Five For Fighting – February’s Best Upcoming Fights

Ronda Rousey

A week ago, the February schedule looked almost as strong as it’s, consensus greatest month in mixed martial arts history, January predecessor. Then, as is so often the case in MMA, the injury bug hit and took out two tremendous main events. Still, we can look forward to what’s left – and it’s not too bad.

5. Raquel Pennington vs. Holly Holm – UFC 184, Feb 28th

For a long time, Holly Holm was pin pointed as the person who might be capable of beating Ronda Rousey. The former pro-boxer was an absolute beast on the regional circuit but has had her career hampered by injury since singing with the UFC. Now, against TUF veteran Pennington, Holm will make her debut on the same card as Rousey and on the same weekend as Cris Cyborg returns to the cage. It should be a fun fight to showcase Holm’s ability as well as giving us an indication of where she is in her development.

4. Brandon Thatch vs. Benson Henderson – UFC Fight Night 60, Feb. 14th

When Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson was injured and forced out of his fight with Brandon Thatch, MMA hipsters everywhere shed a tear. Now, instead of two top prospects meeting, Benson Henderson moves up to welterweight and will give Thatch the biggest test of his career to date. The former UFC lightweight champion always loves a scrap and will have no problem facing up the ultra aggressive Thatch. That should be enough to make this one a frantic, fun fight.

3. Edson Barboza vs. Michael Johnson – UFC Fight Night 61, Feb. 22nd

In the minefield that is the UFC lightweight division, Edson Barboza and Michael Johnson personify the usual pattern of talented fighters on the cusp of the elite. Both love to put on a show, both have gone on ultra impressive winning runs and both have had setback losses. On a card with not much excitement, this is by far the best fight and should save the night. Barboza throws some of the pound-for-pound hardest strikes in MMA (especially with his legs) while Johnson is a guy who always comes to fight and constantly improves.

2. Ronda Rousey vs. Cat Zingano – UFC 184, Feb. 28th

Whenever Ronda Rousey fights it’s must-watch TV. The judo Olympic bronze medallist is still undefeated in her MMA career and will look to extend that in her third main event since she debuted inside the Octagon. Just like Mike Tyson in his day, tuning in to see Rousey is usually done to see how fast she can win. That shouldn’t be any different here despite Zingano being the best opponent she has ever faced.

1. Emmanuel Newton vs. Liam McGeary – Bellator 134, Feb 27th

Since Scott Coker took over the reigns from Bjorn Rebney, Bellator has seen somewhat of an evolution in it’s product and that’s personified by the tremendous “British invasion” card which sees English fighters go up against Americans. The best of those fights is the best in February as gangly Englishman Liam McGeary fights Emmanuel Newton for the light heavyweight title. Newton is an exciting slugger who has a wicked spinning back fist which can change any fight in a second. The unbeaten McGeary brings many problems on the feet and is about as dangerous on the deck as anyone in the division. This really is one not to miss.

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