While the blockbuster fights of summer have come and gone, the early fall season offers reprieve to those who wait in earnest for the traditional mega year-end cards, sans PRIDE.
At the top of the list for fall's offerings is UFC 77, which takes place on the banks of the muddy Ohio River at Cincinnati's U.S. Bank Arena on Oct. 20.
Headlining the bill will be the hotly-anticipated rematch between UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and Queen City native Rich Franklin (Pictures).
In their first go-around, the Brazilian dismantled the former high-school teacher en route to a shocking first-round technical knockout that left "Ace" with a horrifyingly disfigured nose that required months of rehab.
Despite fighting in front of his hometown fans and bouncing back from the defeat with quality wins over Jason MacDonald (Pictures) and Yushin Okami (Pictures), Franklin will enter the rematch -- 370 days after the first contest -- a heavy betting underdog.
The card also sees the return of undefeated prospect Brandon Vera (Pictures), who will battle former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia (Pictures).
Vera, whose widely reported managerial dispute left him out of action for nearly a year, is sure to face the toughest test of his career in the 6-foot-8-inch Miletich-trained slugger.
The bout will be the first for Sylvia since dropping a lopsided five-round title fight against Randy Couture (Pictures) in Columbus on March 3.
UFC 77 "Hostile Territory" Fight Card:
Anderson Silva vs. Rich Franklin (Pictures)
Tim Sylvia (Pictures) vs. Brandon Vera (Pictures)
Eric Schafer (Pictures) vs. Stephan Bonnar (Pictures)
Alan Belcher (Pictures) vs. Kalib Starnes (Pictures)
Jason MacDonald (Pictures) vs. Yushin Okami (Pictures)
Jorge Gurgel (Pictures) vs. Alvin Robinson (Pictures)
Josh Burkman (Pictures) vs. Forrest Petz (Pictures)
Matt Grice vs. Jason Black (Pictures)
Mark Cuban set to debut HDNet Fights
Billionaire Mark Cuban is a busy man these days.
Besides justifying the stereotype that white men can't dance on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," the owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks has a new project:
Mixed martial arts.
Debuting Oct. 13 at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Cuban's television network, HDNet, will offer a main event pitting former Shooto light heavyweight champion Erik Paulson against Jeff Ford.
Paulson, 40, has not competed since besting Ronald Jhun (Pictures) at Super Brawl 17 in April 2000. Later that year, the Minnesotan vacated his Shooto crown and retired, where he was successful in training fighters such as King of Pancrase and former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett (Pictures).
Also on the card, Octagon veteran Drew Fickett (Pictures) will take on upstart Anthony Lapsley.
Chris Bowles vs. David Roberts
Jason House (Pictures) vs. Freddie Espiricueta (Pictures)
Pete Spratt (Pictures) vs. TJ Waldburger
Justin Eilers (Pictures) vs. Matt Thompson (Pictures)
Jay McCown vs. Justin Howard
Sunia Filikitonga vs. Joel Traves
Liam McCarty vs. David Morris
Hans Marrero vs. CB Dollaway (Pictures)
Diaz, Monson slated for Brawl for it All
Flying mostly under the radar, No Limits Fighting is promoting a bill that includes names such as Jeff Monson (Pictures), Nick Diaz (Pictures), Charles Bennett (Pictures) and Leland Chapman.
Yes, that Leland Chapman: the co-star on A&E's mullet festival "Dog the Bounty Hunter" and the son of Duane "Dog" Chapman.
The Texas-born, Hawaii-based bail bondsmen will make his MMA debut against fellow newcomer Eric Jacob.
Diaz, fresh off his razor-close decision victory over Mike Aina (Pictures), will confront Mark Moreno (Pictures). Monson, only a month removed from a disappointing TKO loss to Pedro Rizzo (Pictures), will square off with Chris Marez.
Not to be forgotten, former professional boxer and Playboy cover girl Mia St. John will make her cage debut against a yet-to-be-decided opponent.
The pay-per-view televised card takes place Oct. 20 at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, Calif.
Ruben Villareal (Pictures) vs. Brad Imes (Pictures)
Charles Bennett (Pictures) vs. Jake Hattan
Matt Major vs. Marcus Gaines
Gabe Rivas (Pictures) vs. Gabe Ruediger (Pictures)
Bo Cantrell (Pictures) vs. Bryan Pardoe (Pictures)
Damacio Page (Pictures) vs. Javier Vazquez (Pictures)
Aaron Carvalho vs. Andrew Martinez (Pictures)
Zane Frazier vs. Vince Lucero (Pictures)
Shawn Klarcyk (Pictures) vs. TBA
ProElite's ShoXC set for return
EliteXC's ShoXC challenger series will return to subscription-based network Showtime on Oct. 26.
Rumored for the card are participants J.C. Pennington, Aaron Rosa (Pictures), Muhsin Corbbrey (Pictures) and Shayna Baszler (Pictures).
Sonnen to headline SportFight XX
UFC and Pancrase vet Chael Sonnen (Pictures) will headline the 20th edition of Matt Lindland (Pictures) and Randy Couture (Pictures)'s SportFight promotion against Kyacey Uscola (Pictures) on Oct. 27 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore. Sonnen recently rebounded from a disappointing tenure in the UFC with four consecutive victories in BodogFight, including an impressive stoppage of Team Red Devil middleweight Amar Suloev (Pictures) in July.
SportFight XX "Home Coming" Fight Card:
Chael Sonnen (Pictures) vs. Kyacey Uscola (Pictures)
Chris Wilson vs. Derrick Noble (Pictures)
Enoch Wilson (Pictures) vs. Gerald Strebendt (Pictures)
Mike Dolce (Pictures) vs. Michael Pierce
Jon Krohn vs. Cory Devela
Ian Loveland (Pictures) vs. Andy Lukesh
Josh Bennett vs. George Slater
Will Shutt vs. Eddie Dahlen
Dave Jansen vs. Dennis Parks
Andy Eiccholz vs. Travis Bell
Nathan Coy vs. Aron Emerson
Quick ‘Dinyero' Update
Din Thomas (Pictures), who crumbled to the canvas with a knee injury before being submitted by Kenny Florian (Pictures) in the opening frame at UFC Fight Night 11, suffered a torn meniscus and a "stretched" anterior cruciate ligament, Thomas' manager Dean Albrecht informed Sherdog.com.
"When that injury happens it's normal for the bones in the leg to collide and get small fractures and bruises," lamented Albrecht in an e-mail. "He will need to be scoped and then do a few weeks of rehab unless the ACL is worse than they think."
Nakamura, Smith Fail Calif. Drug Tests
With a bevy of MMA action in the state of California comes a deluge of drug test results.
Japan's Kazuhiro Nakamura (Pictures) was the only fighter of the 18 to compete on Sept. 22's UFC card in Anaheim to test positive for a banned substance. The judoka offered a post-fight urinalysis that turned up marijuana. The PRIDE veteran will appeal the $500 fine and three-month suspension.
One week later in at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, Adam Smith (Pictures) failed a drug test when marijuana and cocaine were found in his system. The 28-year-old Canadian was the only fighter of the 24 on the card to fail a drugs-of-abuse test. Smith was fined $500 -- the same amount as his purse for fighting Dewey Cooper (Pictures) -- and suspended until June 25, 2008.