UFC 159 has a tough act to follow.
UFC on Fox 7 surprised many by being one of the best cards, top to bottom, of the year. Eight fights were finished by T/KO. That tied a UFC record. And nearly every other fight delivered as well.
Can UFC 159 compete with that, or will fans view it as a letdown? That's a tough question, but I don't think they will. I don't think fans will directly compare the two events.
They have had a week to come back down from the high of last week, and the focus is on Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen. The focus is not on the complete card. Everyone is anticipating the main event, and not much else. That actually gives this card a chance to surprise many with competitive, fun bouts.
If these fights cards were held on back-to-back evenings there may be a chance that no matter what happens everyone would view it as a letdown. The consistent and violent finishes would still be fresh in our brains to condition us what to expect from UFC 159.
However, I think most recognize that UFC on Fox 7 was an event out of the norm. We understand that the excitement witnessed last week does not happen on every card.
UFC 159 has a chance to be impressive on its own merit, and not be considered a letdown after the seventh installment of UFC on Fox.
The Facebook prelim has two fights that could get things started off on the right track. Steven Siler and Kurt Holobaugh will kick off the night, and Leonard Garcia vs. Cody McKenzie make up the final Facebook prelim. Both featherweight scraps have the chance to be really exciting.
When the event hits FX, all four bouts should provide quality action. There are no guarantees of a finish, but they are seemingly good bouts on paper.
Bryan Caraway vs. Johnny Bedford is a dark horse candidate for Fight of the Night, the women have continually brought quality action to our television screens, Gian Villante and Ovince St. Preux should showcase their skills and Rustam Khabilov vs. Yancy Medeiros will be a fun lightweight tilt.
Those four fights should deliver.
The pay-per-view features some of the top talent in the company.
Jim Miller and Pat Healy may not jump off the page as a Fight of the Night contender, but these gritty lightweights can surprise. Vinny Magalhaes and Phil Davis will try and make a statement for their aspirations in the light heavyweight division.
The three key bouts of the evening should have significant interest behind them. And that helps play in to the psyche of the fans. Roy Nelson and Cheick Kongo will try to knock each other out, Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher will determine another contender in the middleweight division and then it will be time for the highly anticipated main event.
Will UFC 159 be a letdown? I don't think so. I give the fans more credit than that. They understand this is a separate event with its own merits. UFC on Fox 7 was the aberration. UFC 159 will continue the excitement that the UFC gives us with nearly every event.
That will be good enough to keep the naysayers away.