With the announcement on Wednesday of fights with Demetrious Johnson vs. John Moraga for the flyweight title and Miesha Tate vs. Liz Carmouche, the next UFC show on FOX has its lineup complete.
UFC on FOX 8 takes place on July 27 at the Key Arena in Seattle.
The event is going to be a tough sell, given the summer time slot and lack of any of the company's biggest stars on the bill. Johnson did headline the Jan. 28 show where he defeated John Dodson via decision, which did a 2.43 rating and 4,219,000 viewers. However, the show was augmented by a many-time pay-per-view main eventer and top draw, Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, fighting for the first time on regular television since 2007 as well as a Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis fight.
It can be argued the fight with the most mainstream appeal on the show will be what is currently the scheduled opener, with Tate (13-4) facing Carmouche (8-3). Both fighters have headlined successful major shows, as the two most well-known opponents of women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. The opening bout is a tough position to draw in during the summer, since it'll go into the cage at about 5:15 p.m. on a summer afternoon on the West Coast. This past Saturday's FOX special didn't really hit its stride as far as viewership went until the second fight was in the cage.
Tate is rated currently as the No. 3 contender for Rousey's title. She's behind Cat Zingano, who she lost to on Feb. 13, and Sarah Kaufman. Carmouche is ranked No. 4.
Currently scheduled in the second slot is a battle of former Strikeforce stars. Tarec Saffiedine (14-3), a native of Belgium, faces Robbie Lawler (20-9, 1 no contest), a knockout artist. Saffiedine won the Strikeforce welterweight title from Nate Marquardt in a major upset on that company's final show on Jan. 12, and will be making his UFC debut. Lawler returned to the UFC on Feb. 13 in Anaheim and also scored a major upset with a first round knockout of Josh Koscheck. It was Lawler's first UFC fight since 2004, when he was cut from the organization after consecutive losses to Nick Diaz and Evan Tanner. Saffiedine is currently ranked as the No. 8 contender in the welterweight division, while Lawler is ranked No. 9.
The co-main event slot pits No. 3 welterweight contender Rory MacDonald (14-1) against No. 4 ranked Jake Ellenberger (29-6). MacDonald's lone career loss was to Carlos Condit, in a fight he was dominating before running out of gas in the third round. MacDonald, 23, has dominated his last four opponents. Ellenberger, a strong wrestler with one-punch knockout power, has won eight of his last nine fights, losing only to Martin Kampmann. Ellenberger knocked out Marquardt in his last outing.
While Johnson vs. Moraga is a championship fight, and every UFC event on FOX to date that has headlined with a title fight has done well, Moraga is the closest thing to a complete unknown in a UFC title match in years.
The former Arizona State wrestler, Moraga (13-1) has only fought twice in the UFC, both in Facebook prelims that were viewed by relatively few viewers. Johnson (17-2-1), became UFC's first flyweight champion on Sept. 22 in Toronto, winning a five-round decision over Joseph Benavidez.