Friday, Jan. 27, 2012 | 6:30 p.m.
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- Michael Bisping again in starring role as ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ draws to a close
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- Despite loss, Chael Sonnen backed up the talk at UFC 117
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CHICAGO — Chael Sonnen has frequently referred to his UFC on FOX 2 bout with Michael Bisping as the card’s “true main event” over the past two weeks.
The scene at Friday’s weigh-in at the Chicago Theatre may have proven that fans feel the same. An overflow crowd forced the historic venue to open additional seating in its balcony.
Judging by the fans’ noise level, they weren’t there to see light heavyweight main event participants Rashad Evans and Phil Davis. The response Evans and Davis drew was tepid at best compared with the one Sonnen and Bisping received.
The two polarizing middleweights made their way to the scale to a combination of lustful boos and encouraging cheers.
Bisping (185) was more negatively received, especially after he repeated his antics from last month’s “The Ultimate Fighter 14” finale weigh-in and flipped off the crowd. Sonnen (185) heard more cheers, but some fans made clear they were tiring of his relentless self-promotion.
The crowd got a thrill when the two posed for their stare-down photo and Bisping placed his forehead into Sonnen’s. Sonnen and Bisping also exchanged some words before exiting the stage.
Davis, who was a national champion wrestler in college, came out next in a Penn State singlet to mock Evans’ assertion that he was “a trash wrestler.” But even the creative outfit couldn’t infuse energy into a room that felt zapped after the departure of Sonnen and Bisping.
Evans, who lives in Chicago, received a mostly warm reception. Davis (205) and Evans (205) passed on the chance to throw some last-minute trash talk at each other.
“We both said a lot,” Evans said. “It’s time to see what’s going on and who’s going to back up their words.”
UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, one of Davis’ training partners at Alliance MMA in San Diego, accompanied the undefeated fighter onstage.
“I can’t wait to test my skills against a great fighter,” Davis said. “This is definitely something I’m going to build my career off.”
The two most popular preliminary card fighters were heavyweight Mike Russow and lightweight Michael Johnson.
Russow (251), who meets John-Olav Einemo (253), juggles his blossoming UFC career with a full-time position as a Chicago police officer. Johnson (156), who faces Shane Roller (156), came out with a Chicago Bulls mascot hat on his head.
Check below for full results from the UFC on FOX 2 weigh-in.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Rashad Evans (205) vs. Phil Davis (205)
Middleweight Bout: Chael Sonnen (185) vs. Michael Bisping (185)
Middleweight Bout: Demian Maia (186) vs. Chris Weidman (186)
Lightweight Bout: Evan Dunham (155) vs. Nik Lentz (155)
Heavyweight Bout: Mike Russow (251) vs. John-Olav Einemo (253)
Featherweight Bout: Cub Swanson (145) vs. George Roop (145)
Featherweight Bout: Charles Oliveira (144) vs. Eric Wisely (144)
Lightweight Bout: Michael Johnson (156) vs. Shane Roller (156)
Heavyweight Bout: Joey Beltran (228) vs. Lavar Johnson (252)
Middleweight Bout: Chris Camozzi (185) vs. Dustin Jacoby (185)