UFC 159's main event matches two of the brightest stars in the UFC against one another.
Following an entire The Ultimate Fighter season, the showdown between coaches has finally arrived. It's one of the most dynamic fighters in the history of the sport taking on the best mouthpiece MMA has ever seen. It's Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen.
Talks of gaining 1 million pay-per-view buys have been discussed with these two fighting for the championship. That's rightfully so, considering the star power of both fighters.
But will it actually amass 1 million PPV buys? Eh, likely not.
It could have if Sonnen and Jones would have played their cards right. The platform was set up perfectly. Jones and Sonnen coached the best season of TUF in years, and it captured the most difficult audience's attention—the hardcore fans.
During the season though, Jones and Sonnen were cordial. Instead of prancing around the set and acting as that gangster Chael P. Sonnen, Chael was Chael.
Though it might have been refreshing to see him be his true self, it didn't do him or the UFC any favors in terms of PPV buys.
Following the show, hopes of ramped up trash talk were soon dashed when Sonnen remained complimentary toward Jones. This isn't the same Sonnen who hyped a megafight with Anderson Silva by his lonesome. This isn't even close.
Instead, this fight has been more about the skill set both men impose, and that's not all bad. Though Sonnen is outmatched in the striking department and Jones has more ways to defeat him, his hard-nosed, aggressive style gives him a shot to beat Jones.
His relentless pressure and excellent wrestling could allow him to take this fight to the ground and maybe grind away a decision victory. That's a big maybe.
What will likely happen is a one-sided beatdown by Jones. Jones' reach and Greco-Roman wrestling skills should allow him to dictate where this fight takes place, and that's a strong disadvantage for Sonnen.
Will people buy into Sonnen's chances of dethroning Jones? It's unlikely. He's coming off a second-round TKO loss to Silva, and his trash talk has been basically absent for most of this fight's build.
Sonnen is only as good as his mouth allows him to be. With his sudden change of demeanor heading into this championship bout, it's safe to say he's lost the attention of the masses.
However, Sonnen is still a big name and Jones is growing into one of UFC's most prominent stars. Is that enough to carry the promotional banner? ESPN covering this fight and airing interviews of both fighters should help draw more interest for the fight, but it shouldn't top UFC 158's reportedly 1 million buys.
This card will still have a great buyrate, but thoughts of it surpassing a million buys should be dismissed. You can thank a lack of Chael P. Sonnen for that.
Prediction: 800K buys