UFC on Fox: Examining Main Event Options for Network Debut

Could the UFC consider moving Cain Velasquez's title defense against Junior dos Santos up a week and onto UFC's Fox debut? (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Big news piled on top of big news when the UFC followed up on the announcement of their new contract to have events aired on Fox with the surprising revelation that the first of these Fox shows would be November 12. Most had assumed that the network debut wouldn't come until 2012 and as such it seemed that the possibilities for a major headlining fight were endless. Now, with only a few months and most of their top fighters tied up, the UFC seems short on options for a truly huge main event on an event where you know they want to make a splash.

So what are the options?

  • Lyoto Machida is one of the few "top" fighters not tied up with a planned bout. There had been a rumor of him facing Phil Davis at UFC 140, but that doesn't seem like a big enough fight to headline the very first UFC network event.
  • Dan Henderson would be a tremendous signing if they need Machida to main event. While Dan didn't bring Strikeforce huge ratings on CBS, he's a good enough name to face Machida and pull a decent number with the UFC brand tied to the card.
  • Dana White has said that they would consider moving scheduled fights and fighters from other fall shows. I've seen some people wonder if they'd be willing to move the Georges St. Pierre's bout with Nick Diaz. I just don't see that happening, GSP is one of the few guys they have that is an absolute guaranteed major PPV buy generator.
  • If they were willing to move a major title fight, it would seem that the Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos heavyweight title fight (currently scheduled for UFC 139) would be a good option. Both men are still unproven as PPV draws and a win in front of a national audience would do huge things for their profile. There is also always something enticing to the public about heavyweight championship bouts. The bout is scheduled for one week after the Fox show so it wouldn't really impact preparation timeframes, but it would leave the UFC needing a new main event for that show as Brian Bowles vs. Urijah Faber isn't strong enough.
  • Another fight I've seen floated is Vitor Belfort vs. Wanderlei Silva which doesn't match up given Wanderlei's bad loss to Leben and Belfort's quick win over Akiyama. I also just can't see a show that will have a large push with interviews involving two guys who don't speak solid English.
  • It's a bit of a longshot but, should Anderson Silva get out of UFC 134 without taking much damage, a rematch with Chael Sonnen would be massive on network television.

What options am I overlooking and does anything I've listed seem like a good idea for the UFC's first network television event?

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