The Top Five UFC Prelim Fights Aired on Spike TV
Since making its debut prior to UFC 103, the hour-long prelim fights special airing on Spike TV has been a great way for the fans to get excited about an event and for the UFC to drive up pay-per-view buys.
Ratings have been consistently excellent for the prelim specials, with UFC 109's prelim hour attracting the largest audience with 1.7 million viewers in February 2010.
With another prelim special set to air before UFC 116 on Saturday, featuring fights between Seth Petruzelli and Ricardo Romero, as well as Brendan Schaub taking on Chris Tuchscherer, B/R MMA takes a look at the top five prelim fights to have aired on Spike TV.
5. Ryan Bader vs. Eric Schafer - UFC 104
At UFC 104 on Oct. 24, 2009, Ryan Bader got the 11th win of his career and kept his undefeated streak alive, beating Eric Shafer via unanimous decision in the first prelim fight of the night.
Bader dominated most of the action during the fight. He over-matched Schafer with a great stand-up game, and utilized his wrestling background to control the action on the mat.
Bader would go on to defeat Keith Jardine in his next fight at UFC 110.
Schafer would go on to lose his next fight to Jason Brilz at UFC Live in March, 2010 and later be cut by the organization.
UFC 104 Prelim Ratings: 1.4 million viewers (4th out of 8 prelim specials)
4. George Sotiropoulos vs. Jason Dent - UFC 106
The George Sotiropoulos vs. Jason Dent preliminary fight at UFC 106 comes in at No. 4 on the list.
The fight featured some good exchanges standing up, but Sotiropoulos dominated the ground game.
That would be Dent's undoing as Sotiropoulos caught Dent with a vicious arm bar to earn the victory at 4:36 of the second round.
The fight was so good that it would be re-aired following the Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz main event on the pay-per-view.
UFC 106 Prelim Ratings: 1.3 million viewers (6th out of 8)
3. Stefan Struve vs. Chase Gormley - UFC 104
The Stefan Struve vs. Chase Gormley preliminary fight is the second UFC 104 prelim fight to make the list.
This fight was originally not guaranteed to be broadcast, but based upon the fight and the result, it made it onto Spike TV as well as the pay-per-view.
Struve spent most of the fight grappling with Gormley on the mat after he was taken down. Struve would later give up top position to Gormley before making him submit with a triangle choke at 4:04 of the first round.
With the triangle choke, the 6'11" Struve became the tallest fighter in UFC history to secure a win via submission. Struve was also awarded a $60,000 submission of the night bonus.
2. Cole Miller vs. Dan Lauzon - UFC 108
While it was a short fight, Cole Miller's victory over Dan Lauzon at UFC 108 is second on the list.
The two spent the first part of the fight standing in the pocket and trading some very hard shots.
The fight then went to the ground where Miller used a kimura with an inverted triangle hold to get the win at 3:05 of the very first round.
Miller received submission of the night honors, earning a $50,000 bonus. The fight would also be re-aired on UFC 108's pay-per-view broadcast.
UFC 108 Prelim Ratings: 1.5 million viewers (3rd out of 8)
1. Pat Barry vs. Antoni Hardonk - UFC 104
It was quite an exciting night of preliminary fights at UFC 104, as this is the third fight from the night to make the list.
In their preliminary fight, Pat Barry and Antoni Hardonk put on quite the show for the fans in attendance and watching at home.
Both fighters are among the most respected strikers in the cage and they showed why in this fight.
Early on, Hardonk caught Barry with a shot under the left eye which seemed to stun the kickboxing expert. The fight would also go to the ground, an area where Barry is not very experienced.
Barry would not be defeated on this night however, as he fought back with some of his brutal leg kicks.
With his strong kicks and punches, Barry knocked Hardonk to the mat and would stand over him delivering a couple of shots before the fight was stopped at 2:30 of the second round.
Barry's TKO victory earned him both the fight of the night and knockout of the night bonuses. In total, Barry earned $134,000 for the win.
His post-fight interview with Joe Rogan is equally as memorable as his fight, as Barry became very emotional when he had a message for his mother that he was coming home.
For up-to-the-minute UFC news, stats, and updates, be sure to follow Ken Beckett on Twitter @KenBeckett