida. There is a reason this fight is the biggest bout on the biggest PPV of the year. Unmissable.

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma