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Big week of news sets up stretch run for UFC

by Nitesh Dutt, August 16, 2012

Benson Henderson will look to go 3-0 in 2012 and remain UFC lightweight champion heading into the new year.

After somewhat of a lackluster July, many pundits and fans were cautious of what August would bring. Unlike most months, August only had two events and they were on the first two Saturdays of the month. With few bouts going on, a majority of the excitement the UFC built was focused on the rest of 2012 and the future.

Some of the top stories heading into September and the final months of this year were built around title shots and title contenders. Of all the announcements, five stood out.

1) Benson Henderson defeats Frankie Edgar again, slated to defend title against Nate Diaz: After defeating Frankie Edgar for the second time this year and defending the lightweight title, everyone knew Benson’s next opponent would be Nate Diaz. Only issue was, when? That was answered just a few days after UFC 150 . News broke that Henderson would take on Nate Diaz at UFC on FOX 5 on Dec. 8th. It’ll be only the second title fight on a FOX broadcast.

2) Chael Sonnen returns to light-heavyweight to take on Forrest Griffin: Sonnen’s loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 146 set-up a possible return to 205, but there was no clear answer as to who he’ll fight or if it’ll even happen. Rumors were satisfied when the UFC announced Sonnen would be taking on Forrest Griffin in a return to light-heavyweight. It’ll be a shot in the arm for a division that has been dominated and destroyed by Jon Jones in the last two years.

3) Lyoto Machida KOs Ryan Bader, next in line for LHW title shot: UFC on FOX 4 became much more meaningful after UFC President Dana White announced that he’d decide the next #1 contender for the LHW title based on who had the most impressive win. Machida and Shogun Rua both won their fights by TKO, but it was Machida’s second-round KO of Ryan Bader shined brighter. Staying true to his word, White announced that Machida will face the winner of Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson which takes place at UFC 151.

4) MacDonald pulls out of 151, bout vs. Penn moved to FOX: The highly-anticipated bout between welterweights Rory MacDonald and BJ Penn was slated to be the co-main event at UFC 151, but due to a serious laceration above Rory’s right eye the bout was taken off the card. Luckily for fight fans, MacDonald’s injury will only keep him sidelined for a month or two. Therefore, the bout was moved to the Dec. 8th card on FOX and will be the co-main event for Diaz vs. Henderson.

5) Velasquez to take on JDS before end of 2012: After wins at UFC 146 for both fighters it was believed that Velasquez vs. JDS 2 would take place before the end of the year. There were still thoughts that Alistair Overeem would return from suspension and step in for a title shot. Dana White shot down such an idea when he announced that Cain would be next in line and there’d be no revolving door as challenger. Over a year after losing the title to Junior dos Santos, Velasquez will get his chance at revenging his lone career loss and get back his title at UFC 155. The fight will take place in Las Vegas and be the end of the year card that UFC fans have become accustomed too.

The month of August might’ve been low on fights, but it was high on breaking news.

Follow Nitesh Dutt on Twitter @NiteshDutt.

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