Posted by Barrie on Tuesday, 7 July 2009

UFC To Make It A Century This Weekend

This is my first blog on the UFC, so please go easy on me.

I'm a big fan of the UFC, and went to their last event, number 99 last month in Cologne, Germany. A UFC event is something unique and special, some 5 hour event with a dozen fight is well-worth the ticket price. We saw one of the bloodiest fights in UFC history when Stefan Struve's skull was smashed open by Denis Stojnic in one of the preliminary fights (apologies for the poor photo quality), potentially a future champion in Cain Velasquez, a former Middleweight champion (Rich Franklin) and one of the greatest entertainers to ever step inside the Octagon, Wanderlei Silva, in what was a great night.

Britain's Michael Bisping was also in attendance and was signing autographs at the weigh-ins the day before. This man has put mixed martial arts and UFC on the radar over here in my opinion. He works tirelessly promoting the UFC, and the most recent Ultimate Fighter series helped two more Brits win UFC contracts, when Ross Pearson and James Wilks won the series. Hopefully this coming Saturday night (or Sunday morning!) Michael Bisping will complete the hatrick and defeat Dan Henderson at UFC 100.

Henderson will give him a tough fight, but it's winnable for Bisping. And should he win, then would come the big one, as Bisping would go on to face Anderson Silva for the Middleweight title in November, rumoured to be in Manchester. If it does go ahead in Manchester, regardless of Bisping fight for the title or not, I will sure be heading up there for the weekend!

The UFC has come along way since day 1, back in 1993 and the dark times in the late 90's, before Dana White and co took over at the beginning of this millennium and transitioned it into the $1 billion business that it is today. White still claims it will be the biggest sport within the next decade, and they are well-renowned for calling it the "fastest-growing sport", although in fairness, every other sport is already established, so there isn't much competition in that category. This weekend will see UFC's 100th event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, an historic event to put it lightly. A big card has been announced and UFC fans worldwide are looking forward to this event.

Although, with Setanta's demise, UFC is now without a TV deal in the UK, and despite only being 4 days away from the biggest show in their history have yet to announce which TV channel will be showing it this weekend! Fortunately there are quite a few interested. I can see ESPN getting it, which is the last of the channels I'd like to see it on over here. Sky Sports would be the best in terms of growing the popularity of it over here, whilst Virgin 1 and Bravo have their loyal viewers already from TUF and British MMA shows. Five wouldn't do too badly, having done great NFL coverage in this country. Great as in having Mike Carlson on their show.

Incase you don't already know the main card, I'll stick it in anyway:

Heavyweight Championship bout: (champion) Brock Lesnar vs. (interim champion) Frank Mir
Welterweight Championship bout: (champion) Georges St-Pierre vs. Thiago Alves
Welterweight bout: Jon Fitch vs. Paulo Thiago
Middleweight bout: Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping
Middleweight bout: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Alan Belcher

Predictions? Wherever it is shown, enjoy the show!

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At 8 July 2009 at 18:35 , Anonymous Richard Stringer said...

i am just so pumped for this. this is the greatest card in UFC history. my predictions are

Heavyweight Championship bout: (champion) Brock Lesnar vs. (interim champion) Frank Mir?

The only way i can see Mir winning this is by submission. Lets see if Brock has learnt from their last fight?

Welterweight Championship bout: (champion) Georges St-Pierre vs. Thiago Alves?

I think with St-pierres current form this will be no contest. So Georges to win.

Welterweight bout: Jon Fitch vs. Paulo Thiago?

I think Fitch has only lost 3 fights in the Ufc so far and has one of the best winning streaks in Ufc history. However Paulo Thiago is unbeaten and i think he will go home with the win.

Middleweight bout: Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping?

This i think is Bispings toughest fight yet. Both are strong in the clinch but i think Bisping has better standup, however Henderson has great knockout power and a good chin. I think Hendersons game plan will be to take it to the ground. If Bisping can keep away from this he will end up with the win by Decsison

Middleweight bout: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Alan Belcher?

Yoshihiro Akiyama is making his UFC debut but has a big MMA history. I think his submission skill will shine in this match up and will make Belcher tapout.


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