The UFC heads back to Brazil for UFC 212 and one of the country’s favorite sons, Jose Aldo is headlining and defending his featherweight title against interim champion Max “Blessed” Holloway at the Jeunesse Arena.
Take a look at the full card, TV info and hype potential.
Card and Viewing Info
Main Card (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
UFC featherweight champion – Jose Aldo vs. interim champion Max Holloway – featherweight title unification bout
Claudia Gadelha vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
Vitor Belfort vs. Nate Marquardt
Paulo Borrachinha vs. Oluwale Bamgbose
Yancy Medeiros vs. Erick Silva
Fox Sports 1 Prelims (Fox Sports 1, 8 p.m. ET)
Raphael Assuncao vs. Marlon Moraes
Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Eric Spicely
Johnny Eduardo vs. Matthew Lopez
Iuri Alcantara vs. Brian Kelleher
UFC Fight Pass Prelims (UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 p.m. ET)
Jamie Moyle vs. Viviane Pereira
Luan Chagas vs. Jim Wallhead
Marco Beltran vs. Deiveson Figueiredo
This is the sixth UFC event held in the Jeunesse Arena (previously known as HSBC Arena). A Brazilian has headlined each of the cards in the arena and has gone 4-1 in the main events. The only loss came at UFC 190 in August 2015 when Bethe Correia was knocked out in the first round by Ronda Rousey.
Aldo has defeated Chad Mendes (UFC 142) and Chang Sung Jung (UFC 163) in main events at the arena and Anderson Silva has stopped Yushin Okami (UFC 134) and Stephan Bonnar (UFC 153).
Here is the attendance and buy rate numbers from the previous events in the arena.
The average attendance at the arena is 14,009 and the buy rate average is 410,000. That number is a bit skewed because of the mammoth numbers Rousey produced for UFC 190. If you subtract UFC 190, the average buy rate is 290,000.
UFC 212 would be lucky to generate those pay-per-view numbers. My educated guess would be closer to 190,000 to 205,000 pay-per-view buys based on Aldo’s previous opponents at Jeunesse and the totals from those events.
Title Fights – 1
Aldo’s title is the only real championship that will be on the line. This will be Aldo’s ninth defense of the title as the UFC belt, and his 11th overall since he won the WEC title over Mike Brown in November 2009. Aldo lost the title when he was knocked out in 13 seconds by Conor McGregor, but later regained the title when it was stripped from The Notorious One.
The title was later promoted to the UFC crown in October 2010 when the WEC merged with the UFC.
Ranked Fighters – 8
The UFC 212 card is lacking major names and influencers, but there are a good number of ranked fighters in action.
Holloway is the No. 1 contender and interim champ at 145 pounds. Claudia Gadelha is trying to maintain her No. 1 ranking at strawweight against No. 2 Karolina Kowalkiewicz. If the latter wins, she could be next in line for Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Gadelha has already had two cracks at Joanna Champion, so a win may not result in an immediate third fight.
Somehow, Vitor Belfort is still ranked 11th in the UFC. He has said this is his last fight with the promotion, but he may not be retiring. Look for him to potentially land with Bellator before the end of the year.
Raphael Assuncao is ranked No. 3 and he draws a huge test in newcomer and former World Series of Fighting champion Marlon Moraes. The latter is making his UFC debut, but he could find himself ranked very quickly depending on how he performs against Assuncao.
Johnny Eduardo is ranked 10th at 135 pounds, despite 10 losses on his record. He’s just 3-2 in the UFC, so that’s a little odd. Though he has beaten No. 11, Eddie Wineland, for whatever that’s worth. Veteran Iuri Alcantara is ranked 13th in the same division.
His 14 UFC fights rank fourth on the card behind only Belfort (24), Nate Marquardt (23) and Holloway (16).
Former Champions – 1
Belfort is the only former champion on the card. He briefly held the UFC light heavyweight title after he defeated Randy Couture at UFC 46 via first-round TKO. A strap from Belfort’s glove caused an eye injury and Couture lost when he could not continue.
Couture would avenge the loss and regain the title at UFC 49 when he dominated and stopped Belfort in the third round.
Undefeated Fighters – 3
If you’re looking for the next Belfort, 26-year-old Paulo Borrachinha might be your guy. The Brazilian comes into UFC 212 with a 9-0 record overall and a 1-0 mark in the UFC. In his debut, he blasted Gareth McLellan in the first round at UFC Fight Night 106 in March in Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil
Borrachinha won a Performance of the Night bonus for his efforts. If he can follow up with another memorable performance against the dangerous Oluwale Bamgbose, a star might be conceived. He’ll need to do a little more to actually be born.
Viviane Pereira (12-0) and Deiveson Figueiredo (11-0) are also hoping to keep their records unblemished.
Bonus Potential – 20 percent
Of the 24 fighters scheduled to compete, they have a collective bonus rate of 20.3 percent. This means, on average they earn a Fight Night Bonus (Fight of the Night and/or Performance of the Night) in one out of every five fights. (I gave Belfort some extra love for some of his spectacular wins in the UFC’s early days before the promotion started awarding Fight Night bonuses.)
That’s close to average for fighters with any measurable amount of fights with the promotion. Obviously, Borrachinha’s percentage is 100. We’ll see if the dynamic Brazilian can maintain his torrid pace of entertaining fights.
The most sustained success in this category belongs to Erick Silva. He’s far from perfect, but the man has been a bonus-earning machine with the UFC. He’s had 13 fights with the promotion and earned a bonus in seven of them. I’m no mathematician, but that’s more than half of his fights.
For a fighter to earn a bonus in more than 50 percent of their fights–while competing more than eight times says a lot about the quality of their fights. Silva is 5-2 in fights where he’s earned a bonus.
His opponent is no slouch when it comes to bonuses. Yancy Medeiros has earned a bonus in 44 percent of his UFC fights. That’s four in nine bouts. Translation: the Silva vs. Medeiros fight is a favorite to win Fight of the Night.
Naturally, the main card has the fighters with the largest Twitter following. Aldo (867K) is the headliner, but it’s his countryman Belfort who has the most followers with 1.55 million. The dropoff is a major one from there.
Silva is at 131K and Gadelha has 130K while Marquardt has 104K. No other fighter has close to 100K followers. In fact, three have less than 250. That tells you a lot of what you need to know about the lack of widespread appeal for this card.