The UFC’s next big offering FOX which takes place on January 26th will open up with a featherweight match-up between Erik Koch and Ricardo Lamas.
Given it’s prominent spot on a major event it’s safe to assume that the winner of this fight is a good bet to be the next title challenger in the 145lb division which is currently ruled by Jose Aldo.
In fact Koch had originally been scheduled to fight for the title in the summer of this year in Brazil, but an injury forced him off the card and in his absence he’s since been pushed down the pecking order slightly, with former 155lb champ Frankie Edgar now set to fight the Brazilian next.
Meanwhile, Lamas has quietly been working his way up the ranks, producing three straight wins since switching over from the WEC last year.
Koch and Lamas have been given this main card assignment over some other fighters who are better known, such as Clay Guida who’ll now makes his 145lb debut against Hatsu Hioki in the prelims on FX, while Ryan Bader also features on the undercard taking on Vladimir Matyushenko.
That may raise some eyebrows, but it is a good way to get guys like Koch and Lamas the kind of exposure that they need to become stars in the future, and they also happen to have the kind of action-packed fighting style that’s likely to deliver an entertaining fight and bring the kind of momentum that’ll set the FOX card off on the right track.
Having said that, overall it’s a main card that doesn’t have the same impact as ‘UFC On FOX 5’ earlier this month which was watched by an average of 4.4 million viewers.
They have put up another title fight as the main event, but it’s the 125lb flyweight title that’s on the line and neither current champion Demetrious Johnson or his challenger, TUF 15 winner Jon Dodson have a significant following yet.
That means that they’ll have to lean heavily on Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson’s star power to help draw in viewers as he takes on Glover Teixeira in what could be an explosive encounter.
The co-main event also features a cracking lightweight contest between Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis in the co-main event slot. This one has ‘Fight Of The Night’ written all over it and both men have the potential to be breakout stars for the UFC so it’s good to see them on here and hopefully they get a chance to shine in front of a big audience.
Overall I think we’re looking at a card here that’s probably not going to match up to the 4.4 million we saw for the previous show, but fingers crossed it can do better than the 2.4 million that the 2nd and 3rd edition’s in the series produced, and I have a good feeling that in terms of entertainment this line-up is going to deliver.