Perhaps we’re still feeling hungover from the UFC’s Fox debut, bloated on the analysis that’s dominated MMA media since Saturday’s heavyweight title fight, but this weekend’s UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson fight card has gone undeservedly overlooked.
Right off the top, the fight card features a five-round, non-title fight between light heavyweight MMA legends Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, throwbacks to the Pride era who are still ranked among the top fighters in their division. For hardcore MMA fans, this is a dream fight, but even new inductees to the sport can appreciate a battle between two hard-hitting, go-for-broke warriors who always leave it in the cage.
Supporting the main event will be a middleweight tilt between another Pride legend in Wanderlei Silva and flashy striker Cung Le. This fight between hard-charging stand-up fighters is surrounded by intriguing questions and promises fireworks. Former WEC champions Urijah Faber and Brian Bowles will also tangle on the main card in what should be another instant classic between the two scrappy bantamweights.
Add to the main card exciting tilts between high-quality fighters Martin Kampmann and Rick Story at welterweight, as well as Stephan Bonnar and Kyle Kingsbury at light heavyweight and you’ve got a pay-per-view card worth paying for, if there ever was one.
But we’re not done yet.
SpikeTV’s two-fight preliminary card broadcast features what could be a loser-leaves-town match between Ryan Bader and Jason Brilz, as well as a high-energy bantamweight fight between Michael McDonald and Alex Soto.
The rest of the preliminary card will be aired via Facebook and is also not to be missed. Talented middleweights Tom Lawlor and Chris Weidman will tangle at the top of the five-fight Facebook offering, which also includes a lightweight bout between Brazilians Gleison Tibau and Rafael dos Anjos, a bantamweight scrap between former champ Miguel Torres and Nick Pace, a fight between Matt “The Immortal” Brown and Seth Baczynski in the welterweight division and, finally, a lightweight donnybrook between Shamar Bailey and Danny Castillo.
This card may lack the single-star presence of an Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre or Jon Jones, but don’t sleep on UFC 139; it’s packed from top to bottom with quality fights and could very well end up going down as one of the UFC’s best shows of the year. FightLine will be back this Saturday with live, ongoing coverage of the fights, which go down from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.