UFC 100 Primer: What, When, Why

By Jake Rossen Jul 11, 2009
Roughly eight mixed martial arts events are scheduled for July 11, including bouts in Mexico City, London and Germany. All of them matter -- particularly if you’re a fighter looking for international attention, or the mother of a participant -- but only one can be considered an Event with a capital “E.”

I’m speaking, of course, of “Gods of War 4: The Reckoning” in Baumholder.

If you cannot be in attendance for Rouven Kurath vs. Fred Tusil, you may want to opt in on UFC 100, hosted by the Mandalay Bay in steaming Las Vegas. If it’s not be the biggest card the UFC has ever put on, it is certainly the loudest, with an unprecedented amount of media coverage surrounding two big title fights and one “Ultimate Fighter” grudge match.

There’s a very tired bit going around about how no one expected a hundredth installment of the UFC; I never found the idea all that impossible, particularly since the event -- and the sport -- stuck around like a fungus even after an attempted live burial by politicians. What surprises me is the level of respect and attention afforded to it. Mike Goldberg’s proclamation that the promotion is the “Super Bowl” of martial arts suddenly doesn’t feel so exaggerated. Not this week, at least.

What: UFC 100: Making History

When: Saturday, July 11, 10 p.m. ET

Why You Should Care: Because both Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar are significantly different fighters than they were in February 2008, and because Lesnar won’t be able to relax on the ground with the same lax attitude he had against Heath Herring; because Thiago Alves is -- with the exception of Jon Fitch -- the most dangerous, durable and threatening opposition to Georges St. Pierre’s welterweight title; because Michael Bisping’s place in the middleweight division will be determined by how he looks against the leather-boot constitution of Dan Henderson; and because Stephan Bonnar grew up on a diet of UFC events terrorized by Mark Coleman -- and now he has to fight him. That’s got to be weird.

Fight of the Night: St. Pierre/Alves, which is probably going to resemble the appearance of pitting two circular saws against each other. Alves doesn’t let up, and neither does St. Pierre. These are attrition fighters, and one will get ground down.

Sleeper Fight of the Night: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Alan Belcher: judo vs. a very hard head.

Pre-emptive Complaint: Coleman looked extremely weathered against Mauricio Rua in April, but nothing justifies slotting a Jon Fitch/Paulo Thiago fight on the main draw and regulating Bonnar/Coleman to “may be not be broadcast” prelim status. You’d think the UFC would give their continued masticating of pioneering talent a break for a show as much about nostalgia as anything. No such luck.
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