Below is one of the first — if not the first — mock fight cards to result from 5 Oz. of Pain’s first-ever “MMA Fantasy Mock Draft.”
Some of the matchups you see below may appear to be far-fetched, but keep in mind that what we did was a “fantasy” draft. So yes, some of us took some liberties.
Another liberty I took was to go against Mike Huckaby’s mandate that we do a 15-bout card. To me, 15 bouts is a lot for a pro card. As such, I am sticking to just 13. It means some of my picks won’t get the chance to fight for SAMMA right out of the shoot, but guys like Dave Herman, Bobby Lashley, and Jake Rosholt would be put to good use a little bit down the line.
Now, without further ado.
Main Event for the vacant SAMMA Heavyweight Title: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett
Analysis: I’ve been waiting a long time to see this fight happen. I think it has the potential to be one of the greatest heavyweight fights in the history of MMA. While both are not household names amongst casual U.S. MMA fans, I have a plan to make sure their notoriety increases (that plan will be outlined during the next bout listed).
The payroll for this main event would be huge, but I’m looking to make a splash. I would estimate that Emelianenko would need $1.5 million for this fight and that Barnett would probably be looking at $500,000. $2 million on a main event is a ton of money and in a realistic world, you wouldn’t have much of an undercard after committing so much money for one match. But again, this was a “fantasy” draft.
Special Attraction: Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle
Analysis: I know, I know, Kurt Angle will never do MMA. But I’m not sure I believe that entirely. For the right price, I think he would. I think if a promotion offered him a guarantee of $1.5-2 million that he would take it. I don’t see Angle as a long-term player in MMA and would only be looking to sign him for this one match. Paying him so much would prove to be costly, however, I think it would be money well spent.
Let’s assume SAMMA starts out with $30-40 million in financing, similiar to what the IFL and EliteXC had when they started. I’d rather overpay for Angle to do one big fight as opposed to some of the things that the IFL, EliteXC, and BodogFIGHT spent a lot of money on.
In addition to the money spent on Angle, I would then commit additional money on a marketing campaign that targeted pro wrestling fans in hopes that they will buy the PPV in droves. If the wrestling fans tune in, then I believe Angle becomes a great investment for three key reasons.
First, Lesnar vs. Angle could establish Lesnar as a legitimate heavyweight threat in MMA. This fight makes Lesnar a bigger star.
Second, Lesnar vs. Angle also would be used as a vehicle to increase the profile of both Fedor and Barnett. The hope is that they tune in for Lesnar vs. Angle, but become enamored by Fedor while also viewing Barnett as a big-time star.
And third, if marketed properly, Lesnar vs. Angle could draw enough PPV buys that SAMMA would make some of its investment back right away.
Match for the Vacant SAMMA Middleweight Title: Dan Henderson vs. Rich Franklin
Analysis: This is a dream matchup for me. Having two top five middleweights means that I can put them together in a match and allow them to immediately fight for a legitimate middleweight title.
First Round of Welterweight Grand Prix:
– Paul Daley vs. Anthony Johnson
– Marcus Davis vs. LeVon Maynard
– Hayato Sakurai vs. Johny Hendricks
– Chris Wilson vs. Matt Makowski
Analysis: I saw someone mention in the comments area that Paul Daley would be “lonely” in my welterweight division. Huh!? Obviously, they completely ignored my “free agent” picks. While I don’t have much in the way of established welterweights, I’ve done a good job of stocking the division with young prospects. Daley, Johnson, Wilson, Maynard, Hendricks, and Makowski aren’t household names yet at 170 but they are the future of the division. A few of them are going to break out and become big stars.
As it stands now though, they aren’t yet stars but what’s the best way to allow a young fighter to breakout? To me, there’s no better way to create a new star than how DREAM is doing it with their Grand Prix-style tournaments. Eddie Alvarez, Ronaldo Souza, and Gegard Mousasi have all seen their stock rise expotentially as a result of DREAM’s Grand Prix events.
I’m going to steal a page out of the PRIDE and DREAM playbook by doing a welterweight Grand Prix in hopes that some of the younger SAMMA welterweights step up and break through the proverbial glass ceiling.
Heavyweight #1 Contender’s Match: Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Antonio Silva
Analysis: I just like this matchup a lot. Both have decent standup and are great on the ground. Winner of this fight takes on the winner of Fedor vs. Barnett for the SAMMA heavyweight title on a future show.
Middleweight #1 Contender’s Match: Robbie Lawler vs. Jason “Mayhem” Miller
Analysis: I realize this fight is a rematch, but I think it’s one that is intriguing and both are highly rated enough that the winner should get a shot at the winner of Henderson vs. Franklin.
Light Heavyweight Title Eliminator: Brandon Vera vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
Analysis: Vera is simply a better fit at light heavyweight and that’s where I plan to use him. As far as this matchup goes, both have dynamic striking ability and I would expect we’d see a highlight reel knockout by the winner.
Light Heavyweight Title Eliminator: Ricardo Arona vs. Rafael Feijao
Analysis: I liked my Feijao pick before Saturday’s “Return of the King” card but I felt even better about it after he steamrolled Wayne Cole. He’s ready for a much bigger test and I think Arona is that guy. The winners of Vera vs. Rua and Arona vs. Feijao will meet each other for the SAMMA light heavyweight title on the next PPV.
Lightweight Title Eliminator: Jorge Masvidal vs. Frankie Edgar
Analysis: A lot of the other drafters involved with the 5 Oz. Mock Fantasy Draft have much better lightweight divisions. But I felt there was enough depth at 155 lbs. that I could focus on heavyweight early and draft lightweights late and still put together a solid division. From my perspective, mission accomplished. Masvidal vs. Edgar isn’t the same as Penn vs. Gomi but it’s still a match hardcore fans would want to see. You have a big-time puncher in Masvidal taking on a solid wrestler in Edgar.
Lightweight Title Eliminator: K.J. Noons vs. Chris Horodecki
The winner of Masvidal vs. Edgar will take on the winner of this fight for the lightweight title on the next SAMMA PPV. I think Noons vs. Horodecki could be the best fight on this card. Both are unproven on the ground and are great on their feet. These two would come out banging and I think it would be impossible for the two not to have an exciting fight.