It’s a controversy that’s taken the swimming world by storm, with Australia’s Mack Horton refusing to stand on the podium alongside China’s Sung Yan in apparent protest of his recent dealings with FINA’s doping authority.
It looks like UFC: Alves vs. Kampmann in Sydney will not be the last Australia sees of the UFC this year. A recent report indicates that the world’s premiere Mixed Martial Arts organization will be heading to Brisbane later this year.
No dates or match-ups were mentioned in the report, but the idea of a second UFC event down under in a single year is an interesting one.
The aforementioned Alves vs. Kampmann card will take place at the Acer Arena on March 4 and it will be third year running that Sydney has received a UFC event.
This most recent outing has gained some negative comments from many fans as the calibre of fighters and the lack of any notable UFC ‘stars’ is definitely down from the previous two events.
In their first outing in Australia at UFC 110, the event was headlined by a heavyweight eliminator between PRIDE legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and surging contender (and future champ) Cain Velasquez.
The event also featured a marquee middleweight match-up between fan favourite, Wanderlei Silva and the fan’s favourite person to hate, Michael Bisping.
A year later, the UFC returned with former lightweight champion BJ Penn and perennial number two welterweight, Jon Fitch in a highly relevant and intriguing battle. The undercard was also highlighted by Bisping again as well as a possible lightweight title eliminator with Australia’s own, George Sotiropoulos.
UFC: Alves vs. Kampmann, as the name implies, features a bout between Thiago Alves and Martin Kampmann in the main event. While last years UFC 127 also featured a non-title welterweight main event, that bout was of high divisional relevancy. Kampmann has one win in his last three bouts while Alves has two in his last five.
The co-main events are very divisionally relevant as they are title eliminators for the first UFC flyweight championship with Joseph Benavidez meeting Yasuhiro Urushitani while Demetrious Johnson meets Ian McCall.
This of course means that the top four fighters in a UFC division are fighting in the one night, but the lack of exposure they have received (Johnson – a bit, Benavidez – a little, Urushitani and McCall – none) means the sight isn’t that appetizing for the majority of Australian fans.
To put it simply, there is a reason why this isn’t a “numbered” UFC event. It is however a very good fight night card. The disappointment for Australian fans is that while they know the card isn’t attractive as it’s pay-per-view worthy brothers and sisters, they will still be paying the same as they did the previous years.
Most likely because the UFC knows the appetite for events down here and they are aware that no matter the card, there aren’t going to be empty seats left at the Acer Arena come March 3rd.
That is why the idea of a second Australian UFC event in Brisbane is such an intriguing one. A new market may lend itself to a new first impression from the UFC that could lead to a card that is the calibre of the UFC’s first two Aussie offerings.
If the report is true there’s no doubt there will be a selection of Australasian talent on display – Queensland’s own, Kyle Noke has apparently put his name down for it – but let’s keep our fingers crossed that some of the UFC’s more highly touted and enticing international stars lace up the gloves as well.