May is shaping up to be a busy month for fight fans.
The month will feature thirteen major MMA events spread across six organisations including — three UFC cards, two Bellator, three from ONE Championship and two events from both FNG and ACB. Although May lacks a single standout event, the sheer volume of fights is going to make for an enjoyable month.
Five – Kyoji Horiguchi Vs Ian McCall
This weekend, in the Main Event of Rizin 9 (their 2018 Debut), the best Flyweight in the world, not named Demetrious Johnson, Kyoji Horiguchi will take on fellow top Flyweight Ian McCall. The bout will be contested at a catchweight of what is essentially Bantamweight (134 Pounds). Although it would be a miss step to underestimate Ian McCall, this fight could very well end up being a showcase for the brilliance of Horiguchi. Regardless of the outcome this fight is by far the best Flyweight or Bantamweight bout to be made outside of the UFC right now and I can not wait.
Four – Ryan Bader Vs Muhammed Lawal
Fedor’s emphatic return to form against Frank Mir last weekend, has increased the excitement around the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix two-fold. This newly minted interest in the tournament will greatly enhance the upcoming bout between Bellator Light-Heavyweight Champion and tournament favourite Ryan Bader and Bellator mainstay King Mo. As the final bout of the opening round of the tournament, this matchup is going to be as impactful as it is sensational. Due to the intriguing stylistic clash between two of the best wrestlers in the sport, it is quite possible that this matchup could produce the best fight of the tournament and even the Month.
Three – Kelvin Gastelum Vs Jacare Souza
UFC 224 is, unfortunately, one of the most underwhelming/undeserving PPV cards the UFC has put forward in some time. The card features very little in the way of premium quality fights — with only two bouts on the main card (in my opinion) warranting any sort of payment for the card. The best fight on this card and potentially of the month is the Middleweight class between Kelvin Gastelum and Jacare Souza. With no clear opponent lined-up for the winner of Robert Whittaker Vs Yoel Romero 2, this matchup could prove to be a crowning moment for the next title challenger. If either Jacare or Gastelum is able to finish this fight in impressive fashion, it would be reasonable to assume that they would be first in line for the title.
Two – Gegard Mousasi Vs Rafael Carvalho
On the last weekend of May at Bellator 200, the second best Middleweight in the world and one of the most underrated fighters of all time, Gegard Mousasi will challenge Rafael Carvalho for the Bellator Middleweight Championship. For me personally, Gegard Mousasi is deserving of his placement on this list regardless of who he faces. That being said, this fight is not going to be just another fight for Mousasi. He will be facing off with a fighter in Rafael Carvalho who is severely underrated in his own right and could quite possibly give him one of his toughest fights to date. It is uncanny just how many parallels can be drawn between this fight and the Rory MacDonald Vs Douglas Lima bout that took place earlier this year. Although no two fights are the same it is very plausible that we could see a very similar dynamic play-out in this fight.
One – Stephen Thompson Vs Darren Till
From the stylistic matchup to the timing and location, everything about this fight is perfect. Darren Till is one of the most exciting young fighters to ever emerge in the UFC Welterweight division. The intense level of hype he has garnered with one performance (his KO of Cowboy), has seldom been seen in the UFC. The decision by the UFC to capitalise on this interest by placing Till in the main event of the first-ever UFC Liverpool event is a stroke of pure genius. Many parallels can be drawn between Conor McGregor‘s first headlining bout in Dublin — in a similar vein, this entire event is going to be historic, not just for Darren Till but for UK MMA in general. Darren Till is not only headlining his first UFC card in front of a sold-out crowd in his hometown. He is fighting one of the most talented strikers in the history of the sport and the second best fighter in the division: Stephen Thompson. This is going to be the biggest fight of Darren Till‘s career and by far the most challenging. This fight is going to be madness and I Can Not Wait.