UFC on FOX: Cain Velasquez vs Junior dos Santos on network television is a home run

via hourgone.com

Someone will lose in the main event of UFC on FOX -- but it won't be the fans.

Let’s face it: more often than not, Dana White’s hyperbolized "huge" announcements end up being anything but. The UFC head honcho will hype up what is supposed to be a "major development" and fans begin to light up the mixed martial arts (MMA) websites and Twitter, buzzing about what's to come.

And in the end, it’s almost never as good as what you were hoping for. Today changed all that.

Today, it wasn’t only as good, it was better.

Right after 1 p.m. ET, White made the announcement that UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez would make his first title defense against number one contender Junior dos Santos on the promotion's inaugural event on FOX.

So on November 12, 2011, the UFC will make its network television debut with a heavyweight title fight on free TV, basically kicking down the door of expectations and firing off twin pistols like a gunslinger from the Old West. This is huge.

Here's why:

Ever since the UFC on FOX deal was announced two weeks ago, rumors and speculation about who would be on the main card was running rampant.

Could it be Brock Lesnar?

On the same day the historic deal with the television network was announced, Lesnar released a video claiming he was ready and able to resume training. That couldn’t have been a coincidence, could it?

A rubber match between him and Frank Mir would certainly entice viewers and draw ratings.

Having recently satisfied his Strikeforce contract, Dan Henderson was also a possibility. His stock has never been higher as he is coming off of a first round knockout over Fedor Emelianenko and rumors of a 185-pound title rematch against Anderson Silva – who dispatched of Yushin Okami relatively easily last week – were making the rounds.

The American was also rumored to continue fighting at his current weight of 205-pounds to take on Mauricio Rua who, like Silva, earned a quick win at UFC 134.

Another fighter who could have joined "Hendo" in the unemployment line in the past month was Alistair Overeem. When White announced the former Strikeforce heavyweight champ was negotiating with the UFC, speculation that "Ubereem" would make his debut on the first FOX card nearly reached a fever pitch.

Earlier this week, reports that the Golden Glory fighter was a day or two away from finalizing a contract only served as gasoline to fuel those fiery rumors. 

Then, of course, the rumored fight between Tito Ortiz and Rich Franklin was thrown around as a possibility. And keeping the underwhelming nature of some of White’s previous announcements, this option seemed achingly credible.

But the UFC didn’t go with the name recognition of Ortiz and Franklin nor did they hedge their bets on a fighter who – as physically impressive as he is -- would be making his Octagon debut. They didn’t even bring a former member of their roster – one with a knack for delivering jaw-dropping knockouts -- back into the fold for this important card.

Instead, they took two homegrown fighters who were tentatively scheduled to handle their business one week later on pay-per-view (PPV) and placed them on network television for free.

Heavyweights are what combat sports were built on.

Names like Ali, Forearm, Frazier, and Liston have become synonymous with fighting and almost have an element of folklore to them.

These men were like gods inside the ring, their larger than life reputations always preceding them and it was mostly in part to their large physical stature. While Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather are considered the best pound-for-pound boxers today, there is still an element of awe that comes with watching two titans inside a ring or cage, trading blow-for-blow.

This is the best possible match-up the UFC could have booked for the most important event in the company's history. Velasquez and dos Santos are two of the best heavyweights MMA has to offer. Both are young, tough and exciting; all three being prerequisites for a classic just waiting to happen.

By booking a heavyweight title match on their first FOX card, Dana White and company – much like they did at UFC 100 – are placing that weight division at the forefront.

The decision on what fight to book for the Nov. 12 card could have gone horribly awry. But the biggest MMA promotion in the world stepped up to the plate and knocked this one out of the park.

Cain Velasquez. Junior dos Santos. Heavyweight title match.

And you can see it all for free on FOX.



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