I just want to make it known, before I plunge into this specific topic: I don’t consider UFC on FX an overtly horrible card, it just isn't very good, and a rather weak yearly launch. It’s more a slight fizzle than a bubbly overflowing of greatness, and I’m not wholly convinced that’s the strongest way to launch 2013.
Vitor Belfort and Michael Bisping will fill the main event bracket, and that is one intriguing match to the say the least. We’ve got two extremely fast strikers set to tangle, and each man is well aware of the ramifications of this head-on collision.
A win for Belfort likely places him just once more victory distanced from a second crack at middleweight kingpin, Anderson Silva, who left the holy rollin’ Brazilian a battered heap on the canvas back at UFC 126. A victory for Bisping, on the other hand, more than likely earns him a title shot in his next outing.
A Bisping vs. Silva fight should produce weighty intrigue. The outspoken Brit has yet to earn his shot at the champion, and after competing in the Octagon for over six years and amassing a 13-4 record for the promotion, most would agree it couldn’t hurt to give “The Count” a shot at Silva’s title.
Anderson has beaten nearly every relevant contender in the division, save for a few new faces and Bisping. Bisping’s won five of his last six, with his only defeat in that stretch coming at the hands of Chael Sonnen. It was also—I should note—a controversial decision, as many felt The Ultimate Fighter Season 3 winner deserved the nod from the judges.
The point is this: UFC on FX 7 has a stellar main event. Bisping vs. Belfort is the kind of fight that leaves fans completely ingrained in the evening’s chaos, but what about the remainder of the card?
C.B. Dollaway, proven to be far from a fan favorite will meet TUF: Brazil’s Daniel Sarafian, but there are a few significant issues with this co-headlining bout. First, Dollaway isn’t a man that many clamor over. Second, Sarafian has enjoyed virtually zero television time here, stateside. He may as well be considered a complete neophyte with zero name recognition.
This isn’t the kind of match—on paper—that gets casual fans riled up, although an explosive debut from Sarafian could conjure major cheers from the Brazilian crowd and leave fans pining for more action from the youngster.
I expect the evening’s showcased heavyweight tilt pitting Gabriel Gonzaga against the ever-durable Ben Rothwell to elicit some raucous cheers, while it lasts. Both men typically show up to bang, and while I expect some early fireworks, this is more of a novelty fight than anything else.
The somewhat inconsistent Thiago Tavares will meet unbeaten Russian, Khabib Nurmagomedov in a lightweight duel, and while this fight stands as one of the card’s more alluring battles, it’s buried in the card.
Will Nurmagomedov push his record to 19-0? It’s definitely possible, but after beating Kamal Shalorus and Gleison Tibau in his first two Octagon appearances, it isn’t difficult to argue his right to toe the line with someone a bit higher in the lightweight pecking order.
The remainder of the card looks compelling, with a few of the TUF: Brazil alum receiving a shot on the big stage, but truth be told, Godofredo Castro may be the only man with enough star power to draw viewers to the set.
Ronny Markes is a talented guy who should provide quite the show, and it’ll be nice to see Diego Nunes attempt to build on his win over Bart Palaszewski at UFC on FX 5. But the only other major attraction (in the eyes of the casual fan) of the event is the return of Edson Barboza, who found himself on the wrong end of Jamie Varner’s brutal pugilism at UFC 146.
In my opinion, I think UFC on FX 7 is a fine card. Intriguing fights fill the bill top to bottom, but ultimately, this isn’t a remarkable event by any stretch of the imagination, the marquee power just isn’t there. For the promotion’s first event of 2013, a few more fan-friendly fighters wouldn’t have hurt to usher in a promising new year.
UFC on FX 7 boasts anything but a disappointing lineup. However, it is without a doubt an underwhelming event for the promotion’s leap into 2013.
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