There was a time when 42 fighters would represent an expansive fighter roster that could see a company through a year’s worth of shows. In a climate where cable television feeds on this kind of thing, 42 is just about the number needed to run two events within 48 hours of one another.
Both Sunday’s WEC 46 and Monday’s UFC Fight Night 20 have obstacles beyond administering physicals to all of them. For the UFC, it’ll be how they’ll fare in their first live head-to-head appearance against the WWE and assisting attraction Mike Tyson, who “guest hosts” the wrestling event. For the WEC, it’ll be a gauge how dramatic an uptick in business exists when Urijah Faber is in the house. (12/19’s WEC 45, with no major stars, sold a bleak 926 tickets.)
These are deep shows, full of talent and rankings significance. Come late Monday night, you might actually be a little sick of MMA. No shame in that.
What: World Extreme Cagefighting 46: Varner vs. Henderson, a 10-bout card from the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, Calif.; UFC Fight Night 20: Maynard vs. Diaz, an 11-bout card from the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va.
When: Sunday, Jan. 10 at 9 p.m. ET on Versus (WEC 46); Monday, Jan. 11 at 9 p.m. ET on Spike (UFC Fight Night 20).
Why You Should Care: Because Jamie Varner and Benson Henderson will be tumbling all over the WEC’s cage, Henderson in particular being an utter failure when it comes to disappointing people; because Urijah Faber will be eager to remind fans why he was once the most feared man in the 145-pound division; because Mike Thomas Brown will want to do the same; because Amir Sadollah/Brad Blackburn will be a mess of feet and elbows; and because Gray Maynard will hopefully try like heck to look impressive and cement his claim to B.J. Penn’s spring title defense.
Fight of the Week: Varner/Henderson, even if Varner runs out of steam early.
Sleeper Fight of the Week: Dave Jansen vs. Kamal Shalorus, two grindstone wrestlers with no reverse gear.
Hype Quote of the Shows: “I met the kid… They announced him and they called him, Anthony ‘Cheesecake’ Morrison. And he got all pissed. He goes, ‘No man, it’s Cheese steak. Cheese steak.’”-- Brown, on the confusion over his opponent’s nickname, to Sherdog.com.