Five For Fighting: October’s Best Fights

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With the mammoth month of September still foremost in our minds, October starts quickly with two UFC events in one weekend followed by a series of fights from all over the globe in the next 31 days. Here are my best five fights for October, 2014.

5 – Glover Texeira vs. Phil Davis – UFC 169, October 25th

With so few genuine challengers to Jon Jones at light-heavyweight it’s sometimes hard to make a genuine top-level fight between contenders without thinking it’s a waste – but this is the exception with both men coming off of losses. Davis is a high level wrestler who will be looking to bounce back here following a loss to Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and put himself right in the frame to face Jon Jones. Texeira, though, showed some very adequate takedown defence in his fight with Jones and has the experience of taking on a long, rangy wrestler like Davis. The striking battle should also be fascinating with Davis’ technical boxing from range taking on Texeira’s close-in power style. It’s a real styles-make-fights match-up.

4 – Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes – UFC 169, October 25th

Despite facing no highly ranked opponent since last being knocked out by Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes gets another shot at the 145 lbs king with Frankie Edgar, Cub Swanson and Conor McGregor waiting in the wings. The American has made clear improvement to his striking in that time working under Duane “Bang” Ludwig but we don’t know how they will fare against top competition yet. Aldo, undoubtedly, is top competition and will be looking to take Mendes out again here with big-money fights just over the horizon. Expect this one to be fast and furious with no quarter given on either side.

3 – Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Michael “Venom” Page – Bellator 128, October 10th

When Michael “Venon” Page fights you have to tune in. The Englishman is maybe the most flashy and exciting striker ever to grace a mixed martial arts cage. His fight against former UFC welterweight Nah-shon Burrell will be the biggest test of his career to date. Burrell has experience with a similar fighter after taking on Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson so may be somewhat prepared for the chaos. Realistically, it’s the MVP show and the unmissable next step on his climb to stardom.

2 – Gunnar Nelson vs. Rick Story – UFC Fight Night 53, October 4th

There was plenty of disappointment when this match-up was initially announced as it was widely thought that Nelson warranted a higher ranked opponent – and he does. The fact of the situation, though, is that welterweight is one of the most stacked and busy divisions where fighters have to be built up slower because of the strength in the upper realms. Nevertheless, Rick Story is still a good fighter and a proper litmus test of where Nelson is at. The American has a win over current 170 lbs champion Johny Hendricks on his record and isn’t an easy out for anyone. Nelson is a cerebral force both on the feet and, especially, on the ground where nobody in the UFC can live with him. This will be a good fight and a chance for Nelson to put himself in line for a top ranked opponent.

1 – Rory MacDonald vs Tarec Saffiedine – UFC Fight Night 54, October 4th

For me, Rory MacDonald is the next UFC welterweight champion. To do that, he will first have to get through the former Strikeforce 170 lbs champion Tarec Saffiedine. Belgium’s Saffiedine is a dangerous striker who loves to batter the legs of his opponents and has experience of five round fights. MacDonald is a master game-planner and will certainly be ready for everything Saffiedine throws. Sometimes, the Canadian is happy to stay on the outside and jab his way into the fight but against Saffiedine’s leg kicks and elite kickboxing that won’t be easy to do. It’s an intriguing match-up and definitely one not to miss.

Lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Co-host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Tuesday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. 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