The UFC on FOX 7 event is set to take place Saturday night from San Jose, California, and will take place at the HP Pavilion. The main event will feature the UFC lightweight title fight between champion Ben Henderson and Gilbert Melendez.
The co-main event will consist of a heavyweight bout between Strikeforce import Daniel Cormier and former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir.
It’s a loaded FOX card in terms of matchups, but the questions going into the event are probably even more intriguing. Check out the top five below.
Will the UFC on FOX 7 event reach the magical 3 million viewer mark?
I’ve heard from various sources in the past that the benchmark for a successful UFC event on FOX is anything north of 3 million viewers. If a show reaches that mark people are content, and if the ratings go higher, well obviously they are more than happy. The interesting part about this card is that it is pretty stacked in terms of name value. It features a lightweight title fight with Ben Henderson in the main event on FOX for the second time(UFC on FOX 5 was first time headlining on FOX). The UFC on FOX 5 event averaged 4.4 million viewers and peaked with 5.7 million. However, that card was heavily promoted during the NFL football season, and this UFC on FOX 7 event will not have that luxury. That’s one of the reasons there are some recognizable fighters on this card. This card will not have a lot of competition that will draw viewers away. The UFC on FOX 3 event that took place relatively around the same time last year only averaged 2.4 million viewers. We’ll see if the title fight, and name recognition of the fighters get this card over the hump.
Will Strikeforce fighters making their UFC debut having a winning record at the event this weekend?
There are seven former Strikeforce fighters making their UFC debut this weekend(really six if not counting Josh Thomson). They are all going up against solid if not very good levels of competition. Gilbert Melendez is fighting for the UFC lightweight title against the best lightweight in the world. Daniel Comier is taking on former heavyweight champion and top 10 heavyweight Frank Mir. Josh Thomson is fighting Nate Diaz who fought for the lightweight title in his last bout. Lorenz Larkin is making his debut against Francis Carmont who is thought to be a rising prospect. Jorge Masvidal is taking on Tim Means who is (2-0) in the UFC. Roger Bowling is taking on dangerous muay thai striker Anthony Njokuani, and Yoel Romero is taking on Clifford Starks who is (8-1, 1-1 in the UFC).
Will Gilbert Melendez be able to prove he’s a top five lightweight?
I’ve been torn watching Melendez fight in Strikeforce. There’s a part of me that doesn’t believe he’s a top five lightweight because of his past 2-3 performances against fighters that were not considered top 10. Then there’s a part of me that believes he’ll come into this fight with a huge chip on his shoulder, and extra motivation to make a statement in his UFC debut. He really hasn’t beaten anyone of note besides a very one dimensional Shinya Aoki and an aging Tatsuya Kawajiri who has fought at 145 pounds in his last four fights. I suppose we’ll see what’s up on Saturday night. A loss against Henderson will confirm my thoughts all along, but a win over Henderson wouldn’t certainly support the thought that Melendez was going through the motions with little challenges while in Strikeforce.
Does Nate Diaz stabilize his stock with a win over Josh Thomson or his precipitous drop from the lightweight rankings with a loss?
This is a lose-lose fight for Nate Diaz. He’s fighting a guy that’s not ranked in the top 10, stylistically isn’t a good fight for him since Thomson will likely be able to take him down, and Diaz is already coming off a loss in his last fight. A loss here would certainly hurt his stock in terms of Diaz ever being in title contention. I think he’s the type of fighter that people will always look forward to watching him in action. However, at some point you have to be able to beat guys like Thomson.
Does Frank Mir have a legit change of beating Daniel Cormier on Saturday night?
Frank Mir has been constantly talking about his submission game leading up to this fight, but what he fails to realize is that the fight will never hit the ground unless Cormier decides to take him down. Cormier is a very cerebral fighter and will pick and choose wisely if and when he does take Mir down. This fight is Cormier’s to lose really, and the real question should be will he stay in the heavyweight division or announce a move to the UFC light heavyweight division to fight Jon Jones after beating Mir on Saturday night?