So we now know that a major heavyweight title fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos will headline the first ‘UFC On FOX’ event on November 12th.
The UFC’s decision to move a fight for the belt from a pay-per-view event to free TV is huge, not only because it shows the UFC’s commitment to delivering big fights on FOX, but also because the fact that it will be a five-round bout means that it will be the one and only fight airing live on the night.
That’s a huge gamble and puts a lot of pressure on the two fighters to deliver on the night.
The worst case scenario is that the fight turns into a five round snoozefest – perhaps with Velasquez using his dominant wrestling to completely neutralize Dos Santos on the ground.
If so that’s certainly not the best way to introduce millions of potential new fans to the sport.
On the other hand we may be treated to a quick finish – particularly when you consider that only three of JDS’ fights have made it out of the first round, and Velasquez has scored knockout victories in his last two Octagon outings.
While a big KO win would be fun it would leave FOX with a lot of air-time left to fill.
The first scenario is completely out of the UFC’s hands, but the latter is something that both the promotion and FOX are ready to deal with.
According to them a quick finish will either result in one the earlier preliminary fights (which won’t be shown on FOX or any of it’s other stations live) being aired, or a highlights package based on the rest of the night’s action based on the time available.
Meanwhile Dana White is banking on the two heavyweight’s doing what they’ve done in the past and put on a show for everyone watching.
“This is more than heavyweight title. It’s two heavyweights who will go out and put on a great fight,” White said during today’s conference call announcement.
“I’m literally betting everything that this won’t be a boring fight.”
I hope he’s right, and it certainly has the potential to be a blockbuster battle. I’d just have preferred safety in numbers – even the previous idea of a 1 hour show with two fights made me slightly nervous, whereas if it had been a standard two or three hour live show then I’d have been much more relaxed in the knowledge that in MMA it’s very rare for you to be able to go that amount of time without something exciting or jaw-dropping happening.
So, overall the news has left me extremely excited at the prospect of a title fight airing on free TV, and more than a little bit anxious. November 12th can’t come quickly enough.