UFC 129 Fight Card News: Early PPV Estimates Around One Million Buys

SB Nation MMA brings you UFC 129 fight card news, updates, predictions and previews from here until the fights. We'll be breaking down all of the fights, updating any changes and much more.

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UFC 129 Trending Toward One Million Pay-Per-View Buys

I publicly spoke before UFC 129 about not whether it was big, but if it was the biggest UFC event ever. It certainly was not, but one had to expect this event would nevertheless do well given its size and given its profile in Canada. Canada has several top ppv markets so even if attention is slightly muted in the U.S. by NFL draft coverage, the Canadian enthusiasm can buoy the results. Now early pay-per-view numbers are coming in and they appear to be excellent. Dave Meltzer has early trends:

The UFC Prelims on Spike this weekend did 1.5 million viewers, tied for fourth place in Prelims history. Dave will have more in the Observer but early trending numbers are putting the show slightly below 1 million buys. Of course, anything this early is tough to take too seriously.

We also thought UFC 117 was going to pull one million pay-per-view buys before it eventually pulled in half of early projections. We are right to take heed of the disclaimer here that it's tough to take this projection seriously this early. Still, I suspect given just how rallied and galvanized the Canadian media/people were behind this event the final ppv tally will be no less than 750,000 buys.


UFC 129 Fight Card: Yves Jabouin vs. Pablo Garza Preview

As you'll see me indicate in the video, here's another fantastic under card bout at UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields. The fight doesn't necessarily hold significance for the card or featherweight division, but creates intrigue given how the fighters' games match up. Yves Jabouin vs. Pablo Garza is a featherweight (145lbs) bout. Jabouin is a technical striker, although he on occasion eschews purposeful strategy in favor of striking exhibitions. Garza is a moderately well-rounded fighter, but is tall for the weight class (6'1") who knows how to use his length. He also isn't much of a set up fighter, preferring instead to attack early with bullish intent to finish.

Neither Jabouin nor Garza are fighting for contendership. Garza might have more upside in that regard. He is coming off a bomb of a win over Fredson Paixao, but he's got a long climb even if he gets by Jabouin.

Still, this fight is interesting for a couple of reasons. Jabouin is the better striker generally, but might have precision issues particularly because of Garza's length. Garza also isn't necessarily the best wrestler, so while he has an advantage of the ground it is not a foregone conclusion he can drag the fight there. It's much more likely this fight will come down to what extent Garza employs length and manages real estate.


UFC 129 Fight Card: Ivan Menjivar vs. Charlie Valencia Preview

Another fantastic fight at UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields is a bantamweight (135lbs.) clash between Ivan Menjivar and Charlie Valencia. It'd be inappropriate to label this fight as some sort of contendership eliminator, but it holds promise for excitement and pits highly experienced veterans against one another.

I explain more in the video above, but Menjivar is the fighter I have my eye on here. He's got a special relationship with UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre (again, watch the video), but that's not exactly why I care. I prefer Menjivar more for his high octane, hard offensive output style. Menjivar assaults opposition and not with reckless abandon, although he can sometimes improvise instead of sticking to a gameplan. But he's strong, he's technical, he's good almost everywhere and creates excitement when he fights.

Valencia is exciting as well and will prove to be an excellent foil to Menjivar. He's less exciting to me, though, because he's a little shopworn and can stumble in the face of focused pressure. It's fair to say, however, that it's not clear where Menjivar's current level of ability lies. He's historically been a strong competitor, but this is only his third fight since semi-retiring.

Either way, though, this should be an excellent, dynamic fight on April 30. Both fighters are durable, both are defensively sturdy, both have a wide arsenal of attacks and both need this win to stay employed in the UFC.


UFC 129 Fight Card: Jason MacDonald Vs. Ryan Jensen Preview

The second fight we'll take a look at on the UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields fight card is Jason MacDonald vs. Ryan Jensen. This is a middleweight fight (185lbs) and will take place on the under card. It's not of huge importance and MacDonald's Canadian nationality in part is helping him to get a spot on the card. Still, it's a competitive affair and worth taking a deeper look into for clarity about the larger card.

MacDonald is a fantastic athlete, but doesn't possess brute strength and isn't necessarily the best endurance athlete. I wouldn't go as far as saying his cardio is lacking, but he's taken sufficient damage in his fights enough to say whatever reserves he does have they are often depleted less by distance and more by absorbing punishment. Notwithstanding, he possesses a dynamic guard and has notable submission wins over Chris Leben and Ed Herman. Both MacDonald and Jensen have a common loss in Wilson Gouveia.

My issue about MacDonald is that his best place to win the fight will be on top of Jensen, but that's going to be hard to achieve positionally. Jensen isn't the best wrestler in MMA, but he's capable particularly on the defensive end of the equation. He's also likely stronger than MacDonald and more savage in his aggression. That spells trouble for MacDonald, especially early.

Yet, Jensen isn't so technically sound that he's free from error on opponents he can physically and positionally control. Jensen's gas tank is somewhat of an issue as he starts strong and fades. From there he becomes defensively lax. If MacDonald can weather a storm he should be able to take advantage of a fatigued Jensen in the second or third round.

I tend to lean Jensen. Jensen is no Yushin Okami or Rich Franklin. He's not even a Nate Quarry, but I'm not sure he has to be to get the stoppage. The longer the fight goes the more that favors MacDonald, but I tend to think Jensen takes this through sheer force of will.


UFC 129 Fight Card: John Makdessi vs. Kyle Watson Preview

One of the under card fights of UFC 129 is a lightweight tilt between John Makdessi and Kyle Watson. Watson should be somewhat familiar to UFC fans. He was a cast member of season 12 of Spike TV's 'The Ultimate Fighter' and is the BJJ coach at H.I.T. Squad, Matt Hughes' team in Granite City, Illinois. He's a brown belt in BJJ and a black belt in Jeet Kune Do.

Makdessi, by contrast, is a striker training out of Tri-Star Gym in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Makdessi has an extensive kickboxing background with deep experience in Shotokan Karate and Tae Kwon Do. He's undefeated in MMA and made his UFC debut against Pat Audinwood at UFC 124. Makdessi positively dominated that fight, controlling distance and using a wide arsenal of unconventional kicking attacks - as well as sensational takedown defense - to rout Audinwood for all three rounds on all the judges' score cards.

I explain how each fighter needs to compete in order to win, but it isn't much of a mystery. It's classic striker vs. grappler. The big ifs are whether or not Makdessi can keep the fight standing, how good Makdessi's ground game is and if Watson coming in late notice will affect the final outcome. Also worth noting: will Makdessi lower the volume of kicks in order to avoid being taken down?

For more, follow me on Twitter: @MMANation.


UFC 129 Fight Card News, Previews, Predictions And Updates

We're officially two weeks away from the largest UFC event ever and the biggest MMA event ever in North America. UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields takes place April 30th at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre will defend his title against Jake Shields as the main event and UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo defends his title against challenger Mark Hominick.

For the next two weeks, we'll be updating this stream with all changes to the fight card, previews, predictions, analysis from others and much more. For a one-stop shop on UFC 129 fight card news, this is the place you want to be.

For more analysis and updates, follow Luke Thomas on Twitter: @MMANation.

The card is as follows:

Main card (pay-per-view):
Georges St. Pierre vs. Jake Shields
Jose Aldo vs. Mark Hominick
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Jason Brilz
Lyoto Machida vs. Randy Couture
Ben Henderson) vs. Mark Bocek

Under card (Spike TV):
Nate Diaz vs. Rory MacDonald
Jake Ellenberger vs. Sean Pierson

Under card:
Yves Jabouin vs. Pablo Garza
Claude Patrick vs. Daniel Roberts
Ivan Menjivar vs. Charlie Valencia
Jason MacDonald vs. Ryan Jensen
John Makdessi vs. Kyle Watson

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