Also, the alleged final UFC fight for former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and an excellent matchup between Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis. It looks like a great event on paper, but let’s take a look at five huge questions going into the event.
Will the flyweights be able to carry the ratings load on Saturday night?
We know the flyweights are usually full of action inside the octagon. However, this will be the first time that a flyweight fight will be the main event of a FOX card. There are a couple of things that the UFC and FOX probably carefully planned going into this event. There is no NFL football or college football to compete against. Also, this event has been HEAVILY promoted during NFL games for the past few weeks or more. There are viable names on the main card in Rampage Jackson, and to a lesser degree Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis. It’ll be interesting to see if this show can come close to the 4.4 million average of the UFC on FOX 5 event in December. I’m not sure it will, but I’ve heard as long as the UFC on FOX shows break 3 million viewers all things are well.
Will this REALLY be the last time we’ve seen Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the UFC?
We’ve seen it all before with some fighters saying they are leaving the UFC. Some have pulled a Tito Ortiz and say are leaving and go on a hiatus before ultimately re-signing with the promotion. Some fighters have left (i.e. BJ Penn) due to issues with UFC owners, and still ultimately come back to the promotion. However, Jackson says it’s not about the money but more so about the perceived lack of respect he feels regarding the UFC. It’s true he won’t make the money he’s currently making anywhere else. He has mentioned going into boxing, but he can’t knockout guys with four ounces gloves on anymore, so I’m not quite sure he would have success in that arena. He certainly won’t make the money he is currently making now. It’s a possibility that he could go to Bellator MMA or maybe do some professional wrestling I suppose. He is nearing the end of his MMA career that’s for sure, and I do believe him when he says he doesn’t want to fight in the UFC anymore. His options are fairly limited, and will definitely be limited should he lose to Glover Teixeira on Saturday night. Stay tuned for his post-fight interview should he be given the opportunity to speak.
Cerrone is a top 10 lightweight and certainly will be a difficult task for Pettis to overcome. Pettis was the final WEC lightweight champion, and the last guy to hand current UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson a loss. However, a loss in his UFC debut coupled with a lackluster win over journeyman Jeremy Stephens has put Pettis in a must win impressive mode on Saturday night. He did put Joe Lauzon away at UFC 144 in highlight reel fashion, but he needs a signature win over a legit top 10 fighter right now. Let’s see if he can get it on Saturday night.
Koch was supposed to fight Aldo for the title at UFC 149, but had to withdraw from the bout with an injury. Edgar took his place only to have the Aldo/Edgar fight delayed until UFC 156 due to injuries to Aldo. Lamas has won all three of his UFC fights since crossing over from the WEC, including wins over top fighters Hatsu Hioki and Cub Swanson. This one should be good, and I do think the winner will get the next title shot unless something crazy happens.
Guida has basically disappeared since losing a split decision against Gray Maynard in June 2012. It was a rather lackluster fight for him, and he decided to drop down to the featherweight division. He’ll be taking on Hatsu Hioki was was long thought to be the number two featherweight in the world before losing to Ricardo Lamas in his last outing. Guida was one of the better lightweights in the world, so let’s see if he can translate that success as a featherweight against a very tough fighter in Hioki.
Stay tuned to ProMMAnow (www.prommanow.com) for more UFC on FOX 6 coverage and fight analysis.