It’s official, Nation: Chael Sonnen vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua WILL headline UFC on FOX Sports 1:1, a.k.a “the best television card the UFC has ever done.” While at first glance, a fight between two guys coming off losses doesn’t seem like a great main event for a card this stacked (and makes you wonder if the UFC had a planned main event to begin with), it’s surely a matchup that fans can get excited about nonetheless. And if they aren’t, Sonnen will fondle every available Sportscenter anchor within a 500 mile radius to ensure that you are at least aware that the fight is going down.
The matchup was all but a done deal for next weekend’s UFC 161 card until visa issues forced Sonnen to bow out of the fight he had — like a true American Gangster – offered to take on short notice just days ago. Rua was thusly pulled from the card altogether, but hinted that a potential showdown with Sonnen could take place over the summer.
Sonnen vs. Shogun will now headline the August 17th-scheduled card that already includes such marquee matchups as Alistair Overeem vs. Travis Browne, Thiago Alves vs. Matt Brown, and Joe Lauzon vs. Michael Johnson. Oh yeah, and Uriah Hall and Conor McGregor will be on the card as well. If you’ll excuse me, I need to go take a printout of this lineup behind the bushes for a few minutes.
In other fight booking news…
Speaking of the FS 1:1 card, the lightweight title fight between T.J Grant and Ben Henderson — which was also rumored for the Boston card — has been announced as the headliner for UFC 164. Featuring a heavyweight showdown between Josh Barnett and Frank Mir, as well as a pair of interesting featherweight bouts in Chad Mendes vs. Clay Guida and Dustin Poirier vs. Eric Koch, UFC 164 goes down in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 31st, making it the fourth UFC event to transpire in the month of August. This is normally where we’d accuse the UFC of spreading itself too thin, but with cards like these, we’ll just keep our trap shut for the time being.
And finally, it has recently been announced that TUF 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum — like Jonathan Brookins, John Dodson, Mac Danzig, and a slew of TUF winners before him — will be dropping down a weight class for his first post-TUF fight. Gastelum will meet Paulo Thiago in a welterweight contest at UFC on FOX Sports 1: Kampmann vs. Condit on, you guessed it, August 28th in Indianapolis. Sheesh, looks like I’ll be working weekends in the near future.