UFC on Fox: Assembling the Perfect Card for a Mainstream Audience
The UFC on Fox should not only popularize lesser-known fighters, but it should treat mainstream audiences to entertaining bouts.
It's no secret that the UFC's agenda for putting together fight cards on network television is to gain new fans. The best way to do that is to put together exciting, crowd-pleasing matches, while elevating the status of their lighter weight classes.
Dominick Cruz, Jose Aldo, Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson are some of the best fighters in the world, but because they've been in the UFC for only a year and a half, their popularity doesn't reflect their skill set.
While putting together a perfect fight card and being realistic at the same time, this would be the ideal UFC on Fox.
Rich Attonito vs. Lance Benoist
As far as the prelims go, casual fans most likely won't tune in. But hey, that doesn't mean the hardcore fans should get fights that lack excitement.
Being a realist, the first fight on the prelims will most likely be a fight between two guys in dire need of a win or making their debut.
In this case, both Rich Attonito and Lance Benoist could certainly use a victory. In fact, anything other than getting their hand raised in their next UFC bout could have fatal consequences.
Attonito has lost two of his past three fights in the Octagon, while Benoist has yet to live up to the hype and is currently 1-1 in the company. With both fighters' backs against the wall, it should make for an entertaining scrap.
Also, Attonito has an uncanny ability for making workout videos.
Daron Cruickshank vs. John Cofer
Daron Cruickshank and John Cofer are two of the more exciting fighters to emerge from The Ultimate Fighter Live.
Cruickshank exhibited his versatile striking in the first fight of the season, but when he went to take James Vick down, Vick knocked him out with a knee. Since then, he beat Chris Tickle in the finale by decision, which improves his record to 11-2.
As for Cofer, he's looking to rebound from a vicious head-kick knockout loss to Justin Lawrence in the finale.
With both fighters hailing from Urijah Faber's team, they obviously know each other very well, and that would make for a thrilling chess match on fight night.
Damacio Page vs. Dustin Pague
If Damacio Page and Dustin Pague ever met in the Octagon, it would be a barnburner.
Though his record may suffer for it, Page is motivated by giving the fans their money's worth. Page always has great fights, and the same could be said about Pague.
Technically sound in his striking and fluent on the ground, Page is a well-rounded mixed martial artist that brings it in the cage.
So a clash between a brawler like Page and Pague could be similar to Page's last bout with Brad Pickett. That happened to be one of the best fights of the year.
Kyle Noke vs. Tim Credeur
If you don't like Tim Credeur, you don't like people.
Though Credeur is an easy-going guy outside of competition, he takes his craft very seriously, and with his MMA career nearing the end, you better believe he would go out on his shield.
At 34 years old, Creduer has lost two straight fights in the UFC, and to continue his career in the largest organization in MMA, a win is crucial. This sets up a bout against another desperate fighter, which for the sake of this slideshow is Kyle Noke.
Like Credeur, Noke is coming off of two straight losses. With Noke wanting to keep it on the feet and Credeur willing to stand and trade, Credeur versus Noke would be thoroughly pleasing.
Shane del Rosario vs. Christian Morecraft
Shane del Rosario looked just about as good as you can in a loss at UFC 146.
He didn't look Chael Sonnen good, but so far, he's been the first man to test the highly touted prospect, Stipe Miocic. However, Miocic would eventually stop del Rosario in the second round with some grotesque ground-and-pound.
So del Rosario's next matchup will be against a fighter lower on the totem pole. A perfect dance partner for del Rosario would be Christian Morecraft.
Morecraft is coming off of losses to Matt Mitrione and Pat Barry, but he's never been in a dull encounter inside the Octagon. Considering del Rosario's skills, a fight between these two is likely to deliver.
Max Holloway vs. Dennis Bermudez
The last prelim leading into the main card on Fox should be between Max Holloway and Dennis Bermudez.
Why? Well, they're both young, exciting, talented and coming off impressive victories. So the real question is—why not?
Holloway is the more polished striker between the two, but Bermudez poses a legit threat on the ground with his wrestling. Pablo Garza can tell you first hand, as he was slammed to the ground by Bermudez repeatedly at UFC's last Fox event.
Both fighters are 1-1 in the UFC, and Holloway's first loss came when he failed to stop Dustin Poirier's takedown and was submitted. Going against a powerful featherweight like Bermudez would answer any lingering questions about Holloway's takedown defense.
Roland Delorme vs. Edwin Figueroa
What Roland Delorme and Edwin Figueroa lack in name-value they make up for in their fighting styles.
Seriously, there's zero percent chance this fight isn't a back-and-forth brawl full of momentum switches. Though Clay Guida's recent performance against Gray Maynard has me somewhat reluctant to say that, I'm still willing to go out on a ledge and say zero percent chance this wouldn't deliver.
Figueroa is a gritty fighter that constantly moves forward. His style has produced great fights, including his three-round war with Michael McDonald last year.
And as for Delorme, well, he's virtually the same. Delorme is coming off of a fight of the night-caliber performance against Nick Denis. He was hammered with an onslaught by Denis, but kept pressing forward and eventually submitted Denis with a rear-naked choke in the first round. Though their not household names, a bout between Denis and Delorme would have casual fans on the edge of their seats.
Thiago Silva vs. Glover Teixeira
If Glover Teixeira is to live up to the hype, have him live up to it on national television.
Thiago Silva is well-known light heavyweight and he would prove to be a great test for Teixeira. You don't want to throw your rising prospect into the lion's den immediately, but then again, the UFC tried to match him up with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.
Even worse, UFC president Dana White said Rua turned the fight down and that nobody wants to fight Teixeira (h/t Matt Erickson, MMAjunkie.com). Though that may be true, it's hard to imagine Silva turning down any fight.
This fight should display both fighter's Muay Thai, which is a win in itself for the fans.
Nate Diaz vs. Gray Maynard II
In need of a partner to brawl with Gray Maynard?
The last time Nate Diaz was on Fox, he stopped Jim Miller in the second round with a guillotine choke, and with his popularity at an all-time high, put him on Fox again.
Fans will tune into watch Diaz, and though Diaz wants to wait for the winner of Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson, it could be 2013 before Diaz fights again. Imagine going through the rest of 2012 without watching a Diaz fight. It's borderline unbearable.
So here's the solution. Let Maynard and Diaz settle their score. Diaz thought he won the fight against Maynard in 2009, and with Maynard becoming more willing to brawl these days, a sequel would certainly top the original.
Flyweight Championship: Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson
Casual fans can immediately be drawn into a championship bout, and once the UFC has their curiosity, the action will garner their attention.
The Fox deal is all about making new fans and elevating the status of the fighters and the sport, so why not do all three in one night?
Benavidez and Johnson would do just that. It's a free championship bout, and after both fighters display their skills to a national audience, that will not only create new fans for the first UFC flyweight champion, but it would create more UFC fans in general.
After having the flyweight tournament on FX, it makes perfect sense to put the final bout on Fox.