From May 28th, the date of UFC 130, to July 2nd, the date of UFC 132, there will be a major MMA event every weekend. I'd argue this summer is not as action-packed and doesn't offer the same quality of high-profile fights as last summer, although much of that can be attributed to injuries to marquee stars. Still, this upcoming run is going to provide key answers as to who title contenders should be and in at least one case, who is the rightful title holder.
• UFC 130, May 28: The show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas was weakened when injuries to both lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and challenger Gray Maynard scrapped the main event from the show. But it still includes two men who garner attention and put up strong pay-per-view numbers. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (31-8) will face Matt Hamill (10-2) in the new main event, and Frank Mir (14-5) will take on Roy "Big Country" Nelson (15-5) in a battle of polar opposite heavyweights.
• "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 13 finale, June 4: The finale of the reality show air on Spike TV from The Pearl at The Palms in Las Vegas. But the key match is not TUF contenders, it's Anthony Pettis (13-1) vs. Clay Guida (28-11) in a lightweight bout. Pettis, the final WEC champion, performed one of the most spectacular moves in the sport's history with a flying kick springing off the wall of the cage onto Ben Henderson to clinch a decision in one of 2010's best matches. He could have sat and waited for his guaranteed UFC title shot, but agreed to face Guida, a wrestler known for stamina and for being involved in some of the best fights in company history. Pettis is guaranteed a title shot with a win.
• UFC 131, June 11: Dos Santos (12-1) will now face Shane Carwin (12-1) in a battle of knockout artists to determine the next challenger for Cain Velasquez's heavyweight title. The title fight is currently targeted for Oct. 8 in Houston. Dos Santos, likely the best boxer among the UFC heavyweight ranks, has the more refined stand-up game, but Carwin has the best one-punch knockout power in the division. Carwin also has the wrestling edge on paper, but he hasn't fought since his July loss to Lesnar and at 36, is coming off major back surgery.
• Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix, June 18: The much talked-about heavyweight tournament continues at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The biggest match of Showtime's broadcast of Round 1 pits Werdum (14-4-1) against Overeem (34-11). This is Werdum's first match since his stunning submission over Fedor Emelianenko a year earlier. Overeem has been unstoppable of late, winning championships in both Dream (Japan's top MMA promotion) and K-1 (the world's top kickboxing promotion) in Japan along with being Strikeforce heavyweight champion.
Carano (7-1), ranked the fifth most influential woman in the world in 2008 by Yahoo! Sports and ranked No. 16 on the 2009 Maxim Hot 100, is rumored to be facing Sarah D'Alelio (4-1). She's been out of action since her Aug. 15, 2009, loss to Cris "Cyborg" Santos in the biggest women's MMA fight in history. During the interim, she debuted as a major motion picture actress, as the lead in a Steven Soderbergh action movie, "Haywire."
• UFC on Versus 4, June 26: The company's debut in the Steel City, at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, is headlined by longtime middleweight contender Nate Marquardt (31-10-2) moving down to welterweight to face Anthony Johnson (9-3). Marquardt is attempting to put himself in contention for a shot at former training partner Georges St. Pierre's title.