Intelligently Defending 11.01.07: Don't Believe the Gripe! -- UFC 78 is a Good Card
Posted by Ken Kobel on 11.01.2007
The UFC has received tremendous backlash over their upcoming card 'UFC 78: Validation.' In this week's edition of Intelligently Defending we will take a look at why this card is not as bad as people are saying -- and is actually quite good.
Things have turned ugly for the number one MMA organization in the world.
The UFC has a mutiny on their hands.
The fans have called for boycotts.
The fans want Dana's head.
The fans have said they will never watch again.
And this time, it has nothing to do with Randy Couture or Fedor Emelianenko.
Instead, it has to do with what many people are calling the worst pay-per view card ever assembled by the UFC – ‘UFC 78: Validation.'
That is right -- the worst UFC PPV card ever. Worse than the early UFC's that included such stiffs as Fred Ettish and Joe Son. Worse than Zuffa-era gems like ‘UFC 61: Bitter Rivals.'
All this talk has made one thing apparent – some people aren't happy unless they are complaining.
Now to be fair, not all fans are calling this card the worst ever. Most are content with just calling it things like ‘awful,' or ‘a slap in the face to fans.'
Even those comments are a stretch. After all, this isn't even the worst UFC PPV card this year -- that honor goes to ‘UFC 72: Victory' from Northern Ireland.
The main problem with the card for UFC 78, which was just finalized a few days ago, is that it lacks a marquee main event. The headliner is not a title fight nor is it a true number one contender bout.
It should be pointed out that this is not completely the fault of the UFC. The main event was originally scheduled to be Sean Sherk vs. B.J. Penn for the lightweight title. Thanks to Sherk and his positive steroid test, this fight was could not take place. This left the UFC in a bad spot since no other title could logically be defended. Silva was scheduled to fight at UFC 77. Rampage was without a true number one contender. Serra would not fight Hughes until December. And Randy was on his way out.
In the end, the UFC signed Michael Bisping vs. Rashad Evans to headline the show in what will be the first ever battle of ‘The Ultimate Fighter' season winners. Not exactly the most thrilling fight – especially when you consider the fact that most people think both fighters should have lost their last bouts.
Still, if you are able to look past a sub-par main event, you can easily see that this is a very good card.
Houston Alexander has become one of the most exciting fighters in the company and at UFC 78 he will get a huge test. Thiago Silva comes out of the Chute Box camp and we now that those guys are always looking for a fight. The young Silva is 10-0 in his career and possesses something that Alexander's two other UFC opponents do not – a BJJ black belt. It looks like we will all finally get to see what Houston's ground game is made of. That is, as long as he doesn't knock-out Thiago in the first minute.
The fight of the night could very well be the lightweight battle between Frankie Edgar and Spencer Fisher. The winner of this bout will be placed right near the top of the lightweight ladder. Frankie Edgar has looked great in the UFC and is still the only fighter to ever defeat Tyson Griffin when he did so at UFC 67. His wrestling skills could give Spencer Fisher some real problems. It will be interesting to see if Fisher can stop the takedown and unleash his destructive stand-up.
Those two fights alone would make the card decent -- but there are still two more solid main card bouts.
In New Jersey, David Terrell will make his long-awaited return against Ed Herman. It wasn't that long ago that Terrell was considered championship material -- a big return to the octagon would make him an immediate contender in the thin middleweight division. As for Herman, he has looked good in his last two fights and will be trying to show that he deserved the six-figure contract he was given after TUF3.
Finally, Karo Parisyan will continue his quest for a welterweight title shot when he takes on Ryo Chonan. Ryo is a PRIDE veteran and once defeated Anderson Silva. Karo will have his hands full.
While the main card has plenty of intrigue – the prelims look to be quite good. In fact, they are probably the best UFC PPV prelim fights ever. Thiago Alves will take on Chris Lytle in a fight that is too close to call. Also, Joe Lauzon will face Jason Reinhardt who holds MMA's best record at 18-0. Even more impressive than his record is the fact that Reinhardt has finished every one of his fights. Add in names like Marcus Aurelio and Akihiro Gono and UFC on Demand will be busy with people plopping down $2 to see these fights.
Not bad for a card that most people aren't giving a chance.
There is no disputing that Bisping/Rashad is a weak main event – but if history has shown us anything it is that a big-time main event doesn't guarantee a great PPV. UFC 73, for example, had two title defenses – a rare occurrence to say the least. The event also boasted big names throughout the card. Still, many fans were left disappointed after all was said and done. The often boring fighting styles of the participants led to lackluster action.
This will not be the case with UFC 78. The fireworks will fly with names like Alexander, Parisyan, Edgar, Fisher, Lauzon, Terrell, and Herman on the bill. These fighters may not be champions or number one contenders – but this makes them even more dangerous than those at the top. These men are still striving to reach their ultimate goal – and because of this they are hungry to make a name for themselves. They will be fighting to win, instead of fighting not to lose. After all, you can't be scared of losing a title you never had.
This entire column has no doubt sounded like one long UFC commercial – but the views expressed are valid. The fights on this card will not disappoint and on November 17 the UFC will make a successful return to the East Coast.
And if nothing else, who among us can pass up an event in which the end result will be Michael Bisping getting repeatedly slammed on his inflated head?
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