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UFC 129 is going to be loud

UFC 129, the biggest event in UFC history, is just hours away. But for fans in Toronto it’s already started. Fighters, dozens of them, started arriving days ago, making appearances, giving seminars, hanging out. The UFC Fan Expo, the Comic Con of MMA, has further stoked the fire even if the hall it’s being held in looks like a truckload of Affliction shirts exploded in there and the douche-metre is off the scale. A bit of a circus to be sure – long lineups to meet fighters, trashy booty-shorted ring girl wannabes handing out promo cards for protein powders and ladies lube wrestling, Diego “The Dream” Sanchez putting his rep on the line in the Grapplers Quest tournament, and I’m pretty sure I saw BJ Penn’s mom working the BJPenn.com booth selling T-shirts and hoodies.

It’s like the Super Bowl and World Cup and circus have come to town, with Dana White as the PT BarnumĀ  ringmaster making it all happen.

Fifty-five thousand. That’s how many fans will pack the Rogers Centre, likely raising its retractable roof an inch or two in the process, especially when Ontario fighters like Mark Hominick, Claude Patrick, Mark Bocek and Sean Pierson enter the octagon. And expect the roof to damn near collapse when Georges St. Pierre shows up. Eight 747 airplanes or 516 African elephants can fit on the field at Rogers Centre and even all of that couldn’t make as much noise as I’m expecting tonight.

Fifty-five thousand. It’s a crazy number, more than double the previous UFC attendance record of 23,152 set at UFC 124 in Montreal. Fifty-five thousand on hand for the biggest card (in terms of fight match-ups) since UFC 100. The co-main events, with welterweight champ GSP facing Jake Shields and featherweight champ Jose Aldo defending against Hominick, comprise the biggest one-two punch in the promotion’s history. And with GSP warning fans not to blink or they might miss the finish of the fight, I expect GSP to demonstrate a killer instinct we haven’t seen from him in a long time. Shields represents his last true challenge at 170 pounds, a multiple title-holder in other promotions with a 15-fight winning streak and GSP wants to end any and all doubt about his supremacy in the division once and for all so he can move onto bigger, ahem Anderson ahem Silva, challenges. Add to that the historic nature of Randy Couture’s last bout (for real this time), and against a StevenĀ  Seagal-trained Lyoto Machida no less, and you’ll be gogoplataing yourself for not being there live.

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