You wouldn’t have to search very hard to find an example of a weak UFC fight card. In fact, next weekend’s UFC 161 fits the bill perfectly. After a couple of injuries the event is now being headlined by Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson. It is a decent main event, but after that the lineup resembles a free TV card, except it’s airing on pay-per-view. This isn’t the first time this has happened, we all remember UFC 151.
So it was a relief when Dana White and company began announcing August’s UFC on FOX Sports 1:1 fight card. Not only will it be free, it is also stacked with exciting matchups. As long as the fighters stay healthy the event could set matchmaking standards for future UFC events.
UFC on FOX Sports 1:1 will be headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (21-7 MMA, 5-5 UFC) and Chael Sonnen (27-13-1 MMA, 6-6 UFC). Rua was supposed to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 161, but an injury forced “Little Nog” to withdraw. Sonnen did offer his services as a late replacement, unfortunately visa issues made him unavailable. Instead of rescheduling the original matchup, the UFC decided to have Sonnen vs. Rua headline the UFC on FOX Sports 1 debut.
The bout should end up being very competitive. It will pit the elite wrestling skills of Sonnen against Shogun’s elite striking. If for some reason the fight is boring, at least we’ll get two months of Chael Sonnen trash talk leading up to it. You’ve got to admit, the guy knows how to sell a fight.
The co-main event will be a heavyweight showdown, with Travis Browne (14-1-1 MMA, 5-1-1 UFC) facing Alistair Overeem (36-12-1NC MMA, 1-1 UFC). Browne is coming off a first round TKO victory over Gabriel Gonzaga, while Overeem was knocked out by Antonio Silva the last time he was in the octagon. Both of these men are excellent strikers, so fans should expect a standup war. Overeem definitely has more experience, but I have to give the speed advantage to Browne. Whoever is victorious will move themselves closer to contender status in the UFC heavyweight division.
Urijah Faber (28-6 MMA, 4-2 UFC) will lend whatever star power he has left to the Fox Sports 1 card, when he takes on dangerous Brazilian Yuri Alcantara (28-4-1NC MMA, 3-1-1NC UFC). Although casual fans won’t be too familiar with Alcantara, he should be a good challenge for Faber. It will be interesting to see how “The California Kid” deals with the size of his opponent, who is a very large bantamweight.
If Matt Brown (17-11 MMA, 10-5 UFC) vs. Thiago Alves (19-9 MMA, 11-6 UFC) does not end up being a bloodbath, I’ll be very disappointed. It should be Brown’s biggest challenge yet and a win over Alves will confirm his status as a legitimate welterweight contender. Meanwhile, if Thiago Alves can bring an end to Matt Brown’s incredible winning streak, it would be a major statement to the rest of the 170lb division.
There are still two fights left on the main card. TUF 17 finalist Uriah Hall (7-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) will make his official UFC debut against Nick Ring (13-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC). The fact that Hall is a human highlight reel is the only reason you need to watch this fight.
Joe Lauzon (22-8 MMA, 9-5 UFC) and Michael Johnson (12-8 MMA, 5-4 UFC) will kick off the main card broadcast with a lightweight matchup. Lauzon could change his nickname to “Mr. Bonus” and no one would complain. Obviously Joe is a bonus machine, but Michael Johnson’s athleticism should keep him in the fight. If Johnson can defeat Joe Lauzon it would be the biggest victory of his career. However, Lauzon is coming off a loss against Jim Mille and he’ll be hungry to get back in the win column.
In addition to the main card the prelims will feature a bantamweight fight between contenders Michael McDonald and Brad Pickett. Former Cage Warriors two division champion Conor McGregor, Mike Brown and Diego Brandao are among the other fighters on the preliminary card.
UFC on FOX Sports 1:1 is stacked from top to bottom. It’s too bad it won’t happen until August. We’ll just have to patiently wait for what could be the summer’s best MMA event. To see the entire fight card click here and keep checking back with Profightingfans.com for further updates.
Profightingfans.com Staff Writer