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Old 02-11-2012, 09:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Product Preview: Topps UFC Knckout 2012

By G. Kerry Webster
Posted Feb. 11, 2012

A sequentially numbered hit in every pack. Enough said.

That's what MMA card collectors will get when they open boxes of Topps UFC Knockout 2012. The hobby-exclusive product is Topps' high-end mixed martial arts trading card set, and if the success of the initial Knockout product in 2011 is any indication, the 2012 version should be a hit with collectors as well.

Set to release Feb. 29, each box contains eight packs and is guaranteed to include two autographed relics, two autographs and four relic cards. The 100-card base set will feature active superstars, retired legends, fresh up-and-comers and Strikeforce fighters.

"Knockout 2011 was popular with collectors and it did well for us, so it made sense to come back to this product," said Jeremy Fullerton, Topps' UFC brand manager. "We felt we met the needs of the collectors with 2011, so we deifinitely wanted to return it as our high-end UFC product."

Fullerton said when Topps' return to a product, collectors will find some things very similar to its previous counterpart. He said the cards, however, will get an updated look and a "few new things will be thrown in to keep things fresh."

One of those new "things" are the randomly inserted box-topper card. In the 2011 product, jumbo WEC mat relics were randomly inserted in boxes. This year's topper will be Fist-ograph cards.

"It's a really cool an unique idea," said Fullerton. "These cards are about the same size as the WEC jumbo mat cards. While we were conducting a signing, we asked several fighters to dip their hands in ink and imprint their fist mark on the card. We got 10 people to agree to it."

According to Fullerton, the preliminary checklist was much larger; however, some fighters refused to participate or couldn't comply for other reasons.

Each box topper will also be autographed, on-card, by the fighter featured. These cards will be limited to just 10 each and includes such fighters as Brian Stann, Chael Sonnen, Frankie Edgar, Meisha Tate, Tyron Woodley and Jake Ellenberger.

Three-of-a-Kind triple autographs also make their debut in Knockout 2012. This 10-card autographed subset features three professional fighters who share a common bond. These cards will be numbered to just 10 each and includes Training Partners - Mendes, Faber and Benavidez; Strikeforce Champs - Henderson, Tate and Cyborg; Teacher and Students - Renzo, Edgar and Nelson; and Fellow Countrymen - Akiyama,Gomi and Okami.

Topps also made some changes to its mat relic subsets. All mat relics will be sequentially numbered, and the lower the numbering goes, the more interesting the card. Fullerton said although some of the base mat relics that are numbered to 288 will contain multi-colored swatches; however, the coloring and patterns begin to get more prevalent in the parallels. Silver parallels will be numbered to 188 and green parallels, numbered to 88, will all contain multi-colors. Red parallels, which will be numbered to 8, will contain a jumbo mat swatch. The mat variation parallel, numbered 1/1, will contain a jumbo, multi-colored swatch.

"We understand the mat relics are the most common of the relics, but they are truly neat," said Fullerton. "There is really no other place to get a piece of those mats. Sometimes the mats come to us, sometimes they go to big sponsors. Companies, such as Tapout, requests them sometimes, and so do some of the fighters."

Fullerton said the mat relic cards contain swatches from an actual UFC fight of the professional depicted on the card.

"This is all legit stuff that we're getting straight from the UFC," said Fullerton. "These mats are huge, and there are big pieces of them that we can't even use because there's too much blood on them. This stuff is definitely from the events."

Unfortunately, though, the fighter-worn gear relic cards aren't necessarily fight-worn. He said although some relic pieces are worn in the cage, most is gear fighters use while training, or even just walking to and from the gym.

"There are some of these guys and girls that have a real attachment to the shorts they wore, when say, they won a title," said Fullerton, "and they don't want to give them to us, which is understandable. The stuff they train in is much more readily available."
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