Continuing its plunge into the 3D arena, Versus will televise the first UFC card in the format next Thursday night.
The telecast, sponsored by Comcast Xfinity, will air from the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. at 9 p.m. (ET) and showcase a pair of top matches, Diego Sanchez versus Martin Kampmann in a welterweight bout, and a middleweight clash between CB "The Doberman" Dollaway and Mark "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" Munoz. It's the first of four UFC cards Versus will televise under a new contract with the mixed martial arts leader this year, up from two in 2010. Those telecasts averaged over 1.1 million viewers apiece.
Thus far, Comcast, which launched its 24-hour XFinity 3D service last Sunday, Cox, Verizon FiOS, Massillon Cable, Blue Ridge Communications and Armstrong have committed to airing the 3D affair. That carriage roster is expected to grow as negotiations with other affiliates continue, according to a Versus spokesman.
Todd Harris and Kenny Florian will serve as the announce team on Versus' 3D broadcast, which will have a separate crew and production team from the network's HD telecast of the event.
The 3D UFC telecast will mark Versus' fourth with the format. It kicked off with 3D college football coverage of then No. 1 Oregon visiting Cal on Nov. 13.
Versus also presented the Tim Hortons Heritage Classic, the Feb. 20 outdoor NHL game between the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadians from McMahon Stadium in Calgary, Alberta in 3D, which faced off the launch of Comcast's Xfinity 3D service on Feb. 20. The cable network also produced an enhanced version of the NHL's Winter Classic from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on New Years Day.
As to its coverage of the March 3 MMA card, Versus will flank the event with a pair of live shows, hosted by Craig Hummer, Molly Qerim and 2010 MMA journalist of the year Ariel Helwani. The 60-minute pre-fight show will include exclusive interviews with Sanchez prior to his main-event battle with Kampmann, as well as Jon "Bones" Jones, who discusses his upcoming title tilt against Mauricio Rua on March 19 at UFC 128. The trio also will talk to the fighters during the 30-minute wrap-up.
Similar to its second UFC telecast last August, Versus will once again run several of its commercial breaks between rounds in a split-screen format adjoining its live coverage from the locker rooms or as the fighters make their way to the Octagon. The ads will appear in the upper left corner of the screen, while the live coverage runs over the bigger portion on the right side of the screen.
Season one winner of reality seriesThe Ultimate Fighter, Sanchez (24-4) will face Kampmann (17-4) in the night's main event. The bout is pivotal for both fighters to determine who will emerge as a top contender in the welterweight class. In the night's co-main event, rising middleweight stars Dollaway (12-3) and Munoz (9-2) lock horns to see which fighter moves one step closer to a world title fight. Munoz, who has trained with Anderson Silva and Tito Ortiz and has a record of 4-1 in UFC, will look for a fifth win over Dollaway.
The undercard will feature a middleweight showdown between Alessio "Legionarius" Sakara (19-7, 1NC) and Chris Weidman (4-0), a New York native and former two-time All-American wrestler making his UFC debut. Meanwhile, former champion Brian Bowles (8-1) returns to the cage after a year absence to square off against dynamite grappler Damacio "The Angel of Death" Page (12-5) in a bantamweight contest.
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