The all-heavyweight UFC 146 main card looks great, but looks can be deceiving; the card may well turn out to be an unmitigated disaster—a failure of epic proportions!
For starters, the fight card can't possibly live up to its initial expectations.
The original main event was UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem, a man who many believed to be the number one heavyweight in the world.
This fight was supposed to be the fight of the year—the one you did NOT want to miss—rivaled only in anticipation and importance by the rematch between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen
But it was not meant to be.
Alistair Overeem's testosterone/epistestosterone levels were way off kilter (14:1 when the limit was 6:1) and he was subsequently suspended by the NSAC.
Soon, the whole event fell apart like a house of cards.
Dos Santos will now face Frank Mir. But Mir was originally slated to face former UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez in what was supposed to be the card's co-main event. Bumping Mir up to the main event slot against Dos Santos sparked a game of MMA musical chairs.
Opponents were shuffled and, finally, a stable card was made—stable, though not necessarily good, at least not compared to what the card originally was.
But the matchups are still exciting, right?
They're exciting (or at least they promise to be), but they're far less intriguing and competitive, and the baseline level of talent on the card is now lower.
Dos Santos vs. Overeem was going to be fireworks, the two best heavyweight strikers going at it. But Dos Santos vs. Mir is another story; it's a terrible matchup for Mir.
The original co-main event was also a more interesting match. Mir vs. Velasquez had a buzz about it and there were many ways the fight could have played out. However, Velasquez vs. Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva promises to be a repeat of Velasquez's training partner Daniel Cormier vs. Bigfoot Silva—a one-sided beatdown.
The next fight, Lavar Johnson vs.
Stefan Struve(originally supposed to be Mark Huntvs. Stefan Struve) seems similar enough on the surface, a battle of two high-powered strikers, but in actuality, it's easier to determine the outcome.
Hunt, while not as skilled on the ground as Struve, has certainly improved his abilities in that area of fighting; Struve might not have taken him down.
Meanwhile, the ground game that Johnson has demonstrated so far is subpar for a UFC-level fighter; he almost let
Pat Barry—a kickboxer by trade with infamously poor grappling—submit him with a kimura.
Thus, the fight will either end with a submission victory for Struve or a KO victory for Johnson. Struve has a questionable chin and, for some reason, dislikes using his range.
Roy Nelson vs. Dave Herman, too, doesn't live up to the original match (Roy Nelson vs. Bigfoot Silva). Both Nelson and Bigfoot had the same sort of fringe-top-10 appeal to them. Dave Herman, though, is only famous for bashing BJJ and for being hairy in his last fight.
The least important fight on the card, the first, has changed too. Shane Del Rosario was set to take on Gabriel Gonzaga—a former contender for the title and the man who famously knocked out Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic with a brutal head kick. But now, Del Rosario is facing the Croation-American Stipe Miocic.
This fight is probably the least impacted in terms of being a fun fight to break down and speculate over, but its name value took a hit when Gonzaga was injured and had to withdraw from the fight.
When you add all of these changed fights together, you get something significantly less than what you would've gotten before the storm of injuries.
They might turn out to be exciting fights, but even if they do, how will that be significant in the long term? What will those fights tell us that we don't already know?
But even if they are exciting, do a bunch of first round finishes really make a great card? Some pay to see proper fights, not a few minutes of someone beating up an organic punching bag.
And this is assuming the fights turn out to be exciting or are finished. After all, heavyweights aren't known for their superior conditioning.
What if the fights go past the first round and end up degenerating into belabored brawls with both fighters breathing so deeply that the first three rows of spectators pass out due to oxygen deprivation?
However, such negativity is best shunned.
The fights will probably be the exciting, vicious knockouts that the casual fans crave, but even that will be disappointing in regards to what the card could've been. It may not be an epic failure, but the fact that the original, amazing matchups may never see the light of day is a failure in and of itself.