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Upcoming UFC Cards and Their Box Office Potential

UFC 120: This one will be free, and it’s pretty likely to draw somewhere between 2.5 and 3 million viewers on Spike. I’m a Dan Hardy fan, so I’ll like this, but the rest of the card is missing big time star power.

UFC 121: It’s Broctober, that means the pent-up demand for big stars will find an expression among fans here. It’s time to “release the hounds,” and love him or hate him, Brock Lesnar is a drawing card like no other in MMA. Expect something like 1 to 1.1 million PPV buys for this one. Cain Velasquez isn’t of the same magnitude when it comes to star power among casual MMA fans, but the cognoscenti know what kind of talent he has, and they’ll open their wallets in hopes of seeing Lesnar toppled.

UFC 122: Another free card, this one will fall flat on it’s ratings ass. With Nate Marquardt taking on Yushin Okami in a non-title fight as the headline event, fans will take care of last-second Christmas shopping and ignore this like they would an ugly girl at the bar early in the evening.

UFC 123: Lyoto Machida and Rampage Jackson are still big time draws, and the styles the fighters bring to this fight are intriguing enought to justify something approaching 1 million PPV sales. Fans will want to know if either of these fighters are at the end of the string, and this bout will go a long way toward demonstrating where each of them stands.

UFC 124: Georges St-Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck in Montreal will enjoy a bump from the completion of TUF, and you can bet your bottom dollar this on will go way over 1 million PPV buys on the GSP’s name alone. Expect the hype to turn uglier as the fight draws near, and that will add buys from casual fans and Canadian Koscheck-haters.

UFC 125: Lightweight Champ Frankie Edgar will headline this event against Gray Maynard in a title fight, and neither of them have a ton of appeal to the mainstream. As much as I’ll enjoy Shane Carwin taking on Roy Nelson, that bout doesn’t have a ton of juice with PPV buyers either. The rest of the card, Thiago Silva vs. Brandon Vera, Chris Leben vs. Brian Stann and Antonio McKee vs. Jacob Volkmann, certainly won’t open a lot off wallets, so expect this on to possibly approach 400,000 PPV sales.