By Zach Arnold | December 27, 2013
This much we know: there will be details released regarding the new UFC Fight Pass online channel. If you haven’t read Tim Stark’s piece on Fight Opinion about why he’s skeptical Fight Pass will be a big success, take some time to read it. I did an interview with Hot Cage Daily about my expectations for the new online channel. My initial take on the new channel: low risk, low reward proposition.
In addition to discussion about UFC Fight Pass, there are the Brock Lesnar returning to UFC rumors:
— MMA Supremacy (@MMASupremacy) December 26, 2013
One of the things I noted during UFC’s horrific handling of the GSP hiatus situation is how different UFC treated GSP than they treated Lesnar on his way out. I mean, they gave Brock everything he wanted and kept their mouths shut. Brock was the #1 PPV draw and St. Pierre the #2 draw. Now that St. Pierre is gone, here come the Lesnar rumors.
1) the fact that it’s even plausible to consider Brock Lesnar returning to UFC says a lot about where UFC stands business-wise and how bad the WWE return experiment went for Brock and
2) Anderson Silva’s camp really thinks they have amazing business leverage, despite the long-term fight contract signed, if they win against Weidman on Saturday and decide that Anderson needs a lot more motivation to fight Vitor Belfort. UFC has drawn the line in the sand that the winner of Saturday’s fight will get Vitor Belfort. Weidman vs. Belfort is a fresh fight and an exciting one. Anderson vs. Belfort is a been-there, done-that scenario with the only fresh angle to it being the prospects of the bout taking place in Brazil.
As for the odds on Saturday’s fights… the money is coming in on Anderson. He was a 3-to-2 favorite and could end up being a 9-to-5 favorite by the time the fight starts. Ronda Rousey started out as a 10-to-1 favorite over Miesha Tate and remains comfortable at an 8-to-1 margin. Josh Barnett remains a 2-to-1 favorite over Travis Browne.
If Anderson Silva isn’t motivated for Saturday’s re-match against Chris Weidman, then nothing will motivate him. What happens if he loses?
How many lives does Josh Barnett have left and how lucky is he? This lucky. If he beats Travis Browne on Saturday, he gets a #1 contender’s fight with Fabricio Werdum. Even the idea of Josh Barnett getting a UFC title shot after what happened in the Daniel Cormier bout is really a remarkable story. Another interesting part of the Barnett story is the juxtaposition of him being a drug testing pariah while the wave of fighters getting permission to use anabolic steroids is rising. Failing a drug test is bad but getting permission to use anabolics is apparently socially acceptable. That’s the drug usage standard we have today in combat sports.
Ronda Rousey has been answering questions from the press about the way she was portrayed by the video editors on Ultimate Fighter and some of her controversial media interviews. Basically, her attitude is that as long as you cheer or boo, she’s fine with it. There’s only a problem when the fans are ambivalent or don’t react at all. As far as the expectations game is concerned, though, she has to practically mutilate Miesha Tate in order for the fans not to be disappointed on Saturday night. Breaking another arm won’t be good enough given how intense the animosity is and how high the bar has been set by Ronda’s past performances.
Not many people feel that Miesha Tate has much of a shot of beat Ronda Rousey on Saturday night, but there is one path to victory if she’s disciplined enough to utilize it. Hint: Ronda is BFFs with Nick Diaz and Miesha will have to use a plan that one of Nick’s rivals used against him. The Condit Bicycle. If Miesha takes Ronda down, she’s not powerful enough to maintain position on the ground. She can’t clinch with Ronda because Ronda will easily throw her down to the mat. Ronda’s too good at attacking the angles to get the submission she wants. So, Miesha’s going to have to make this is a striking contest. Ronda Rousey is not Cat Zingano. Cat blasted Miesha into another orbit. In the first fight between Tate and Ronda, there was no comparison between the two when it came to which fighter had effective stand-up striking skills.
- Featherweights: Robert Peralta vs. Estevan Payan
- Welterweights: Bobby Voelker vs. William Macario
- Welterweights: Siyar Bahadurzada vs. John Howard
- Featherweights: Dennis Siver vs. Manny Gamburyan
- Lightweights: Gleison Tibau vs. Michael Johnson
- Middleweights: Chris Leben vs. Uriah Hall
- Featherweights: Diego Brandao vs. Dustin Poirier
- Lightweights: Jim Miller vs. Fabricio Camoes
- Heavyweights (winner fights Fabricio Werdum): Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne
- UFC Women’s 135 pound title match: Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate
- UFC Middleweight title match: Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva
Remember, the price tag for this PPV has increased.