Marshall Zelaznik, UFC UK President, says UFC 120 is expected to break the European attendance and gate receipts records set at UFC 105 with 16,693 paying customers. The previous high for a live gate in Europe was the $2.7 million taken in at UFC 75.
Numbers are nice, but this card is hardly the stuff to make a fight fan stay home on Saturday night. Placing two high-profile British fighters on top of the card makes excellent business sense, and the UFC’s visits to the UK have provided the company spectacular results in the past when it comes to collecting doubloons, but are enough fans interested in Michael Bisping and Yoshihiro Akiyama to make this a classic? No.
So now that business is taken care of, what can we expect from this card?
We can expect a hell of a fight from Dan Hardy and Carlos Condit, that much is certain.
Looking to rebound from an ugly loss to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 111, Hardy, now 23-7 and properly chastised, returns to the Octagon with a much clearer understanding of what it will take to compete at the top of the welterweight division. It will take wrestling, pure and simple, and Hardy has been putting in the hours to complete that facet of his game.
According to Hardy, he’s spent the last seven months at ground-game school working with Eddie Bravo. He then returned to the c0ntinent and began working with his Rough House teammates preparing for Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit. Was Hardy done training the ground game when he returned to the UK? Not a chance, he went straight into “graduate school” with Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu coach Victor Estima. Estima is a legend, and working with him has given Hardy renewed confidence about the full extent of his skills.
“I would say that will be the difference against Condit,” Hardy said. “There were a lot of harsh lessons learned in the last fight. There were a lot of things that I took back into training camp. I surrounded myself with the right guys, the right gym and did the right training. The last six or seven months have really paid off. I’m confident I can take him down and choke him out.”
Does that sound like the old Dan Hardy? No, it does not. Hardy made his bones in the UFC by using his dangerous right hand to knock opponents into dreamland, and now he sounds like a completely different animal, and that makes a ton of sense against Condit.
As for Condit, he’s taking on a tough and hungry opponent in an away game, and that’s never an easy task. Condit, the final WEC welterweight champ, is now 25-5 and last fought at UFC 115 in Vancouver, where he dispatched home favorite and rising star Rory MacDonald in the third round, so he’s entirely shutting out the distractions of being a heavy and drawing the ire of away-game fans. The New Mexico native has been training with Greg Jackson and his team. That’s a plus, but he may well have bitten off more than he can chew in Hardy. A skilled ground fighter, Condit has to hope that Hardy will indeed take the fight to the ground to test his new skills.
As a striker, Condit is certainly adequate, but if history is to be the judge, a ground fight suits him much more than attempting to stand and bang with Hardy, and yet it sounds like that is exactly what Condit plans to do Saturday.
“I usually don’t ask for fights or call people out, but this is a fight I thought would make some fireworks,” Condit said earlier this week. “We’re going to go toe-to-toe standing and show the fans what MMA’s all about. Stylistically, I know that I can win this fight. What really matters is fight night. Me and Dan are going to go eyeball to eyeball and see who blinks first.”
October 16, 2010
Official fight card
- Welterweight: James Wilks vs. Claude Patrick
- Heavyweight: Cheick Kongo vs. Travis Browne
- Welterweight: John Hathaway vs. Mike Pyle
- Welterweight: Dan Hardy vs. Carlos Condit
- Middleweight: Michael Bisping vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
- Light Heavyweight: James McSweeney vs. Fabio Maldonado
- Lightweight: Spencer Fisher vs. Kurt Warburton
- Lightweight: Paul Sass vs. Mark Holst
- Light Heavyweight: Steve Cantwell vs. Stanislav Nedkov
- Heavyweight: Rob Broughton vs. Vinicius Queiroz
- Light Heavyweight: Cyrille Diabaté vs. Sweden Alexander Gustafsson