Fighters like Georges St-Pierre and Jon "Bones" Jones have emerged as fighters that can carry good numbers on PPV. However, none of the fighters in the UFC seem to be able to fill the void left by the former UFC champion Lesnar.
Of all of the athletes that have a chance to do so, no one is more worthy or marketable than UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. This summer at UFC 147, the organization returns to Rio de Janeiro for a PPV that is expected to break the UFC attendance record.
Anderson Silva is the most dominant fighter in UFC history, period. End of story.
Since he first stepped into the Octagon in June 2006, Silva has steamrolled all of his competition, 14 in all. This is completely unprecedented. Last August, Silva defeated Yushin Okami in Brazil to avenge his only loss of the previous seven years.
As a matter of fact, the only man to give Silva any fits at all was none other than his upcoming opponent Chael Sonnen.
On June 23 Sonnen, and Silva have their rematch. In their first meeting at UFC 117 in August 2010, Sonnen completely dominated four and one half rounds of the fight before getting caught in a triangle choke late in round five.
Sonnen has since embarked on a pro wrestling style campaign of ridiculous claims and outlandish statements. Apparently it worked, because after only two wins he finds himself fighting Anderson "Spider" Silva for the UFC middleweight championship yet again.
The real question, besides the obvious one of who will win the rematch, is how the fight will do on pay-per-view. How many PPV buys can this fight generate?
I know that the fight will be widely watched in Brazil on Globo television and it certainly will do good numbers on PPV due to Anderson and Chael being very popular fighters. But, how well will it do?
I wish I could say it will do 1.7 million PPV buys and break the UFC record because as a fan I would love to see that, but I don't think that will be the result we see.
The fact of the matter is that Anderson Silva, for whatever reason, has not caught on with a lot of fans in the United States. Whether this is due to him being Brazilian or simply the fact that he does not seem to have a desire to learn passable English, the answer may be a complicated one that we cannot easily dissect.
With all this being said, I do feel this fight can and will generate a very respectable number. In all likelihood this fight will fall somewhere between 500,000-750,000 PPV buys, which will not set any records, but will prove to be a huge success for the UFC.
If the fight breaks the UFC attendance record set at UFC 129, the event will not need the huge PPV numbers to be a runaway success.