Hello and welcome to the latest edition of “Crash Course”. “Crash Course” is a series of articles designed to give readers a quick rundown on all the relevant information they need to know heading into an upcoming major MMA event. Everything from why you should watch, what you should expect in the co-main and main event, and even where and when you can find it on TV is all covered in detail. So let’s get right to it with today’s edition, featuring UFC 133: “Evans vs. Ortiz”.
The Event: UFC 133 “Evans vs. Ortiz”, currently scheduled for August 6, 2011 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Four free preliminary bouts will be streamed on the UFC’s Facebook page starting at 5:45 PM ET. Two additional free preliminary bouts will air on the Spike TV network starting at 8:00 PM ET. The main card will air live on Pay-Per-View starting at 9:00 PM ET.
Why You Should Care: Although this event has seen a host of high-profile injuries wreak havoc on the card, UFC 133 is a solid event with many fights having “sleeper hit” potential. You’ve got grudge matches, you’ve got hot prospects, you’ve got veterans with over sixty professional fights. It isn’t as good as it could have been, but the overall quality could end up really surprising us all by the time the show is over.
What to Look Forward to in the Main Event: Rashad Evans is fighting to preserve his title shot, while Tito Ortiz is fighting to continue the resurrection of his career. The first time these two met, it was a close back-and-forth war of attrition. The same should hold true for the rematch: both men have their weaknesses and face interesting problems coming into this fight, but their heart and skill is unquestioned.
What to Look Forward to in the Co-Main Event: If he loses at UFC 133, this will be Yoshihiro Akiyama’s third straight loss. Even though Akiyama is a very entertaining fighter, he will more than likely be fighting for his job against Vitor Belfort. Hopefully that brings out the best in Akiyama, because he’ll have to be at his best to deal with Belfort, who still packs a powerful punch after all these years and has the experience necessary to remain a threat in any division he chooses to compete in.
Why You Should Watch This Card: On paper, the matches sound very interesting. You’ve got stars and former champions on the prelims like Matt Hamill, Chad Mendes, and Mike Brown. On the Pay-Per-View, you’ve got hot prospects like Ryan MacDonald and Costantinos Philippou fighting tough veterans like Jorge Rivera and Mike Pyle. Plus, both the co-main and main event fights should be very entertaining.
Why You Shouldn’t Watch This Card: This was supposed to be the latest UFC mega-event, instead it’s the latest UFC card that comes so close to self-imploding due to injuries that you simply have to marvel at the UFC’s perseverance. I won’t sugar coat this: this card could have been a lot better… a whole lot better. Compared to what could have been, UFC 133 is a shadow of its former self.
Closing Thoughts: Even as a shadow of its former self, I think this is going to be a good card. Not great, not astounding, not the best event of the latter half of the year… but good nonetheless. None of these fights scream “must watch” at me, but a lot of them are using their “inside voices” and telling me “it’ll probably be fun”.