National Football League (NFL) personality Jay Glazer joined Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) stalwart Kenny Florian to kick-off the UFC on FOX: "Velasquez vs. Dos Santos" pre-fight special live from the red carpet at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Stephan Bonnar took viewers backstage with the promise of fighter interviews throughout the evening. Gets props from the emcees for helping push mixed martial arts (MMA) to the next level with his epic fight against Forrest Griffin at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 1 finale way back in 2006.
A jovial Brock Lesnar arrives and quickly tells Glazer: "I almost feel like the heavyweight champion." He also picks Cain Velasquez to retain the heavyweight title, says he hits hard and has a distinct wrestling advantage.
Leaves with: "Brock Lesnar is back and on Dec. 30 I'm gonna prove it."
"Cigano" is profiled. Says he's not out for revenge (Velasquez knocked out his mentor, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira), rather he wants Cain because Velasquez has the belt and is considered the best heavyweight in the world.
Howie Mandel talks cage fighting (sans doctor's glove over the head) and calls for a flash mob of UFC fighters -- but doesn't do it in his squeaky "Howie from Maui" voice. Bummer.
Gina Carano stops by to talk her "Haywire" movie and butt-kicking. And yes, she is still smokin' hot.
UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta stops by. Says the "matchmaking Gods" assisted in the "Velasquez vs. Dos Santos" match-up, which he calls a "no-brainer." Also talks about the anniversary of UFC 1, which happened on Nov. 18, 1993.
For more on the UFC's 18th birthday, click here.
ESPN-turned-UFC analyst Jon Anik gets introduced to the viewers at home and picks Velasquez to win by third round technical knockout. Says it's Cain's fight to lose.
The stunning Mandy Moore (even sick) concurs.
Stephan Bonnar gets his hands on Alistair Overeem and asks him how he ever made light heavyweight. "Demolition Man" seems to have no recollection and Bonnar awkwardly moves on. "The Reem," who's talking like he just woke from a coma, breaks down his preparations for Brock Lesnar, his opponent at UFC 141 on Dec. 10 in Las Vegas.
We return to the champion's table and it doesn't sound like anyone is convinced Dos Santos can overcome the well-rounded skills of Velasquez. Mir says JDS has the best boxing in the division, but may be too one dimensional to win.
Former Giants defensive great Michael Strahan hits the red carpet and rags on Glazer. He also admits to wishing he had spent some time in his NFL career training in MMA. Picks Cain to retain.
Velasquez gets his turn to talk up the fight. Puts over his Brazilian foe as a major threat and expects the fight to go all five rounds. Recaps his win over Lesnar and the road back from shoulder surgery.
Bonnar gets Junior back in the locker room and as usual, "Cigano" looks "verrr-ee happee." He's smiling and confident and did I say smiling? Impossible not to like this guy.
Champion's roundtable with official picks:
Chuck Liddell: Cain Velasquez
Jon Jones: Cain Velasquez
Frank Mir: Cain Velasquez
Forrest Griffin: Junior dos Santos
Big focus on the Marine Corps and no military promo would be complete without the inclusion of UFC middleweight Brian Stann, who was awarded the Silver Star for his contributions overseas.
Bonnar gets a pre-fight interview with the champ, who says his body is feeling good and doesn't expect any hindrance from his surgically-repaired shoulder.
As the segment starts to wind down, former UFC heavyweight champion Bas Rutten plugs his new show "Punk Payback," which in no way, shape or form resembles "Bully Beatdown" (cough). "El Guapo" picks Velasquez by epic stamina.
UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre stops by to give his prediction and like the Fuel TV fan poll, it's all Cain Velasquez. Stephan Bonnar bucks the trend and picks Dos Santos by knockout.
Kenny Florian disagrees.
That's it for the Fuel TV pre-fight show and coverage for UFC on FOX: "Velasqez vs. Dos Santos." What were your initial impressions?
Over-produced? Under-produced? Just right?
What say you?
For UFC on FOX results and live play-by-play for "Velasquez vs. Dos Santos" click here.