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UFC 104: Spike TV to Show Ryan Bader vs. Eric Schafer, Hardonk vs. Barry

The UFC will show two live undercard fights on Spike TV during its UFC 104 show, once again giving fans a couple of fights for free to whet their appetites for pay-per-view.

Spike said today that it will air two preliminary fights -- Ryan Bader vs. Eric Schafer and Antoni Hardonk vs. Pat Barry -- live at 9 PM ET on October 24, an hour before the UFC 104 pay-per-view broadcast begins. The one-hour broadcast will air without commercials and could include other fights on tape delay, time permitting.

Spike TV also broadcast some preliminary fights before UFC 103 on September 19, and that was considered a success: The network said its 1.4 million viewers made it the No. 2 show on cable in its time slot among men ages 18 to 34.

Putting Bader on the Spike card makes a lot of sense; he won Season 8 of Spike's The Ultimate Fighter, and he's a popular fighter whose battle with Schafer fans wouldn't want to miss. Hardonk vs. Barry isn't quite the marquee match-up that Bader vs. Schafer is, but it's still a solid heavyweight fight featuring two dangerous strikers. Fights that could make the Spike broadcast if time permits include Yushin Okami vs. Chael Sonnen, Jorge Rivera vs. Rob Kimmons, Kyle Kingsbury vs. Razak Al-Hassan and Stefan Struve vs. Chase Gormley.

Overall, the recent practice of putting a few undercard fights on Spike has to be considered great news for MMA fans. There's only room for five live fights on UFC pay-per-view shows, but the UFC has reached the point where its fight cards typically feature more than five fights that fans want to see. This is a win-win-win for the UFC, for Spike and for the fans.

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