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« | Home | »

Video: UFC 98 main event preview

By Zach Arnold | May 18, 2009

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All of the major UFC hype videos for the show have 50,000 or more hits on YouTube. There is clearly strong interest in this show (online).

Jason Bent has a preview of Sean Sherk vs. Frankie Edgar. Sherdog has an interview with Sean Sherk. New York Newsday has a profile article on Phillippe Nover.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 39 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

39 Responses to “Video: UFC 98 main event preview”

  1. Dave says:

    I am so stoked for Lyoto vs. Rashad. This is a case of a college athlete who got to have a normal life against a guy who spent his whole life doing karate as he had no choice.

    If Lyoto loses it is like his life has no meaning. Poor guy.

  2. Mark says:

    I don’t know, this isn’t the type of fight that draws the casuals in. You have a technical fighter in Machida that the casual fans hate with a passion (and in the Tim Sylvia “we don’t want to see you” kind of way, not the Matt Hughes “we want to see you get KTFO” money making way.) And Rashad is the Rodney Dangerfield of MMA: he gets no respect. The casual fan belief is that he’s just keeping Rampage’s belt warm, and went from calling his Liddell KTFO victory a fluke to thinking it doesn’t count since Liddell is clearly done. It’s a shame.

    Personally, I can’t wait for this fight though. But I’d be shocked if it gets 500,000 or more. I think 300,000 is more realistic.

  3. Zack says:

    I still can’t believe they did this fight. If Lyoto wins there is basically no one at 205 who has the style to beat him right now. If they’re bummed on the last Anderson Silva match, they could have a lot more of that coming.

    This is a very intriguing matchup since I think Rashad has the best shot at him.

    Hughes/Serra is such an afterthought at this point where the trash talk almost seems like your normal contrived beef. Most likely Hughes will win a decision in a lackluster fight.

  4. […] Here’s a quick clip from the upcoming Countdown to UFC 98 featuring Lyoto Machida’s father and karate teacher. If you’re wondering why Machida’s footwork is so good, it’s because his dad invented a new kind of karate based around movement because he was too small for the traditional style to work against larger Brazilian opponents. Sounds a little bit like another person who tweaked jiu jitsu and turned it into a cornerstone of the fight game. […]

  5. 45 Huddle says:

    Serra/Hughes will move this card to 500,000 PPV Buys.

    As much as people give Zuffa grief over their matchmaking, they are still easily the most friendly organization in the world for guys like Machida, Okami, & Leites. They obviously make it harder for some boring guys to get a title shot, but most organizations don’t even go after these fighters.

    I’m looking forward to this card. I hope Sherk sends Edgar to the WEC. Mostly because I think Edgar could be a real threat at his true weight class.

    I’m trying to keep my expectations extremely low for Evans/Machida, and then hoping for the best. This fight has the potential to be a snorefest.

  6. The Citizen says:

    Keee-aiiiii!!!!!

  7. Mark says:

    I don’t know about that, 45. They got delayed far too long after their TUF season that everybody forgot about their animosity. Beyond that it looks like two guys really close to retirement fighting. And only Randy Couture has been able to get away with that.Plus Hughes hasn’t been a draw since the 3rd GSP fight since the casuals wrote him off. I’m a Matt Serra fan and I’m not the very excited about this fight.

    And Zack is right, they’re going to have to stick some killer co-main events under Machida headlined cards. The casual fans treat Machida like 205 Tim Sylvia. And if he didn’t have things like Tito-Ken II under him his headlined shows would be duds.

  8. MIchael Rome says:

    300,000 would be a catastrophe. Hughes and Serra is still a big draw among their TUF base, this show will do quite well. They are on fire on PPV, it should hit between 450-550.

  9. IceMuncher says:

    Machida has a reputation for being boring, but his last three fights were actually pretty good. He finished Soko and Thiago decisively, and he dropped Tito with a knee and might have finished it in the first if he had another minute after that takedown.

    I think you’d be surprised how many casual fans like Machida. I was. He’s elusive, but he still attacks whenever he sees an opening. Okami and Leites (at least against A. Silva) are on a different level of inactive.

    Also, remember that this is a LHW titlefight. Of all the divisions in the UFC, this is the one that the fans care the most about. It’d do 500k without Hughes vs Serra.

  10. Dave says:

    Yeah, I think a lot of people undersell Machida with casual fans. I was talking to a few dudes at work today and was surprised how many of them thought Lyoto was awesome and was going to dispense with Rashad. Maybe it is selective, short term memory? His last few fights have been awesome, you gotta give him that, and it is so clear that he is a very skilled fighter.

  11. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    I’m again seeing the assertion that “casual fans” hate Lyoto Machida. Where is that coming from? He got a substantial pop from the audience at the last fight…

  12. 45 Huddle says:

    I could be wrong, but from the casual fans I have talked to, Hughes/Serra raises eyebrows, which typically means some decent buys.

    Cro Cop is officially back in the UFC. Confirmed by Dana White. Fighting at UFC 99. Should be interesting to see what he has left.

  13. Alan Conceicao says:

    Mirko’s in at UFC 99? Now? I guess someone told Dana that selling 7,000 tickets isn’t so impressive when the building holds over 20,000.

  14. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    So, that makes what, 4 former Priders on the main card at 99?

    Is that a new record? Do the Germans even care?

  15. 45 Huddle says:

    The 300,000 Buys… or $6.75 Million the UFC takes home from PPV Buys will make the tickets sold a non-issue.

    They have to start testing out new market in Europe besides the United Kingdom. If they fail, they still have the PPV backing to making it a financial success. It’s kind of a fail proof method of doing business. But it needs to be done eventually.

    And it’s only 3 former Pride fighters…. Wanderlei Silva, Heath Herring, & now Mirko Filipovic. I assume the 4th you were counting was Caol Uno, but he never fought in Pride. He was in K-1 the entire time since leaving the UFC.

  16. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Yeah, I was shaky on Uno. Should have looked, but it seems like every time I look, I come up with facts that are just as bad as my gut instincts.

  17. Dave says:

    Mirko vs. Al-Turk; two guys kneed in the balls by Chieck Kongo until they couldn’t defend themselves, THE FIGHT.

    Love it.

  18. robthom says:

    Does anybody?

    🙂

  19. Alan Conceicao says:

    I bet you moving the production crew and opening an office in Germany costs more than the 250,000 buys this show is gonna get them. Supposedly they want to run Hamburg now too in the winter; they must be trying to prove something.

  20. 45 Huddle says:

    I don’t know how Zuffa run’s their business, but a typical business will set up a cheap, small office with 5 to 10 employees in a new country. They will get outside council that is familiar with the economy. In this case, they would likely use the services of a German advertising firm who knows how to market to that consumer.

    So I highly doubt that would cost them over $5.5 Million, which is what you are saying. If it does, they aren’t running a smart European business model.

  21. Alan Conceicao says:

    The cheap office overseas, the advertising firm, and the shipping over of a production crew and equipment, in addition to getting space on telecommunications satellites, reserving space on PPV providers, and selling advertising for the UFC here in the US all costs money. That and their TV deal in Germany pretty much sucks being that they’re on in the not so competitive 1AM time slot opposite phone sex ad blocks and text message based game shows. They’re probably spending as much as they did in the UK, except that in the UK it was their second tour into the country and they had way better paying TV deals.

    At this point I’m convinced that the UFC thinks that with the economic slowdown in Germany they can force their way into the market by being a sort of de facto replacement for some of the boxing programming getting cut in August 2010 from ZDF. The only problem is that ARD (the biggest network) isn’t axing boxing, Prosieben has added some cards this year, and RTL is likely to pick up more K2 events.

  22. 45 Huddle says:

    So what do you suggest they do Alan? You sure seem to put down everything they do.

    They are taking calculated risks. Which is smart business. Sometimes those risks pay off. Sometimes they fail. But it’s necessary if they are going to determine what markets are strong, which one’s have potential, and which one’s are not worth going after in the future.

    Major sports have done the same thing, and have learned over time where they can and can’t go with exhibition and sometimes regular season special games.

  23. Alan Conceicao says:

    I’d suggest they try running newer markets in the US or revisiting ones they haven’t been to in awhile first while they try to get themselves something better TV wise in some of these countries. I mean if they want to waste money working on places like Mexico and Japan that they are never gonna actually run or places like Germany where they aren’t going to make any money, that’s fine. Its not my money. Its not my choice. I, for one have no idea why they aren’t running Atlanta again. Or Chicago. Or Mohegan Sun. Or Atlantic City. You may consider it negative, but sometimes the truth hurts.

  24. Vret says:

    “I’d suggest they try running newer markets in the US or revisiting ones they haven’t been to in awhile first while they try to get themselves something better TV wise in some of these countries. I mean if they want to waste money working on places like Mexico and Japan that they are never gonna actually run or places like Germany where they aren’t going to make any money, that’s fine. Its not my money. Its not my choice. I, for one have no idea why they aren’t running Atlanta again. Or Chicago. Or Mohegan Sun. Or Atlantic City. You may consider it negative, but sometimes the truth hurts.”

    You’re right, this Dana White guy obviously doesn’t know what hes doing.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/30815577

    obviously the UFC would be better off taking business advice from a successful and well established business man such as yourself.

    But really, if the UFC loses money on their first show in Germany it isn’t that big of a deal. Their shows in the UK were money losers to in the beginning, now they are profitable. And it wouldn’t be profitable if Dana just cut and run after a few shows in the red. Like they say in the business world, “to make money, you got to spend money”.

    Sooner or later they’re gonna have to enter these new markets and spend money to be successful.

  25. Alan Conceicao says:

    When the UFC purchased PRIDE, Zach can tell you what my thoughts were as to their future success. I gave them the benefit of the doubt then and, well, you saw what happened. I’m not giving them the benefit here, especially since I know a whole lot more about the fight game in Germany.

    As for the UK shows being profitable, if they lose their deal with Setanta, it will cost them money. Their live gates are way down compared to where they started and the buying power of the UK Pound is down too. The problem with pointing out the success of the UK is that they don’t have another UK show scheduled and they’ve got only got about 2 or 3 potential dates for one out there this year.

  26. Mark says:

    The “casual fans don’t like Machida” belief comes from seeing it constantly on various blog comments and message boards. It seems like every Machida topic had a “he’s boring!” VS “you just don’t understand MMA!” squabble going on. Of course MMA fans are one fickle bunch, so a KO streak will turn them into nuthuggers. But from most of what I’ve seen feedback-wise since his debut, he’s a hard sell to the masses.

  27. klown says:

    With every passing moment I grow more excited for Evans-Machida. Not just excited, fascinated! It’s one of the most important MMA fights in a long time.

  28. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    I don’t know if you’re being sarcastic or not, klown, but my April 30 synthetics are showing that this is the first 1v2 fight for a belt in LHW in…possibly ever.

    Both guys could quite easily be overrated because they have no losses on their records (hard to rank guys with no losses, because you don’t have a good baseline, basically their upside is unlimited without some sort of lower bound because of the way that confidence intervals work, draws help a bit, but in MMA they’re so infrequent that they’re more easily considered an anomaly), but right now, this is the best fight going, two very highly ranked guys, very similar ratings, entering the prime of their careers, and you’ve got the marketing bullet-point of their zero losses records.

    I’m honestly intrigued and pumped to see this fight.

  29. Alan Conceicao says:

    Wait, if Rampage/Forrest wasn’t a #1/#2 bout, who was in between them?

  30. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Note that these are synthetics, not the be-all-end-all of anything, they have a lot of known weaknesses (like any ranking).

    I hadn’t run those synthetics previously, but I just ran them and here are the top 20 LHWs as of June 30, 2008 (fight was in July).

    ChuckLiddell192 2,371.68
    LyotoMachida7513 2,333.69
    RichFranklin392 2,323.20
    VladimirMatyushenko435 2,305.37
    RenatoSobral274 2,305.24
    BasRutten214 2,286.53
    RashadEvans10200 2,285.43
    QuintonJackson348 2,281.21
    TravisWiuff3660 2,280.58
    WanderleiSilva209 2,279.61
    DanHenderson195 2,253.90
    IgorVovchanchyn300 2,237.96
    MauricioRua5707 2,218.12
    ForrestGriffin3526 2,215.70
    AntonioRogerioNogueira2270 2,155.00
    TitoOrtiz158 2,136.21
    RicardoArona1463 2,116.88
    TonyBonello7136 2,112.65
    JasonBrilz1927 2,092.79
    ThiagoSilva14396 2,083.54

    Ah, sorry, Franklin and Henderson are in there (based on their most recent class, and they should be MWs then), but the next few aren’t anyone interesting anyway. Liddell has been falling steadily since then, Machida has been mainly stable. You can also see another oddity, in that the database includes retired fighters, so you see that Bas is still in there (should he be LHW?)

    April 30, 2009 Top20 LHWs

    RashadEvans10200 2,393.78
    LyotoMachida7513 2,378.45
    RenatoSobral274 2,360.65
    DanHenderson195 2,315.00
    RichFranklin392 2,314.88
    MauricioRua5707 2,313.86
    ChuckLiddell192 2,299.91
    QuintonJackson348 2,289.91
    BasRutten214 2,284.83
    AntonioRogerioNogueira2270 2,274.22
    VladimirMatyushenko435 2,268.87
    WanderleiSilva209 2,246.76
    TravisWiuff3660 2,245.64
    IgorVovchanchyn300 2,233.18
    ForrestGriffin3526 2,223.96
    JasonBrilz1927 2,151.41
    TitoOrtiz158 2,132.07
    TonyBonello7136 2,128.76
    RicardoArona1463 2,120.13
    SanaeKikuta252 2,073.20

    (I’m regularly surprised by these things. Sanae Kikuta? I’m not sure he’s even correctly listed here as LHW, his Sherdog weight is 200, which is how he fell here).

  31. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Hm, I’m not sure if my comment got eaten or not.

    Note that these are just synthetics, and there are known weaknesses (accuracy of weight class information, inactive fighters are still included unless I’ve specifically excluded them, general difficulty in ranking fighters based on raw fight results…)

    These were as of June 2008. Just ran them.

    ChuckLiddell192 2,371.68
    LyotoMachida7513 2,333.69
    RichFranklin392 2,323.20
    VladimirMatyushenko435 2,305.37
    RenatoSobral274 2,305.24
    BasRutten214 2,286.53
    RashadEvans10200 2,285.43
    QuintonJackson348 2,281.21
    TravisWiuff3660 2,280.58
    WanderleiSilva209 2,279.61
    DanHenderson195 2,253.90
    IgorVovchanchyn300 2,237.96
    MauricioRua5707 2,218.12
    ForrestGriffin3526 2,215.70
    AntonioRogerioNogueira2270 2,155.00
    TitoOrtiz158 2,136.21
    RicardoArona1463 2,116.88
    TonyBonello7136 2,112.65
    JasonBrilz1927 2,092.79
    ThiagoSilva14396 2,083.54

  32. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    I posted a couple lists, but it looks like they got caught in the spam filters.

    As of that point in time, Liddell still hadn’t fallen all that far (he was highly ranked originally) and was still ranked first by my synthetic. Machida, Sobral, and Evans were all ahead of Rampage as well, and Silva and Rua (maybe a couple others) were between Rampage and Forrest.

    It’s a synthetic, not the word of god.

  33. Mark says:

    It’s great because nobody really has a strong assumption on what’s going to happen unlike most fights.

    If I had to pick I’d say Machida takes it. But then again Rashad has made a career out of winning the fights he shouldn’t with the Greg Jackson master strategies, so he could easily stun the world again. But if Rashad can’t beat Machida, I don’t know who in MMA could at 205. He isn’t a guy who is going to get arrogant and lazy, which is how most great fighters get beaten. He seems like a work horse in the gym with a desire to be the greatest that won’t die down.

    And on a side note, I’m going with Serra over Hughes by decision.

  34. klown says:

    Jeremy,

    I was not being sarcastic! I guess my comment was too exuberant to take at face value.

    While I do not believe Machida is truly #2 yet (the best fighter he’s beaten is Tito Ortiz) I am still super pumped for this fight.

    Stylistically, it’s a dream fight, and a rarity at that. This is one for all the nerds, the students of the fighting arts. I can’t wait.

  35. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    My posts keep getting strained by the moderation filters :/

    The list produced by my method as of June 30, 2008 was

    Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida, Renato Sobral, Bas Rutten (I forgot to filter the retirees), Rashad Evans, Quinton Jackson, Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio Rua, then Forrest Griffin.

    Really, Serra over Hughes? I think Hughes is a much better fighter with a lot better pedigree. Serra will make a fight of it, but unless he comes up with a lucky punch, I don’t think he wins it, Hughes by decision.

  36. IceMuncher says:

    I’ve also got Hughes taking it rather easily, but I must say I’m surprised by how many fans are picking Serra. Even more surpising was that the “Pros Picks” at Sherdog had Serra winning 10 votes to 8. I think it’s a combination of disliking Hughes and overlooking Serra’s average career because of the flukey GSP win.

    It’s unfortunate that the bookies aren’t falling for the Serra hype, I’d love to put money on it at even odds.

  37. klown says:

    Jeremy, what’s your method?

  38. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    I’m using Sherdog’s fight database and the Microsoft Applied Games Group’s F# implementation of Trueskill.

    http://blogs.technet.com/apg/archive/2008/06/16/trueskill-in-f.aspx

  39. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    There’s some other jujitsu involved on the data to make it useable, but that’s basically the deal.

    And there are my 50 posts on the subject :/

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