This Fan Post was promoted to the front page by Nick Thomas.
The UFC officially confirmed the full fight card for UFC Fight Night 17 emanating from the Sun Dome in Tampa, FL on 2/7/09. Currently, four fights are scheduled to be broadcast live on Spike, although as always, if we see quick finishes, under card fights will likely be shown.
The interesting part is the UFC's choice of which fights made the telecast:
Main Card Bouts:
Joe Lauzon 16-4-0 Vs. Hermes Franca 20-7-0
Cain Velasquez 4-0-0 Vs. Denis Stojnic 5-1
Mac Danzig 19-5-1 Vs. Josh Neer 24-7-1
Amir Sadollah 2-0-0 Vs. Nick Catone 6-0-0
Kurt Pellegrino 17-4-0 Vs. Rob Emerson 10-6-0
Alessio Sakara 17-7-1 Vs. Jake Rosholt 5-0-0
George Sotiropoulos 9-2-0 Vs. Matt Grice 10-1-0
Gleison Tibau 27-5-0 Vs. Rich Clementi 40-13-1
Luigi Fioravanti 13-4-0 Vs. Anthony Johnson 6-2-0
We knew Danzig/Neer and Lauzon/Franca were going to be the "co-main events", but in the other two televised fights, Catone and Stojnic are making their debuts, and Velasquez and Sadollah have just 3 UFC fights and 5 total fights between the two of them. Obviously, Sadollah was the winner of TUF 7 and Zuffa is likely to promote him as much as possible, while Velasquez (along with Shane Carwin) is consider to be one of the "next big things" at heavyweight so the UFC wants to get him some TV time too.
But look at some of the fighters on the under card: Rich Clementi (5-4 UFC), Alessio Sakara (4-4, 1NC UFC), Kurt Pellegrino (4-3 UFC), Luigi Fioravanti (4-4 UFC), Gleison Tibau (3-3 UFC), and Anthony Johnson who's one of the most exciting prospects the UFC has at 170. Sure, most of these guys aren't world-beaters, but you have a loaded fight card full of established veterans, several of whom have won fight-of-the-night, sub-of-the-night, or KO-of-the-night bonuses on multiple occasions, and they're being kept off TV in favor of rookies.
Do I think the UFC should put TUF winners and blue-chip prospects on the under card? Not necessarily. But the recent Fight for the Troops and TUF 8 Finale cards had 5 scheduled fights each, with several under card fights making the broadcast in addition, and I'd argue that this event is way more stacked with talent than either of those two cards.
Essentially, it would have been nice if Spike made this a 3 hour event and allowed for at least one more scheduled fight, along with "breathing room" for possible under card fights to be aired.
One possible explanation might be the fact that 5 of the 9 bouts are in the lightweight division, and if Velasquez/Stojnic and Sadollah/Catone ended up on the undercard, you might end up with an all-lightweight main card. I, for one, wouldn't have a problem with that, but the UFC is likely trying to push their weaker middleweight and heavyweight divisions, considering how stacked things are at 155, 170, and 205.
UPDATE [from Luke Thomas]: It's also the case that even UFC Fight Night cards generally lean TUF participant heavy with more weight generally being added to participants from later seasons. And to that Rosholt is being kept on the undercard for development purposes and you have what you have.