UFC 102 Primer

By Jake Rossen Aug 29, 2009
Following record business for UFC 100 and 101, what can the world’s leading fight promotion do for a late-season encore?

Visit Portland, Oregon.

Yes.

Having exhausted three of five titleholders in its previous two summer shows (four, if you count Anderson Silva’s pillaging of Forrest Griffin) the only gold up for grabs is what you find during a prospecting trip: UFC 102 will have to make do with bouts that have consequences only for contenders -- and the highly manipulative tactic of using Oregonian Randy Couture as a feature attraction.

What: UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira

When: Saturday, August 29, 10 PM ET from the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Oregon

Why You Should Care: Because the bewildering spectacle of watching a middle-aged Couture out-hustle the proverbial kids on the porch never gets old; because Demian Maia’s jiu-jitsu is performance art; because Brandon Vera needs a strong showing against Krzysztof Soszynski to remain relevant; because Soszynski needs the winner’s purse to buy some vowels; and because Chris Leben continues to make some very unfortunate hairstyle choices.

Fight of the Night: Maia/Nate Marquardt, with Marquardt’s video game stand-up pitted against Maia’s very violent game of Twister.

Sleeper Fight of the Night: Nick Catone vs. Mark Munoz, a scramble that should benefit from their relative inexperience. (Experienced can mean defensive, and defensive can mean boring.)

Pre-Emptive Complaint: The idea that freshly defeated Keith Jardine and Thiago Silva can take co-main precedence over Maia/Marquardt.

Hype Quote of the Show: “Antonio is one of the most dynamic submission fighters in our sport. He is very tenacious and durable. I have studied and admired many of his fights and even sported the Anaconda choke in the [Mike] Van Arsdale fight after watching him pull it off.” -- Couture buttering Nogueira like a croissant on UFC.com.
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