Ah, Salt Lake, the land of immaculate ski resorts, Sundance Film Festival and of course Mormonism.
Not exactly a culture one usually aligns with brutal, fist-to-face violence. This isn’t the first time the UFC has attempted a venture into the land of the Book of Mormon though. Rewind to six years ago, UFC Live aka UFC on Versus 2 was set to take place at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake, however due to low ticket sales it was moved to San Diego.
UFC Live: Jones vs Matyushenko is a time capsule in itself; now commentator Brian Stann winning Fight of the Night, Takanori Gomi KO-ing Tyson Griffin in a minute and a young, pre-estrogen blockers (I guess?) Jon Jones winning via elbows, but I digress.
With Alex Caceres and Yair Rodriguez headlining Fight Night 92, the UFC is banking on veteran names like Dennis Bermudez, Thales Leites and Chris Camozzi to fill out the card. Santiago Ponzinibbio is 22-3 with six UFC fights, but we wager more people are struggling to pronounce his name than those who are ponying up the money to go see him.
Still, with Fight Night 91 just a little more than two-weeks removed, we are left wondering how anyone can expect better numbers than Sioux Falls; the lowest ratings of the year.
Not to take anything away from ‘Bruce Leeroy’ though, his last fight against Cole Miller surely gained him a number of fans, but only this Saturday will determine if it was enough to warrant his own Fight Night.
Veteran Court McGee headlines the prelims against Dominique Steele, aka ‘Non-stop Action-packed’, aka the worst nickname ever. You may remember Steele for his knockout slam against Dong Hyun Kim in South Korea last year.
You may be keen on just watching the early prelims on Fight Pass, considering how well they have stepped up their game on that front since UFC 200. Bouts on Fight Pass for the landmark show included three first-round KOs. Then on UFC 201 we even had a majority draw (which I predicted and talked about on the podcast) and another first-round KO.
I do expect one or two middle-of-the-card KOs this Saturday, perhaps from the aforementioned Santiago Ponzinibbio whom has 13 to his name, however I see a lot of “win to save my career” fights happening from the newcomers and crafty veterans alike.
As Dave has said though, a fair judge of a fighter’s popularity (and to an extent their entertainment factor) is whether or not they have a Wikipedia page. I’m sorry to inform you that 8 of 24 or one-third of the fighters on this event do not. Not good.
Prediction: Yair Rodriguez wins via split decision and UFC Salt Lake City does worse numbers than Sioux Falls, chiefly due to lesser names in an already uninterested market.