UFC on Fox 11 main card announced, Dos Anjos vs. Nurmagomedov relegated to prelims

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

The UFC on Fox 11 main card lineup is set, but a notable exclusion is a key lightweight fight between Rafael dos Anjos and Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Yesterday afternoon the UFC sent out an official press release detailing their coverage for UFC on Fox 11 this April in Orlando, Florida. The full main card lineup was announced as well as a few finalized prelims. As was announced long ago, heavyweights Travis Browne and Fabricio Werdum comprise the night's main event, but new information from the release confirms Miesha Tate vs. Liz Carmouche as the co-main event, Donald Cerrone vs. Edson Barboza in the middle of the main card, and middleweights Brad Tavares and Yoel Romero opening up the Fox broadcast.

The glaring observation from the announcement was Rafael dos Anjos vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov evidently being pushed to the Fox Sports 1 prelims instead of the main card, which will certainly garner at least double the typical viewing audience of FS1 prelim specials. Instead, RDA/Nurmagomedov, a battle of top 10 lightweights who are 1-2 wins away from a title shot, will duke it out on the prelims along with other matchups such as Pat Healy/Jorge Masvidal, Thiago Alves/Seth Baczynski, and Josh Samman/Caio Magalhaes.

It's puzzling to me that given the UFC's own brief pushing of Nurmagomedov as the super dangerous guy that "nobody wants to fight", they found someone for him to fight and are not advertising him as big enough to be on the Fox main card. With all due respect to Brad Tavares and Yoel Romero, who have both been on a roll at 185, they're ranked at the bottom end of the top 15 and are not really in any particular position to be serious contenders within the next few months. I'd also question the decision to put Tate/Carmouche as co-main event when they're both coming off fairly lopsided losses AND have been defeated by women other than Ronda Rousey in the UFC, but I put that down to the UFC pushing Tate's perceived "star power" from TUF and UFC 168 more than anything else.

If the purpose of the UFC on Fox was to take a set of PPV caliber fights or at least showcase top 10 talent on network television, then shoving Dos Anjos/Nurmagomedov to FS1 is a completely counterproductive move both for this fight and for the lightweight division in general, which has basically been unable to muster up any sort of decent drawing power since B.J. Penn lost his title to Frankie Edgar.

Alas, here's the current fight card for UFC on Fox 11, which sees the main card start at 8 PM ET and prelims on FS1 at 5 PM ET:

Main Card (Fox)

Fabricio Werdum vs. Travis Browne
Miesha Tate vs. Liz Carmouche
Donald Cerrone vs. Edson Barboza
Brad Tavares vs. Yoel Romero

Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1/Fight Pass order TBD)

Rafael dos Anjos vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Pat Healy vs. Jorge Masvidal
Thiago Alves vs. Seth Baczynski
Santiago Ponzinnibio vs. Jordan Mein
Josh Samman vs. Caio Magalhaes
Derrick Lewis vs. Jack May

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