It should come as little surprise by now: the UFC likes making friends on Facebook.
On Saturday, for UFC 132
in Las Vegas, the promotion will again stream preliminary card fights on its Facebook
page, this time offering up four fights, including one featuring a former champion and former title challenger.
A bantamweight bout between ex-WEC champ Brian Bowles
and one-time top contender Takeya Mizugaki
highlights the undercard fights from the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Those four fights
will lead into a two-fight prelims broadcast on Spike TV, which in turn leads into the pay-per-view event.
This is the 12th straight fight card that the UFC has streamed fights for free at Facebook, and it will be the sixth consecutive show in which each fight on the card is broadcast in some capacity. For UFC 131
earlier this month, the promotion also streamed prelims on its YouTube channel.
To gain access to the fights, viewers must "like" the UFC on Facebook
. As of Monday evening, the UFC has more than 5.8 million fans at the site.
The UFC began streaming preliminary fights in January with its Fight for the Troops 2
show at Fort Hood, Texas. Since then, the promotion has included free Facebook fights for each event, regardless of the main card's platform – be it on pay-per-view, Spike or Versus.
The Facebook stream opens with a bantamweight bout featuring promotional newcomers Jeff Hougland and Donny Walker, a fight that was signed late last week.
Hard-hitting lightweight Anthony Njokuani
, who won three straight Knockout of the Night bonuses in the WEC in 2009, faces TUF 9 finalist Andre Winner
. Njokuani has lost three of his last four; Winner has lost two straight.
Season 11 TUF semifinalist Brad Tavares
goes for his third straight UFC win against his toughest test yet, Aaron Simpson
. Simpson was scheduled to face former Strikeforce star Jason "Mayhem" Miller
in a fight that almost certainly would have found its way to the pay-per-view broadcast or Spike TV prelims. But Miller was pulled from the fight so he could coach opposite Michael Bisping on the upcoming fall season of "The Ultimate Fighter." Simpson got back in the win column in March after back-to-back losses to Chris Leben and Mark Munoz, two standouts in the middleweight division.
And after a dominant performance against Damacio Page in his March return following a yearlong layoff, Bowles, whose knockout of Miguel Torres in August 2009 won him the WEC bantamweight title in a major upset, looks to take another step closer to title contention against Mizugaki. Bowles lost the title in his first defense to current champ Dominick Cruz
. Coincidentally, Mizugaki's first WEC fight came against Torres, a five-round war at WEC 40 that was on many 2009 Fight of the Year lists. Mizugaki beat Reuben Duran in March and now looks for his first winning streak since 2008, when he was fighting in his native Japan.
UFC 132 features a main event bantamweight fight between Cruz and challenger Urijah Faber
, former kingpin of the featherweight division. Also on the card, middleweight Wanderlei Silva
returns after a 16-month layoff to face Chris Leben
. And Tito Ortiz
's UFC career is likely on the line
against Ryan Bader
The Facebook stream is scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. Eastern, followed by Melvin Guillard vs. Shane Roller and George Sotiropoulos vs. Rafael dos Anjos on Spike at 8 p.m. The pay-per-view begins at 9 p.m.