And here we are with another edition of the THE DUEL!~ This week we again have the superstar known as ME, Huckaby, battling the superstar known as Randy Harrison. Again, if you care to feel free to vote on the left side of your screen for the winner of the battle. Poor Harrison does a great job and seems to get screwed over. I hope this continues as I out argue him handily in this battle.
1. B.J. Penn will remain a lightweight for more than one more fight.
Harrison: FALSE. I don’t even think that he’s going to stay at lightweight for even one more fight. BJ seems to have a thing where the title that he can win is more attractive to him than the title he can defend, so I fully expect him to move up to try and win the Welterweight Title from GSP, should he get past Jon Fitch at UFC 87. BJ feels like there’s nothing left to do at this weight class for him as he beat the thorn in his side that was Jens Pulver, won the title and then eradicated the guy that he feels like he should have won the belt from in the first place. This new, motivated BJ is going to be looking to cement his place in history by winning as many titles as he can in in as convincing a fashion as possible. Buoyed by the knowledge that he nearly beat GSP in their first fight with a suspect gas tank, he must be salivating at the though of facing him now with his newfound fire for the fight game.
Huckaby: FALSE. Though I will disagree and say he’ll take the winner of Huerta/Florian (see: Florian) and then call it a career at the weight. So I feel that alone should get me the point from the voters. I personally can’t wait for Penn/GSP II, as someone brought up to me recently I thought Penn won their first fight or at the very worst it was a draw. N00bs (sorry to say that) at the time didn’t understand the hype of Penn while we had to watch him lose to GSP and Hughes and just look bad and be mocked. I believe in this Penn just like the last Penn, he’s ready for GSP. Will he win? No. Penn can’t take him down, GSP has the better striking, and GSP can get up if they’re on the ground. Penn had a better chance the first time. But I love the heart and BALLZ of Penn to want to fight the biggest and best guys possible. God bless the man, put him in the Hall of Fame.
2. Lyoto Machida deserves the next light-heavyweight title shot after Forrest Griffin.
Harrison: FALSE. It’s not because he’s not talented and not even because he has the stigma of being a boring fighter. My reasoning is that he hasn’t faced anyone on a top level in the UFC yet to warrant a title shot. Sure he’s 5-0 in the UFC and he’s beaten fighters like Rich Franklin in the past, but his only name win in the UFC is over Tito Ortiz, who ceased being a name that meant something in the division rankings at least a couple of years ago if not more. I say that if Machida can get past the loser of the Griffin/Jackson fight, then he’d be more than worthy of a shot. To me, he’s one of the most talented fighters in the world and is one of the best at Light Heavyweight, but he just needs to get one huge win against an opponent that means something in the division before I can.
Huckaby: TRUE. I can see your points but who else deserves it? I say in real life form Machida fights the loser of Rampage/Forrest and then would get his title shot. Like my friend Adam Morgan, I enjoy and will defend Machida. He dominated Ortiz, he beat (a young) Rich Franklin, (a young, over his head) BJ Penn…. Machida can confuse ANYONE. Forget Ortiz or Heath or anyone, he can do that to Rampage, he can do that to Forrest. It doesn’t matter. He might not be the most exciting but he’s amazing to watch as an MMA fan. Machida is a star and with the four other divisions being dominant (see my article later this week) I’m glad the LHW division can be fun and interesting. Give Machida a shot, let him win, and see who can figure him out first. He’s like any guy in the Mike Tyson Punch-Out Nintendo game. Let’s see who game figure him out.
3. Urijah Faber will dominate Jens Pulver on Sunday.
Harrison: FALSE. I know that there have been a lot of other guys that everyone thought was going to give Faber his toughest test and they ended up falling way short, but for some reason Jens seems like he’s at home in the featherweight division and a lot more confident there than he was at lightweight. Even when he was the UFC champion at lightweight, he didn’t seem as fully comfortable with himself and his game than he is right now. Watching the WEC preview show, Jens seems to be incredibly motivated by the chance to win a title belt in his natural weight class and I think that it’s highly likely that this is going to be a fight that pushes Faber to the brink, only for Faber to push that much further and get the win. If the question was whether Faber would win or not on Sunday, I would have had to say true, but because it’s whether or not he’ll dominate, I have to say false because Jens is going to be one of, if not THE toughest opponent that Faber has ever faced.
Huckaby: TRUE. That’s your problem Harrison, you watched the hype show. I give you, Faber is no Penn. But Jens Pulver, though UNDEFEATED AT FW, just can’t handle the best of the best in any division. Faber is special, he’s top two in the entire world and Pulver can’t match him right now. Pulver might have the standup, MIGHT, and that’s it. And I don’t see Pulver knocking him out. Faber should dominate the pace and break his will just like BJ did. Faber is stronger, Faber has more stamina, Faber has a better chin, and Faber has many less losses on his record. I know Pulver has been around but all that means is you get fluked by Joe Lauzon (or was it?). Pulver, and I like him, isn’t the top of the heap. Urijah Faber is the top of the heap and he’ll get the job done and I think handily.
—-SWITCH IT UP—-
4. Wanderlei Silva is “back.”
Huckaby: FALSE. Whew, hard to answer because I’m not sure he was ever gone. One thing is for certain and that’s a quick knockout of Keith Jardine really doesn’t prove that much. That fact of course known to the thousands of us that picked that very result. You bumrush Jardine, trade shots aggressively and you’ll win brutally. Wandy, maybe more so than anyone else right now, is a mystery when it comes to who he will fight next. There is a potential list of opponents and none of them seem right. Perhaps and the Rampage/Forrest loser? The argument of whether he was gone in the first place aside, I think it will take more than a predictable win over Jardine for everyone to come back around.
Harrison: FALSE. There’s nothing about beating Jardine that says whether Wanderlei Silva is “back” or not because he was expected to win. If he gets in against someone who actually has a chance against him and wins, then I’d say that he’s “back”. Jardine didn’t have a chance because his style, despite being an awkward style to defend against, plays right into Wanderlei’s strengths, as shown on Saturday night. He’s fought at such a high level for such a long time that people expect that high level from him every time out. When he went through his losing streak, he wasn’t losing to scrubs, so I’d be hard-pressed to say that he was ever gone, but for him to be considered “back” in terms of being in contention for the title at 205, he’s going to need a bigger name win than Jardine to get there. Whether that comes with a fight against the loser of Rampage and Forrest or it comes in a fight against another top-five LHW, he that more win in a tough fight to show that he’s got his mind, body, and most importantly, his fighting heart all working as one again.
5. Gina Carano will bring more mainstream viewers to EXC on Saturday night than Kimbo Slice.
Huckaby: TRUE. Do me a favor and go to elitexc.com right now and tell me who is pictured first in the lineup and has their profile link immediately after the fighters. That would be Gina. The pretty girl sells. Tell me the second most hit internet search that came to fiveouncesofpain.com? That girl that was on a series on NBC sells. Plenty of people will tune in and check out Kimbo but when it comes to the mainstream viewers I think the EXC commercials and site know best when it comes to marketing Carano as a star of the show that people need to see. EXC knows they have a few things going for them but first and foremost would be the star making they’ll be doing with both of those fighters. To answer the question however it’s all about Gina to bring in non-MMA fan males that might not have checked out the sport before.
Harrison: TRUE. She’s got the mainstream exposure that comes with already having been on a network television series, she’s doing something different in terms of being a woman in a man’s world, and she’s gorgeous. Once Kimbo can do any of those three, I’d be able to say that he’s bringing the mainstream viewers, but so far, the marketing of the show is heavily leaning towards Gina being the bigger star. To me, this is a brilliant move because there is actually a huge and somewhat untapped market when it comes to female MMA fans and to have Gina be the fighter that they can relate to and they can flock to watch is going to be a huge boost to the mainstream appeal of the show. To me Gina’s mainstream appeal crosses gender, but she’s going to really help bringing new female fans to the sport by fighting on this national stage. Add to this all of the men that will tune in to watch the pretty lady throw hands in the cage and she’s going to end up being the biggest star out of this show, win or lose.
6. Joey Villasenor will drop Phil Baroni to a career .500 record.
Huckaby: TRUE. May I make a suggestion? You know how before the fights they always show fighters training in the back and hitting pads to warm up? Yeah, could Phil Baroni’s trainers not do that with him? Between that and walking to the cage it’s the Baroni equivalent of running a 26.2 mile marathon. Perhaps a water station halfway down the ramp? I’ll give Baroni some props, he had Hose where he wanted him for three or four minutes and really put everything into it to finish the fight. Except he couldn’t. You have to understand Phil, we just don’t get your stamina problems. Run on a bike, jump some rope. It’s the same way we look at Shaq shooting over 10,000 free throws in his career and only hitting 50% of them. I can get 80% of mine and I have little to no athletic prowess whatsoever. What the hell is wrong with him? We just can’t wrap our minds around your complete lack of stamina and fighting an aggressive wrestler in Villasenor, while not a horrible matchup, just isn’t in Baroni’s favor.
Harrison: TRUE. I know that I’ve sounded like Huckaby’s parrot for these last three, but I have different reasons, as usual. While I think that stamina will indeed be a factor in this fight, Villasenor’s wrestling and his heavy-handed ground and pound is going to be the larger problem he’s going to have. Phil doesn’t do well on his back and that’s where Villasenor is going to keep him for the majority of the fight. Once he starts dropping in those hard elbow strikes and is able to push Phil up against the fence, it will end up just being a matter of time before the fight is over and Phil is at .500 for his career. I think that for Phil to win this fight he’s going to have to catch Villasenor early with a hard shot, and with Villasenor’s chin and his stand-up defense, I just don’t see that happening. The stamina won’t even come into play because honestly, I see Villasenor stopping him in the first or early in the second anyhow.
Join us next week when two new MMA columnists battle with six new statements. Remember, if you care, to vote for the winner on the left side of your screen. We love victories.