The first card for the UFC in 2009 will take place in Ireland, a place that they have never had an event. The greatest thing about the UFC is how much they take care of their fans. The organization continues to go to new cities and countries to satisfy as many people as they possibly can.
This card has a little bit everyone. Two former champs meeting in a must win. Old foes facing off in a grudge match and a very hyped up fight that will kick off the pay per view.
Let's take a closer look at a few of these matchups:
Dan Henderson vs Rich Franklin
Franklin, the former UFC middleweight king steps in with Henderson who formerly held two titles in PRIDE at the same time. This match is at light heavyweight and the winner should move into serious title contention. Franklin is a straight ahead striker who likes to take chances in the standup game. Henderson comes from a wrestling background but has knockout power in both hands. I expect a chess match for the first round before they start to throw bombs. Henderson like to trade but would be better off getting Franklin on his back. Both fighters have a lot to prove in this one that has the makings of a solid fight.
Mark Coleman vs Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman returns home to the octagon to take on a fighter he once beat in PRIDE. That fight ended with Rua breaking his arm and a rivalry was born. In the ring after that fight, both corners entered and a brawl almost happened. The bad blood carried into the locker rooms after that as well.
Coleman hasn't fought in the UFC since 1999 and has been in wars since then. He is 44 years old now and fighting in a new weight class. Shogun, when in shape and focused, could be the best 205 pound fighter in the world. This one has mismatch written all over it. Coleman needs to be at the top of his game or it might be a quick night for the former OSU Buckeye.
I am expecting the best Shogun that we have since he entered the UFC. He was always a fan favorite and is another fighter who can get into title contention with a win.
Denis Kang vs Alan Belcher
Kang will be making his UFC debut in a must see matchup. Belcher is a extremely talented fighter and both are very well rounded and experienced. Both like to stand but have solid submission skills. The pace of this one could be very fast and furious. Look for Kang to get his hand raised here for the first time in the octagon.
Chris Lytle vs Marcus Davis
People are already saying this will be the fight of the night, possibly of the year. Those are some pretty lofty expectations and usually when there is that much hype, we get let down. I sure hope that's not the case because I have been waiting for this one for a long time. Two of the most entertaining guys in the fight game. Both guys come from boxing backgrounds and have great chins. Do not expect for this to go anywhere near the ground. This is a fight you don't want to miss.
Full fight card:
Dan Henderson vs. Rich Franklin
Mark Coleman vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
Alan Belcher vs. Denis Kang
Jeremy Horn vs. Rousimar Palhares
Marcus Davis vs. Chris Lytle
Alexandre Barros vs. Martin Kampmann
Antonio Mendes vs. Eric Schafer
Thomasz Drwal vs. Ivan Serati
Tom Egan vs. John Hathaway
Dennis Siver vs. Nate Mohr
A very solid UFC card to get 2009 underway. There are a lot of really good fights that I am looking forward to. The UFC has many cards already lined up for fight fans everywhere and I'm excited to check them all out. UFC 93 is a excellent place to start.