It’s come down to this, fans and friends. After weeks of speculation and intense debate, after a twelve-part series and my usual rounds of predicting, previewing, and giving crash courses… this is my final say. UFC 129 takes place roughly twenty-four hours from now, in front of a sold-out crowd of over 55,000 people. I’ve done my best to cover each and every fight in detail, in the myriad amount of coverage I’ve given this very special event. And here’s where it ends: this is another “Finally Final Thoughts”, covering my last random, assorted thoughts on UFC 129.
Those that have followed me for any prolonged length of time know that I’ve struggled to find a proper replacement to the WEC as my “dark horse favorite”. That’s the show/series/promotion I constantly advocate and cover in hopes that people will tune in and see what all the fuss is about, and then consequently turn into fans that start supporting the promotion in earnest. Currently, three shows are battling it out for that spot: the “UFC Prelims LIVE” events, the Bellator events on MTV2, and Strikeforce’s “Challengers” series of shows.
With seven free preliminary fights scheduled for UFC 129, all of which sound great on paper, this could be the event that finally crowns a new “dark horse favorite”. But I have to wonder: is it fair to give that sort of accolade to this sort of show? It’s still the UFC, after all… it’s just the preliminary fights.
That’s one side of the argument, here’s the other: if “Prelims LIVE” is exempt because it’s just a different aspect of the same product, “Challengers” should be exempt as well, since it’s still Strikeforce. That would leave only Bellator, and I have to wonder: is that fair, given that both “Prelims LIVE” and “Challengers” are only beginning to come out of their bubbles as the “B-shows”? And don’t forget, Bellator is struggling to emerge out of that very same bubble.
So I’m going to throw it to you, fans and friends, to let me know what you think I should do. I’ll consider every option and give honest thought to any and all responses. The question is: in the hunt to crown my next “dark horse favorite”, is it fair that shows like “UFC Prelims LIVE” and “Strikeforce Challengers” are in the running? Because with seven free fights on Spike TV and Facebook, that question is more important to me now than ever, since UFC 129’s preliminary fights may finally tip the scales in that series’ favor.
In regards to the rest of the card, I’m really excited to see Ben Henderson debut in the UFC. He’s coming off of a loss, sure, but that fight just so happened to be one of the best fights I’ve ever seen. I think Ben Henderson can go very far in the UFC. Mark Bocek will be a tough test and a real proving point for Henderson, and I look forward to seeing him bring his incredibly effective mix of cardio, speed, power, and flexibility into the Octagon.
I think I may get a little misty-eyed if Randy Couture makes good on the rumors and retires if he loses to Lyoto Machida. I know it’s very selfish of me, but part of me just doesn’t want Randy Couture to stop fighting. I just like watching him so much, and he still puts so much into his fights even at his age. He may not have had the best record in the UFC, nor was he the most dominant fighter of his time, but Randy Couture is a legend nonetheless.
When it comes to the two title fights, I’ve said so much about both of them that I’m honestly out of words. I think they’re going to be excellent fights, and I can guarantee I’ll be on the edge of my seat for both of those fights. I think the following is a pretty fitting last thing to say about these fights, so here it is: I’m just glad the wait is almost over.
And there you have it, fans and friends: my final thoughts on UFC 129. And what about you? Any last thoughts before this historic event?