After a slew of watered-down pay-per-view events in 2012 — think UFC 147 and UFC 150, in particular — the promotion is rewarding their fans in 2013 by stacking their cards to the brim.
This weekend’s UFC on FOX 6 event is the perfect example.
The 11-fight card, which goes down this Saturday at United Center in Chicago, Ill., is one of the deepest cards top to bottom that the UFC has delivered to its fans in recent history. Just look at the four-fight main card, which airs in primetime on FOX: a main event consisting of a free title fight for the fans as UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson meets John Dodson, a co-main event between light heavyweight contenders Glover Teixeira and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, a possible No. 1 contender’s fight in the lightweight division between strikers Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis, and a probable No. 1 contender fight in the 145-pound division between featherweights Erik Koch and Ricardo Lamas.
But that’s just the main card.
On the prelims, the FX main event features Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia’s own TJ Grant looking to make it four in a row in the UFC lightweight division when he takes on long-time Octagon veteran Matt Wiman in what could easily be the “Fight of the Night.” Then there’s an intriguing featherweight battle between brand-new 145 pounder Clay Guida and former top contender Hatsu Hioki in what has the potential to be a fantastic grappling match. As well, Chicago cop Mike Russow returns to the Octagon when he faces off against fellow heavyweight Shawn Jordan in a battle of big boys that may end in one of them getting knocked out. And light heavyweight Ryan Baders faces off against Vladimir Matyushenko in a battle of top 205 pounders. Jeez. Talk about stacked, eh?
And finally, the first couple fights of the night feature welterweights Mike Stumpf vs. Pascal Krauss, middleweights Rafael “Sapo” Natal vs. UFC newcomer Sean Spencer, and 170 pounders Simeon Thoresen and David Mitchell open up the card on Facebook.
I feel like I’m a UFC hype machine right now but I’m not kidding when I’m saying this is one of the best MMA cards in a long, long time.
Off the top of my head, we can see “Fight of the Night” candidates between Grant and Wiman, Johnson and Dodson, Jackson and Teixeira, Guida and Hioki, and Cerrone and Pettis. There could be “Knockout of the Night” candidates produced in the Bader vs. Matyushenko, Russow vs. Jordan and Koch vs. Lamas fights. And then the “Submission of the Night” could occur during Natal vs. Page or Mitchell vs. Thoresen, if not in any of the fights I already mentioned.
Yes, I know I’ve mentioned that every single one of the 11 fights on the card could compete for the post-fight bonus awards, but it’s not hyperbole. Really, the UFC is giving the fans a treat with this card, especially considering the fact that it’s free.
And then, when you look ahead at UFC 156, UFC, 157, and UFC 158, you see a slew of huge title fights and a bunch of other sweet matchups on the big upcoming cards. And those are just the pay-per-view cards, as UFC on FUEL TV 7, UFC on FUEL TV 8, UFC on FUEL TV 9 and of course UFC on FOX 7 are all awesome, as well.
Us MMA fans deserve these huge cards because 2012 was nothing but a year of disappointment for everyone when you consider all the lost title fights, all the exciting wars lost to drug suspensions, and all of the damned injuries. So far, we’ve been lucky in 2013, but it’s scary that we’ve been so lucky and it’s almost as if we’re due for something bad to happen.
Until then, though, I’m just going to cross my fingers and hope that we see all of these exciting matchups that we want to see and that 2013 is the year that MMA blows up big time.