UFC on FOX: 10 Reasons to Be Excited for This Event

Matthew HemphillCorrespondent IIJanuary 16, 2012

UFC on FOX: 10 Reasons to Be Excited for This Event

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    UFC is back on network TV for the second time in the history of the company and the first time in 2012.

    Instead of one fight this time fans get three.  Even though none of them is a championship bout they are all co-main event quality fights with marquee names.

    From Rashad Evans to Chael Sonnen the card is stacked with names.  The fights are not only going to be some of the best seen for free since the UFC started, they are also going to tell fans different things about fighters and potential fights that can be made afterward.

    The show may take place only two Saturdays from now, but the anticipation is already boiling for not just the fights, but the implications for MMA in general.

    Starting with...

How Well the Second Fight Card on FOX Does

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    The first fight card on FOX supposedly got around nine million viewers.  Many of those watching were already fans of MMA, but a few people were introduced to the sport as well.  

    How many of those first time viewers tune back in will be interesting to see.  Even more people might turn the fight on and become converts for the sport.  How well the second card does in comparison to the first will tell fans and journalists how well the sport has been received and how much growth still lies ahead.

    The fact is that FOX gives UFC and MMA great exposure, but no one is quite sure what that exposure led to last time.  Whatever number the UFC pulls this time will give a great indication of how fast network TV support will help the sport evolve.

This Is Technically the First Fight Card of the FOX Deal

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    The last card may have been the start to the UFC-FOX relationship, but it wasn't a part of the deal.  The UFC decided to put that card on to introduce FOX viewers, who might otherwise not have watched, to the sport.

    Seeing how this card is marketed and presented by FOX will set a precedent for how others are down the road.  It also sets the tempo for the relationship between the network and the cards that will be put on their air.

    And it starts the countdown from now until seven years later where fans will get to see exactly where the sport will have ended up.

See How the Undercard Fights Are Presented on Fuel TV Along with Post-Fight Show

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    The fights that air on FOX won't be the only ones fans can tune in and watch throughout the day.  Fuel TV will be airing all of the fights on the undercard for fans to see as well.

    While many casual fans and new viewers won't be watching, diehard MMA fans will be watching in scores.  How these fights get presented is just as important as the fights on the main card.

    If FOX is serious about their coverage of MMA then they will show the same treatment to these fights as they do the ones that will be on their main network.

    The post-fight show will also help fans figure out how well FOX can wrap up a broadcast and react to the fights no matter what they get.

Will the UFC Help Increase Fuel TV's Accessibility in American Homes?

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    Fuel TV is not as available as FX or the FOX network.  In fact, it is a premium cable channel on many cable packages.

    With the UFC now gracing its airwaves it might not be long before many people start demanding that their cable companies package the channel with the rest of its basic options.  If the sport is big enough that fans can make Fuel become part of a package deal along with a station like TBS it will show how powerful MMA has become.

    It would also show how influential the UFC has become.

Is Michael Bisping Ready to Move Up the Middleweight Elite?

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    It seems like Bisping is always one step away from title contention when he loses a fight.  

    The first time was against Dan Henderson.

    The second was against Wanderlei Silva.

    At 32 and having been a pro since April 2004 it's now or never for Bisping.  A win over Maia puts him at the top and a loss sends him back down to fighting mid-level fighters again.

    Bisping not only needs to win, but he needs to look impressive if he wants to get his name in the mix at middleweight for a shot at Anderson Silva.

    Silva was able to embarrass Maia in their fight at UFC 112.  If Bisping can't even come close to doing that then even with a win he won't make much headway.

Demian Maia Needs a Win to Stay Relevant

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    Just like Bisping, Demian Maia needs to win his fight on FOX to keep his name in the division.  It was bad enough when Anderson Silva embarrassed him in their fight in Abu Dhabi, but he hasn't looked that hot since before that fight occurred.

    After his quick knockout loss to Nate Marquardt, Maia lost his edge and stopped getting submission of the night and taking out his opponents.  He needs to beat Bisping, but if he can do it by submission then it will help him that much more.

    At 34 Maia is older than Bisping and has even less momentum going into the fight.  If he doesn't win, it could be the end of the road for him. 

Chael Sonnen's Entrance

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    Chael Sonnen tried to get CM Punk to walk out with him for his next fight, but it didn't work out.  Even though that may disappoint wrestling and MMA fans it doesn't mean it'll be Sonnen's last attempt to spice up his walkout.

    The man is a pro wrestler when it comes to promoter through and through.  He will find a way to get fans and the media to talk about his antics before and after the fight to hype a battle with Anderson Silva.

    It may be shameless promotion, but there is nothing wrong with a little spectacle in the fight game.  It adds more entertainment and keeps fans coming back for more.

    Plus if it brings more pro wrestling fans to MMA, which could be great for the sport as well.

If Chael Sonnen Wins He Gets a Rematch with Anderson Silva

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    Sonnen still has to beat Mark Munoz who is very game and just may beat Sonnen.  With Sonnen's weakness to submissions it's completely possible and even probable on some levels.

    If Sonnen does get past Munoz he has a big money rematch against Silva, whom he took to the limit at UFC 117 before getting choked out.

    Many fans despise Sonnen, but it can't be denied that a second fight with the middleweight champion would draw a large number of buys.

    If he does get past Munoz expect to see him in a pay-per-view fighting for the title again.

Is Phil Davis Ready for the Top of the Division?

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    It wasn't long after Davis's career started that he was getting comparisons to Jon Jones.  It was a little unfair to Davis and not even remotely close.

    Davis still needed to improve while Jones was beating consummate veterans.

    Now Davis has taken some much-needed time off after his hectic schedule back in 2010.  Watching what a rested Davis can do will be something fans haven't seen and how he fairs against Evans will also tell fans where his career is headed.

    If he wins it will propel him upward.

    How he wins will depend on how far that upward trajectory goes.

    Of course he could lose and if that happens it just means that Davis has a little bit more growing to do.

If Rashad Evans Beats Phil Davis He Will Get a Shot at Jon Jones

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    Rashad Evans and Jon Jones have some serious bad blood.  The two former training partners have been hostile towards each other ever since Evans got injured right before his title shot and Jones stepped in for him.

    Jones won the title and it split the two apart.

    If Evans can beat Davis it means that he could either go for a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title, which is held by Jones, or should Jones lose it before the two can meet, a grudge match with the younger man.

    Either way, a win over Davis could get him the fight he has wanted for so long and the match that MMA fans have been dreaming about.