Red carpets were rolled out, Mariachi bands were brought in, the stars came out in droves, Dana White wore a suit (no tie)… for what was billed as the most important fight in UFC history, the heavyweight championship of the world on LIVE prime time network television.
It lasted all of 64 seconds…
Cain Velasquez, the champ, started out landing some nice leg kicks but his takedown shot was stuffed, and many thought if he was going to win this fight he would have to put Junior Dos Santos on his back. That did not happen.
What did happen was a big sledge-hammer overhand right from “Cigano” that caught Velasquez behind the ear and sent him straight down to the canvas. Velasquez followed up with several more big shots and referee “Big” John McCarthy was forced to step in and stop it.
Velasquez said afterward that the shot behind the ear knocked his equilibrium out of balance and he felt it was an appropriate stoppage by McCarthy. It was the first loss of Velasquez’s five year pro MMA career.
For Dos Santos, it was his eighth straight win inside the Octagon since signing with the UFC in 2008. Five of “Cigano’s” UFC wins have come via knockout.
It is interesting to note that although Velasquez has been part of the UFC stable almost two years longer than Dos Santos, they have the same amount of fights inside the Octagon. Also, they both began their pro career in 2006 but “Cigano” has fought a total of five more fights than Velasquez overall.
As far as what is next for Velasquez, he is still a huge threat to the title and said he would like to fight again as soon as possible. It is almost a guarantee he and Dos Santos will have to meet again one day in the not too distant future.
Lesnar made a statement during the post-fight wrap up that no one can seem to hold onto the UFC heavyweight title for long, the division is just that stacked.
For whatever reason that has always been the case for the UFC heavyweight division; no one has ever been able to defend the belt more than twice consecutively (Lesnar, Randy Couture and Tim Sylva are all tied for two successful consecutive title defenses each).
UFC on FOX 1 a success?
The first thing UFC President Dana White wants you to know is that their deal with FOX has not even officially started yet. What fans saw Saturday night was more or less a “welcome to the family” gift from FOX to the UFC. — So do not complain there was only one 64-second fight and 58:56 of pre-fight and post-fight hype and commercials. You have no right to complain and you should be grateful you did not have to shell out $55+ to watch it.
Are you grateful?
Ok, we can move on…
According to early reports at TVbythenumbers.com UFC on FOX brought in a 2.4 rating with a 7 share in the 18-49 range and averaged approximately 4.64 million viewers (final numbers may show significant adjustments).
The verdict? — Kimbo won, but not by much (at least according to the early ratings).
The Kimbo-Thompson fight averaged 4.851 million viewers. It is not a huge win for Kimbo and keep in mind, the final numbers for UFC on FOX could show significant adjustment, as stated previously (or they could not).
In comparison, here are the average number of viewers on a couple past events involving the Youtube phenom:
- When Kimbo fought Roy Nelson on Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter” – 5.3 million.
- When Kimbo fought Houston Alexander on Spike TV’s TUF 10 Finale – 3.671 million.
NOTE: FOX and the UFC have published their own numbers from last night which you can read here: UFC on FOX debut scores big. According to their report, they beat Kimbo on CBS.
What could have been done differently?
Hindsight is 20/20. Anyone can look back and say the UFC should have done this, FOX should have done that. Most seem to agree, however, fans, whether new to the sport or not, did not get to see enough action on FOX Saturday night.
The co-main event between Clay Guida and Benson Henderson was “fight of the year” caliber. If the FOX viewers could have seen both, the Guida-Henderson and the Velasquez-Dos Santos fights, they not only would have gotten a better overall understanding of what MMA and the UFC was about, they would have been vastly more entertained.
If the Guida-Henderson fight was shown first, there is no doubt friends would have called friends, sons would have called fathers and said, “Are you watching this? You have to turn it to FOX.”
Then they would have been reeled in for the finale — the heavyweight bomb that got dropped on the champ. Viewers would have seen the best of both worlds.
Probably few could have guessed the fight with Velasquez and Dos Santos would have been so short. The bottom line is though, it just would have been nice if viewers got to see more action, that is all.
But as White himself pointed out, the UFC has a 7-year deal with FOX — and this was not even part of “the deal”. There will be plenty of time to show the world what MMA is all about.