The UFC made its triumphant and long awaited debut on network TV Saturday with a single fight to offer FOX viewers a taste of what the organization has to offer prior to the launch of their long term broadcasting deal beginning next year. The UFC put its most prestigious title on the line between two of its most dominant and exciting fighters as “Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (14-1) took on Cain Velasquez (9-1) for the UFC Heavyweight Championship of the World and in just 64 short seconds the bout was over. UFC President Dana White had said before the event that this was the greatest moment in MMA history and he was very correct in calling it that, a moment. JDS landed a brutal right hook behind the ear of the now former champion and pounced, finishing the undefeated heavyweight in short order with a stunning first-round KO. Despite FOX Sports CEO David Hill reporting that “It delivered everything I hoped it would”, the fight, or to be more accurate, its brevity, has drawn mixed responses from the MMA community as a whole. The ratings fell short of what fans had expected and despite managing to pull 5.7 million viewers, more than any previous UFC bout, losing out in the 18-49 year old ratings war only to a major NCAA football game between top ten ranked teams Stanford and Oregon, it left many fans complaining that it was the wrong bout to introduce the UFC to the massive casual fan base hidden within the tens of millions that watch sports on FOX every week. While it certainly is easy to give critique through the rose colored lenses of 20/20 hindsight, the fact of the matter is that the resounding success of the event has been totally eclipsed by the “what ifs” “how wills” and “Should’ve could’ve would’ves” of the perennially pessimistic MMA fan base.
A pair of Season 5 Tournament finales crowned another set of tourney champions of their rightful place to fight for Bellator gold in last night’s most recent offering from the Chicago-based mixed martial arts promotion. Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, Canada served as the witness and the battle grounds for former MFC Welterweight Champion “The Phenom” Douglas Lima (19-4) to take on UFC veteran ”Killa B” Ben Saunders (12-4) in the Season 5 Welterweight Tournament finals match-up that also served as the main event. The 170lbs. marquis affair was preceded by a battle between Season 2 Middleweight Tournament Champion “The Storm” Alexander Shlemenko (33-4) and multi-time world Jiu-Jitsu champion Vitor Vianna (12-2) in the 185lbs. tournament finals. Light heavyweights John Hawk (6-4) and Roger Hollett (12-3) faced off for a spot in the upcoming light heavyweight tournament that begins next year. Kicking off the main card on MTV2 was Shark Fights and UFC veteran Douglas Evans (12-8) versus Bellator veteran Alexandre Bezerra (12-1) fighting for a spot in the upcoming 145lbs. tournament.