By pairing the rematch between bitter rivals Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate with one of the most anticipated rematches in UFC history between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman, UFC 168 is must-see TV regardless of who else makes their way to the card.
Even though those two bouts are the only confirmed fights for the Dec. 28 card, UFC president Dana White went as far as to say that Weidman-Silva II would be the biggest fight in the history of the UFC. And that was before adding the Rousey vs. Tate rematch.
Here's why it's the perfect co-main event to set up the highly anticipated rematch between Weidman and Silva.
Main Event Worthy
It's not often that "co-main event" billing really means co-main event. Especially when it comes to cards with the likes of Anderson Silva anchoring the pay-per-view buys.
A third bout between aging legends Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin co-headlined Silva's rematch with Chael Sonnen (a card that still netted 925,000 buys according to MMA Payout Blue Book). Other co-main events for Silva fights have included a bout between Dave Herman and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and a featherweight contest between Frankie Edgar and Charles Oliveira.
Take away the presence of Silva on those cards, and none of those fights could have carried the card as the main event.
Tate vs. Rousey, on the other hand, was originally destined to headline the card, per MMA Junkie:
Rousey has already shown that she has enough drawing power to main event a card, too. The MMA Payout Blue Book reported that the card had 450,000 buys. That's more than Cain Velasquez's most recent title defense or Anderson Silva's bout with Stephan Bonnar.
Fight fans love a good grudge match.
According to MMA Payout Blue Book, the UFC 117 card featuring the first bout between Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva did 600,000 buys. Once Sonnen showed that he was a legitimate threat to the reigning champion, the rematch saw a huge increase, going to 925,000 buys.
Fans are leery of spending their money on a card that they are afraid won't deliver. When they've seen the first fight, they know they'll get a show worth watching. Throw in the added intrigue surrounding the adjustments each fighter will make and it's clear to see why they draw.
Tate still remains one of two fighters to make it out of the first minute with Rousey. Everyone will want to know if she can be the first to avoid Rousey's armbar.
The Ultimate Fighter
There's no question that Dana White is trying to put together a mega-event to end the year. That means he's going to pull out all the stops when it comes to promoting the event.
One easy way to do that is to get The Ultimate Fighter involved. While we watch the weekly show to see up-and-coming fighters attempt to pave their own way into the organization, it certainly goes a long way in promoting the upcoming bout between coaches.
That should be no different this time around as both Tate and Rousey are fiery competitors who don't like one another. Every time they display their disdain for each other on the show, it's more free press for the card.
While the prospect of Silva and Weidman going toe-to-toe again is more than enough to win over most fans, the idea of watching Rousey and Tate settle their differences in the Octagon should serve as the perfect prelude to that encounter.
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