Michael Rome is selling the line that UFC 96 ain’t shit, and while I’ll agree that the card is B-level bordering on a C, there’s a few important things that will come out of this event that we should all keep an eye on:
The main event shapes the light heavyweight division: If Rampage wins, he gets a shot at Rashad Evans. If he loses, Lyoto Machida ends up on deck. As a founding member of the “Lyoto Machida is worse than AIDS” club, the idea of Machida getting a shot fills me with dread … because I think he’d win and stay on top for a very long time. So you can look at this fight as an important fork in the road for the 205 division.
The Carwin / Gonzaga fight may create a new star: UFC 96 tells us if Shane Carwin is for real or just a one dimensional chump smasher. Considering how badly the UFC needs a few new heavyweight contenders, you can draw a certain amount of importance from this match.
Will Brandon Vera choke again?: I hate Brandon Vera’s rich lazy ass as much as you do, but if keeping him around is the price we have to pay to break into another MMA marketplace, then I’d rather wish him success than failure.
Will Ryan get killed in Ohio?: We almost got killed by a crackhead in Cincinnati ten minutes after wandering too far from the bus station. This time I’m all alone … can I resist the lure of van candy?
So as you can see, UFC 96 isn’t a complete snoozer. I’ve also got enough invested in Jason Day (AVENGE EVAN), Aaron Riley, and Tim Boetsch that it makes their fights interesting to me.