LAS VEGAS - MAY 28: UFC fighter Rashad Evans (R) reacts to the crowd while speaking to UFC announcer Joe Rogan (L) about his fight against UFC fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 114: Rampage versus Rashad at the Mandalay Bay Hotel on May 28, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Who says the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) doesn't like tournament format? On Jan. 28, 2012, at the United Center in Chicago, Ill., questions will be answered and championship contenders will rise.
UFC on Fox 2 will feature a pivotal light heavyweight clash when former UFC light heavyweight champion, Rashad Evans, takes on undefeated wrestling powerhouse, Phil Davis, for the right to face the winner of Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida, which is set to go down this weekend (Dec. 10, 2011) at UFC 140.
UFC President Dana White also laid out the middleweight division landscape for reporters at the UFC on FOX 2 press conference that took place earlier today in "Chi-Town." According to White, the event, which actually kicks off the UFC and Fox deal, will have not one, but two, middleweight title contenders rise once the dust settles in what will mark the promotion's second venture on network television.
Serving as the evening's co-main event, Chael Sonnen vs. Mark Munoz will determine who gets next shot at current title holder against pound-for-pound kingpin, Anderson Silva, who is currently on the sidelined until the mid- 2012 because of a shoulder injury.
In the opener of the evening's triple main event card, submission specialist Demian Maia will take on Michael Bisping, who is coming off of a third round technical knockout victory of Jason Miller at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 14 Finale this past weekend (Dec. 3, 2011.)
But, don't take my word for it, check out what UFC head honcho Dana White had to say:
"The way that Munoz and Chael Sonnen works out, the winner of that fight fights Anderson Silva and then Demian Maia and Bisping, the winner of that fight would then fight the winner of the fight between either Munoz or Sonnen against Silva. And then obviously, Rashad Evans and Davis, the winner of this fight would fight the winner of Machida and "Bones" Jones."
No division logjams here.
Maia and Sonnen have already had their respective title shots against "The Spider," both coming up short in their attempts to dethrone Silva. Maia went the distance with the champion, but lost a unanimous decision in Abu Dhabi at UFC 112 back on April 10, 2010, in what was a bizarre performances from Silva, as he spent the majority of the fight taunting the fellow Brazilian.
Four months later (Aug. 7, 2010,) at UFC 117, Sonnen was two minutes way from becoming the new UFC middleweight champion. Sonnen had his way with Silva through 23 minutes of action before "The Spider" trapped him in a triangle choke that forced the tap in the final frame.
Since then, Sonnen has been putting his political experience to use as he has been campaigning for a rematch against his arch-nemesis Silva any chance he gets. Standing in his way is another man who has been patiently waiting for his chance at UFC gold; Mark Munoz.
"The Count,""The Filipino Wrecking Machine" and "Mr. Wonderful" have yet to compete for a UFC title; however, if they find a way to prevail in Chicago, each will earn their long desired title shots.
Barring any injuries, the UFC's middleweight and light heavyweights division's future heading into 2012 is pretty crystal clear.
Take your picks, Maniacs. Who comes out on top in "The Windy City" and who will be the UFC middleweight and light heavyweight champions by the end of 2012?