By billy hull
So how many of you are excited for UFC 129 this weekend from the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada? Something like 50,000 people are expected for an event headlined by two of the most dominant fighters of the last five years.
Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre ranks only behind Anderson Silva as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He’s reeled off eight straight wins since his stunning knockout loss to Matt Serra, and his 15-2 overall record in the UFC ranks near the top in the organization.
In terms of win-loss record, challenger Jake Shields is no slouch either. The former StrikeForce champion has won 15 fights in a row, including wins over Yushin Okami and Carlos Condit on the same night in a Rumble on the Rock event at the Blaisdell Arena 5 years ago.
The resumes are impressive enough that you’d think it should be a classic fight and contender for one of the best all year.
Me? I couldn’t care less.
If there’s one word that’s rarely used to describe either fighter, it’s exciting. Shields had the entire Blaisdell Arena crowd booing his victory over Condit in the welterweight tournament final, which consisted mostly of him taking down Condit, staying on top, and doing very little damage.
Sound familiar? St-Pierre has turned it into an art form in his recent title run, going 25 minutes in each of his last three fights to win unanimous decisions. Has he been dominant in that stretch? Sure. But forking out 55 bucks to watch a couple of guys do their best to hold the other on the ground isn’t something I’d be extremely excited about.
You’d think knowing this, the UFC would try to build the rest of the card around fighters known for putting on a show when they step into the ring.
Instead, we get Lyoto Machida vs. Randy Couture. For the fan that’s watched Couture over his career and wants to pay homage to the man that’s helped build the UFC to where it is as much as anyone, it’ll be a nostalgic moment to see the seemingly 60-year-old fight what is expected to be his last bout. For me, it’s just a reminder that I was forced to sit ringside through the Couture/Toney fiasco that to most people who watched on PPV, felt more like they should be paid for having to watch that than vice versa.
Jose Aldo and Ben Henderson are two guys that set the WEC on fire, so checking out their UFC debuts is something worth watching. Nate Diaz is also on the card, yet for some reason, he can’t even get a PPV spot and is instead relegated to the undercard that is being broadcast on SPIKE TV. Understandable putting him on the free lead in to get people to order the fight, but once they do, they’ll be treated to Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Jason Brillz. Yes, in the era of the UFC owning all of the major fighters in the world, somehow Brillz vs. Matyushenko is taking up a PPV spot.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some unreal fights I’m looking forward to (And no I’m not talking Edgar/Maynard III). Overeem vs. Werdum is in June and even though both B.J. Penn and Jon Fitch had to withdraw from UFC 132 with injuries, that is shaping up to be the best PPV I can remember. Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben, Dominck Cruz vs. Urijah Faber, Condit vs. Kim, George Sotiropolous is fighting, plus the chance to see Tito Ortiz get beat down? SIGN ME UP.
Unfortunately, I have to wait until July 2. The UH baseball team is on the road for the first time in two months, so because I won’t be at the stadium, I’ll probably watch being the fan that I am. But my expectations for the event, which I think will end with another St-Pierre decision in a snorefest, are about as low as they’ve been for any UFC PPV in recent memory.