Posted 08/14/2014 by Mike Fagan in Untethered MMA
 
 

UFC Fight Night 47: Ryan Bader vs. Ovince St. Preux Preview

Bangor, Maine, sounds like it a stop the UFC would have made fifteen years ago when the sport was on the run from John McCain and “maverick” was a fitting nickname instead of an ironic potshot at a kooky old man. UFC President Dana White vacations in nearby Levant, however; and, for whatever reason, he felt he needed to bring an event to Maine. In an interview with The Bangor Daily News, White expressed shock that the event, taking place in the 6,500-seat Cross Insurance Center, hadn’t sold out. The Daily News published that article nine days ago. Plenty of seats are still available through Ticketmaster, and the secondary market on StubHub is virtually nonexistent.

White noted that “[t]his is probably the first and only time we’ll ever be in Bangor, Maine,” and that’s a illogical point of view if you think your brand is strong enough to attract attention on its own. It’s not, and we can point to UFC 174 as evidence that people will refuse to shell out money despite the UFC name plastered on a product. Perhaps the UFC brand once meant something during its maturation phase under Zuffa, though a mix of old and new draws like Brock Lesnar, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, and popular cast members of the first few Ultimate Fighter seasons fueled the company’s biggest boom period between 2008-2010.

Ryan Bader stands as the biggest star on Saturday’s card, which airs on Fox Sports 1. Bader’s hung around the top 10 since taking out Keith Jardine and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira back in 2010, making him something like the Garrett Anderson of the UFC’s light heavyweight division. People didn’t pay to see Garrett Anderson and they don’t pay to see Ryan Bader, and I imagine there’s someone at the Zuffa offices who would really, really like to kick down White’s door with market research in hand and say, “I fucking told you so.”

STAND AND BANGOR

All that said, this is a fine-enough card for “free TV.” The top three fights are all solid, if unspectacular, and a ten-fight card is a sprint for the depraved MMA junkies among us. Plus, there’s nothing on the bill that makes me want to pull my hair out because it’s on Fox Sports 1 in lieu of taking a slot away on a pay-per-view from a couple of jabronies who have no business being there anyway. So while the good people of Bangor, Maine, and greater New England should stay away from the building, the MMA fan on the internet should recognize this card for what it is and either sit at home on a Saturday night like a good social failure and watch or…do anything else. I don’t care. It’s your life.

OH MAN, YOU GUYS, IT’S MASTER-BADER AND OVINCE ST. POO HA HA

Bader and Ovince St. Preux are both 31 years old with 21 pro MMA fights on their ledger. We know where Ryan Bader stands – he’s Garrett Anderson, remember? – because he’s climbed up the mountain only to find himself pushed back down by Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida and Glover Teixeira and Tito Ortiz, the last of which should still surprise you and make you question truths you think you know about the universe.

We’re not as sure about St. Preux’s ceiling. Four of the five losses on his 16-5 record came within his first seven fights. Strikeforce developed him under the Challengers series, and his only loss came at the hands of mega-talented Gegard Mousasi. Mousasi was a huge jump in competition, and he hasn’t fought any of a similar caliber since, fighting names like Gian Villante, Nikita Krylov, and Ryan Jimmo instead. A loss to Bader portends a shallow ceiling, and maybe he’s the MMA version of Juan Uribe. A win keeps his window open and brings a fight against a Phil Davis or a Dan Henderson.

FIFTY-FIVE KNUCKLE SHUFFLE

Try to keep up. Gray Maynard and Fabricio Camoes were originally scheduled for the UFC 176 card. Headliner Jose Aldo went down with an injury, forcing the UFC to cancel the event. (Sport killers!) The UFC moved Maynard and Camoes to the Fight Night in Bangor. Ross Pearson was originally scheduled to fight Abel Trujillo. Trujillo went down with an injury. The UFC inserted Maynard in against Pearson, pulling Camoes from the event entirely. That’s where we stand now.

It might feel like you just saw Pearson fight, and that’s because you just saw Pearson fight two months ago, having a clear decision victory over Diego Sanchez stolen by the New Mexico athletic commission. He’ll try to wipe the ugly taste out of his mouth against Maynard, who has fought twice within the last year and hasn’t made it past the three minute mark in either. (Both of his opponents, Nate Diaz and TJ Grant, have yet to fight since.) Since beating Kenny Florian in 2010, Maynard’s gone 1-3-1, and he’s in danger of being sent packing with another loss.

Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. Follow him on Twitter


Mike Fagan