By Simon Samano
For Fox Deportes
Have you seen “The Avengers”, yet? I have. It was pretty awesome. Didn’t disappoint at all.
Actually, “Avengers” was the first traditional comic-book movie I was pumped to watch since “Spider Man 2” back in 2004. I say “traditional” because Christopher Nolan’s rendition of the Batman franchise is in a category all its own of comic-book movies. But I’ve digressed. …
Anyway, the opening of “The Avengers” last weekend means Hollywood’s blockbuster season is upon us, but it’s not just movies we should be looking forward to this summer.
Between the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, the UFC has a number of big fights that have fans fraught with anticipation, which includes all but the welterweight championship on the line. Here are my top 10 UFC blockbusters:
1. Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen II, July 7
The bad blood here is boiling — at least for Sonnen it is. This middleweight title rematch set for UFC 148 has been nearly two years in the making. Sonnen has been longing for it, and now he’ll finally get his chance to prove his near-victory over Silva at UFC 117 was no fluke. We’d never seen Silva pummeled the way Sonnen dominated him for 20 minutes, until “The Spider” pulled out a miracle triangle armbar submission in the fifth round. No way Silva let’s that happen again, right? Seriously, you don’t want to miss this fight.
2. Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson, Sept. 1
We’ve arrived to a point where fans either love Jones, or they badly want to see somebody figure him out and beat him. “Figuring out” Jones will take experience. That’s where Henderson comes into play. He will be 42 by the time he fights the 24-year-old Jones for the light heavyweight title at UFC 151. Henderson is a legend, not to mention a fan favorite. Can he pull this off? Does he have it in him to figure out how to land a huge right on Jones’ chin? It sure will be fun to watch him try.
3. Benson Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar II, Aug. 11
These two guys already gave us one hell of a fight at UFC 144, and now we get to see them go at it again at UFC 150, where Edgar is the challenger trying to regain his lightweight belt from Henderson. Expect the same type of action, folks.
4. Junior dos Santos vs. Frank Mir, May 26
This isn’t even supposed be Mir’s heavyweight title shot, yet he’s acting like it belonged to him all along. He’s made claims of dos Santos lacking skills beyond boxing and that his original opponent for UFC 146, Cain Velasquez, would’ve been a tougher fight. Let’s see if dos Santos can defend his belt and make Mir eat his words.
5. Jose Aldo vs. Erik Koch, July 21
With this being Koch’s first time on the big stage, this featherweight title fight at UFC 149 could go one of two ways: Koch rises to the challenge to give us a good fight, or we witness a clinic by Aldo. Either will be impressive to watch, although selfishly we’re hoping for the former.
6. Urijah Faber vs. ?, July 7
It’s too bad this won’t be against Dominick Cruz for the bantamweight title, as planned, but we know Faber is still fighting for an interim belt at UFC 148. Will it be against Renan Barao or Michael McDonald? In either case, we’re bound to see an entertaining fight — not to mention a new champion crowned.
7. Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva, May 26
You’d better believe Velasquez will want to bounce back strong against Silva at UFC 146 after failing to defend his heavyweight title last year. Silva, on the other hand, will be looking to make an immediate statement with a signature win in his UFC debut. How’s that for storyline intrigue?
8. Gray Maynard vs. Clay Guida, June 22
Neither of these guys is afraid to throw down, so, yeah, this is a fight you definitely want to watch on free TV (UFC on FX 4).
9. Wanderlei Silva vs. Vitor Belfort II, June 23
It feels like a lifetime ago, but these two legends have fought once before, back in 1998, when Belfort swarmed Silva with a barrage of punches to win in just 44 seconds. When they meet again at UFC 147, expect somebody to get dropped.
10. Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin III, July 7
The score will be settled between these two greats at UFC 148. If for no other reason, this fight is worth watching since it’ll be the final octagon battle of “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’s” Hall of Fame career.