Jose Aldo (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)The List: The 10 Can’t Miss Fights of October RJ Gardner October 1, 2014 News MMA for the month of September is officially over and what a month has it been; new champions were crowned, former champions burst back onto the scene and some old dogs showed they still have some fight left. All in all, it was a great month for the sport. Looking ahead now to October and the first thing that jumps out at you is that it is not nearly as busy of a month; which is great for fight fans because too often in September there were multiple events on the same night, forcing fans to pick and choose what to watch live. While October doesn’t have nearly as many events scheduled there are some great fights on the schedule. 10. Gabriel Checco vs. Jake Collier, RFA 19 The Resurrection Fighting Alliance has become the premier feeder league for the UFC; they consistently find and develop elite talent. Fighters who win an RFA title usually find themselves in the UFC very soon after that. Gabriel Checco and Jake Collier are two of the best middleweight prospects in the sport today and whoever wins the vacant RFA middleweight title will be staking their claim to future stardom. 9. Jake Shields vs. Ryan Ford, WSOF 14 Even though the UFC decided to part ways with him, Jake Shields is one the best welterweight fighters in the world and he will be looking to prove that in his WSOF debut against Ryan Ford. This is a huge step up in competition for Ford, who is the reigning WSOF Canadian welterweight champion, but he has the talent and the power to win this bout. 8. Rick Hawn vs. Dave Jansen, Bellator 130 Dave Jansen has been sidelined with an injury for nearly 18 months and the Bellator season seven lightweight tournament winner will finally be making his return. Jansen is getting a tough draw in his comeback bout as he is scheduled to face Olympic Judoka Rick Hawn. Hawn has won Bellator tournaments in two weight classes but has come up short in his two title bids. Jansen and Hawn are both getting long in the tooth, but with Bellator’s move to traditional matchmaking, a win here puts them in great position to compete for a title. 7. Daniel Straus vs. Justin Wilcox, Bellator 127 Bellator MMA’s featherweight division is one of the best collections of talent in the world, and former featherweight champion Daniel Straus is one of their prized fighters. He, Pat Curran and Patricio Freire make up a lethal trio that will keep Bellator interesting for years to come. Straus will be looking to rebound from losing his title to Curran, but Justin Wilcox is no can. Wilcox doesn’t have the greatest record, but he has competed against some of the best in the sport and he is a tough test for anyone. 6. Raphael Assuncao vs. Bryan Caraway, UFC Fight Night 54 The UFC bantamweight division is quickly becoming the most interesting division in MMA. T.J. Dillashaw scored a huge upset to win the title, Dominick Cruz is finally back in the mix and there are a host of worthy contenders fighting to gain ground. Raphael Assuncao and Bryan Caraway are two fighters looking to jump to the head of the line. 5. Phil Davis vs. Glover Teixeira, UFC 179 The UFC light heavyweight division has long been the sport’s premier division and that isn’t changing anytime soon. There is a wealth of top talent jockeying for position and losing two in a row is not an option if a fighter wants to stay in the title picture. Phil Davis and Glover Teixeira are both coming off of losses in their last outing and they are in desperate need of victory. 4. Eduardo Dantas vs. Joe Warren, Bellator 128 At Bellator 128, the Bellator bantamweight title will be unified as champion Eduardo Dantas takes on interim champion Joe Warren. Bellator needs this bout right now because there are major questions about the validity of their bantamweight title. Shortly after winning the belt, Dantas lost via first round knockout in his home country. Then you have the interim belt that was only up for grabs if Warren won because his opponent for the bout missed weight. It’s been a strange ride but Bellator is ready to move past the nonsense and get down to business. 3. Gunnar Nelson vs. Rick Story, UFC Fight Night 53 Rick Story is a tough fighter to figure out; at times, he looks like a legitimate world beater and then there are other times he looks lost in the cage. If he wants to make a run anytime soon he is going to need to bring his “A” game because Gunnar Nelson is the real deal. Nelson is one of the most gifted grapplers in the sport today and he is only scratching the surface of how good he can be. 2. Rory MacDonald vs. Tarec Saffiedine, UFC Fight Night 54 Rory MacDonald is one of the best fighters in the world and at just 25 he is only going to get better. But with that said, he keeps finding himself on the outside looking in on the UFC welterweight title picture. MacDonald has all of the tools, but he lacks the charisma and style to take that next step; he needs a big win heading into this bout. Tarec Saffiedine, on the other hand, has the flash and the star power, but his game still needs some fine tuning. Saffiedine has won on the big stage, though, as he was the last Strikeforce welterweight champion, but he hasn’t faced the level of completion MacDonald has seen. 1. Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes, UFC 179 The fight every fight fan should have circled on their calendar this October is the UFC featherweight title rematch between Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes. Aldo has proven time and time again that he is one of the best pound for pound fighters in the sport and that he is without question the greatest featherweight fighter of all-time. But even though he was defeated by Aldo in their first bout, Mendes has all of the tools to dethrone the featherweight king. Since that loss at UFC 142, Mendes has destroyed the competition and he wants that title more than anything. Stay tuned in at The MMA Corner for the latest news and updates.