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Sleeper Hits: September 28-30 (Che Mills vs Duane Ludwig, Gunnar Nelson vs Damarques Johnson)

Duane LudwigWith the news of Showtime’s cancellation of “Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy,” much of this coming weekend’s MMA action has gone largely unnoticed. While the UFC is putting on a quality card this weekend, one can not ignore the fact that they are doing so overseas. Historically, the promotion has done poorly in the states when across the pond, which can largely be blamed on the mere change in time of the card’s airing. Bellator’s seventh season will also make its debut this weekend, but a collection of lackluster tournament rosters make it clear that the promotion is simply stacking for the eventual move to Spike TV in January. All these factors have lead to a collective “meh” from the majority of the MMA viewership.

It should be noted that many potentially great bouts fell by the wayside over this passed week. Strikeforce’s cancellation saw a lightweight scrap between Josh Thomson and Caros Fodor as well as an intriguing women’s bantamweight bout that would have pit Cat Zigano against Amanda Nunes simply disappear. All the while, a promising Bellator featherweight tilt between two highly touted prospects in Alexandre “Popo” Bezerra and Jeff Smith was also shelved due to Smith’s inability to pass the pre-fight medical exam.

Despite these unfortunate circumstances, there is still an abundance of quality match-ups set to take place over this weekend. Here are the bouts some members of the MMAFrenzy staff are most looking forward to.

Chris Leslie:

If there is one fight to look forward to seeing this weekend, it is Che Mills vs. Duane Ludwig. Both fighters are dynamic strikers, who are not at their best on the ground, and are coming off devastating losses, meaning both of their backs are against the wall. If this one gets out of the first round it will be a surprise, expect a lot leather to be flying tomorrow afternoon.

Jesse Denis:

After years of having to go out of their way to follow Gunnar Nelson’s career, MMA fans can rejoice as the Icelandic prospect has finally come to the UFC. Welcoming the Renzo Gracie product to the Octagon will be the stalwart Damarques Johnson. While this bout comes with a tinge of controversy, following the brutal knockout Johnson suffered at the hands of Mike Swick only 51 days ago, there is not a better litmus test in the welterweight division for Gunnar Nelson. The TUF veteran should show the world exactly where Nelson stands in the grand scheme of things.

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