The UFC’s next pay-per-view card is still a few weeks away, but you can expect to have the names involved and date of that fight card burned into your brain over the next short while as the UFC looks to generate interest in UFC 159.
The main event on the card will see UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones defend his title against Chael Sonnen. Some, including Sonnen, will tell you that this fight should have taken place back in September when Sonnen offered to step in on short notice and replace an injured Dan Henderson in UFC 151’s main event. We all know that didn’t happen, though. Jones said no thanks and the entire fight card was subsequently scrapped.
The UFC then pitted the two as opposing coaches in season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter, perhaps hoping for fireworks between the coaches. They didn’t get them. Instead, a sort of mutual admiration developed between the two coaches, ruining any chance to promote UFC 159’s main event as some sort of grudge match.
The fighters competing in the co-main event, Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher, have filled that storyline very nicely by developing a decent amount of animosity as they head into a very important bout in New Jersey.
Bisping and Belcher, long-time UFC veterans, are looking at a make-or-break fight here. Both fighters seemed tantalizingly close to getting title shots before being derailed in their last bouts—Bisping losing to Vitor Belfort and Belcher dropping a fight to Yushin Okami. If either fighter has any hope of earning a shot at the UFC middleweight crown, they need a win.
UFC 159 will take place on April 27 from the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.
Full Fight Card
Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen
Alan Belcher vs. Michael Bisping
Cheick Kongo vs. Roy Nelson
Phil Davis vs. Vinny Magalhaes
Pat Healy vs. Jim Miller
Sheila Gaff vs. Sara McMann
Johnny Bedford vs. Erik Perez
Leonard Garcia vs. Cody McKenzie
Al Iaquinta vs. Joe Proctor
Rustam Khabilov vs. Yancy Medeiros
Nick Catone vs. James Head
Kurt Holobaugh vs. Steven Siler
Ovince St. Preux vs. Gian Villante