UFC on FOX 2 Recap: Sonnen vs. Silva and Evans vs. Jones Championship Bouts Set
The first UFC on FOX was a huge disappointment, even though it was the most-watched MMA event in the United States.
Although it was a big fight, it was nothing more than a publicity stunt.
A FOX telecast that only includes one fight is not much of an event.
To MMA fans, it was apparent that the point of the first FOX telecast was to gain new viewers. A 64-second knockout was certainly exciting, but all of the hype for merely one fight was a bit much.
UFC on FOX 2 offered three fights to mainstream audiences that had the potential to make the first FOX event a distant memory. Sherdog.net reports that the overnight numbers suggest that the FOX telecast was on par with the first event in terms of viewers.
The second mainstream event set up future fights but fell a bit short overall.
Just ask the crowd at the United Center in Chicago on Saturday night.
The final three fights of the night, the ones that were televised on FOX, all were serenaded by boo's from the 17,425 fans in attendance. At one point or another in each fight, the crowd let the fighters know what they thought of their performances.
Although the fights could have been better, I do think the crowd could have waited in some instances before voicing their opinions. In some of the fights, though, they had reason to be short-tempered.
Demian Maia vs. Chris Weidman
The first fight, Demian Maia vs. Chris Weidman, saw two exhausted fighters woefully flail for three rounds. Weidman, who accepted the fight only 11 days prior, came out victorious by unanimous decision—a decision that I completely agreed with.
He might have fought the hardest of any of the main card fighters in the event. Even though he was not well-prepared and struggled with cutting weight, he fought through it and did enough to beat the heavily-favored Maia.
Michael Bisping vs. Chael Sonnen
The second fight was a three-round, No. 1 contender bout in the middleweight division. This was easily the best fight of the night on FOX.
Chael Sonnen faced Michael Bisping in a fight to decide who would face Anderson Silva for the middleweight title.
The two fighters started the first round slowly. It was a very even first five minutes that could have gone either way.
Bisping looked to win the second round but came up short in the third round. Sonnen looked to be in complete control in the final round. Some speculated that Sonnen might have even won the round 10-8.
When the judges revealed their decisions, a draw was a real possibility because of the final round. Listening to Joe Rogan, the television audience would have assumed Bisping won.
Although it was close, I do not think it was as clear-cut as Rogan called it. The judges disagreed with Rogan, giving Sonnen the title shot with a unanimous win. Bisping went down with a valiant effort and almost pulled off the win as the underdog.
Sonnen provided the most entertaining part of the night when he spoke in the Octagon after the fight.
Joe Rogan, tonight is not for questions for me. This night is your night, brother. I want to know how you feel being only inches away from greatness. I want you to tell everybody how it feels. Are you not mesmerized? Do you not have chills going up your spine? For the first time on FOX, for you to be here in Chael's octagon on Chael's channel holding Chael's microphone interviewing Chael.
Rogan, who probably should have predicted a unconventional interview, replied, "I'm pretty excited." Sonnen responded,
While you're thinking about that, remember this: When you're the greatest fighter in the world today, they got a name for you. They don't call you a great fighter. They call you Chael Sonnen. Beat me if you can.
That is what we have come to expect from Sonnen. Either way, perhaps it gained the attention of first-time viewers, who will come back and watch the heavily anticipated rematch of Sonnen vs. Silva.
Sonnen dominated the first match for 23 minutes before he was caught by Silva and submitted. He was less than two minutes from defeating Silva and claiming the championship.
Phil Davis vs. Rashad Evans
The final fight on the card, Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis, was a one-sided fight for 25 minutes. Evans dominated from the very beginning and won unanimously, scoring 50-45 from all three judges.
Evans did not look to exert himself in the match but turned it up in the fifth round. He admitted he was disappointed that he did not finish Davis. It was clear he wanted to finish the fight in the final round.
Evans will now face his former friend and current foe, Jonny "Bones" Jones, in an attempt to regain the UFC light heavyweight title.
Although the fights at the second UFC on FOX did not live up to their potential, they did put a couple fighters in a position to win titles in the next few months.
Even after the shortcomings of UFC on FOX 2, fans will focus their attention on Sonnen and Silva's rematch, which will be one of the most highly anticipated rematches in UFC history.
The history between Evans and Jones will provide many storylines as well, as they prepare for their championship bout. The greatly anticipated title match will be held at UFC 145 in Atlanta on April 21st.
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