October 23rd’s UFC 121 event in Anaheim, California is shaping up to be another huge event for the promotion.
Of course the show will be headlined by the UFC’s No.1 PPV draw, Brock Lesnar who will defend his title against Cain Velasquez, but it appears the promotion are supporting it with a number of other quality fights.
While the line-up has been officially confirmed as yet it’s understood that former light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz will return against Matt Hamill. It’s since been reported that rising heavyweight star Brendan Schaub is to take a step up to face Gabriel Gonzaga at the event. Another rumored heavyweight match-up sees Todd Duffee take on TUF 10’s Jon Madsen.
Elsewhere it’s already been established that recent defector from Strikeforce, Jake Shields will make his UFC debut against Martin Kampmann.
Finally Diego Sanchez has confirmed that despite losing to John Hathway in his return to the 170lb weight-class, he will stick at the weight, and takes on a tough opponent in Paulo Thiago who was until recently considered to be a top contender at welterweight.
Overall this is shaping up to be a very well rounded card for the UFC. It’s a contrast to Lesnar’s last fight earlier this month at UFC 116 where the promotion relied heavily on their No.1 star’s blockbuster showdown with Shane Carwin to sell the show. That proved to be a successful strategy with an estimated PPV buy-rate of between 1 – 1.28 million.
On this occasion though it looks as if they are bringing in more star power into the equation, though the reason for that isn’t immediately clear. It may be that they are looking to test just how many PPV’s they can sell with Lesnar fronting a strong card, or it could be that they feel that his fight with Cain Velasquez isn’t by itself going to generate the same kind of heat that his return from illness against Carwin was able to.
Either way it’s the fans who win with a quality night of fights to look forward to in late October.