Ronda Rousey, and even Cat Zingano's showings in the UFC, have been major successes for women's MMA and the UFC, but the Liz Carmouche vs. Jessica Andrade bout at UFC on Fox 8 will likely produce a significant downgrade in quality.
A decline is expected when lesser fighters are compared to the best in the sport, but because of the placement of the Carmouche-Andrade bout, expectations will be set at a level that the fighters aren't likely to meet.
This bout is scheduled to open the main-card action, but is much better suited as a FX or even Facebook preliminary fight.
Yes, UFC on Fox 8 is free, but a higher precedence has been set with the previous seven versions of UFC on Fox. The cards have been pay-per-view level, and the fighters who opened the show have had to prove their worth throughout their career for the exposure.
In the first UFC on Fox, only the heavyweight title fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos was televised on Fox, so it isn't a comparable event.
The other UFC on Fox shows have featured far more successful and well-known fighters in the opening bout of the main card. Take a look at the fights that have opened the main card in UFC on Fox 2-7:
This list of matchups features bruising heavyweights who had won KO of the night in bouts prior to their appearance on the main card mentioned. Former Ultimate Fighter participants, elite middleweights who had won submission and/or KO of the night earlier in their careers, dynamic featherweights who had also made their mark with noteworthy fight night bonus performances.
In short, we know these fighters The notoriety is based upon their accomplishments in the Octagon. They attained some level of fierceness that made them worthy of appearing on the main card.
What is Carmouche and Andrade's claim to fame in the Octagon? Who are these fighters?
Carmouche's most notable fighting accomplishment is becoming Rousey's seventh armbar victim. Prior to the loss to Rousey, Carmouche lost a decision to Sarah Kaufman—whom Rousey also beat—in 2011. Carmouche is 8-3, but she's lost to both of the more recognizable fighters she's faced in her career.
Her opponent is, for all intent and purposes, an unknown to most MMA fans. Andrade is 9-2, and she just began her MMA career in 2011. She hasn't faced the caliber of fighters Carmouche has.
In no way does this match sound like a clash of elite fighters in their division. If Carmouche and Andrade do represent the upper echelon of talent in the women's bantamweight class, it is clear there isn't much parity in the group.
Instead of trying to max out exposure on the newest ingredient in his MMA pot, UFC head man Dana White would be better off letting the ladies earn their spots in the consciousness of MMA fans.
This is clearly an attempt to capitalize on anything that resembles the next big thing. Rousey and Zingano have proven themselves stars—to a degree—but that doesn't mean that every moderately relevant female UFC matchup land on the main card.
There is another bout from the women's bantamweight division on the card, but it is part of the Facebook preliminaries and features Julie Kedzie and Germain de Randamie.
While the Carmouche-Andrade bout is certainly more appealing than the Kedzie-de Randamie clash, it is still grossly misplaced on the main card. Women's MMA has a future, but it needs to be a process.
Placing fights in slots on the card where they don't belong is an attempt to skip steps. That almost always backfires. The worst thing that could happen to women's MMA would be for fans to only care about Rousey, Zingano, and possibly, Miesha Tate.
If Carmouche and Andrade produce a snoozer, it'll only increase the possibility that happens.
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