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.