This past weekend was the much anticipated debut of UFC on network television as UFC on FOX debuted with a main event of Cain Velasquez defending his UFC Heavyweight Championship against the number one contender Junior Dos Santos. Also – and inexplicably, the undercard featured a number one contendership fight for the Lightweight Championship between former WEC Champion Ben Henderson and Clay Guida.
HEADLINES COMING OUT OF UFC ON FOX
It’s Dos Santos’ Time
Junior Dos Santos was undefeated in the UFC leading up to his title fight. Cain Velasquez, the UFC Heavyweight Champion, was also undefeated inside the octagon. Many fans wanted this fight a year or two ago, but luckily we got to see it as a title fight instead of an undercard battle on another show. Unfortunately, the fight didn’t last long. Cain has not fought since October of 2010 when he defeated Brock Lesnar. A shoulder injury kept him out for over a year. Dos Santos, instead of waiting for his opportunity, kept fresh by coaching on the Ultimate Fighter and then easily taking a decision against former interim heavyweight champion Shane Carwin earlier in the year. This wasn’t a battle at all, as the first punch that connect unfortunately knocked Cain out. Cain will be back, but for now Junior has the gold. Up Next for Cain: Alistair Overeem if he loses to Brock Lesnar in December. If not – have no clue. Possibly a heavyweight coming over from Strikeforce (Werdum). Up Next for Dos Santos: First, surgery as he fought Cain with a torn MCL. After that, the winner of the upcoming Alistair Overeem/Brock Lesnar fight which has already been billed as a number 1 contendership.
UFC Isn’t Boxing
Going into the special 1 hour broadcast, Dana White made it loud and clear that only one fight, the Velasquez/Dos Santos battle, will be shown on television while all other fights would be on Facebook. Fans were stunned to hear that the Guida/Henderson fight, which was sure to be fireworks, wouldn’t be on television. It made some sense, as this was just a one hour teaser for the seven year deal UFC has with FOX that begins next year. It was only the week of the event, though, as Dana tried to pump it up more that he started harking back to the days of a big boxing fight on network TV. This was THE fight. Well – in the UFC, anything can happen and the worst did. Dos Santos defeated Velasquez in only 61 seconds after a right hand to Cain’s temple and then ground and pounding him to a TKO championship victory. Here was an hour show and only a one minute fight was shown. The UFC was built on the undercard being as exciting as the main event – lets keep it that way Dana.
UFC 144 Japan Gets a Main Event
UFC makes their return to Japan on February 25, 2012 and have announced their main event: Frankie Edgar vs. Ben Henderson for the UFC Lightweight Championship. Ben Henderson fought Clay Guida in easily the fight of the night and one of the most exciting fights all year – winning by decision on all cards. Henderson was the former dominant WEC Lightweight Champion, but lost the belt on the WEC’s last card to Anthony “Showtime” Pettis in a fight Ben may have overlooked. Pettis was supposed to get an immediate UFC Lightweight title shot, but a draw in Edgar/Maynard 2 and subsequent injuries to delay their trilogy fight forced Pettis to take a fight in the middle against Guida in which Guida was able to take him down and control the fight. Instead, Henderson has rolled off three extremely impressive wins, especially against Jim Miller (who was one fight away from a title shot) and most recently against Clay Guida. Ben Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar is going to be an incredible fight.
UPCOMING: UFC 139
The UFC now hosts their third card in just as many weeks this upcoming Saturday as UFC 139 hails from San Jose, California. This is an amazing fight card that any UFC or fight fan would love. This is the perfect example of the whole card being a reason to buy a UFC PPV, not just the main event.
Stephan Bonnar vs. Kyle Kingsbury will be the curtain raiser. We know what to expect from a Bonnar fight – a big brawl with a lot of blood.
Martin Kampmann vs. Rick Story – Martin needs this win badly, losing two straight battles against Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez – both fights in which he thought he won. Story was the “it” story earlier in the year after rattling of 6 straight wins including dominating Thiago Alves. Instead taking a short notice fight against Nate Marquardt, which led to Nate pulling out of the fight, had Story against a pretty much unknown Charlie Brenneman. Brenneman surprised the fighting community by defeating Story but there were a lot of possible excuses coming out of this. Kampmann and Story should be a battle.
Brian Bowles vs. Urijah Faber: This fight’s story is pretty simple. Bowles only has one loss – losing his WEC Bantamweight crown to Dominick Cruz. Urijah just came off a 5 round exciting loss to Dominick Cruz. The early line says the winner of this will earn themselves a UFC Bantamweight title shot.
Cung Le vs. Wanderlei Silva: WOW. This card just keeps getting better! If you haven’t watched a Cung Le fight, you are missing out. Cung Le is just the latest defector from Strikeforce with a kung fu fighting style. Some fans have put him in the same class as Anderson Silva for elusiveness. He hasn’t fought a lot in his career as he was acting in numerous movies with three in post-production right now. Wanderlei Silva is on his last leg after another :27 second flash knockout loss to Chris Leben. If Silva fights his fight and doesn’t go in for a brawl, this could be great. If Cung knocks out Silva, we can say goodbye to his career.
Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio Shogun Rua: Dan Henderson is now the fourth Strikeforce champion to defect to the UFC (Overeem – Heavyweight, Henderson – Light Heavyweight, Shields – Middleweight (new champion was crowned), Diaz – Weltwerweight) and will be challenging former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Shogun Rua. The winner of this fight will become the Number one contender behind Rashad Evans for the Light Heavyweight Championship. Both of these fighters had storied careers in Japan in Pride and in the UFC (Henderson before he left for Strikeforce) yet somehow these two legends have never fought before. Henderson is coming off a knockout victory over Fedor Emelianenko and Shogun a knockout of Forrest Griffin.
UFC 139 is this Saturday, November 19 live from San Jose, California.