When the UFC’s hype engine fails to deliver any real, palpable anticipation for a fight -- as in the case of Saturday’s Tito Ortiz/Forrest Griffin rematch, which is fine but far from the Epic Super Rematch of Mega Titans some clever editing and music are presenting it as -- you can make up your own narrative.
In this instance, UFC 106’s four light heavyweights might potentially be participating in a four-man tournament for a chance at the title without knowing it. In addition to Ortiz/Griffin, a debuting Antonio Rogerio Nogueira will face Luis Arthur Cane; the respective winners would have time to meet before May 1’s Lyoto Machida/Mauricio Rua rematch. It may be all that you need to sit a little closer to the television.
Fewer excuses need to be made for the undercard, a talent-rich program with some genuinely compelling fights and fighters. Any program forced to restrict Caol Uno to preliminary status has things going for it.
What: UFC 106: Ortiz vs. Griffin, an 11-bout card from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
When: Saturday, November 21, at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view, with a live undercard special on Spike at 9 p.m. ET.
Why You Should Care: Because Ortiz, while not for all tastes, usually brings a contagious energy into his bouts; because we’ll get to see what kind of answers Anthony Johnson has for someone like Josh Koscheck, who can take his legs out from under him; because Amir Sadollah and Phil Baroni looks deceptively like a boy vs. man matchup, which might amuse your friends; and because it’s a pleasure to watch any Nogueira compete.
Fight of the Night: Karo Parisyan vs. the UFC. (Previously Parisyan vs. Dustin Hazelett.) Parisyan has grappled more with anxiety issues than opponents in recent months; he pulled out of the event Thursday for suspect reasons. Now Dana White swears he’s done.
Sleeper Fight of the Night: Paulo Thiago vs. Jacob Volkmann, two finishing submission artists who will benefit from Parisyan's absence -- they've been moved up to the main card.
Hype Quote of the Show: “I’ve sparred with Anthony before. He was afraid to get punched and he got really aggressive and came back swinging whenever I got in his face and put any pressure on him. A win will put me one step closer to my goal of becoming the UFC welterweight champion. When I whip this kid’s ass, I’m calling out Georges St. Pierre next.” -- Koscheck, objectively calculating his chances, to UFC.com.