The early February UFC event is never a run-of-the-mill show. And the reason for that is football.
American football, to be clear. As the United States grinds to a halt on Super Bowl weekend, a tradition dating back to 1967, to watch on TV to find out which team will win the trophy with the oval ball, the UFC capitalizes on the excitement to put together an explosive event to precede it and draw in anxious spectators.
Well Dana White has decided to outdo himself in 2013. At UFC 156, set for February 2, an impressive lineup of fighters seems bound to, depending on how things pan out, relegate the Super Bowl to the background in the eyes of full-contact-sports fans.
The impact started with the announcement of the main event, with José Aldo defending his featherweight strap against former lightweight king Frankie Edgar. The second big battle confirmed was the one between ex-light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans and Brazil’s Rogério Minotouro, a fight the twin of heavyweight Minotauro classified as being the most important of his career.
That’s when the UFC burst the limits of its own high standards for excitement, announcing that Alistair Overeem will step into the octagon to face Antonio Bigfoot. And early yesterday morning submission savant Demian Maia was added to the card opposite Jon Fitch, both of whom won their respective fights at UFC Rio 3.
To add further thrills, a light heavyweight showdown between Lyoto Machida and Dan Henderson may well be added to the mix in the coming days, as the match has been made but the February 2 date has not yet been confirmed.
With so many big names and so many fights relevant to the MMA title landscape, the card is already causing palpitations in the hearts of fans of the late Pride FC event. And the parallel becomes all the more obvious when we remember that a number of these aces once performed in Japan, as is the case with Overeem, Dan Henderson, Lyoto Machida and Minotouro.
Now the order of business is to hope the ghost of injury doesn’t read its head, and that Dana calls up Wanderlei Silva! Check out the card, which is still being speculated on:
Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
February 2, 2013
José Aldo vs Frankie Edgar
Lyoto Machida vs Dan Henderson
Rashad Evans vs Rogério Minotouro
Alistair Overeem vs Antônio Pezão
Demian Maia vs John Fitch
Erick Silva vs ?
Urijah Faber vs ?