Welcome to the second edition of 5 Oz. of Pain’s THE DUEL. Slight mixup this week as you see there is a poll for the readers to pick the winner over on the left side of your screen. Judging the winner myself means I could personally never play and you mix that with the fact nearly everyone would be getting annoyed with me at some point and that couldn’t happen.
Joining me this week was last week’s inaugural winner, senior writer Adam Morgan. He’ll be defending his belt against 5 Oz contributer and website genie, Mr. Matt Cava. And we’re off:
1. Tim Sylvia is about as favorable of a matchup for Fedor as you could find in the Top 10.
Morgan: FALSE. Tim Sylvia provides anyone with matchup problems due to his sheer size. I don’t care who you are, Sylvia’s length makes him hard to deal with. He will present those same problems in a fight against Emelianenko. I strongly believe that Fedor wins that fight, but there are other guys in certain top ten lists that could be a much cushier matchup for Emelianenko. Both our rankings and Sherdog’s rankings contain Ben Rothwell somewhere on the list. I would say a fight against Rothwell is about as favorable as they come for Fedor. He’s never been tested against that kind of competition and wouldn’t pose the same kind of size problems that Sylvia poses. Even another fight with Nogueira would be more favorable because Fedor has beaten him soundly not once, but twice. There are more favorable matchups out there for Fedor and this is a tough fight for him no doubt.
Cava: TRUE‘ish. Kongo and Rothwell. Two other names that I would put into the same bracket as Sylvia when the opponent is Fedor. All three guys (Kongo, Rothwell and Sylvia) are interchangeable on the Sherdog, Inside MMA and 5 Oz of Pain Top 10 HW lists. All 3 fighters are tall (6′ 4″, 6′ 5″, 6′ 8″) heavy handed strikers that would be able to stand with Fedor for the first few minutes of round one, maybe even jab and clinch Fedor enough to make it to round two. Once Fedor grabs a hold of an arm or leg, the result would be the same: takedown, G-n-P, armbar, tapout. While I am totally stoked to see Fedor fight the Maine-iac, I believe the result would be the same whether he was fighting Kongo, Rothwell or Sylvia – an entertaining fight that ends with an armbar submission by Fedor.
My Five Cents: Apparently fiveouncesofpain.com will not be the official site of the Ben Rothwell fan club. And I just can’t agree that Nogueira is an easier matchup for him than Sylvia just because he has beat him twice.
2. Kenny Florian has done enough to get himself another UFC LW Title shot.
Morgan: FALSE. Florian is good and he proved that against Lauzon but he hasn’t done enough yet to solidify his place as the number one contender. Florian’s winning streak since losing to Sherk isn’t as glamorous as it looks on the outside. He’s beaten Mishima, who is no longer in the UFC, beat Alvin Robinson who is 1-2 in the UFC with his sole win coming over Jorge Gurgel, and Din Thomas who blew his knee out and more or less let himself get choked out. Now he beats Joe Lauzon and he’s in the title picture? No. Roger Huerta has roughly the same resume with wins over Doug Evans, Alberto Crane, Leonard Garcia, and most importantly Clay Guida. You could even argue that the win over Guida is more meaningful than Florian’s win over Lauzon if you want to get technical. Put these two, Huerta and Florian, in the cage together and then we’ll see who deserves the title shot.
Cava: FALSE. KenFlo makes the most of his opportunities by fighting (and winning) on Spike in front of the noobie MMA fan, is well spoken in interviews, and has looked better and better each time he steps in the cage. That being said, since losing to Sherk in late 2006, KenFlo’s wins include: Alvin Robinson, Mishima, Din Thomas and JLau. Tough opponents for sure, but that is hardly a “road to the championship”. I strongly feel we must see Florian vs another young blood (Heurta/Edgar/Griffin) AND Florian vs. Stevenson before he gets a title shot. As deep as the UFC LW division is Florian has definitely shined. Let’s see him win another fight or two against the upper echelon of the division before he gets a shot at BJ Penn’s belt.
My Five Cents: I think Stevenson’s potential contender shot might be delayed because they still haven’t stopped the bleeding. And fine, Florian vs Huerta makes the most sense and would be a fun fight. Though don’t forget UFC’s man crush on Florian right from Dana White’s first viewing of him getting hammered by Drew Fickett but taking it like a man.
3. Making Evan Tanner vs Kendall Grove is the UFC’s way of letting Kendall Grove go.
Morgan: FALSE. I think this fight was booked as sort of a do or die for both fighters. Tanner did not look good in his loss to Okami and Grove, one of the better TUF prospects, has lost two “gimme” fights in devastating fashion in a row. I think it’s as much of a wakeup call for Tanner as it is for Grove, but I don’t think a loss here means that Grove is out of the UFC. He has talent and marketability but it just needs to be harnessed. He has potential but it seems like he’s living the fighter lifestyle too much instead of training and focusing on the task at hand. His potential and his marketability alone make him a must-keep for the UFC, but a loss for either man here is still pretty devastating.
Cava: TRUE. Great question. History is going to repeat itself. Remember what happened to new hotness David Terrell at UFC 51? Same thing’s going to happen again to Kendall Grove – Tanner is going to beat the snot out of this kid. UFC can then transfer him to WEC to sharper his pencil. For a guy with a strong pro resume, Grove has flat out sucked since coming off of The Ultimate Fighter. It’s one thing to take a loss if you leave everything you got in the cage, but Grove got dropped in Rd 1 by vicious KO’s in his last two fights. Does he have a weak chin? Stage fright? Does he not prepare well enough? He better answer all of those questions b/c if Tanner comes in focused (and alcohol free), he is going to whoop on Da Spyder. Marketability doesn’t mean shit if you don’t win fights.
My Five Cents: Evan Tanner gave me a gambling tip to put everything on him and that’s good enough for me. Cava, kudos on adding “great question” into your response. And while Grove might still be under UFC contract with a loss you have to imagine they’ll let him spread his wings and fly to a promotion with 400 in attendance to get more experience. And I continue to love the UFC’s way of punishing you if you lose gimme fights. I like to picture Joe Silva plotting out a year of cards in a notebook and then watching Rivera > Grove on a little tv in the corner and then ripping them all up and throwing them in the air before taking out a clean notebook and starting over.
4. -500/+325 is a terrible line for GSP/Serra considering what happened in their last bout.
Cava: FALSE. Georges St. Pierre is the UFC Welterweight Champ, who some consider being the best pound-4-pound MMA fighter in the world. Despite that he lost to Serra previously GSP is destined to win this fight. Since losing to Matt Hughes via armbar in 2004, GSP is 8-1. In that span he’s beat Sherk, Koscheck, Penn, Strasser, Trigg and Hughes twice. That’s 3 titleholders and 3 A- level contenders. Serra falls into both categories (titleholder and top contender). Taking nothing away from Serra… yes, he beatdown GSP in their first fight; yes, he has mad crazy jui jitsu skills; and yes, Serra’s heavy hands can crush GSP’s world one more time. But factor in that Matt Serra hasn’t fought in over a year, is coming off of a back injury, then mix in that anyone who talks to GSP says he’s more focused than ever, I just do not agree that this line is terrible.
Morgan: TRUE. Lines in MMA are still terribly out of whack from time to time and this happens to be one of those times. St. Pierre is certainly the favorite but as we saw last year, anything can happen in MMA. Serra has heavy hands and good jiu jitsu and could certainly win this fight and doesn’t deserve to be this big of an underdog, especially considering what happened the last time these two stepped inside the cage. Should St. Pierre be the favorite? You bet. He’s arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the world and deserves to be considered a favorite in this bout, just not as heavy a favorite as we see here.
My Five Cents: It took me a bit to realize why the line was made that high. I think they factored in that Pete Sell would be in Matt Serra’s corner giving him advice.
5. Cain Velasquez is a better UFC HW prospect than Shane Carwin.
Cava: TRUE. To me, this question is all about the definition of “prospect”. It is defined as: the possibility of future success; something that is awaited or expected. According to that definition, there is no doubt to me that Cain Velasquez is the better UFC HW prospect. Shane Carwin is simply a really good signing for the UFC. Carwin is solid pro that hasn’t yet gotten his shot at the big time. He is a legit beast 8-0 with all 1st round wins. He has finished fights using both submissions and KO’s. The UFC knows what its going to get from Shane Carwin. Velasquez is a guy that everyone is saying how incredible he is going to be. Coming form ASU wrestling and training at AKA, this dude is going to be SICK. He’s 2-0 as a pro with two round one TKO’s. He still has 3-5 fights to break out from being a “prospect”. Therefore if you want to call someone a prospect in the strictest sense of the word, Velasquez has tremendous upside as an young professional fighter.
Morgan: FALSE. Right now I would have to say that Carwin is the better prospect. He’s got six more fights under his belt than Velasquez does and has very good wrestling and power in both of his hands. Velasquez has a great wrestling background as well, wrestling Division I at Arizona State, but his MMA game is still extremely young. He is a very good prospect, but as far as guys who can come in right away and be a force in the UFC’s heavyweight division, Carwin is the much more highly regarded prospect. Velasquez is training with a great camp at AKA so he should have no trouble making it in the big leagues, but keep your eye on Shane Carwin in the immediate future.
My Five Cents: At the rate they’re losing heavyweights we can look forward to one of these men challenging Eddie Sanchez for the belt by November.
6. Kimbo Slice will knock out James Thompson in the early 1st round.
Cava: TRUE. Colossus Thompson is 14-8, pretty solid record, right? Look deeper, 7 of his 8 losses are by (T)KO. More importantly, he’s lost 3 of his last 4 fights, all by KO, with two of these KO’s inside the first minute of Rd 1. My answer could end right there. Additionally, Kimbo Slice’s style is a perfect fit for an early knockout ending. At the bell, Kimbo comes out blasting, like he’s shot out of a cannon. I predict he’ll get inside Thompson’s reach with his first or second rush. Thompson will get KO’d via uppercut or left hook before a minute elapses in round one.
Morgan: TRUE. You’re kidding me with this statement, right? Of course he will knock James Thompson out in the first round. The guy has a notoriously weak chin and has been knocked out in the first round several times in his career, including his last loss to Brett Rogers. When I heard that Thompson was training with Xtreme Couture, I thought he may have changed up his game and become wiser. I was wrong. Thompson is what he is and will always be that way. He’s going to run across the cage or ring right when the bell opens and start trading punches. As long as Kimbo can get past the initial 30 second bum-rush, the knockout should be there for him in the first round. All day, baby. All day.
My Five Cents: Yeah, I suppose that was a stupid question. I remember an interview with Thompson last year where he was questioned about his old job of chasing gypsies and when asked if they just ran away due to his size he said no, they usually wanted to fight. Either England has some badass gypsies or maybe word just got around that if you clock the guy one good time….
And that wraps it up for this week. Remember to vote for the person who you think won The Duel, Adam Morgan or Matthew Cava. It’s exactly like American Idol.