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10 UFC Fights To Watch in May

By Ryan Frederick, WrestlingObserver.com

With the big fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao now being a thing of the past, it is time to turn the combat sports attention to a busy month of UFC action in May. The UFC will have events for the next four Saturdays starting with a trip to Australia this weekend, then stops in the Philippines and Las Vegas before ending the month with a final stop in Brazil. As of this writing, there are 47 bouts scheduled to take place inside the Octagon, and a lot of them have major implications riding on them, including two title fights. We widdled our way through all of those fights to come up with ten fights to watch this month inside the Octagon.

Honorable Mentions:
Hyun Gyu Lim vs. Neil Magny-UFC Fight Night 66-May 16
Travis Browne vs. Andrei Arlovski-UFC 187-May 23 Joseph Benavidez vs. John Moraga-UFC 187-May 23
Nik Lentz vs. Charles Oliveira-UFC Fight Night 67-May 30 Jussier Formiga vs. Wilson Reis-UFC Fight Night 67-May 30

10. Mark Munoz vs. Luke Barnatt-UFC Fight Night 66-May 16

This fight doesn't have the implications on title pictures that other fights on this list will have, and it doesn't have the same significance either. It is significant for one reason, though, and that is the reason it anchors this list. It will be the last fight in the career of Mark Munoz as he will retire following this bout, regardless of whether he wins or loses. It will be the 15th time he steps inside the Octagon, and he would like to exit on a high note after dropping four of his last five bouts. Munoz has sold his gym and will focus on spending time with his family and being a coach. He gets Luke Barnatt for his last bout, a fighter who is occasionally coached by Chael Sonnen, who Munoz was once slated to face. Barnatt wants to get back into the win column after losing two straight fights following an 8-0 start to his career, and he wants to be the answer to an eventual trivia question in closing out the career of Munoz.

9. Jake Matthews vs. James Vick-UFC Fight Night 65-May 9

Jake Matthews and James Vick are two rising lightweights with undefeated records as they head into their bout at UFC Fight Night 65 on May 9. Matthews is one of the UFC's youngest fighters at 20-years-old, and he has the makings of being a superstar in his native Australia. He is progressing nicely with submission wins over Dashon Johnson and Vagner Rocha in his UFC appearances. Vick battled injuries following his stint on The Ultimate Fighter and also after his UFC debut win over Ramsey Nijem, limiting him to just three fights in the last three-and-a-half years. He is coming off back-to-back decision wins over Valmir Lazaro and Nick Hein, and he showed some solid progression as well. However, despite being eight years older than Matthews, he actually has less fight experience than Matthews. Both men want to remain undefeated, but someone will be suffering their first loss when they step inside the Octagon.

8. Gegard Mousasi vs. Costas Phillipou-UFC Fight Night 66-May 16

Gegard Mousasi and Costas Phillipou will meet in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 66 on May 16 in the Philippines. Mousasi has never won back-to-back fights inside the Octagon, and he will be looking to do that after scoring a win in his last bout, a first-round stoppage of Dan Henderson in January. It was a nice bounce back win for Mousasi after he was submitted by Ronaldo Souza, and if he is to make a run at title contention, he will need to start racking up the wins in a tough middleweight division. Phillipou will also be looking for his second straight win, but by the time he steps inside the Octagon, it will have been over a year since he last competed. He is coming off an impressive first-round knockout win over Lorenz Larkin in May 2014. He lost two straight fights after winning five-in-a-row, and he needs to score another impressive win if he is ever going to get into the title picture.

7. Donald Cerrone vs. John Makdessi-UFC 187-May 23

Donald Cerrone was originally supposed to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov in this bout, and it would have determined the next challenger to Rafael Dos Anjos and the UFC Lightweight Championship. However, Nurmagomedov was forced out due to an injury, and the door has opened for Cerrone to cement his status as the top contender and gain a title shot with another win. Cerrone has won seven straight fights since losing a decision to Dos Anjos when both were contenders, and an eighth straight win should guarantee a title shot. John Makdessi stepped in to fight Cerrone, and it has the makings of fireworks on the feet. However, Makdessi hasn't fought the competition to caliber of Cerrone, and while he is coming off an impressive knockout win, it was just over a week ago at UFC 186, and fighters with quick turnarounds like that tend to not perform at prior levels. This has a win for Cerrone written all over it.

6. John Dodson vs. Zach Makovsky-UFC 187-May 23

This will be John Dodson's return to the Octagon after nearly a year out of action due to a torn ACL, and a title shot hangs in the balance. Dodson has shown that he probably has the best chance to defeat Demetrious Johnson at 125 pounds, as he went the distance with him once before and even won some rounds. Zach Makovsky is also looking to put his name in the mix for a title shot, and a solid win over Dodson could get him some consideration despite a recent loss. It is hard to determine how fighters will come back from serious knee injuries, especially a fighter like Dodson who relies on quick movement, sound footwork and speed. This is the most important flyweight bout in a month with some pretty big fights at 125 pounds.

5. Stipe Miocic vs. Mark Hunt-UFC Fight Night 65-May 9

Stipe Miocic and Mark Hunt will headline the UFC's first trip to Adelaide on May 9 on UFC Fight Pass. Both men are looking to get back into the win column after suffering losses in their previous bouts. Miocic is coming off a decision loss to Junior Dos Santos in December in a great heavyweight fight, ending his three-fight win streak and holding him back from securing an opportunity to fight for the championship. The championship fight is something that Hunt is coming from, albeit for an interim title. Hunt is coming off a knockout loss to Fabricio Werdum at UFC 180 in November in a bout for the Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship. Hunt did take that fight on short notice, but if he is unable to get past Miocic, the storybook return of Hunt to contention will likely finally see that chapter closed. This has the makings of a firework battle back-and-forth on the feet.

4. Carlos Condit vs. Thiago Alves-UFC Fight Night 67-May 30

Carlos Condit and Thiago Alves will meet in a five-round bout in Brazil on May 30, and it is a fight that has been talked about for years and is finally happening. Condit is coming off a major knee injury suffered in a fight with Tyron Woodley at UFC 171 in March 2014. Alves has had his fair share of injuries over the years, but he finally seems healthy and is coming off a big knockout win over Jordan Mein. Condit was close to securing another title shot before the injury and loss to Woodley, and Alves is wanting to get back into the title hunt and earn another title shot now that Georges St. Pierre is no longer the king of the welterweight division. Either man winning will get themselves back in the hunt at 170 pounds, and it is not a bad way to finish out an explosive month of May.

3. Frankie Edgar vs. Urijah Faber-UFC Fight Night 66-May 16

Frankie Edgar and Urijah Faber will be headlining the UFC's first trip to the Philippines in what has been billed as a superfight. It is a pretty big fight between the former long-time UFC Lightweight Champion, Edgar, and the former long-time WEC Featherweight Champion, Faber. Faber is moving back up to 145 pounds for this bout against Edgar, and it could include some title implications, whether that be at 145 pounds or even at 135 pounds. Edgar and Faber have long been two of the best lighter weight fighters in the world, but they do seem stuck in similar positions in their respective weight classes. With Edgar waiting for a title fight at 145 pounds, and Faber unsure if he will get another chance at 135 pounds, both seem in the same position, and with Faber's last fight being cancelled due to injuries, it opened the door for them to be positioned against each other. This fight has the makings of some solid action, and is actually one of the best pieces of match-making in recent memory.

2. Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort-UFC 187-May 23

It appears this fight will actually finally happen (unless something bad happens in the next few weeks) after several false starts. They were originally supposed to meet a year ago before drug test issues forced Belfort from fighting Weidman. Weidman went on to successfully defend the UFC Middleweight Championship against Lyoto Machida in July. They were then scheduled to fight in December, and then in February before injuries forced Weidman from both bouts. Now fully healed, Weidman is looking to defend the 185-pound title for the third time. Belfort will be coming into the Octagon on May 23 after having not fought since November 2013, but he has won three straight fights. However, it will also be Belfort's first fight since getting off of treatment for testosterone replacement therapy, so that will be a big issue to watch for. Weidman and Belfort have been itching to fight each other for close to two years, and they will finally face off in a big fight on Memorial Day Weekend.

1. Anthony Johnson vs. Daniel Cormier-UFC 187-May 23

This is perhaps the most interesting bout on this list, and it makes it to the top of the list for one sole reason- it will determine a new champion in the UFC's light heavyweight division. The title is up for grabs after former champion Jon Jones was stripped of the belt following several issues outside of the Octagon. It will be decided between the man Jones was supposed to defend against, Anthony Johnson, and the man Jones last defeated, Daniel Cormier. Both men are explosive 205-pounders with knockout power and tremendous wrestling. It is a different fight than what both men were planning for, and it has all the makings of being an excellent fight. The fact that the winner will be a guaranteed new champion in the UFC will ramp up the excitement level quite some more, and both men have nothing to lose and everything to gain. A new kingpin in the light heavyweight division will be crowned, and it tops our list of ten fights to watch in May.