Although Spike TV will be treating North Americans to a freebie same-day tape-delay broadcast of UFC 122, and Nate Marquardt will battle Yushin Okami for next shot at the middleweight crown in the card’s featured contest, the Octagon’s long awaited return to Germany has been met with a lukewarm reception – at best.
Vitor Belfort was slated to stand opposite Okami inside the König-Pilsener-Arena in Oberhausen, but was presented with an unexpected opportunity courtesy of Chael Sonnen’s failed UFC 117 drug test. The alleged PED abuser was awarded an immediate rematch with champion Anderson Silva, however his tainted performance quickly put that chatter to bed.
Marquardt bounced back from a disappointing showing against Sonnen at UFC 109 in February by quickly disposing of Rousimar Palhares at “UFC Fight Night 22.”
Okami, on the other hand, is fresh off a split decision win over Mark Munoz at “UFC on Versus 2.” The talented Japanese star has won five of his last six scraps. His only loss during the stretch came to the aforementioned Sonnen.
UFC president Dana White has promised the winner gets next dibs at a title fight. It appears both are more anxious to validate their skills against the planet’s baddest 185-pounder than in a bout with Belfort.
“The Spider” holds a devastating TKO victory over Marquardt from their championship fight back in July 2007, while Okami was the last man to hang a loss on Silva. However, that was via a controversial DQ in January 2006 at “Rumble on the Rock 8″ when Silva landed an illegal kick to the dome.
Neither Marquardt nor Okami have crossed paths with Belfort.
While UFC 122 isn’t the most impressive box office card Octagon brass have arranged, please keep in mind it comes at the everyday low price of $Free.99. Furthermore, not every roster can be as star-studded as the following weekend’s UFC 123 extravaganza.
Here is the lineup for this Saturday’s gratis show:
Carlos Eduardo Rocha vs. Kris McCray
Seth Petruzelli vs. Karlos Vemola
Duane “Bang” Ludwig vs. Nick Osipczak
Pascal Krauss vs. Mark Scanlon
Alexandre Ferreira vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
Rob Kimmons vs. Kyle Noke
Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Goran Reljic
Amir Sadollah vs. Peter Sobotta
Dennis Siver vs. Andre Winner
Jorge Rivera vs. Alessio Sakara
Nate Marquardt vs. Yushin Okami