The 2 big questions remaining in the in the UFC 86 vs. Affliction: Banned PPV battle are whether or not Affliction: Banned has a better main card than UFC 86 and, if so, whether that makes up for UFC 86 having a better main event.
When looking at the 2 cards, 1 thing immediately stands out in Affliction's favor. Affliction: Banned has 5 main card, non-main event fights vs UFC 86's 4.
Cote vs Almeida or Barnett vs Rizzo
Cote vs Almeida - Cote has managed to shed his "big talent, but can't win in the UFC" label by winning his last 3 UFC fights, all of which were against quality competition. Cote has looked better with each fight, and the last 2 have shown off the heavy hands he was always hyped as having.
The only thing I know about Almeida is that he returned to MMA after a 4 year lay-off and managed to score an impressive first round submission.
I'm really interested in this fight. Its a big fight for both guys. If either guy scores a big, decisive (ie. non-decision) win, he might leap-frog Yushin Okami for a title shot.
Barnett vs Rizzo - Barnett is a rarity, a heavyweight with a ground game. He's one of the top heavyweights in the world (#4 if you believe WAMMA's rankings http://www.gowamma.com/rankings.asp).
Rizzo is your more typical big striker heavyweight. He used to be one of the top heavies in the world, but, at 34, he's starting to move past his prime.
I can't get that excited about this fight. Partially because I'm not a big fan of the heavyweight division (slow & one-dimensional).
Edge: UFC 86
Stevenson vs Tibau or Arlovski vs Rothwell
Stevenson vs Tibau - Stevenson is probably near the top of the lightweight ladder in the UFC. He faired as poorly against BJ Penn as most lightweights which ended his fairly impressive 4 win streak.
Tibau is also coming off a loss that snapped a win streak. Only his loss was to Tyson Griffin, and his win streak was only 3 wins.
I'm not that interested in either fighter. However, this fight should remind people how entertaining the ground game can be.
Arlovski vs Rothwell - Rothwell completely dominated the IFL's heavyweight division, and I'm really interested in seeing him take on higher level competition. Unfortunately, he's fighting Arlovski.
Going into Sylvia vs Arlovski 2, Arlovski had walked through he last 6 opponents and looked poised to dominate the heavyweight division for years. Then, he drops Sylvia with a big overhand right & moves in to finish Sylvia off, only his hands are a bit too low & Sylvia rebounds and finishes Arlovski with strikes. Since that fight, Arlovski has moved onto my "I won't pay to watch list" with uninspiring decisions against Sylvia & Werdum where he's looked extremely hesitant. Granted he's also stopped Cruz and O'Brien, but neither of them are top tier fighters.
WAMMA considers this to be a battle between the #6 & #9 heavyweights in the world, and I'm interested in how Rothwell will fair against top tier competition and whether or not Arlovski can regain his championship form. But, I can't bring myself to get excited about this fight. I can't shake the feeling that its going to be a lot of circling & jabbing.
Edge: UFC 86
Koscheck vs Lytle or Lindland vs Nascmento
Koscheck vs Lytle - Koscheck is the inaugural member of my "I won't pay to watch" list. He's getting better & moving away from his lay & pray roots, but he's still on the list.
Lytle's been fighting with a sense of urgency lately. He's 33 which means if he wants to make a title run, he needs to do that now. He seems to not only understand this, but to also realize that the fastest way to move up the ladder is to finish fights.
Lytle very entertaining fighter, Koscheck an "I won't pay to watch" fighter.
Lindland vs Nascimento - What can you say about Lindland? He's been fighting for over 10 years. He's a middleweight, but he'll fight anyone, anywhere. Hell, his last fight was against Fedor Emelianenko. He's a main card (& occasional main event) fighter that constantly bounces from promotion to promotion.
I've got nothing on Nascimento. I couldn't even find the guy on Wikipedia.
Edge: Affliction: Banned. That's how serious I am about the "I won't pay to watch" list. I'll take a fight with someone I know absolutely nothing about over a fight with someone on the list.
Griffin vs Aurelio or Nogueira vs White
Griffin vs Aurelio - This fight should exemplify my love/hate relationship with the lightweight division. It should be a very exciting, fast paced fight which will end in a decision.
Nogueira vs White - A very good light heavyweight who had a fantastic run in Pride vs a journeyman with a losing record. Why is a fight this lopsided on paper a part of Affliction's first PPV? My guess, Nogueira's there to provide star power & White's there because people know who he is and Nogueira needs an opponent.
Praying for undercard matches or Sobral vs Whitehead
Sobral vs Whitehead - This could be my favorite fight on the Affliction: Banned main card. Whitehead dominated the IFL and it'll be interested to watch he take on higher level competition. Sobral is a very good light heavy and proves that even guys weighing over 200 lbs can have a great/entertaining ground game.
Edge: Affliction: Banned