UFC 149: What Could Have Been.With UFC 148 now in the books, it's time for fans to look ahead to the next pay per view in the UFC. And while some are looking ahead to it, some are cringing at the thought of it.
When Tom Wright and Dana White announced the UFC would make its first trip to Calgary, Alberta earlier this year, fans were rightfully excited. Most times, a promotion or sporting event brings an "A" level game to new venues, and UFC 149 was no different.
Once a few weeks went by, the card began filling up very nicely, and the main card looked as such:
Main event: Jose Aldo vs. Erik Koch
Co-Main event: "Shogun" Rua vs. Thiago Silva
Michael Bisping vs. Tim Boetsch
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Thiago Alves
Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Cheick Kongo
Now for any venue, this card looks very good. A title match, well known, ranked fighters, exciting talent. It had all the ingredients to be a great, great card. But then things got bad.
As most fans know, we should usually expect an injury or two to plague an event. Replacements are found and we move on. But UFC 149 may be the card most hurt ever by the injury bug.
The main event was scrapped as Jose Aldo suffered an injury. Thiago Silva was pulled as well due to injury, and "Shogun" was pulled from the card. Michael Bisping was dealing with his own injuries, as were Akiyama and Nogueira. Every main event fight was altered in some way due to injuries. That would usually be enough to destroy an event, but Zuffa did a nice job of filling the holes.
Urijah Faber vs. Renan Barao was added as the new main event, and Hector Lombard replaced Michael Bisping to face Tim Boetsch. Siyar Bahadurzada was tagged to replace Akiyama, and Shawn Jordan stepped in for Nogueria to face Cheick Kongo. But it didn't stop there.
Siyar Bahadurzada was then matched with Chris Clements, as Thiago Alves pulled out due to injury. Soon after, Bahadurzada was injured and Matthew Riddle was in to face Clements. Claude Patrick was set to face James Head, but, you guessed it, an injury forced him out and he was replaced by Brian Ebersole. Same goes for George Roop, who was set to face Antonio Carvalho, but was replaced by Daniel Pineda.
To top all of this off, former DREAM champion Bibiano Fernandes was reported to be matched up against Roland Delorme, but was soon pulled for what was said to be an injury, but later turned out to be a contract issue, namely that he did not have a contract with the UFC. Delorme has since been matched with Franciso Rivera
How could something that looked so gad turn so bad?
Now before fans want to rush and blame the UFC somehow for this, be it oversaturation or whatever, a wave of injuries like this is something we rarely see.
To have basically an entire card changed due to injury is almost unheard of. Some people are saying this could be the "worst ever" book end PPV, along with UFC 147 and its reported 150000 buys, sandwiched by UFC 148 of course, which looks to have done 1 million buys.
When the Urijah Faber, basically the only known commodity on the card now, comes into his match as the underdog against Renan Barao, a fighter still under people's radar, things don't look good. Of course, the undercard is peppered with Canadian talent, showcasing fighters such as Ryan Jimmo, Mitch Gagnon, Mitch Clarke and Nick Ring. But let's be honest, that will give the fans in attendance something to cheer for, it won't have an effect on the most important thing, PPV buys.
Looking back at the "old main" card, here is the current UFC 149 card, preliminary fights included:
Urijah Faber vs. Renan Barao (for interim bantamweight title)
Tim Boetsch vs. Hector Lombard
Shawn Jordan vs. Cheick Kongo
Brian Ebersole vs. James Head
Chris Clements vs. Matt Riddle
Court McGee vs. Nick Ring
Roland Delorme vs. Francisco Rivera
Ryan Jimmo vs. Anthony Perosh
Bryan Caraway vs. Mitch Gagnon
Antonio Carvalho vs. Daniel Pineda
Mitch Clarke vs. Anton Kuivanen
In terms of strength, this is obviously lacking a lot in many areas. The one saving grace maybe the debut of Hector Lombard, who very well could earn a middleweight title shot with a victory. The Canadian contingent looks nice as well, as does seeing Faber/Barao.
But again, for a card that had such promise earlier this year, it has basically been broken down and rebuilt with the parts available. You can almost hear the same people that were going on about UFC 147 saying the same about UFC 149. Is it a card worth $50? Probably not. But for fans in the Alberta area, who are getting their first chance to see an event such as this, I am sure some will focus more on what they have now, rather then what they did have.
Let's hope Zuffa heads back to the great city of Calgary and tries their best to give a better show next time, and let's also hope that fans live and at home at least get some bang for their buck from this card.
Published by Jasyn Zangari - Thu, 12 Jul 2012 15:57