FanPost

Spring Break- Analysis of UFC's First Quarter of 2012

Note: I had this idea for a FanPost in my head but when it came time to make it, I wasn't happy with the product. I wasn't going to post it, but I had half of it written and a couple people told me to post it anyway, so I finished it up and here it is.

Well, here we are. With the conclusion of UFC on FX 2 on Saturday, the UFC is set to take a six week break from fight cards. While Zuffa still has running the 16 fight, 2.5 hour Ultimate Fighter Live premiere on their hands, most of those employees finally get a sigh of relief after the packed schedule. The six week break is one of the longest in recent memory and is mostly due to the cancellation of UFC 145 in Montreal, instead opting to shift 145 back to April 21st in Atlanta. The UFC has had a slight trouble getting solid Main Events for some cards and opting to postpone 145 is a great idea, as it is protection for diluting cards just to be able to fit more in the schedule. Thankfully TUF should be able to hold us over until the UFC makes their triumphant return with a solid Fuel TV card headlined by Alexander Gustafsson and Rogerio Nogueira.

Enter 2012

The UFC put on seven fight cards in the first quarter. Only three were Pay Per Views, which is a nice surprise since we're used to a large majority being pay cards. This Fox deal is working out amazingly.

FLYWEIGHTSSSS

The UFC decided to hold a four man tournament to crown the inaugural champ at 125 lbs. At UFC on FX 2 Joseph Benavidez knocked out Yasuhiro Urushitani to secure his spot in the finals. Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall had a fight for the ages. I picked Mighty Mouse in the BECW and I had real life money on him, but by the middle of the third round I was screaming for Ian McCall to finish Johnson. The fight was bonkers but when I heard the split decision announcement, I knew it wasn't going to go Uncle Creepy's way. A few hours later I heard of the Athletic Commission's error. The UFC has the foresight to install a sudden victory fourth round in the event of a draw, and they fuck it up. They robbed us of a guaranteed epic round to decide who will be fighting in the finals. I will never forgive them.

The Flyweight division has all the makings for incredible fights. I cannot be happier with the UFC's decision to implement it.

Title Fights

  • Jose Aldo vs Chad Mendes- Jose Aldo put on a masterful performance after he literally kneed a hole through Chad Mendes's face just before the first round ended (okay, maybe it wasn't a literal hole through his face but it felt like it was). Aldo then sprinted out of the cage and partied with his countrymen in a scene that seemed straight out of a movie. The UFC doesn't like to party and has since told Aldo to remain in-cage after the fights (screw them for caring about safety).
  • Nick Diaz vs Carlos Condit- With Georges St-Pierre's second knee injury in 2011, the UFC set Nick Diaz up with Carlos Condit for the Interim Welterweight Belt. Condit displayed an amazingly smart performance, never letting Diaz corner him against the cage, and picked him apart while Diaz couldn't land his plethora of punches. The Interim Title seems to be rather more useless than normal since Condit will not be defending it before rematching GSP. This is smart for Condit but I'm bitter because we don't get an Ellenberger rematch yet.
  • Edgar vs Henderson- The UFC's return to Japan saw Benson Henderson take it to Frankie Edgar and steal his title in a close fight, albeit Henderson being a clear winner.

That Number 1 Spot

  • Rashad Evans vs Phil Davis- After a decent five rounds between two explosively athletic Light Heavyweights, Rashad Evans clearly edged Phil Davis for a shot at Jon Jones. No-bod-ee waz imprezzed by his porformance though, as Jones opened up as a huge -600 favorite over Evans.
  • Chael Sonnen vs Michael Bisping- Sonnen beat Bisping after a hard fought three rounds. Most people, myself included, expected him to steamroll Bisping but Bisping looked much improved in the losing effort that launches Sonnen into one of the greatest rematches ever against Anderson Silva. If you haven't seen NickTheFace's trailer for Silva/Sonnen 2, go watch it now. Then watch it again.
  • Demtrious Johnson vs Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez vs Yasuhiro Urushitani were sort of number one contender fights since the winners will now be fighting for the title. We saw two fairly incredible fights, but Johnson and McCall will be rematching while Benavidez has to be sidelined for a bit.

Number Analysis

Event

PPV Buys/ # of Viewers

UFC 142

225,000

UFC 143

400,000

UFC 144

375,000

UFC on FX

1.3 million viewers

UFC on Fox 2

4 million average, 6 million peak

UFC on Fuel

217,000 viewers

UFC on FX 2

Should be announced soon

With only three PPVs so far, there isn't much to look at. UFC 142 didn't have any popular names and likely hit the UFC's floor. 400,000 and 375,000 buys for 143 and 144 are really, really fantastic. Back in 2010 these types of cards probably would've done 500k or more, but after so many disappointing numbers in 2011, these have to be considered good.

On the flip side, we've had four free events. The FX numbers were definitely solid but not mind blowingly spectacular. The FX 2 numbers should be in any day now. Hopefully we see them trend upward. The Fuel numbers set a record for the station by almost doubling their previous high. While not very many people saw the Fuel fights, the numbers at least makes Fox happy as their Fuel viewership continues to rise, which is good.

Quarterly Awards

Best Knockout: Edson Barboza over Terry Etim (just give him KO of the Year now)

Edson_barboza_spinning_heel_kicks_terry_etim_-_ufc_142_medium

Runners up: Tim Boetsch, Jose Aldo, Stephen Thompson, Issei Tamura, Anthony Pettis

Best Submission: Dustin Poirier over Max Holloway

Dustin_poirier_mounted_triangle_armbar_max_holloway_ufc_143

Runners up: Vitor Belfort (for the awesome factor), Vaughan Lee, TJ Waldburgur, Charles Oliveira

Fight of the Quarter: Demetrious Johnson vs Ian McCall

6_medium

Runners up: Frankie Edgar vs Benson Henderson, Diego Sanchez vs Jake Ellenberger, Yushin Okami vs Tim Boetsch, Demian Maia vs Chris Weidman

Card of the Quarter: UFC 142

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I think this is going to be controversial. Most people probably think 144 was better, but I have to go with 142. 142's Main Card was absolutely insane and all five bouts were nuts. I have to give it the nod for Belfort's win and Aldo's celebration. 144 had too big of a disappointment in Rampage vs Bader and Akiyama vs Shields. Not that those bouts weren't good, just frustrating.

Best Moments

This is a bullshit catch-all category just highlighting some of the cooler things I've seen this year. I didn't want to rank or order them so you guys get more bullet points:

  • Jose Aldo's entrance+post-KO celebration in the crowd at UFC 142
  • Jorge Rivera's comeback KO win against Eric Schafer in his retirement fight
  • Rampage Jackson's Pride music entrance at UFC 144
  • Tim Boetsch's beast mode comeback KO against Okami at UFC 144
  • Benson Henderson celebrating with his mother after winning the title from Frankie Edgar at UFC 144
  • Vitor Belfort managing to get his arms around Anthony Johnson's fat neck and finishing the waaaay overweight fighter at UFC 142

Looking Ahead

The UFC doesn't hold another event until April 14th. Until then, TUF has to hold us over, but once we get there, it should be great. The UFC has 8 scheduled events for April, May, and June. Five of those are free, and three are Pay Per Views. In the three Pay Per Views, we get to see three Title Fights as Jon Jones finally fights Rashad Evans (one of them will probably get injured and have to pull out though), then the epic Heavyweight fight between Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem, and finally the long awaited rematch between Chael P. Sonnen and Anderson Silva-in Brazil, no less. The UFC better hire extra security. If you thought the "You're gonna die" chants directed at Chad Mendes were crazy, just wait til they see Sonnen. UFC 145 and 147 are both going to do more than 500,000 buys, which the UFC is starving for. 146 is a total wildcard since we have no idea how well JDS or AO will draw.

In terms of free events, the UFC will continue to kill it. We're getting 50 to 60 free fights in the next three months. Just think about that for a second. Has this ever happened in UFC or MMA history? Here are the announced or planned fights for UFC on Fuel 2 and 3, and UFC on Fox 3 (click for bigger image):

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That's nuts. It's not even including the Ultimate Fighter Live Finale on June 1st or UFC on FX 3 on June 22nd. This deal with Fox is actually doing better than I expected. In non-UFC events, we'll finally be seeing the end of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Gran Prix on May 19th, along with Nate Marquardt's first Welterweight fight against Tyron Woodley for the vacant belt. It's a beautiful time to be an MMA fan.

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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