So I tuned in to watch the Countdown To UFC 97 last night because I was interested in what angle Zuffa would use to promote these two fights. The Liddell/Rua portion of the show was pretty much how I thought it would go in that it's a must win fight for both fighters. However, more pressure is on Shogun than Liddell to win and Rua's manager pretty much said as much in the latter portion of the show. I was actually surprised that he came right out and said that Dana White would probably want to restructure Rua's contract or cut him. It was something to that effect as I can't recall what he said verbatim.
The intriguing part of the show though was the Thales Leites portion. It seemed as if Zuffa dedicated like the entire first half of the show talking about Leites. They used the poor/rich comparison between him and Anderson Silva. Which worked nicely, especially when they brought Leites's mother in to talk about her son. I thought the end was pretty good as well, using the pregnancy of his girlfriend as motivation to win. That's something the casual fan can probably relate to, especially since the show was built around him being a long shot to win for the most part.
I've been saying this since forever that Leites has a legitimate chance to beat Anderson Silva. I was already interested in this fight, simply because it's Anderson Silva defending his belt. I think the show last night made me just a tad more interested in seeing it. Also, the training footage(I don't know if it's old or not) they used for Shogun gave me a glimmer of hope that this will be a fight and not a massacre.
If you watched the show, what did you think about it?