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I dunno if it’s just lowered expectations for Ultimate Fight Nights, but the UFC continues to excite me with the matchups they stuff on the free Spike shows:

Lightweights Spencer Fisher (20-4) and Marcus Aurelio (15-5) will fight on the UFC Fight Night card set for April 2, according to FightNetwork.com.

The SpikeTV special is set to return to Colorado for the first time since 1995, according to the report and a recent Web site update from Stephan Bonnar right here.

Of course, the “American Psycho” is penciled in to take on Matt Hamill that same night in a light heavyweight tilt. In addition, 155-pounders Kenny Florian and Joe Lauzon are expected to headline the show.

Fisher got outwrestled like a bitch by Frankie Edgar the last time he fought, so it’ll be really interesting to see how he holds up against a top tier jiu-jitsu guy. As for Aurelio, he’s still trying to make people forget about his stinker of a loss to Clay Guida where he looked absolutely lost. He finished his last fight against Luke Caudillo quick n easy, so this will be an interesting one. Will Fisher bounce back after that brutal loss? Will Aurelio wash out like so many of his Pride compatriots? Good matches are all about answering questions, and this one will answer tons for these two guys.

Add the always improving Stephan Bonnar vs Matt “the Swinging Hammer” Hamill and K-Flo vs J-Lau for the Gayest Nickname Championship, and you got yourself a hell of a card!

Interesting stuff going on in Japan. While 2007 in Japan was thrown into somewhat of a disarray with the death of PRIDE, it looks like 2008 is gonna be a hell of a year. You’ve got smaller promotions taking advantage of all of the free fighters floating around. New people coming in trying to replace the void left by PRIDE. And now it looks like some kind of alliance between HERO’s and Zombie Pride:

Japanese sports newspaper Tokyo Sports reported that FEG might finish with the HERO’S series and start a new show in March. “From the March show on, I would like to see the entire Kakutougi world unite to do something very interesting.” The report began with FEG head Sadaharu Tanikawa talking about a second “grand coalition” but since there is not going to be a second Yarennnoka! show, and FEG and ex-PRIDE people are going for a complete integration it’s basically about a new MMA show being started by FEG and that also means HERO’S could now be completely over.

I’d rather have two separate promotions, but I’ll take one mega promotion if that’s all I can get. Big question to ask is if the Pride scandal that got it kicked off TV will somehow carry over with this merge. Although knowing Japan, K1 is probably just as dirty as Pride was, so it won’t really matter in the end.

I like Dave Meltzer and all … next to Kevin Iole he’s like a bastion of reporting ethics. Well, lets ignore the fact that Dave cherry picks what he’s going to report for Yahoo in favor of his for-pay newsletter. But fuck … Yahoo probably demands that all it’s MMA news be stale and obvious.

But one thing I don’t like about Dave is that he constantly compares MMA to Pro Wrestling. He just can’t help it … that’s his background, so he’s powerless to resist comparing the two:

There is a business lesson from pro wrestling over the past few years that UFC should heed. WWE increased from 12 to 16 pay-per-view events, and the results of the overexposure were such that they are cutting back to 14 this year. UFC’s current schedule (running major events on Dec. 29, Jan. 19, and Feb. 2) is the type of schedule that caused the WWE base audience to begin to pick and choose between events.

It’s a slippery slope that becomes a difficult rebound. This is not as much a factor to boxing, because few boxing fans buy every show, with most picking and choosing only the big-name fights. UFC, like WWE, sells almost as much on the brand name as the main events, drawing a regular monthly crowd.

The big difference here is that on top of all those PPVs, the WWE does five hours of new television a week, hours of syndicated programming, and several house shows. Quite frankly, the UFC would have to quadruple (or perhaps even octogonize) themselves to even get near the amount of content the WWE is pumping out. If they did, would they then be over saturated? Sure. But as it stands, the UFC is still in a situation where the demand outstrips the supply. That’s the only explanation as to why they’re able to put out shit like UFC78 and still get sales.

I’d say quality suffers before the saturation point, and that’s the real problem. The UFC is in no danger of exceeding the demand for UFC product … but they are having a hard time upping the quantity without the quality suffering. Because of the pace of the events, they’re just not developing enough new stars to stack their PPVs like they used to. The solution? Don’t lower the number of pay per views. Up the number of Fight Nights and other events which don’t rely on a stellar card. Develop the new talent, make your guys fight more often to establish a clearer line of contendership.

Anyways, I just find it funny how the pro wrestling writers are always comparing MMA to pro wrestling. Sure, there’s always paralels to read into when you’re dealing with two companies which deal in the same mediums, but for the most part the comparisons are just stupid.

It certainly puts things into perspective: Why should Joachim Hansen fight in the UFC where

when instead he could stay in Japan and

Let’s not forget all that sweet Asian poon you get being a foreign fighter in Japan. All in all, I can’t say I blame him for passing on the UFC.

Most news outlets decided to concentrate on the fact that Bart Palaszewski is ‘trading teams’, something I couldn’t give less of a shit about. But when you read the following, tell me if you notice anything else in there:

According to Palaszewski, the team will be affiliated with former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski’s team and trainers and will include former Chicago Red Bear Mark Miller (8-2) and IFL light heavyweight champion Vladimir Matyushenko (20-3). Matyushenko transferred from the now-defunct Tokyo Sabres team.

It would be worth mentioning Arlovski’s camp working with the IFL in the best of times, and of course we all know these are NOT the best of times between Andrei and the UFC. Since April the two parties have been engaged in some heated negotiations, with Arlovski apparently demanding way more money and the UFC playing their standard “Then let’s see how you like sitting out for a year” card.

With that in mind, to hear that Arlovski’s camp/management is involved with the IFL just seems fishy. Don’t think I’m suggesting Arlovski will be going to the IFL, but to me it’s another sign that the Pitbull isn’t planning on returning to the UFC once his contract is up in a few months.

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