Saturday's hyped UFC 73 proves to be unspectacular
By Dann Stupp
Monday, July 09, 2007
Saturday's UFC 73 event in Sacramento, Calif., proved that it's the quality of the fights — not the quality of the fighters — that creates great events.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship's pay-per-view event was aptly named "Stacked." With two title fights, the UFC debut of former PRIDE heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and a much-hyped bout between UFC legend Tito Ortiz and reality-TV star Rashad Evans, the expectations were astronomical.
Ultimately, though, the event proved to be nothing spectacular. No belts changed hands, Ortiz and Evans fought to a draw, and — in a year of major upsets — not a single underdog emerged victorious on the nine-fight card.
However, with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva's first-round TKO of Nate Marquardt in the night's main-event, a rematch with Rich Franklin is now booked for Cincinnati's U.S. Bank Arena.
Headed to Cincy
Back in October 2006, a seemingly indestructible Franklin was forced to surrender his middleweight belt to Silva.
The former Cincinnati high school math teacher hadn't lost a fight in three years. He was considered indestructible, and his future as the UFC's poster-boy champion seemed a lock. However, Silva completely and utterly dismantled the former champ with a series of knees and scored a first-round TKO at UFC 64.
After Silva successfully defended his title Saturday night, UFC officials confirmed that Franklin vs. Silva II will take place at U.S. Bank Arena on Oct. 20.
Look for tickets to go on sale in late September or early October.
In the spotlight
UFC welterweight Jon Fitch (14-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC) is perhaps the best fighter that casual MMA fans have never heard of.
Despite a stellar record and current 13-fight win streak, the former Fort Wayne, Ind., resident and Purdue University wrestling captain has been relegated mostly to untelevised undercard fights.
As any MMA fighter will tell you, TV exposure is key to a successful career.
Over the weekend, though, I learned Fitch will next fight fellow 170-pound contender Diego Sanchez on Sept. 22. And it may even be a televised, co-main event at UFC 76.
"It's about time," says one of his training partners. "What more does a guy have to do to get some love?"
Dann Stupp is editor-in-chief of UFCjunkie.com. For your daily fix of MMA and UFC news, go to www.ufcjunkie.com.