The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

UFC 121: Sexy

Look at this, then. You know you’re dealing with a stacked show when Diego Sanchez- a long-time star, former PPV headliner and title challenger- is listed 4th from the top in a really interesting, competitive fight. On paper this has the potential to be the card of the year, especially if Brock! vs. Velasquez delivers the all-time classic MMA heavyweight fight I think it may.

There’s also a clever bit of card-building at work here: Jake Shields is a major investment for the UFC insofar as they expect him to be a major part of top-of-the-card matchmaking at both 170 and eventually 185 in future years. Yet, he’s currently a non-draw and a somewhat unfamiliar name to a lot of their fanbase. What to do? The answer they came up with- and it’s a good one- is to stick him in a featured place on a card which already has two other gigantic draws on it and which is likely to be 1 million+ buys show, against a recognizable name opponent who he matches up well with. His position on the card is enough to signal his importance, and by putting him on such a major card they guarantee that pretty much their entire PPV audience is going to be familiar with him after the evening. Kampmann, while hardly a slam dunk, is a good matchup for Shields- he doesn’t have the wrestling background to keep it standing, which means a lot of the fight is likely to be Shields raining down elbows from the top. If Shields can win impressively he’s probably made as an acceptable semi-main level guy and a potentially legitimate challenger to GSP if other fights go the right way. If Kampmann wins, great- that’s a high-profile win for him, 3 in a row and 5 out of 6 since he made the drop to 170. All of a sudden he’s a contender too. It’s this kind of strategic star-creating matchmaking and card-building which has kept UFC hot long after many people expected this boom to fade.


July 22, 2010 - Posted by | MMA

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