This is what the fans wanted more of. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Traditionally the UFC has stacked both their New Year's card and the Super Bowl weekend card in February. This year they weren't able to pull out all the stops for either card but they managed better than in the star crossed early months of 2010.
In years past the UFC has set PPV records on New Year's with bouts like UFC 66's Chuck Liddell vs Tito Ortiz 2 in 2006 that was the first to break one million buys. 2008's UFC 92 was another epic card with two title fights including The Ultimate Fighter superstars Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans fighting for the light heavyweight title. That was another million+ buy event.
Last year thanks to a gruesome string of injuries and contract issues, the UFC had to settle for Rashad Evans vs Thiago Silva in a non-title affair that set a new floor for domestic PPV sales. The jury is still out on last night's UFC 125 card as a business proposition. Edgar vs Maynard was seen as an extremely weak draw for a title fight and plans to provide a strong supporting bout fell through as heavyweights Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson were taken out with injuries and legal issues respectively.
I can confidently predict that 125 will sell extremely well on replay today and the rest of the week, but there is little chance of a particularly strong PPV performance.
Now as for UFC 126, it's got a damn fine fight card, but it's hard to say if it will match past Super Bowl weekend cards. Middleweight champ Anderson Silva will defend his belt against the popular Vitor Belfort, but the fight the UFC and the fans wanted was an Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen rematch. After the epic trash-talk and even more epic bout at UFC 117, Sonnen's failure to pass his post-fight drug test was a bitter bitter disappointment for everyone.
The card is supported with a strong co-headliner as TUF era superstars and former champs Forrest Griffin and Rich Franklin meet in a bout that could propel one of the popular veterans into a title fight. But compared to past Super Bowl weekend fights like 2009's UFC 94 which pitted welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre against then lightweight champ B.J. Penn in a much anticipated rematch it's weak sauce.