Fight time, boys and girls. The preliminary card is finished and it finished with one of the nastiest cuts ever. Main card starts at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT and features Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis, Chael Sonnen vs. Michael Bisping, and Demian Maia vs. Chris Weidman. No prelim fights will be retro-actively live-blogged, so I’ll just spoil the results when you join me after the jump:
You saw the test run for UFC on FOX, and it only lasted 61 seconds, but it was totally awesome to see a heavyweight title fight on free TV, wasn’t it? Well this time where is no Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos show, in fact there will be three fights on FOX this Saturday night and all are highly relevant bouts. This weekend there will be a live-blog of all of those fights.
Here’s the full card:
Main Card (FOX)
Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis (205 lbs, 5 round main event)
Chael Sonnen vs. Michael Bisping (185 lbs)
Demian Maia vs. Chris Weidman (185 lbs)
Preliminary Card (FUEL TV and Facebook)
Evan Dunham vs. Nik Lentz (155 lbs)
Jon Olav Einemo vs. Mike Russow (265 lbs)
Shane Roller vs. Michael Johnson (155 lbs)
Cub Swanson vs. George Roop (145 lbs)
Joey Beltran vs. Levar Johnson (265 lbs)
Charles Oliveira vs. Eric Wisely (145 lbs)
Chris Camozzi vs. Dustin Jacoby (185 lbs, Facebook stream)
What’s at stake on the FOX broadcast you ask? Well Evans vs. Davis will essentially determine the #1 contender for current UFC LHW Champion Jon Jones, Evans in particular has been guaranteed a title shot should he win and avoid serious injury. Phil Davis is trying to have a Jon Jones-esque rise to the top, having just entered the UFC in 2010 and beaten high-quality opposition like Brian Stann and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. It’s a non-title fight scheduled for five and it should be a good battle between two quality wrestlers.
Chael Sonnen was originally scheduled to fight Mark Munoz before Munoz pulled out due to injury. In steps Michael Bisping, originally scheduled for Demian Maia on this card, and these two middleweight trash-talkers are now fighting for a shot at Anderson Silva’s middleweight belt. Sonnen fought Silva in August 2010 and as every MMA fan knows, Chael took steroids, dominated the fight, and still got choked out with 2 mins left in the final round. Bisping hasn’t beaten a single top 10 middleweight so this is his chance to get past his stumbles against Dan Henderson (well…hardly a stumble, more a deep sleep) and Wanderlei Silva, and get his chance to be viciously knocked out by Anderson Silva. Sonnen is a relentless wrestler but Bisping is the better boxer and isn’t a slouch on the ground. I expect Sonnen to dominate this fight but we could be in a for a surprise.
Chris Weidman is stepping in on short notice to take on former title challenger Demian Maia. Weidman joined the UFC as a late replacement for Rafael Natal in March 2011 against Alessio Sakara, and the Hofstra All-American wrestling standout scored a convincing unanimous decision win. Since then he’s recorded dominant choke finishes against Jesse Bongfeldt and Tom Lawlor. A win against Maia could vault him into the top 10 of the middleweight division in phenomenally short time. But Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Maia is one of the best submission artists in the sport. He hasn’t shown it lately, with his last submission win coming against Chael Sonnen in 2009. He has spent his recent bouts improving his stand-up skills, particularly after Nate Marquardt sent him flying inside 20 seconds. Maia has everything to lose and little to gain here, whereas Weidman could announce himself on a nationally televised stage.
It’s going to be a great card filled with title implications this Saturday, so be here at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT for the main card broadcasts.
I know it’s annoying that WordPress won’t allow iFrame, so it’s workaround time! Join me and a host of others as we cover the first day of the 2012 NFL Playoffs. The event starts at around 4 PM ET/1 PM PT so check back in at around that time.
For the first time since August I can avoid yelling at the TV — more specifically Darrell Bevell and Tarvaris Jackson — and enjoy some high-quality playoff football. It’s the football fan’s best time of the year as the NFL crowns it champion over the next four weeks in some silly “tournament style” competition, when they really should just rank the playoff teams 1-12 and match-up Green Bay and New Orleans in the Super Bowl right now.
Last year I had the pleasure of witnessing one of the greatest sports upsets in my lifetime, and a game for the ages when the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks knocked off the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. This year it’s all about Cincinnati, Houston, and Detroit breaking their troubles. The winner of the Bengals/Texans will be the first time the city of Cincy or Houston has won a playoff game in two decades…obviously the Oilers were in Houston in the 1990s and not the Texans. Detroit has made it to postseason football for the first time in this millennium. They’ll probably get whacked by the New Orleans Saints but just being there is already an accomplishment in itself.
Tomorrow you can count on me to live-blog the day’s events and hopefully we get another crazy and unpredictable ride towards the Super Bowl. It all starts on Wild Card Saturday, so check back here at about 4 PM ET/1 PM PT for the live blog of Bengals @ Texans and Lions @ Saints.
Give me a Seahawks win and a Lions loss. I’ve been really good this year and would love to have Seattle in the playoff hunt in week 17.
ALTERNATIVELY: If that is not feasible, please let Buffalo upset Denver today.
Game: Philadelphia Eagles (4-7) @ Seattle Seahawks (4-7)
Channel: NFL Network
Announcers: Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock
Kickoff: 5:35 PM PT
Weather: Cloudy, 35 degrees F. No threat of rain.
Line: Eagles (-3)
My Pick: Eagles 42 Seahawks 14
This game is going to upset me. I just know it. On the plus side, since these Coveritlive live-blogs started back in 2009, the Seahawks are undefeated at home against the favorite teams of regular site commenters kt1000 (Ravens), 49er16 (49ers), Rick James Bible Owner (Lions), and longley12 (Chargers). Next up: Philadelphia Eagles.
The live-blog is in the link below, but in the meantime why don’t we all remember a great time in Seahawks/Eagles history?