Posted 3/28/09 12:47:00PM
In what MMA fans will surely hope is sign of things to come, Spike TV today announced it'll air two fights from the UFC 104 preliminary card before the event's main card goes live on pay-per-view.
The two bouts chosen for free viewing are "The Ultimate Fighter 8" light heavyweight winner Ryan Bader (9-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) vs. Eric Schafer (11-3-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Antoni Hardonk (8-5 MMA, 4-3 UFC) vs. fellow heavyweight Patrick Barry (4-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC).
UFC 104, headlined by UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, takes place Oct. 24 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and the one-hour Spike TV broadcast kicks off at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Strangely, though, while Bader vs. Schafer and Hardonk vs. Barry were chosen for the broadcast, a fight between Yushin Okami (23-4 MMA, 7-1 UFC) and Chael Sonnen (23-10-1 MMA, 2-3 UFC) remains on the un-aired portion of the card. Okami is a longtime middleweight contender who's only career UFC loss came via close decision to former champ Rich Franklin in 2007. However, many criticize the fighter for a lackluster fighting style that often leads to decisions.
Bader most recently fought in an April win over Carmelo Marrero at UFC Fight Night 18. The Arizona Combat Sports-trained fighter injured his knee in the contest, tearing both his MCL and PCL. It was the "TUF" champion's first bout since defeating Vinicius Magalhaes at The Ultimate Fighter 8 Finale in December 2008, Bader's first official contest in the UFC. Bader has won all nine of his professional fights, seven of them by stoppage.
His opponent, Schafer, is in his second stint with the UFC. After back-to-back losses to Stephan Bonnar and Michael Bisping in 2006 and 2007, "Red" earned two wins in the Wisconsin-based Gladiators Cage Fighting organization. Now back in the UFC, he has since defeated Antonio Mendes and Houston Alexander to run his current win streak to four bouts.
Hardonk, meanwhile, most recently suffered a defeat via TKO to Cheick Kongo at UFC 97 in April. The loss snapped a three-fight win streak for the Dutch striker, a run that included victories over Mike Wessel, Eddie Sanchez and Colin Robinson.
Barry also looks to bounce back from a loss, which was the first of the former kickboxer's MMA career. After earning four-straight wins to open his career, which included a first-round TKO of Dan Evensen, Barry suffered a submission loss to Tim Hague in May at UFC 98.
The UFC and Spike TV first used the teaser-fight setup last month for UFC 103 in Dallas. The Sept. 19 broadcast, which featured Efrain Escudero vs. Cole Miller and Tomasz Drwal vs Drew McFedries, drew 1.4 million viewers (1.0 rating) and was the No. 2 rated program in the coveted 18-to-34 year old male demographic.
Following UFC 103, UFC president Dana White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) he wasn't sure if the organization would use other Spike TV/PPV tandem cards in the future. However, the organization apparently will do so with its first opportunity. Still, it's not known if this will be a standard setup for future cards or simply a matter of the UFC again gathering data.
Regardless, Spike TV officials said the broadcast will air commercial-free.
The full UFC 103 card includes:
MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view)
•Champ Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (for light-heavyweight title)
•Ben Rothwell vs. Cain Velasquez
•Josh Neer vs. Gleison Tibau
•Spencer Fisher vs. Joe Stevenson
•Anthony Johnson vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike TV)
•Ryan Bader vs. Eric Schafer
•Patrick Barry vs. Antoni Hardonk
PRELIMINARY CARD (Not televised)
•Yushin Okami vs. Chael Sonnen
•Rob Kimmons vs. Jorge Rivera
•Razak Al-Hassan vs. Kyle Kingsbury
•Stefan Struve vs. Chase Gormley
For complete coverage of UFC 104, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com.
Posted 6/11/07 4:16:00PM
THANK YOU UFC!
What a smart move on their part!
Posted 3/28/09 12:47:00PM
The only problem is when are they going to give Okami a chance to make a name for himself.
Posted 1/16/09 11:38:00PM
i would have chosen struve vs gormley to air, but good choices besides that hw bout.
Posted 2/17/09 12:13:00AM
I thought Okami-Sonnen wouldve been on the main card. But theyre not even airing it on spike?
Posted 6/24/07 12:50:00PM
Exactly what I thought. What has the UFC got against Okami? He just doesn't stop getting screwed.
Posted 8/25/07 6:56:00PM
Well he's not the most exciting fighter, that might play a factor of why he's not main card most of the time. imo, I don't really think he has deserved a spot over the guys on the main card.
Posted 6/27/07 8:20:00PM
I'm personally thrilled that I'm guarenteed to see Hardonk vs Barry, it's the fight I was looking forward to the most. This time, the teacher kills the student, WAR HARDONK
Posted 2/27/07 2:05:00PM
Thank you UFC and Spike... I hope this trend continues on, for every Pay Per View
P.S. this is a brilliant marketing scheme, hook people on the edge of buying the event with just enough fights to get them interested enough to want to see how the rest of the event plays out.
Posted 1/11/08 5:48:00PM
it's an hour, last time spike did this , they showed 4 fights?, your going to see at least 3 undercards on spike and the rest on the PPV
Posted 4/30/07 3:11:00PM
Posted 9/2/09 5:48:00PM
This is great marketing for the UFC. Ohh yeah and it plays out well for us fans as well. Finally the UFC caught on the we were all watching these fights online the next day anyways.