The UFC has just made it’s debut in New Zealand and it’s fair to say that it was a resounding success. The UFC is keen to explore new markets and venture into places it has never been before.
To do this they are putting on more shows than ever before. This is great for us fans but with more shows this means a need for more fighters. The problem some fans have with this is that more and more shows are featuring new and little known fighters. It seems some fans want big names and title fights all the time.
This got me wondering then. Is there too many fighters on the UFC roster and in turn does this then make the “smaller” cards less appealing or irrelevant?
The perfect test case for this question was in fact UFC Fight Night 43 held in Auckland NZ.
The main event featured a Nate Marquardt vs James Te Huna. Two guys both coming off back to back losses. The question being asked by many fans was, “Are these two really worthy of main event status?” For me the question wasn’t are they worthy, but as a main event does it offer a great match up between two guys that will put on a show? The answer was, yes. In the build up to the show this fight really had me interested and I was very keen to watch. In the end it didn’t turn out to be as good as I expected but there have been plenty of main events with “big names” that have been much worse.
The undercard featured a lot of guys from either New Zealand or Australia. Some of which most people had never heard of and certainly no household names. As a huge fan and follower of the Australian Fighting Championship this undercard got me very excited. Guys I’d seen fight in the AFC, Jake Matthews, Vik Grujic and Dan Hooker, were all on the card. I’m a big fan of all three of these guys and was very keen to see how they would perform inside the octagon. Matthews and Hooker were making their UFC debuts and Grujic was looking for his first UFC win after a first up loss.
It appears though that on the other side of the world there was very little excitement surrounding this card and being that it would air in the USA in the early hours of the morning not too many were keen on watching. Unfortunately for most in the US they missed out on some great fights.
The very first fight of the under card was between Gian Villante and Sean O’Connell, two Light heavyweights that I’d never heard of before. This didn’t deter me or them though as they put on a toe-to-toe war that ended up netting both men Fight OF The Night honours.
Grujic Matthews and Hooker also impressed. Matthews earning a third round submission victory and Hooker and Grujic both getting early nights with first round TKO victories.
It was a very exciting card that definitely delivered fireworks and plenty of entertainment. There weren’t any big names or title fights but there doesn’t need to be to put up a good card.
By the end of the broadcast my question had been answered. To venture into new markets the UFC definitely needs to have an expanding roster, and they need to showcase local talent, so in my opinion there is not too many fighter signed to the organisation. And are there any irrelevant fights or cards that feature no name fighters? The answer is No. Even the Jon Jones’ and Cain Velasqez’s of the UFC were all no name fighters and some stage and fighting on smaller cards.
The very next UFC superstar could very well have been on show in Auckland. We just might not not it for a couple of years yet.
That my friends is what makes every UFC card regardless of who’s on it or where it is very very exciting.
Blog by @BlueSpur86