This weekend on ppv. Saturday evening, January 2, 2010. Here is the card:
Rashad Evans vs. Thiago Silva
Dustin Hazelett vs. Paul Daley
Joe Lauzon vs. Sam Stout
Jim Miller vs. Duane Ludwig
Junior Dos Santos vs. Gilbert Yvel
Martin Kampmann vs. Jacob Volkmann
Cole Miller vs. Dan Lauzon
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Steve Cantwell
Mark Munoz vs. Ryan Jensen
Mike Pyle vs. Jake Ellenberger
Rafael Oliviera vs. John Gunderson
Lets take a moment to look at this card as a whole....it just does not appear to be a PPV card worth the value. There is a reason for this....many reasons actually. Nearly every fight on this card has been changed at least once due to injury. Seriously every fight except the main event has been changed. I've also heard rumors that Silva is injured a bit, but being forced to stay in the fight by the UFC. Believe what you want about that, this card appears very very weak for a PPV. So these weak looking cards are usually the ones that produce the most exciting fights, right? I hope so. This will likely be one of the lowest grossing PPV cards for the UFC in recent history. Having said all that, there are some real interesting matchups here:
Evans vs. T.Silva - We all know Evans was supposed to fight Rampage in December. T.Silva is a very very decent replacement at the very least. Honestly, If T.Silva is healthy, I would expect him to win this fight at least half the time. If T.Silva is healthy, I see a very exciting fight. If he is banged up in the least, Rashad should take it quite easily.
Hazelett vs. Daley - Just the fact that this fight is the co-main event lets you know how difficult a time the UFC must have had putting this frankenstein of a card together. Daley is coming off a huge debut win vs. Kampmann. Hazelett is coming out of nearly a year off for knee surgery. He was supposed to face Karo a few weeks ago, but we all know how that went down. If it stays standing and Daley can connect, KO. If Hazelett can get this fight to the ground, SUB. Who can impose their will here?
J.Lauzon vs. Sam Stout - Another matchup with a similar scenario to Hazelett vs. Daley. Lauzon is much more well rounded than Stout. Stout will want this fight standing, Lauzon will try to stand for a while, but ultimately will try to take it to the ground. Lauzon by submission is my thought on this fight.
Miller vs. Ludwig - By all counts, Miller should win this fight. BUT, Ludwig is an excellent striker, with very very good power. If he connects, it could be over. I guess there is a theme here as this could be considered a similar scenario to the above two fights. Miller by something on the ground is my thought here.
Dos Santos vs. Yvel - This fight IMO is Dos Santos' to lose. He should get another highlight reel KO. Don't think that Yvel is a pushover, he has skills and a lot of experience, but I think JDS is on another level right now.
There are some fun matchups on the undercard too....Kampmann trying to get back in the win column, Vlad vs. Cantwell is a fun fight....Cantwell NEEDS a w to stay employed, Miller vs. D.Lauzon is fun too.
The UFC knows this is not the normal expected quality looking card for a PPV, but they have been totally screwed this time by injuries. I will be interested to see how they operate this time. I'd like to think that, time permitting, we would get to see absolutely as many of these fights as possible, but that depends on the fighters. This would be much better as a free Spike card for sure.