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Random Rant: Issues with UFC 74 main card

The third edition of “Inside the Cage Radio” will be posted later today. At one point during the show, the schedule for the televised matches at UFC 74 was brought up. I have some issues with the decisions behind what matches will be televised and which matches may only end up being seen by the live audience in Vegas.

I’m looking forward to seeing both Randy Couture vs. Gabriel Gonzaga and Josh Koscheck vs. Georges St. Pierre. Both have the potential to be great matches and I obviously have no issue with their inclusion on the main card. I also have high expectations for Kurt Pellegrino vs. Joe Stevenson. It’s a fight that could be contested primarily on the ground so there’s a chance some in the ground might grow restless but both are proficient ground fighters and I think the technique that will be on display should be top notch.

My issues though are with both the Kendall Grove vs. Patrick Cote and Roger Huerta vs. Alberto Crane matchups. The respective matches were made to set up Grove and Huerta with wins. I understand the UFC has high expectations for both and wants to get them additional exposure in front of what will likely be a large PPV audience tuning in to see Randy Couture.

Who knows how the matches will turn out. Cote could step up inside the Octagon for once and shock the world. Crane could also follow in the footsteps of Leonard Garcia and Doug Evans and give Huerta a run for his money for a few minutes. But the fact that the UFC is putting not one, but two showcase matches on the card is rather irksome, especially since one of the matches currently not slated to be shown live is Marcus Aurelio vs. Clay Guida.

Guida put on a hell of a performance against Tyson Griffin at UFC 72 and was robbed of a decision win. How does the UFC reward him? He gets an opening match assignment against Aurelio, a fighter who many expect to play a big role at the top of the UFC’s lightweight division.

A lot of hardcore fans are excited about Aurelio’s arrival and are disappointed they might not get to see it. Some might say that novice fans have no idea who he is, and thanks to putting him on the preliminary card, that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

Guida vs. Aurelio has the potential to be a great match but the television audience will only get a chance to see it if 1-2 main card matches wind up ending early. Personally, I’d rather see Frank Mir vs. Antoni Hardonk and David Heath vs. Renato “Babalu” Sobral, although I realize I am probably in the minority there so I won’t press the issue. However, I think the decision not to feature Guida vs. Aurelio on the PPV telecast is a major oversight. I’m just glad I’ve been given the chance to cover the show in Vegas so that I’ll have an opportunity to see it live.