The UFC completed its first venture in to China this past online betting weekend with an event it called the UFC on Fuel TV 6, the first in what the promotion hopes will be a series of events overseas in a new and bold market. While the event started slow, the overall experience that UFC on Fuel TV 6 provided seemed to be a positive one for fans that made their way out to the show, with Thiago Silva’s submission win and Cung Le’s knockout win over Rich Franklin among the highlights. For a sport that is targeting an expanding fan base and worldwide popularity, the debut venture to China appears to be a strong first step.
The overall strength of the card was limited by the fact that none of the first seven bouts were decided before the judge’s could have their say, even though there were moments of excitement throughout. That includes the contest between Takeya Mizugaki and Jeff Hougland, which was a decent fight but probably should have never happened in the first place. Mizugaki has been competing at a high level for years now, and while this win did little to boost his stock, it could hurt Hougland’s long-term progression. Another tilt that disappointed featured a pair of black belts in Dong Hyun Kim and Paulo Thiago, a pair of judo black belts that were expected to put on a highly competitive grabbing match, but instead resulted in a one-sided show. Thiago was on the defensive for most of the online sports betting bout, and landed only four strikes in the entire 15-minute fight.
However, for as disappointing as the sports betting start was, the co-main event matches each played a role in making up for the rest of the card, beginning with Thiago Silva’s win over Stanislav Nedkov. The first two rounds of this tilt were full of back and forth action, but when Silva took down Nedkov in the third round the crowd could smell the blood in the water. The Brazilian moved quickly to submit his opponent and register the first finish before the final bell, and the sense of relief that UFC officials felt was almost culpable. That submission set the stage for the main event and Cung Le’s opportunity to steal the online betting spotlight with a win over Rich Franklin. Le didn’t disappoint, ending the tilt via knockout in the opening round and setting the crowd in to an eruption. Le’s knockout was worth watching again on the highlight reels, and it provided the necessary memorable finish to an otherwise average online sportsbook fight card.
The UFC has yet to confirm its future plans for events in China, but the debut event will be remembered as being a success. Hitting the new markets with cards worth watching is something that concerned the promotion, as it was about more than simply taking advantage of an opening show. The UFC aims to build through its networks and expand around the world, and the UFC on Fuel TV 6 can be marked as a successful debut. For all of the latest UFC betting odds and news, be sure to check out the best sports betting sites.