It’s official. Michael Bisping will fight at UFC on FOX 2 and his opponent will be former middleweight top contender Demian Maia. The UFC confirmed the news in an email blast sent out earlier today.

Maia is coming off a win against Jorge Santiago at UFC 136 where he demonstrated improved striking, while Bisping just beat the crap out of Mayhem Miller at the TUF 14 Finale. Bisping has fought a lot of tough guys but he’s never faced someone with the submission expertise that Maia possesses. It will definitely be an interesting clash of styles.

On a related note, it looks like Spike TV is following the same counter-programming formula they used for UFC on FOX 1. Spike announced today that they will be airing another taped fight marathon titled “UFC Unleashed: Evans vs. Davis” featuring several of the UFC on FOX 2 fighters before, during and after the UFC on FOX 2 broadcast. The schedule is as follows:

  • 4:00pm ET/re-airs at 9pm PT – UFC Unleashed – Michael Bisping vs. Jorge Rivera
  • 5:00pm ET/re-airs 10:00pm PT – UFC Fight Night 24 – Phil Davis vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
  • 7:00pm ET/ 4:00pm PT – UFC Unleashed – Chael Sonnen vs. Renato Sobral (UFC 55)
  • 8:00pm ET/ 5:00pm PT – UFC Unleashed – Mark Munoz vs. Kendall Grove (UFC 112)
  • 9:00pm ET/ 6:00pm PT– UFC Unleashed – Rashad Evans vs. Brad Imes (“The Ultimate Fighter 2” finale)
  • 10:00pm ET/ 7:00pm PT – UFC Unleashed – Rashad Evans vs. Rampage Jackson (UFC 114)
  • 11:00pm ET/ 8:00pm PT – UFC Unleashed – Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto Machida (UFC 98)

Spike TV president Kevin Kay explained earlier this week that this counter-programming strategy wasn’t intended to steal viewers from the UFC on FOX cards but to piggyback off all of the promotion FOX does for the events in an effort to monetize their UFC library rights. Nevertheless, 700,000 people watched the taped Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos fights on Spike last month while the live championship fight was taking place on FOX.