Zuffa’s flagship promotion, the UFC, returned to network TV last night on the heels of a highly disappointing UFC 149 Pay-Per-View card to present UFC on FOX 4: Shogun vs. Vera. The UFC needed a big hit to make up for the debacle at 149 and they got one with their fourth effort on the major network. The opening bout between “Quick” Mike Swick (15-4) and “Darkness” Damarques Johnson (15-11) was a fast paced battle that culminated in a brutal come-from-behind KO courtesy of a “Quick” right hand. Next out, “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (22-7) set the UFC record for bonuses when he ended a “Fight of the Night” performance against “C-4″ Jamie Varner (20-7-1) with a “Submission of the Night” winning third-round Triangle Choke. In the co-main event, “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (18-3) earned a shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship with a picture perfect knockout of “Darth” Ryan Bader (14-3), and in the night’s main event, “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (21-6) fought, and won, a war against returning prodigal son “The Truth” Brandon Vera (12-6). The overall card was a phenomenal success and definitely left some smiles on the faces of more than a few network executives, but not everyone can be a winner. For that, MMA Gospel has The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
The following fight bonuses were awarded for UFC on FOX 4: Shogun vs. Vera
Submission of the Night:
Joe Lauzon (over Jamie Varner) receives $50,000
Knockout of the Night:
Mike Swick (over Damarques Johnson) receives $50,000
Fight of the Night:
Joe Lauzon and Jamie Varner each receive $50,000
Click here for the full list of UFC on FOX 4 results.
—MAIN CARD (on FOX @ 8:00pm ET)—
Mauricio Rua vs. Brandon Vera: Rua via TKO (Punches), Round 4, 4:09
Lyoto Machida vs. Ryan Bader: Machida via KO (Punch), Round 2, 1:32
Joe Lauzon vs. Jamie Varner: Lauzon via Submission (Triangle Choke), Round 3, 2:44
Mike Swick vs. Damarques Johnson: Swick via KO (Punches), Round 2, 1:20
Saturday night the UFC takes control of the FOX network airwaves for the fourth time since its primetime debut in November, bringing the fans of Los Angeles, California’s Staples Center a live spectacle courtesy of UFC on FOX: Shogun vs. Vera. Starting off the Pay-Per-View worthy main card is former top welterweight “Quick” Mike Swick (14-4) seeking a resurgence in his career after an injury and illness-riddled past two years as he squares off with TUF alum “Darkness” Damarques Johnson (15-10). WEC veteran “C-4″ Jamie Varner (20-6-1) looks to build on a recent upturn in his storied tenure as he faces submission aficionado “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (21-7). Co-main event honors go to elusive Shotokan Karate fighter and former UFC 205lbs. champion “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (17-3) and decorated NCAA Div. I wrestler “Darth” Ryan Bader (14-2), both of whom are hell bent on a rematch with reigning champion “Bones” Jon Jones (16-1). The event’s headliners pits PRIDE veteran and Chute Box fighter “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-6) against Muay Thai wrecking ball “The Truth” Brandon Vera (12-5), with the winner reportedly guaranteed a shot at UFC gold. A lot is on the line for these elite mixed martial artists at UFC on FOX 4, and it’s safe to say that virtually anything can happen. Here, the staff of MMA Gospel takes a crack at determining who will rise to the top come Saturday, and who will be sent to the back of the line.
With three solid showings already, the FOX network broadcasts a card deserving a spot on the Pay-Per-View rotation as the UFC presents UFC on FOX 4: Shogun vs. Vera. “Quick” Mike Swick (14-4) returns after a two-year hiatus to battle with “Darkness” Damarques Johnson (15-10) in the main card opener. “C-4″ Jamie Varner (20-6-1) hopes to continue his resurgence in the lightweight division when he meets submission specialist “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (21-7). In the co-main event, “Darth” Ryan Bader (14-2) returns after an impressive victory at UFC 144 to take on the unorthodox “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (17-3). The landscape of the light heavyweight division is bound for drastic change as a title shot is up for grabs in the main event. Former champion “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-6) will try to make his way to the top of the mountain, but he will have to challenge a fellow Muay Thai wrecking machine, “The Truth” Brandon Vera (12-5). Each has dawdled in the light heavyweight division rankings but now that the path to gold is set in stone for them, it’s crucial for both men to make the best out of this opportunity.
The UFC returns to network television on Saturday with a card headlined by PRIDE veteran “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-6) and Muay Thai specialist “The Truth” Brandon Vera (12-5). The card also features a pair of bouts between fighters struggling to redefine themselves within their divisions. “Quick” Mike Swick (14-4) returns after a long battle with various injuries to make his long-awaited welterweight title run. In his way is “The Darkness” Damarques Johnson (15-10), a TUF alum who is now desperate not to have his career defined as the launching pad for 170lbs. prospects. Lightweight gatekeeping submission prodigy “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (21-7) seeks to get back on the winning horse again after falling off at UFC 144 and to do it, he must defeat Jamie Varner (20-6-1), a former WEC champ who has recently emerged from one of the worst periods in his career. However, it isn’t just the two main event fighters who are hunting a title shot and it isn’t just the opening bout participants looking to redefine their careers. Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (17-3) went from 16-0 to 17-3 in his last four fights culminating in a loss to the current champion, “Bones” Jon Jones (16-1), however, Dana White has said that an impressive win could get him right back in front of the champ. Across from “The Dragon” is a man whose first loss was to Jones, TUF winner “Darth” Ryan Bader (14-2). Bader also eyes revenge and a shot at the belt, and he knows he must beat “The Dragon” in impressive fashion to get that chance.
The UFC is back on the big network as it hits FOX airwaves for the fourth time this Saturday. UFC on FOX: Shogun vs. Vera comes on the heels of a bitterly disappointing UFC 149 card and has a list of fighters that should be able to right the ship. Headlining the bout is former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-6) as he pits his high octane offense against fellow Thai Boxing specialist “The Truth” Brandon Vera (12-5). Ultra traditional Shotokan KO artist “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (17-3) will look to regain his place in the hunt for the 205 title he once held as he faces recovering TUF alum “Darth” Ryan Bader (14-2). Welterweights “Quick” Mike Swick (14-4) and “Darkness” Damarques Johnson (15-10) stepped up to the main card as openers when “Big” Ben Rothwell’s (32-8) bout against “Hapa” Travis Browne (13-0) was scrapped due to injury, and now filling the second slot, former WEC champ Jamie Varner (20-6-1) will look to shut down the talented submission game of “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (21-7).
The UFC returns this Saturday with a highly Pay-Per-View worthy fight card to be broadcast for free in their fourth installment on the FOX network. “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (21-7) and former WEC champion Jamie Varner (20-6-1) will meet in a promising lightweight match-up. The 205lbs. division is bound to get a new change in scenery as “Darth” Ryan Bader (14-2) meets former champion “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (17-3) in the co-main event. PRIDE veteran and former UFC champ “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-6) and “The Truth” Brandon Vera (12-5) battle it out to close the night’s proceedings in the main event. As if three big fights were not enough, the card will begin with a welterweight showdown between previous The Ultimate Fighter titans as “Darkness” Damarques Johnson (15-10) welcomes “Quick” Mike Swick (14-4) back to the eight-sided cage. Each man is in dire need of a win and with the same task to set the pace for the main card, Swick and Johnson are poised to draw fireworks come fight night.