UFC on FUEL TV 8 continues to get better and better. An already stacked and exciting return to Japan received another boost when Yushin Okami and Hector Lombard were added in a middleweight bout with major divisional significance.
The main event of the evening is another middleweight clash.
Wanderlei Silva returns to the nation where he had the most success. Silva's return to Japan will try to be spoiled by "All-American" Brian Stann.
But is this the best FUEL TV offering to date? On paper, yes.
As fans we have been fooled before. UFC President Dana White has been fooled before. Sometimes no matter how fantastic a card may look on paper the fights just do not deliver, and other times the cards that look like utter garbage to us are the ones that thrill from start to finish.
Previous FUEL TV cards have given us remarkable fights, but not really a card full of action from top to bottom.
The first offering was solid, and it was capped off with a fantastic fight between Jake Ellenberger and Diego Sanchez. Heavyweight's Stefan Struve and Stipe Miocic stepped up to offer a couple finishes on the main card, and so did bantamweight Ivan Menjivar as well.
The second FUEL TV show may be the current leader for best on the network, and may be tough to top.
Alexander Gustafsson and Thiago Silva was the main event that evening, but it was not the fight that helped make that card so great. That distinction falls to the undercard guys. Brian Stann knocked out Alessio Sakara, Siyar Bahadurzada flattened Paulo Thiago, Dennis Siver and Diego Nunes went for three rounds, DaMarques Johnson tapped out to a John Maguire armbar and Brad Pickett finished Damacio Page.
The prelims were nothing to scoff at either. James Head, Cyrille Diabate, Francis Carmont, Reza Madadi, and Simeon Thoresen all finished their fights. The only prelim not to finish was a featherweight scrap between Jason Young and Eric Wisely.
Top to bottom that card delivered. The UFC's return to Japan has the opportunity to do the same, but with greater impact that comes with bigger names and more significant fights.
This FUEL TV card is littered with talent who rarely, if ever, fail us.
Who else is on this card besides the two previously mentioned middleweight bouts?
Heavyweight finishers Mark Hunt and Stefan Struve will clash in the co-main event of the evening. Hunt can keep a winning streak alive and try to rally his fans with another KO performance, but he is vulnerable to submissions, which is a problem against the savvy Struve.
Diego Sanchez may be the all-time most exciting fighter in UFC history. Look at his record and look at all the remarkable battles. At UFC on FUEL he will meet another exciting lightweight in "The Fireball Kid" Takanori Gomi. The lightweight tilt has fight of the night written all over it.
Need more? Siyar Bahadurzada takes on Dong Hyun Kim, Mizuto Hirota meets Rani Yahya, and Takeya Mizugaki returns against Bryan Caraway.
There are still three more fights that will be given to us on that early March card: Riki Fukuda vs. Brad Tavares, Cristiano Marcello vs. Kazuki Tokudome, and Marcelo Guimaraes vs. Hyun Gyu Lim.
Topping that second FUEL card is a tall task, but this card has better fighters with more divisional impact. Wins can alter rankings and future matches. We are not just getting good fights, but good fights with impact. That is what fans truly want.
And we are getting it all for free. That is important to remember.
We will not be able to judge this card accurately until after the fights have transpired and we get our fix of violence, but two months out this card looks phenomenal. UFC on FUEL TV will deliver once again with a full slate of four-ounce leather flying action.