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Random Rant: Leave UFC 78 alone!

The rumored card for UFC 78 on Nov. 17 in Newark, NJ has been posted several times on and thus far the responses haven’t been all that positive. But I need to speak up because I beg to differ; while the rumored card currently lacks star power, it’s still a strong card nonetheless.

The match with the most appeal to me is Spencer Fisher vs. Frankie Edgar. Both have already participated in match of the year candidates (Edgar vs. Tyson Griffin at UFC 67 and Fisher vs. Sam Stout at UFC Fight Night 10) and because their styles could mesh well, you have the potential for another match of the year candidate for both fighters.

It appears talks between Hayato Sakurai and the UFC have broken down as Sakurai is scheduled to fight in Japan but the UFC has found a suitable opponent for Karo Parisyan in Hector Lombard. Lombard, who represented Cuba in the Olympics in Judo, is 11-2-1 in MMA and has competed for promotions such as PRIDE and DEEP.

By putting Parisyan vs. Lombard, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva is throwing two world class Judokas together in a match that will be extremely competitive. Parisyan, who is a tad small for welterweight will be facing a fighter in Lombard who has competed at times as a middleweight. Will Karo be able to rag doll Lombard like he has so many of his other opponents? It will be interesting to find out.

Thiago Alves vs. Ryo Chonan is yet another strong matchup that’s been rumored for the card. If the UFC welterweight division wasn’t so backlogged then the bout’s outcome would have greater implications. However, who really needs implications? Just sit back and watch what looks to be another potential strong match.

Lombard and Chonan aren’t the only former PRIDE fighters that will be making their UFC debuts, as Akihiro Gono vs. Tamdan McCrory is expected to take place. While the match might not be televised, fans attending live could be in store for a surprise. Gono, 27-12-7, will be a tough test for the undefeated 20-year old.

Other rumored matches that could take place during the non-televised portion are Ed Herman vs. David Terrell and Joe Lauzon vs. Jason Reinhardt. Lauzon is originally from Massachusetts so expect strong crowd support for him while Terrell vs. Herman is a match I can’t wait to see. The middleweight division in the UFC could use a shot to the arm and Terrell could be what the doctor ordered.

One of only two people to ever be promoted as a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu by Cesar Gracie, Terrell looked like a future star following his 24 second first round knockout over Matt Lindland at UFC 49 in 2004. Unfortunately, he’s been besieged by injuries and has fought just twice in the last three years. I’m looking forward to attending the show live and seeing first hand if Terrell is someone who can make an impact under the UFC’s current middleweight landscape.

If you’re one of the people who has chosen to use “sucks” as a way to describe the rumored lineup then I suggest you go to Netflix and start renting old PRIDE DVDs so that you can become more familiar with Lombard, Chonan, and Gono as well as some old UFC DVDs (i.e. UFC 49) to either introduce or re-introduce yourself to Terrell.

In regard to the lack of star power, have a little faith in Dana White and Silva. Tickets for UFC 78 go on sale to the general public this Saturday at 10 a.m. ET. The UFC wants to do well from a business perspective and it behooves them to deliver a solid main event. Rumors persist that we could see a rematch between Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans but if Ortiz is playing hardball or his back is still not ready, then the UFC will come up with something else. Rumors about a match between Ortiz and Dan Henderson have been debunked but it appears as though the idea was at least explored. If Ortiz can’t be secured and Henderson is ready to go, then why not a match between Henderson and Evans?

On paper, UFC 78 might end up not having a lot of sex appeal but didn’t we learned from UFC 73 and UFC Fight Night 10 this year? It’s all about matchups and UFC 73 taught us that just because you have a bunch of big names all on a card, it doesn’t mean you’re going to see good matches if the fighters’ respective styles don’t mesh well. Meanwhile, UFN 10 showed us not to underestimate a card just because it doesn’t have a big name.

So please, leave UFC 78 alone!