The UFC rolls out its first major card debut tonight on Fuel TV in Omaha, Ne. Jake Ellenberger has a chance to work his way into the welterweight title mix with a big win over Diego Sanchez, but the card features much more beyond the main event (Fuel TV 8 p.m. ET).
The heavyweights are definitely can't miss this evening. Stefan Struve faces the division's great anamoly in Dave Herman. A chiseled 235 pounder Herman seems to fight with little strategy, but he is dangerous. He's mocked jiu-jitsu in the past. He'd better take it seriously against Struve, who has 15 submission wins in his 21 victories.
The other thing to watch for with Herman is what sort of look he brings to the Octagon tonight. Yesterday, he looked like a Russian lumberjack.
Ellenberger returns home
Sanchez will be walking into a road spot against Omaha's Ellenberger. The city is fired up for the return of the rising UFC star.
Today Ellenberger — born and bred in Omaha and the assistant coach at the University of Nebraska-Omaha — was presented with the Key to the City by David Dover, Deputy Chief of Staff to Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle. The former US Marine said: "I'm honored to be recognized by the city I grew up in and fight for. It's extra pressure to fight in your hometown with all your family and friends in the front row, but I know the support from the local fans will be awesome."
UFC looks to boost FUEL
The Fox deal was a no brainer for the promotion, but it does come with some early risks by using FUEL as its clearance house for programming.
Spike was in 100 million home. Fuel is still a work-in-progress with only 36 millions. That will get boosted into the mid-40's tonight due to a free preview this week. Unfortunately, like many young networks FUEL is fighting for clearance with cable companies. Comcast, the nation's biggest cable carrier, still doesn't offer the channel. That said, the Fox folks are enthused by the early uptick with the UFC partnership.
"We've had an 80 percent increase in the target demographic of men ages 18-49, and a near 230 percent increase in overall prime-time ratings from past ratings periods," Fuel TV vice president George Greenberg said. "To say I'm jacked would be putting it mildly."
Dillashaw needs a quick bounce back victory
The pre-show favorite for the 135-pound title on Season 14 of "The Ultimate Fighter," Dillashaw was surprised by the much smaller John Dodson in the final. He was finished on what he thought was a flash knockdown.
The powerful wrestler faces a challenge in the very rangy Walel Watson. He's not impressed.
"He's obviously going to be the tallest bantamweight I'll ever fight. He's got a long reach. Other than that, I don't find him too dangerous. Yeah, he's going to use his reach to his advantage, but he's not dangerous with it. He likes to stay on the outside obviously and use it to his advantage, but I'm not too impressed with his ground game or his [aggression]," Dillashaw told Sherdog.
The key phrase there is aggression. Watson's striking game can be dynamic, but he rarely sits down on his strikes. He is dangerous off his back which makes this fight really interesting since Dillashaw is probably going to look for the takedown and top control. He needs to be consistently active or he could get caught.