One of the most anticipated rematches in UFC history headlines this Saturday in Vegas. There can’t be too many MMA fans who don’t know the back story to this one and there is no mileage in rehashing the history of the Silva vs Sonnen feud for you all over again. Suffice to say that there is definitely no love lost between the two protagonists in this story. Also, I don’t recall any Anderson Silva fight in the UFC since he became champion, where so many people are predicting he will lose. Whatever happens, this is a fight that will be discussed long after the contest has ended and one of the two has the belt strapped round his waist.
With their second event in as many days, the UFC are taking the unusual step of putting out what is essentially a TUF finale as a pay per view event. After the loss of the Silva vs Sonnen rematch in Brazil, this event was being sold on the back of the coaches fight between Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort. However the UFC’s injury curse struck once more and Belfort broke his hand. Ever the company man, Rich Franklin has stepped into the breach once more for his second outing in the Octagon with the Axe Murderer in a catchweight match.
After the epic-ness of the previous UFC PPV in Brazil, a few fans are feeling a little put out that they are having to pay for a TUF finale that contains a lot of fighters they never heard of. For sure this will sell well in Brazil, but everywhere else the UFC top-brass will be bracing themselves for this to be one of the worst selling PPV’s in the companys recent history. The Silva vs Franklin fight, whilst sure to be entertaining, has nowhere near the impact the grudge match with Belfort had and has little divisional relevance. The Werdum vs Russow match could have relevance in the Heavyweight title picture but only in so far as it is likely to move the winner one more fight closer to a #1 contender spot. With Velasquez and JDS dominating the heavyweight landscape, and talk of Overeerm making a (clean?) return to the division, the winner will still have a lot to do to get in the title mix.
The fourth installment of UFC on FX promises to be a high-paced, frenetic affair with every fight booked, bar one taking place at 170lbs or below. The main card will culminate in two excellent lightweight clashes. The first completes an intriguing trilogy between Sam Stout and Spencer Fisher. The score currently stands at 1-1 and both encounters have been edge-of-your-seat fights. Whilst not being especially relevant for the title picture in the 155lbs divison, if this rubber match delivers half the excitement of the previous two it will provide an outstanding co-main event.
A reinforced Octagon should be the order of the day at UFC 146 this weekend as the heavyweights are out in force! Every main card fight takes place at the 260lb limit on Saturday night, giving the opportunity for the big guys to show what they can do. The card has been moved about a lot: Most notably for the high-profile (and not exactly un-expected) disappointment of Overeem failing a drugs test due to excessive testosterone and the injuries to Mark Hunt and Gabriel Gonzaga.
After so many jump-out-of-your-seat-amazing fights taking place at the lighter weights on a regular basis, it’s easy to see why so many people get a bit disillusioned with the fights at the top end of the weight classes: They often pale in comparison. Instant classics are much rarer for the heavy guys. Cardio and beautiful technique are more often than not replaced with huffing and puffing and haymaker swinging so to a fill a high profile card with all Heavyweight cards is a bit of a gamble. But the UFC know what they are doing, there is something special that happens when the behemoths collide. Something that draws you in as a fan and the reason why the heavier classes tend to be the marquee divisions in most if not all fight organisations.
First up an apology: I didn’t get round to writing a predictions post for UFC on Fox last weekend. I did post my picks up on Twitter and to be honest, you didn’t miss much in my picks as they were WAY off. I still haven’t had a chance to catch up on the event, but I am particularly looking forward to watching the Diaz fight.
So anyway, another week, another UFC event. On paper this looks like an event that all but the hardcore fans will swerve, but as usual with cards like this, you can guarantee there will be a fight EVERYONE is talking about after the event and you’ll wish you watched it!