|Will you be asleep while people are being put to sleep? (espn.com)|
Sleeping in on a Saturday morning has become a bit overrated. Although it's never been a big deal for me. When I was young enough to enjoy television, I'd wake up at 6am, hop out of bed and go watch TV for most of my Saturday morning. I would want to watch this kids game show based around video games. The only thing I can remember about it, is the final "challenge" was running through a fake video game store, grabbing any game you could and velcro-ing it to your body (each kid had a velcro vest they would wear), and in the end I think there was a slide involved. Completely lame, but as a 6 year-old, all I wanted was to be on that show.
By the time I grew into my teenage years, I was never a pro at sleeping in, but at least made an effort to try. I knew that the earlier I woke up, the earlier my dad would send me out to do yard work. So if I was up and moving at 9am; I'd be working alone until like 11am when my brothers would finally get out of bed.
College, of course, was my sleeping in prime on Saturdays. My college was D-III, and all football games started at 11am. I never made it to one. There wasn't much motivation to go in the first place, but then tack on being out til the early morning, probably hung over, and hungry for some diner food, any effort to wake up early and not sleep in would have been a waste of time.
Now, as I age, I'm back to the Saturday mornings where I don't necessarily sleep in, but I'm also compelled to wake up early. This started when I would watch soccer. Fox Soccer Channel, ESPN, and next season NBC Sports Network air live British Premier League matches starting early in the morning - like 7am since it's live from England. So when my team, Arsenal, would be programmed to play, I'd be up early and even set an alarm (! on a Saturday morning) to catch the action.
It is worth noting that due to my work schedule, I was pretty much automatically waking up by 6:30am anyway. And also, the way Arsenal's season is going, my early Saturday mornings might soon be a thing of the past.
So I'd wake up, turn on the game, french press some freshly ground coffee beans and make an omelette and relax. I continue to enjoy this process immensely. When it comes to this Saturday mornings UFC card live from Macao, China there is no question as to if I will be up for the 9am ET live event, as I probably would have been finishing up a pot of coffee and finished updating my fantasy football line-ups by then.
The question remains for those not so morning motivated to interrupt their sleep. In today's day and age, there's DVR and TIVO to make your decision simple. But beyond that, this fight card isn't one to excite nor one that will make it hard to sleep the night before.
In their inaugural trip to China, the UFC hasn't exactly put a lot of fighters with big names potential title contenders on this card. While it's par for the course to trot out countrymen on foreign located cards, so China isn't exactly booming in the realm of actual combat sports.
They've been notably better in the fictional realm of combat sports.
The card not only has no potential #1 contender fights, there isn't a fighter on the entire card that will probably ever be a #1 contender, with the possible exception being Dong Hyun Kim. But again, that'd be a stretch considering how packed 170 has become.
While there are notable fights with fighters looking to call it a career or reestablish themselves as a regular UFC fighter, there aren't even match-ups that in it of themselves seem to portend to an exciting fight.
This aspect is the one I find the most puzzling. To put together an entire card, where obviously you're not going to get a big main event, but to fill it with fighters that don't jump off the page as an exciting fight is something I hardly remember the UFC ever doing. Granted with the end of the year upon us, many of those highlight reel guys already booked in a crazy busy finish to 2012 that might have tied Joe Silva's hands a bit.
Sure Rich Franklin always shows up for a fight, and Cung Le might have some flashy kicks up his iron fists, but it would be shocking if Franklin busted out the Rich Franklin dazed face against Le. In MMA, Franklin's diverse skill set is more than enough to neutralize the smaller Le. Also, a fight like Mac Danzig v Takanori Gomi, I mean, I feel like we've been here a hundred times before with both of these guys.
For my fight pick, I'm opting for the unknown in Thiago Silva v Stanislav Nedkov. Silva was once quite feared in the light heavyweight division before injuries, losses, and submitting something other than human urine for his mandated post fight piss test (which he served a 1-year suspension for) after beating Brandon Vera. Now that Silva is sufficiently humiliated and presumably healthy it'll be interesting to see if he can still rattle some noggins with his punching power.
One guy that certainly can do that is Nedkov. He KO'd Luiz Cane in the first round of his UFC debut, and by all accounts is not a guy to mess around with. The 30 year old is similar to Silva in that they don't bring much grappling to the cage. This is a stand 'em and bang 'em affair, and the best shot we've got for a really exciting fight.
At this point, Silva is hardly the guy anyone remembers as a Top 10 fighter at 205. Winning only 1 of his last 4 fights, along with the suspension doesn't put him in the UFC's favor either. He's going to have to come out swinging to put on a good show and to protect himself from gassing, as he tends to do.
I wish I knew more about Nedkov, but information on him is limited, not only in the UFC, but in Wikipedia. A 7-0 record in Bulgaria doesn't mean much, but it's something; and his impressive win of Cane was a good welcoming card, but there's a lot to get to know about Nedkov. That's why I'll be watching to see what he's got going for him.
Just because I am so down on Silva, I'm going to choose Nedkov 3rd round TKO. Again, I know nothing about his strategy or cardio, but I'd imagine he'll try to resist Silva's opening overture and try to drag him deep into the fight. Unless of course Silva gets careless and clocked.
And if that's not enough to get you to tune in, there will be Chinese ring girls!