With UFC 129 right around the corner, I thought I’d start this week’s coverage of the event with a quick breakdown of some good and bad aspects of the card.
A breath of fresh air: There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the UFC’s production team does the best job in MMA. But part of that has to do with the mind numbing sameness they’ve cooked into their events. The UFC has boiled it’s shows down to a science, and as any high school dropout will attest, science is fucking boring, man.
But at UFC 129 we’ll hopefully be getting something a little different. Sure, the UFC proved in Abu Dhabi that they can make a custom built outdoor venue full of Saudi royalty just as dull as a show at the KFC Yum Center in Kentucky. But surely they’ll take the time to show off the awesomeness of the Skydome (fuck calling it by it’s CorpWhore name) during the event? Add some new camera angles to their repertoire? Or is it a sacred Zuffa Law that all fights must look like they’re happening inside a black void with three rows of people watching?
Anyways, here’s to hoping we get more out of this historic UFC first than a few seconds of stadium camera sweeps.
A public execution before the main event: Since Georges, Jake, and Lyoto aren’t exactly known for their brutal fight finishes, so it’s nice to know we’re practically guaranteed at least one horrific finish in Jose Aldo vs Mark Hominick.
Oh, Canada!: For a country that loves MMA, we’re not very good at it. Compare the roster of Canadians fighting here to the batch of Brazilians populating the UFC Rio card. At the elite level, we’ve got Georges St Pierre and that’s about it. It’s not really our fault … population wise we’re 6 times smaller than Brazil, and 10 times smaller than the US. And we ain’t all bad. Rory MacDonald is gonna show people why he’ll be a contender in the next year or two, and Mark Bocek has a chance to steal Ben Henderson’s heat with one properly applied guillotine. Jason MacDonald always brings it, and Sean Pierson was also expected to do good things until his original opponent was replaced with Jake Ellenberger. Now we get to see how he handles getting his ass whupped.
8 hours of fights: Facebook prelims start at 3PM EST, and with the new 9pm start time steering events to end around 11 that clocks us in for an ocho’s worth of fights. Fans clamoring to see Jason MacDonald vs. Ryan Jensen, rejoice! Fan clamoring to see John Makdessi vs. Kyle Watson … whatever floats yer boat, I guess.
8 hours of fights: Those who say you can never have too much of a good thing have obviously never drank so much V8 they spontaneously shat a liter of diarrhea all over their couch. It was kinda nice back when we had the UFC event on Saturday and then basically an entire other event on Monday. I don’t wanna complain too much because free fights are free fights, but 8 hours is also 8 hours.
Predictability: The best matchmaking often leaves people wondering who’s going to win a fight right up to the second one fighter finally loses. In this one, all our main events are lopsided affairs: GSP is -450, Aldo -500, Machida -350. There may be some surprises (since Randy Couture’s career is all about that) and of course it’s not always about who wins but how they do it, but you don’t need to be a psychic to know how the big fights are probably gonna go.
Vladimir Matyushenko vs Jason Brilz: What the fuck is this fight doing smack dab in the middle of UFC 129’s main card? Is it the next level in UFC sponsorship? The 15 Minute Bathroom Break, brought to you by Bud Light! Jason Brilz is fucking terrible and no one likes him. Vladimir Matyushenko … eh, no hate, but he’s one of those guys who’ll be lucky if he manages to break above #20 in his weight class rankings. The sad thing was this was originally set to be Matt Hamill vs Phil Davis. Then Hamill was shuttled over to UFC 130 and Phil replaced Tito Ortiz at UFC Fight Night 24. Leaving us with Vlad vs Brilz. Hey, we understand: shit happens. But you don’t then leave that shit in a main card slot on such a big card.
Oh, Canada…: Again, bringing it back to comparisons with UFC: Rio. They’ve got so many superstars they couldn’t manage to fit half of them onto the card. Meanwhile for this show, we’re down to guys who are contractually holding on by the skin of their teeth. I’m looking at you, Ivan Menjivar. It didn’t have to be this way. There’s several amazing Canadian up and comers who could have made their debut at UFC 129 – Jordan Mein being a perfect example.