Welcome back to THE DUEL. REMINDER: You can vote for the winner in a poll on the left side of your browser if you wish.
This week I welcome a writer I really like who has some excellent skills and a guy you’ll probably be hearing from in the future. Plus he’s an awesome DUEL guest, Lotfi Sariahmed. He’ll be going into battle with the fiercest warrior yet. Me.
1. Urijah Faber would beat Kid Yamamoto in a battle for #1 in FW.
Sariahmed: TRUE. I think so. Why not? I mean Urijah has been consistently improving and only has one loss on his record to a bigger Tyson Griffin. In his win over Jeff Curran he showed that he’s a fighter that needs to be taken seriously and clearly distinguished himself as the best in the division. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not to take anything away from “Kid,” he has a few big wins as part of his 17-1 record in MMA. He beat Caol Uno and Genki Sudo at the end of 2005. He has his own decision win over Jeff Curran and absolutely spanked Rani Yahya in his last fight at the end of last year. But I just think Faber is the hotter fighter right now and would be going into a potential bout with Yamamoto. I also don’t want to discount the idea that Yamamoto hasn’t had a really big fight since the end of 2005. Meanwhile Faber just finished Curran and will get a tough test from Jens Pulver in June. So I like Faber in a dream bout between featherweights.
Huckaby: TRUE. Would it be criminal of me to mention wrestling? You rarely can mention a guy headstrong to win an Olympic gold medal in wrestling being the underdog against a good college wrestler. I really think this wrestling match, as it transitions to MMA, would favor Faber. Of course Kid would have the advantage on the feet but I think Faber’s MMA wrestling and ground game would take this. It would be very entertaining and also very interesting to discuss it in a ring vs cage sense. Obviously I’d have Faber in the cage but if we’re doing it in a ring in Japan you don’t only have to factor that in but you have to factor in how quickly they’d be stood up even if Faber was active. Oh well, that’s a bit unfair. If I go completely middle of the road and middle everything I’ll take Faber.
2. The debut of EXC on CBS will draw a tv rating of atleast 3.0.
Sariahmed: TRUE. Normally the pessimist in me would say no. It’s on a Saturday night and I could only assume that people have things to do. And when you read this question don’t forget that to pull a 3.0, CBS isn’t looking for you. You’re already a hardcore MMA fan for knowing what fiveouncesofpain.com even is and that you’re reading this column. To pull this 3.0 it’s all about pulling in the infamous casual audience and this is where the CBS marketing machine has to come through here. The closer we get to this show the more we’re going to be seeing these commercials whether its staring Gina Carano, Kimbo Slice or whomever. So does that bring enough people in? Do enough people know about Kimbo the YouTube street fighter to go to CBS on that Saturday night and watch not only his fight but four or five others? I’ve been surprised by the amount of people who’ve talked to me (being the only fight fan they know) and asked me about Kimbo Slice. So I think there’s the potential there for more people to come in and give this show a shot. Don’t underestimate what the power of a pretty face can do for this show either. Of course I’m talking about Gina Carano. I don’t know if you’ve seen her, but she’s not a bad looking woman. And there’s a certain attraction there to that novelty of a woman fighting if you don’t know about this sport. A lot of this just depends on what people are going to be doing on that Saturday night. I’ll go true here because between CBS’ marketing, Gina Carano and Kimbo, I think CBS can pull a 3.0.
Huckaby: FALSE. Man, that’s tough. What genius made 3.0 the line? Okay, I’m going to do some research and look for some Saturday night TV numbers. First one I found was from late February of this year and nothing on network TV got a 3.0 rating. And that includes hits such as repeats of the soon to be canceled “Shark” and the blockbuster reality phenomenon “My Dad is Better Than Your Dad.” Even “America’s Most Wanted” only did a 2.1. Really I think a main sticking point is that MMA is usually a 1-1.5 rated area. Be it SpikeTV or only a bit lower on Versus. We’re the audience and we’re ALWAYS the audience. So will they really get TWICE that for a Saturday night card? I’m sure they’ll get some add on but double our already existing audience? I just have a hard time reaching for that. I don’t even think under 3.0 is bad considering it should win the timeslot but I doubt EXC would hear that.
3. Rich Franklin’s next fight will be at 205lbs.
Sariahmed: FALSE. I understand Franklin’s said he’s considering a move up to 205 lbs and we all get the reasons why. It’s a move that makes a lot of sense for him because as long as Anderson Silva is champ, he’s probably not getting a title shot. BUT, his next fight won’t be at 205 and here’s why. Franklin’s also said he’d make the move up basically for a showcase fight and nothing more. With that in mind, there’s no enticing fight available to him right now anytime soon. He won’t move up to fight Sokoudjou or Nakamura. Ortiz is gone after his fight with Machida and Machida is probably next in line for a title shot. So why would you stick Franklin in there just to give him the chance to avenge a loss? Liddell will fight Shogun before he fights Franklin and it just comes off as very awkward to me if his first fight at 205 is against Jardine or Silva. I think for Franklin to make a permanent move up to 205 he’d have to fall in line behind a half dozen contenders or so for that belt. So why not in the meantime take on Dan Henderson at 185 like it was originally rumored? Or how about a Nate Marquardt, which isn’t a bad fight despite how much people are hating on it right now. If he stays at 185 for another fight or two, that gives the light heavyweight division a chance to clean itself up and maybe then he could slip into a potential title shot or maybe a #1 contenders bout after another high profile win or two. So no, his next fight will be at 185.
Huckaby: FALSE. I have to agree, while it would be fun it really just doesn’t make sense. Franklin is a big draw and fan favorite and we know for a fact he dominates nearly any middleweight outside of you know who. So not only is Franklin taking on bigger competition but if he can’t do it against the best you might lose him all together. Star beating guys that have an advantage over him or star getting tested and maybe sent packing? I know what PRIDE would do. I love Rich Franklin and his best place for everyone is at 185 beating up everyone he can for as long as he can. If anything once we see a “true contender” be able to get through Franklin we might actually get excited to see Anderson Silva face them.
4. With JZ’s loss at DREAM and Gomi being completely unpredictable, the winner of Penn/Sherk should be considered the best lightweight in the world.
Huckaby: TRUE. I think the only reason these two found themselves in the bottom of the top ten was simply that they hadn’t had enough fights at the weight to overcome lifers. Atleast that’s what I like to think and it wasn’t that voters actually thought Joachim Hansen would beat them. This fight is bigger than even the top ten as this is the best LW fight the UFC will probably ever be able to put on. I support Florian and Huerta could continue to get better and better over the years but I think Sherk and Penn will dominate that division as long as they’re in it. Everyone else is fighting for #3, be it Kenny Florian or what you saw happen to Joe Stevenson. Those cats are all going to kill each other only for the pleasure of a beatdown at the hands of Penn or Sherk. It’s like winning your middle school ping pong tournament and the top prize is a game against one of those lighting fast Asian world champions.
Sariahmed: TRUE. Can I just say first of all that I love the ping pong reference? Because I do. But as for the question at hand, I think the winner of Penn v. Sherk will be #1 but I don’t know if JZ or Gomi really had much to do with it. These guys were only in the positions they were in because they didn’t have enough fights. Not much else. So the winner of this fight should vault up to the top of the lightweight standings simply because there won’t be a bigger fight in the lightweight division this year. And yes I know about the potential Dream lightweight final. I mean sure you could say it helps that Gomi hasn’t nor will he fight anyone and JZ lost (what seems like the 6th) fight against Aoki. Either way the winner should be #1.
5. At least four people fighting on UFC 84 will be released from their contracts after the show.
Huckaby: TRUE. It’s all a matter of numbers here isn’t it. And should Tito Ortiz count? You can figure atleast the Sokoudjou/Nakamura loser is gone, maybe Koppenhaver, Salaverry if he loses, Jason Tan, maybe Terry Etim. Granted not all of those guys are going to lose but the numbers add up. I really enjoy this, it adds an extra dimension to every UFC fight card. And of course we can’t even predict if any fighter will just decide to not do anything, run around, and call someone a gay slur. That’s just a new wildcard.
Sariahmed: FALSE. Lets not even throw Ortiz into the mix here because that’s another mess of a situation all together. With that said, no one is getting cut that’s fighting on UFC 84’s televised card. So we turn to the prelims. They just brought Rousimar Palhares in. So he won’t get cut following one fight. I know this is the UFC but he’d need a Kalib Starnes performance to be let go. As for Ivan Salaverry, I think he’s cut either way, win or loss unfortunately. He’s an old middle of the road middleweight and that’s all he really will be. So this will be it for him. If Rich Clementi gets cut my head will explode and that’s a promise. I don’t see Etim getting cut because I think he’s an exciting fighter. Yoshida was just brought into the UFC so same goes for him as it does for Palhares. Koppenhaver’s not getting cut because of his fight with Jared Rollins. Despite his out of Octagon problems that will buy him some time. I think Jason Tan will lose to Dong Hyun Kim so that’s the 2nd guy I see cut. And if Shane Carwin is half as good as everyone and their mother are making him out to be, he will send Christian Wellisch out of the UFC. So that gives us Wellisch, Tan and Salaverry. I hope the UFC doesn’t cut the loser of the Soko v. Nakamura fight but that could just be me being naive. But I’m on this whole optimism kick so lets say no. With that, I’m left with three fighters that will be let go after UFC 84.
6. Ian Freeman will make a successful MMA return against Paul Cahoon at Cage Rage on Saturday.
Huckaby: TRUE. I for one take layoffs (almost two years) and age (41) very seriously. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if Freeman’s latest return were his last in the form of a loss. But Cahoon has a condition I’ve coined as “James Thompson Disease.” It’s kind of rare and there is no cure. A key symptom is if you immediately fall down every time someone punches you. Ask your doctor. Cahoon is on a little win streak and he’s putting in the work but there’s only so much you can do. It won’t go away forever, it’s like herpes. Except without the constant need to mountain bike. Anyway, forced to pick I’ll take Freeman via early second round TKO.
Sariahmed: TRUE. So can we ride mountain bikes to ping pong tournaments in Asia and cure herpes? We just might be on to something. As for this bout, I’d like to think Freeman was smart enough to take a fight against a guy in Cahoon that he could beat. And if he weren’t ready for it he wouldn’t bother. With that said, Freeman is past his prime but still talented enough to beat Cahoon. I’ll go with Freeman in a Randy Couture v. Tim Sylvia–(very) lite performance.
And that is this week’s Duel. Next week we’ll be back with six more MMA-relate true or false questions. Remember to vote for the winner too dammit.