UFC on FOX: Power Ranking the Hype of the First 5 Cards
The UFC on Fox gives us their fifth installment this Saturday as Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz headline a great night of fights from Seattle, Washington.
While there have been some disappointments along the way, most would say that the quality of the Fox cards have been improving on an event-to-event basis.
As momentum continues to pick up this week leading up to the fights, let's take a look at each of the five UFC on Fox cards and how they stack up against each other on paper.
Forget about how the cards actually played out, these rankings are based purely upon how the fight card fans were looking on the day of the fight and how amped they were heading into watching the fights.
These rankings are only taking into account the live main-card fights that were broadcast on Fox and not the prelims shown elsewhere.
Continue on for the rankings.
5. UFC on Fox 1 (Velasquez vs. dos Santos)
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The UFC gave fans a sneak peak as to what to expect from their newly signed contract with the Fox network with a Heavyweight Championship fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos.
The 10-fight event took place in November of 2011 and was considered by most to be a big letdown.
For starters, of the 10 fights, only one was broadcast that night on Fox. Although it was known well before hand that this was the plan for the evening, many people still came away feeling uneasy about what was to come from the UFC on Fox.
The broadcast featured a look into the lives of both Velasquez and dos Santos. Once the fight finally began, it was a 64-second knockout that had many casual fans walking away from their television sets asking themselves, "that was it?".
Historically, the first UFC fight on Fox is significant. However, for the sake of these rankings, there was only one fight broadcast live on Fox, thus it comes in dead last at number five.
- Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos
4. UFC on Fox 4 (Shogun vs. Vera)
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
UFC on Fox 4 took place just four months ago in Los Angeles. What was supposed to be a much anticipated matchup between Brian Stann and Hector Lombard (scrapped due to injury) turned out to be a pretty decent fight featuring Shogun Rua and Brandon Vera.
Once it was announced that Shogun and Vera would be the main event, many people including myself thought it was going to be a cake walk for Shogun. Vera ended up holding his own for four rounds before eventually fading and losing via TKO.
Fans were excited to see Lyoto Machida fight Ryan Bader (Machida won via KO), and overall the Fox portion of the card was better than expected. All four fights failed to go to a decision and most believed it was a good night of fights.
- Shogun Rua vs. Brandon Vera
- Lyoto Machida vs. Ryan Bader
- Joe Lauzon vs. Jamie Varner
- Mike Swick vs. DeMarques Johnson
3. UFC on Fox 2 (Evans vs. Davis)
Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
The first "real" UFC on Fox card came to us earlier this year on January 28 and was headlined by Rashad Evans and Phil Davis.
It wasn't the lackluster main event or the tired performance by Chael Sonnen that brings this event to number three on this list but rather the anticipation fans had for this card.
If you can remember back to about a week before this card took place, the MMA community was buzzing in anticipation for the Sonnen vs. Bisping fight. We all expected fireworks and instead we saw a very below average performance from both fighters.
The best thing that happened from UFC on Fox 2 was the performance by Chris Weidman. This was the fight that really put him on the map as one of the fastest rising stars in the sport.
- Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis
- Chael Sonnen vs. Michael Bisping
- Demian Maia vs. Chris Weidman
2. UFC on Fox 3 (Diaz vs. Miller)
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
UFC on FOX 3 was the turning point for fans. They were finally starting to see the potential of what kind of fight cards they could count on for the years to come.
It was a pay-per-view caliber card that featured two knockouts (Johnson and Belcher) and a submission (Diaz) in addition to a fight that went the distance (Hendricks vs. Koscheck).
The fight card on Fox could not have gone any better for the UFC. Not only did it establish Nate Diaz as a legitimate title contender, it also succeeded in showing that Hendricks is a fighter who does not have to rely on a flash knockout to win a fight.
When one takes into account the fight cards from UFC on Fox 1-4, this was definitely the one fans were looking forward to the most.
- Pat Barry vs. Lavar Johnson
- Rousimar Palhares vs. Alan Belcher
- Josh Koscheck vs. Johny Hendricks
- Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller
1. UFC on Fox 5 (Henderson vs. Diaz)
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
I really hate to proclaim that a fight card is going to be great because I usually jinx the heck out of it, but I don't see how the UFC on Fox 5 card is going to fail.
When it comes to the hype and expectations of a fight card, UFC on Fox 5 ranks No. 1 out of all of the Fox cards we have seen thus far.
This is truly a card people would plunk down their hard earned money for to watch on pay-per-view, and it makes it even more enjoyable knowing we will be watching this fight for free on Fox.
Not only are we treated to a championship fight between Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz, but we will also see the return of B.J. Penn as he takes on a very dangerous Rory MacDonald.
There has been plenty of buzz surrounding Alexander Gustafsson as a legitimate contender for the Light Heavyweight title. If he can put on a clinic against Shogun Rua, he'll be right up there ranked with the best in the division.
I'm hyped, and I know you're hyped for this card. It is by far the most anticipated UFC on Fox card to date.
- Benson Henderson vs. Nate Diaz
- Shogun Rua vs. Alexander Gustafsson
- B.J. Penn vs. Rory MacDonald
- Mike Swick vs. Matt Brown
Joe Chacon is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report and a staff writer for Operation Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JoeChacon.