By Josh Nason, WrestlingObserver.com
Saturday’s UFC on Fox event marks the 17th event for the organization since the beginning of April. Amid that sheer amount of violence has been some great fights, some good ones, and a lot of flotsam and jetsam.
And isn’t that why we complain about the amount of these cards? Because there are so many guys who really shouldn’t be considered UFC fighters but are getting an opportunity because Joe Silva and company need warm bodies? Yes, a few contenders emerge along the way but there are so many cases where what we’re seeing isn’t up to par with what we used to see.
We could just not watch, but isn’t that the point? We want to watch and want to be invested. But with 17 shows in four months at an average of 12 fights per show, that’s more than 200 fights that is happening in under the UFC auspices in a short amount of time. How many of those really stood out among even the hardest of the hardcore? 25%? 20%? 10%? That might even be generous.
If Dana White truly insists on having more than 45 shows per year, here’s my proposal: nine fights per event: five on the main card and four on the Fox Sports One prelims. You can stay consistent on PPV and simply adjust as needed for shows on Big Fox where four seems to be the standard for the “main card”. For Fox Sports One and Fight Pass primary shows, honestly, is there a big difference from when the main card starts and the prelims end?
What this means is that you’ll lose three fights per show and on a 45-show per year slate, that’s 135 fights. That means some guys will lose their jobs and be sent back to the indies, forced to have to earn their way back to the big time. And you know what? That’s ok. In a perfect world, there should be UFC roster limits to ensure that making it means something more than just filling a spot on a B show. The best of the best should be competing on every UFC show, literally fighting to keep their spot.
By cutting back on the roster and the amount of fights per show, the UFC could change the question Dana White once asked back to “Do you want to be an f’ing fighter?’ instead of “Do you want to be an f’ing fighter? If so, we could really use someone next week.”
For a preview of the show and an overall awesome talk about MMA, check out the latest Josh Nason’s Punch-Out with MMA Junkie co-founder Dann Stupp, will ya?
– Jack Encarnacao (68-24 | .739) Sherdog Rewind host, The Lapsed Fan podcast co-chair, Steve Austin impersonator
– Steve Juon (61-31 | .663) AngryMarks founder, MMA Mania writer
– David Bixenspan (59-33 | .641) Figure Four Weekly writer, Observer Daily Update writer, podcast host
– John Pollock (59-33 | .641) Fight Network personality, Live Audio Wrestling co-host, The MMA Report host
– Mike Sempervive (58-34 | .630) Wrestling Observer Live co-host | Big Audio Nightmare
– Front Row Brian (56-36 | .608) MMA newsbreaker, Twitter personality, podcast host
– Dave Meltzer (54-38 | .586) Wrestling Observer founder & writer, occasional cougher
– Josh Nason (54-38 | .586) Wrestling Observer digital media and content guy, WON Twitter enabler
– Mike Sawyer (54-38 | .586) Tough Talk MMA, 2014 picks panel champion
> Bantamweight Champion TJ Dillashaw (11-2) vs. Renan Barao (33-2-0-1) II
Even with all of the fights we’ve seen in the last few months, this one is really worth going out of your way to watch as there are questions on either side. The champ has been on the shelf since a fifth round KO win over Joe Soto, the last second replacement for Barao who passed out cutting weight for the fight. That’s been his only fight since the Barao upset, so are we sure we are witnessing the next great 135’er?
For Barao, he’s also fought just once since the loss and submitted Mitch Gagnon in the third round of their December fight. Before the Dillashaw loss, he won, like 200 fights in a row. How will his weight cut affect him? Is he truly hungry enough to want the title back?
Dillashaw (favorite): Nason, Bix, Sempervive, Meltzer, Pollock, Juon, FRB, Encarnacao
> Miesha Tate (16-5) vs. Jessica Eye (11-2-0-1)
In the battle to see who gets run over by Ronda Rousey next, there are compelling reasons to root for either side — something I talked about on this week’s JNPO. You may roll your eyes at another Tate/Rousey fight, but Tate has won three straight and with four in a row, why not? The 28-year-old Eye is 1-1-1 in her young UFC career and is coming off a 2nd round TKO of Leslie Smith.
Tate (favorite): Bix*, Nason, Sawyer, Pollock, Sempervive, Meltzer, Juon, Encarnacao
Eye: FRB, Meltzer
*Unless Wineland KOs Caraway!
> Edson Barboza (15-3) vs. Paul Felder (10-0)
This is the sixth straight time that the 29-year-old Barboza hasn’t fought on a PPV card which I thought was a fun fact. Mr. Fox Sports One lost a decision to Michael Johnson in February, snapping a two fight win streak. A UFC presence since 2010, Barboza just can’t seem to get long win streaks going enough to climb up the 155-pound ranks.
Felder is an injury replacement for Myles Jury who was an injury replacement for Anthony Pettis. The 31-year-old Felder has another interesting fight in his climb up the prospect ranks and is 2-0 in the UFC with a January 2nd round KO of Danny Castillo. This is a great fight to see what we have with Felder.
Barboza (favorite): Nason, Pollock, Juon, FRB, Meltzer, Encarnacao
Felder: Bix, Sempervive, Sawyer
> Joe Lauzon (24-10) vs. Takanori Gomi (35-10-0-1)
This big Fox opener is a great crossroads fight for both guys. The 31-year-old Lauzon saw a two-fight win streak snapped by Al Iaquinta’s fists in January. Since 2012, he’s 3-4 but still puts on entertaining fights with three FONs in that stretch.
The 36-year-old Gomi is coming off a September 2014 TKO dusting by Myles Jury. The former PRIDE star is 4-5 in his UFC run and doesn’t appear to be much more than a nostalgia act for the hardcores at this stage of his career.
Lauzon (big favorite): Nason, Sempervive, Bix, Sawyer, Pollock, Juon, FRB, Meltzer, Encarnacao
> Gian Villante (13-5) vs. Tom Lawlor (9-5-0-1)
This is truly the Wrestling Observer Match Of The Night as it features our weekly contributor Tom Lawlor. Therefore, we’ll be irrational and simply say that the Filthy one will steamroll Villante in about two minutes and that includes a minute and 55 seconds of posing.
Seriously, the 29-year-old Villante has won three of his last four and has won two straight, including a third round TKO of Corey Anderson in April. The 32-year-old Lawlor has been on the shelf since April 2013 recovering from a knee injury. He’s looking for his first two-fight win streak since 2009.
Villante (favorite): Nason, Bix, Sawyer, Juon, Encarnacao
Lawlor: Pollock, Sempervive, Meltzer,FRB
Keep up with all the coverage here on WrestlingObserver.com all weekend long!