When Dana White announced in September that Randy Couture was coming back to the UFC to fight Brock Lesnar for the heavyweight title he also promised that this would be the “biggest fight in UFC history.” And while Couture vs. Lesnar has the making of an epic battle, the remaining rumored card leaves something to be desired.
The current rumored UFC 91 card appears like this:
Champ Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar *
Kenny Florian vs. Joe Stevenson *
Nate Quarry vs. Demian Maia
Dustin Hazelett vs. Tamdan McCrory *
Nick Catone vs. Amir Sadollah
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Josh Hendricks
Jeremy Stephens vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Mark Bocek vs. Alvin Robinson *
The UFC has only announced the starred items above, and in the world of the UFC things can change rapidly, so nothing is set in stone. However, if history is any indication there won’t be a significant change from the list above and on fight night.
Without question, the Main event is one of the most intriguing match ups in UFC history. The older, smaller and more experienced Couture taking on the former WWE star and MMA newcomer. The former NCAA wrestling champion is bigger, stronger and has competed in all of 3 professional MMA fights. This fight is a winner no matter how you slice it.
Florian vs. Stevenson is another great match up and with a win, will move either of them one step closer to BJ Penn’s title. This fight is a winner as well.
But beyond those two fights, this card lacks big named fighters. Quarry-Maia is interesting, and both are tremendous fighters. However, neither has a enough name recognition to draw a large interest and are both still 2 or 3 wins away from a title shot.
Watching Amir Sadollah’s first fight since TUF 7 will be interesting, but his opponent Nick Catone is a complete unknown in the UFC. Hazelett – McCrory are both incredibly talented and this could be for a title shot… in about 2 years. However, currently neither is in a position to carry a card or evoke a lot of interest from the casual MMA fan.
What is most disappointing with the line up is that rumors ran rampant that Wanderlei Silva and Quinton Jackson would be on this card and fighting each other for the 3rd time, in what would have been one of the most hyped trilogies in the history of the sport. It would have given this card a jolt of additional star power and instantly make it one of the best MMA cards in the history of UFC.
But apparently this fight has been moved to UFC 93 or 92, and without this fight, the card lacks big named fighters.
The UFC needs to make a decision about this card soon. I’m sure they realize that a significant amount of viewers will be WWE fans tuning into see Lesnar. I’m sure they understand that retaining that viewer over a long period of time they should fill November 15th fight bill with as many stars as they can.
The UFC has done a tremendous job of building and creating stars over the last few years, but if the UFC 91 card remains the same, the fans will see it as nothing more than one massive fight, another big fight and the rest sort of filler.
If the UFC wants this to be remembered as one of the biggest nights in MMA history and not just one of the biggest fights in history, they need to add more big named fighters and they need to do it soon.
Who can they add? Check in tomorrow for Part 2 of UFC 91: In Need of an Upgrade.