The UFC returned to Loas Angeles, CA and the Staples Center on Saturday night. The event was the UFC’s 4th special on the FOX network. The main show on FOX featured four fights. Two of the fights featured Light Heavywieghts that would determine who will face the winner of the Jon Jones VS Dan Henderson for the division’s championship. UFC President stated earlier this week that the fighter who looked “Most Impressive” would get the future Light Heavyweight Title shot.
The show started with a Welterweight fight between Damarques Johnson and the returning Mike Swick. Johnson dominated the fight on the ground in the 1st round. When the 2nd round began the fight quickly turned around for Swick who was able to grab Johnson’s leg and take him down. While Swick was taking Johnson down when he delivered a knockout punch to Johnson and was victorious in his return to fighting after a 2 year absence.
The next fight had Joe Lauzon defeat Jamie Varner in a Lightweight contest via submission in the 3rd round. This was an incredible back and forth fight that had both men matched up pretty evenly. Varner seemed to get tired as the fight progressed. Lauzon took advantage of Varner’s fatigue with a triangle choke in the 3rd round that forced Varner to submit. Great showing for both fighters but this fight made Lauzon look like a star.
In the 1st of 2 Light Heavyweight bouts, Lyoto Machida defeated Ryan Bader in the 2nd round via knockout. Both fighters stood up during the 1st round and neither fighter took great risk or damage. Early in the second round Machida counter punched his way to a victory when Bader took a chance at charging at Machida with strikes. Machida looked good in this fight and ended it early like he was expected to do.
The Main event and final Light Heavyweight bout took place between Shogun Rua and Brandon Vera. This fight was won by Rua with a knockout in the 4th round. This fight was mostly dominated by Rua who had Vera on the ground for a lot of the fight and landed more strikes. Vera did looked good in the fight with the amount of punishment he was able to take and still push through. Rua won when he knocked Vera down to the ground with a punch against the cage and was able to finish it by punishing Vera. Rua admitted he was getting tired towards the 2nd round and it showed.
Dana White after the show was over announced that he felt Machida was “most impressive” and would recieve the future title shot. White’s decision was the obvious and correct one. Jon Jones is likely to be the Champion who will face Machida later this year or early next year. Jones does have to fight Dan Henderson who is a legend in the sport but probably will not be able to defeat Jones. Jones has previously defeated Machida so the fight will be difficult for the UFC to sell. That is the nature of the beast however and the UFC will just have to find a way to market the fight.
This was a solid show with good fights that did not go to decision. The UFC needs to continue to put good shows on FOX so that they can attract more casual fans. It would be to their advantage to put bigger fights on the FOX shows to expand the audience. The UFC feels their main focus should be PPV and not the network specials. At least this turned out to be a good show but the UFC needs to step up their game on FOX if they want to create new fans.