Viewers' guide to UFC on Fox 2
It's being referred to as "UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis" by the fight promotion and the TV network. But that's only because "UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis and Sonnen vs. Bisping" sounds too cumbersome. And because "UFC on Fox: Sonnen vs. Bisping and, Oh Yeah, Evans vs. Davis, Too" sounds unduly disrespectful.
When is a main event not the main event?
When another fight suddenly appears on the card and supersedes it.
Even back when the event was announced, with two of the three bouts on Saturday night's telecast (8 p.m. ET, FOX) different from what we have now, it should have been given a name such as "UFC on Fox: Eliminator" or "Fight for the Right" or something more poetic but no less vague.
After all, Rashad Evans and Phil Davis will be fighting for the right to take on Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight championship. (Actually, only Rashad has been assured of a title shot if he wins, though a Davis victory would make him difficult to overlook.) And the original second-billed bout, between Chael Sonnen and Mark Muñoz, was an eliminator to determine who'll next challenge middleweight belt holder Anderson Silva. Then Muñoz was injured in training, and the UFC called on Michael Bisping, who'd been slated to fight Demian Maia in the telecast's opening bout, to step in against Sonnen. That ramped up matters considerably. You might say it created a mismatch.
No, I'm not counting out "The Count." A fight with Sonnen (26-11-1) represents a step up in competition for Bisping (22-3), just as Evans (16-1-1) is a bigger challenge than the 9-0 Davis has ever faced. But both Michael and Phil have the skills and toughness to get the job done or at least give it a good go. The mismatch I'm talking about is not in the octagon but rather in the pre-fight hype.
Sonnen and Bisping are two of the most polarizing figures in the UFC, making their serendipitous matchup a trash-talking superfight. When their fight was announced, they actually started out by saying nice things about each other. It was surreal. But they've since begun to get into a rhythm of disharmony (see "Fighting Words," below), and we still have plenty of time until fight night.
Evans vs. Davis? They're trying to talk trash, they really are, but neither seems to have it in him. Davis is an amiable fellow, always smiling, and Evans showed himself to be a soft-spoken, humble mama's boy during his frequent appearances on ESPN's
At least not in comparison to Sonnen, who is like the sitcom character whom you know is a caricature but you still can't wait to see what he comes up with next. Just as no goofy neighbor is quite as goofy as Kramer, no MMA fighter talks the talk with the virtuosic voice of Chael Sonnen. He might not be fighting in the final bout of Saturday night's UFC on Fox event, but you can expect him to get in the last word.
Weidman is 7-0, coming off a pair of first-round submissions. But the two-time Division I All-America wrestler out of Hofstra, who in 2007 placed third nationally in the 197-pound weight class (Phil Davis was fifth), might want to be cautious when on the mat with Maia, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and 2007 ADCC Submission Wrestling world champion. Is it too soon for Weidman to take such a step up in competition? I don't think so. Win or lose, the experience will do him well.