FOX Sports’ Curt Menefee kicks off the night, hosting pre- and post-fight coverage alongside UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture and UFC middleweight fighter Brian Stann. Couture is the only UFC fighter to ever win the UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight titles and became the oldest man ever to win a UFC title at the age of 43. Stann, the hero former U.S. Marine, was originally scheduled to fight Hector Lombard and headline the Aug. 4 event, but a shoulder injury forced him off the card. Once the battles in the Octagon begin, UFC announcers Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg have the call.
FOX Sports and the UFC get the Aug. 4 action rolling the weekend before with UFC’s ROAD TO THE OCTAGON on Sunday, July 29 (2:00-3:00 PM ET). This first-ever UFC on FOX preview special takes a narrated, documentary-style look at how talented lightweight fighters Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Brandon “The Truth” Vera, along with light heavyweights Ryan Bader and Lyoto Machida, prepare for their upcoming FOX bouts.
Rua and Vera each has his own story of past success and failure and both hope to use their exposure on FOX for redemption. A former UFC light heavyweight champion and PRIDE Grand Prix 2005 champion, Rua is a true legend in the sport of mixed martial arts, with wins over many of the sport’s elite, like Chuck Liddell, Rampage Jackson, Alistair Overeem and Forrest Griffin. A mainstay in the sport for a decade, the 30-year-old believes his next run at the title starts by knocking off the talented and dangerous Vera.
Vera, after launching his UFC career in 2005 as a heavyweight and winning his first four fights, was on the fast-track to becoming one of the sport’s biggest stars. However, he stumbled in two heavyweight bouts after a hold-out, but rebounded with a light heavyweight win which set up a fight with Keith Jardine in UFC 89. A win would have solidified his comeback, but two weeks prior, his wife, trainer and trainer’s son were victim of a home invasion where they were held at gunpoint. While no one was hurt, Vera, traumatized and unable to focus, lost to Jardine. He struggled to regain his confidence and contemplated quitting until he rediscovered his passion during a long cross-country trip in 2011, stopping in MMA gyms along the way. As he stares down the biggest fight of his career against former champ Rua, Vera has a chance to fulfill the promise of his youth.
Easily one of the UFC’s bright, rising stars, Bader, a skilled wrestler, is a two-time NCAA Division 1 All-American out of Arizona State University and won Season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter. As a former UFC light heavyweight champion, Machida holds black belts in Shotokan Karate and Brazilian Jui-Jitsu. Their bout on Aug. 4 should be action-packed.
The two-hour event on FOX on Aug. 4 also features Travis Browne (13-0-1), who many have pegged as the next UFC heavyweight champion, squaring off against seasoned fighter Ben Rothwell (32-8-0) and exciting lightweights Joe Lauzon (20-7-0) and Jamie Varner (20-6-1) do battle. In the heavyweight class, Rothwell, a veteran of 40 fights in his professional career, takes on Honolulu native Browne, who looks to continue his climb and fulfill the proclamations of several high-profiled coaches and training partners. Having fought four UFC champions (Velasquez, Arlovski, Sylvia and Rodriguez), Rothwell could put Browne’s championship aspirations in serious jeopardy.
Lightweight Lauzon is one of the most entertaining fighters in all of the UFC. His incredible performances in the UFC haven’t only shocked fans but Lauzon himself as he’s earned “Fight of the Night” three times and “KO of the Night” once in only 12 UFC appearances. He takes on Varner who replaces Terry Etim. Touted by pundits as a complete underdog versus a highly-regarded opponent, Varner surprised many in the lightweight division with his first-round TKO victory over Edson Barboza at UFC 146 in May, his first in UFC since March 2007.