Welcome to the latest edition of the Duel. This week we will be previewing some bouts from UFC 88 as well as some news from the week. Keep in mind questions are made at the beginning of the week so very recent news is sometimes missed. My opponent this week in the Duel, an editor from nokaut.com Mr. Randy Harrison. Let us DUEL!
1. Randy Couture will stop Brock Lesnar in their bout at UFC 91.
Harrison: FALSE. If Couture is able to win, and that is a VERY big if, he’s going to have to ride out a decision. Brock showed that he’s learned to stay out of situations where he can be submitted and I don’t think with his giant head that he would have much of an issue with getting hit. There are some guys that you look at and you can just tell that they can take a hell of a punch and Brock just seems too damn stubborn to go down from one shot. That means that Couture would have to get a takedown and work for a choke, since that’s the main submission that Couture knows how to use. I would be very hard-pressed to find a way that Couture is able to take Lesnar’s back, let alone take him down to begin with. I see this fight being Couture trying to use a similar gameplan to the one he used against Tim Sylvia, but Lesnar is just too strong and too good a wrestler for that. With nearly 50 or 60 pounds in weight by bell time, Lesnar is going to take Couture down and ride him for twenty-five minutes. I don’t think it’s terribly exciting and the place will probably be booing like hell, but that’s how I see it going.
Huckaby: TRUE. A win over Heath Herring doth not make one a BJJ expert. To be fair neither is Couture but he could stop him in a couple of ways. Couture might not be Mir on the ground (though unlike Lesnar, he could avoid them) but Couture is crafty and should be able to pull off some type of submission he’s working on or TKO. The most interesting part of this being a HW title fight would be the fact it could go 25 minutes and we know neither one of these guys are expected to gas. That means five full rounds of Couture being able to work for something and using his ridiculous amount of experience to get it. Most people didn’t expect him to beat Sylvia, most people didn’t expect him to beat Gonzaga, but he did it. That might be Couture’s problem though, he’s going to be expected to defeat Lesnar and he rarely performs when that happens. Not to mention another year lay off and another year of age. It will be an interesting one and get a huge buyrate but if I have to pick right now (and this could change) I’ll go with Couture over Mr. 2-1.
2. Rashad Evans has a 40% chance of beating Chuck Liddell.
Harrison: FALSE. Even with this being a Liddell that’s lost two out of his last three, he tends to eat wrestlers alive. Granted, Evans has better striking than most wrestlers, but he’s still a wrestler. When he gets into trouble or takes the first big shot from Liddell, he’s going to revert back to his wrestling and he’s going to try to get the fight to the ground. If it comes to that, it’s a story we’ve seen over and over again where Liddell just shrugs off the takedowns and slugs away as his opponent gets back to his feet. If Evans isn’t able to control the fight and keep Chuck at a distance in the same way thatwas able to, his chances will be roughly in the 5% range because anything can happen in a fight. If he’s able to control the pace, keep Chuck out of range from throwing his wild haymakers and is able to show that he’s the one controlling the pace, even working the same leg kick strategy, I’d say it jumps to about 25%. To have Evans up at about a 40% or 50% chance, he’d have to actually be able to get Liddell down to the mat, and I really don’t see that happening unless Chuck’s hamstring isn’t at 100%.
Huckaby: TRUE. You pretty much made every point humanly possibly and I can’t disagree with any of it. I just think Evans will go in with the right idea and use Jardine’s plan, they’re still training with the same folks, right? As Caplan and others have spoken of, keeping the distance and not pushing the action on Chuck is the way to go. Chuck couldn’t even KO “Had a problem with Houston Alexander and Wanderlei Silva” Jardine, remember? Chuck does eat wrestlers alive but Rashad is a smart fighter (hence the record) and I think he’ll come to the fight with the right gameplan. Do I expect him to win? No. But it also wouldn’t surprise me if Chuck Liddell can’t finish him like he used to be able to. If I predict a fight to go to a decision I have to argue with you and put him at 40% to get the job done.
3. The trash talk between the Slice and Rogers camps is childish at best.
Harrison: TRUE. Childish at best is about the best way this could have been worded. At this point, with no fight on the horizon between the two, this comes off as two groups of guys posturing in the street, trying to look tough, but not really wanting to do anything about it. I would say that Rogers wants Kimbo more than Kimbo wants Rogers at this point in his career but that hasn’t stopped Kimbo’s camp from trying to get personal and take shots at Rogers’ past. To me, I would say that Rogers’ first post was actually the only thing out of the whole feud that made sense. Outside of the cursing and swearing, he was right about the fight between Slice and Shamrock being a joke and thatis going out of their way to coddle and protect Slice. Everything after from the tire pictures to the marijuana references was and is childish and sadly, it will probably get worse before it gets better.
Huckaby: TRUE. I think you’re correct on all counts here and it’s sad it must come to this level of statement for it to happen. Posturing and trash talking have their place if you’re someone like Nick Diaz and you (a) know he’s crazy, (b) will fight any one any time. These are two guys camps are responding as if they’re fighting themselves. Rogers is correct that he deserved Slice next. Rogers beat down James Thompson only to see Thompson get a main event against Slice. Then on the next event we see Kimbo fight a completely out of luck Ken Shamrock who will probably fall like a ton of bricks in seconds. But seriously, showing the picture of Rogers pushing a tire and talking about his old day job is downright pathetic coming from a former street fighter and a bunch of mentally unstable cronies that jump up and down in the background hoping for a little of his fame and money. Repairing tires isn’t only more rewarding for society than street fighting but street fighting is actually more rewarding for society than jumping up and down behind the street fighter rooting for him and wearing his t-shirt. I wish I had a posse so whenever someone made a negative comment about me on this site all 12 of them could flame “HE KILL YOU SON WHAT WHAT SON U GAY” and always have my back. The funny thing is Team Kimbo isn’t even skilled enough to hold one of Brett Rogers’ old jobs.
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4. With a win over Matt Hamill on Saturday, Rich Franklin should stay at 205lbs.
Huckaby: TRUE. If Anderson Silva stays at middleweight there is really no reason for Franklin to not move to 205. Of course the major problem there lies in the fact he loses that massive size and strength advantage he’s used to having while pushing his opponents around the cage. He fights larger MWs like Silva and Okami and doesn’t look good at all so fighting guys even slightly bigger than him could be a problem. I can’t help but think moving to 205 is a ridiculously hard challenge for him but I think it’s one he has to make if he wants to reinvent himself. Not that he needs to, people should stop talking about him like he’s dead. He’s still a top elite fighter in the world.
Harrison: TRUE. What other choice does he have really? He’s been whipped like a rented mule by Anderson twice and what is the point of staying in a division if you can’t ever advance past being second best. He loses the size and strength advantage he had, but if he’s able to offset that by bulking up a little and adding some speed, it might work out alright for him. There are some interesting match-ups there for him at 205 against guys like Liddell or maybe even a re-match against Machida, which could be a good fight if Franklin can use his clinch game to keep Machida within reach. It’s going to be telling to see how he reacts to being in there with Hamill on Saturday night. If Franklin can handle being the smaller man, avoid being bullied and taken down at will, and use his athletic ability that he showed at 185, this could be a good move up for him. If he’s pushed around and manhandled by the larger man and unable to get any offense going, he essentially becomes a man that is screwed in two divisions in the UFC and is left with two options. Ride out his contract and move elsewhere, or drop to 170 and fight as a skeleton and as good as Franklin is at cutting weight, I don’t see him being able to get down to 170 and not croak.
5. Martin Kampmann will defeat Nate Marquardt on Saturday.
Huckaby: TRUE. This is rough to answer as Kampmann hasn’t exactly seen the very top of competition but he’s a prospect of prospects. I have to say I’m a massive fan of these two and I’m probably looking forward to this fight the most on the card. I’ll openly admit I picked Marquard to beat Anderson Silva when they fought as I just thought he was hand picked to beat him. Here you havea guy in Kampmann, though to a lesser degree, that reminds you of Anderson Silva and unless Marquardt can take position and control (like I thought he could vs. Silva) I see the fight ending much the same way. Martin’s standup has been shown to maybe not be so unstoppable of late but if he can stay off of his back taking punishment for fifteen minutes he should probably win.
Harrison: FALSE. Marquardt could have won the Thales Leites fight if he hadn’t been struck with both bad luck and a total brain cramp to lose the two points that cost him the bout. Kampmann has a ton of punching power and actually has some submissions on the mat as well (arm triangle anyone?), but Marquardt has an innate ability to shut down strikers not named Anderson Silva, just with his style. It’s not incredibly fluid standing up, which keeps his opponents off-balance and sets them up to be taken to the mat, where Marquardt usually tends to be in control. Kampmann needs to keep this fight standing, there’s no two ways about it. If he does, he wins, but I think that Marquardt will be too strong and too tough on the takedowns and he’ll either submit Kampmann late or ride out a decision.
6. Jacare is the odds on favorite to win the DREAM MWGP this month.
Huckaby: TRUE. Mousasi might actually look the best right now but the fact is Jacare is almost a sure winner over Zelg Galesic at some point and that already puts him into the finals. Now once in the finals can he defeat Mousasi or Manhoef? That’s a good question that I’m not sure I have an answer for. But as of now I have to take the guy that’s almost guaranteed a shot in the finals over two guys who will be brutally battling it out for the other spot. Or knowing Japanese Grand Prix tournaments can I pick like Dong Sik Yoon to be a surprise sub in the finals and win? Basically I give Jacare a 92% chance of being in the finals and since I can’t give those odds to either Mousasi or Manhoef to even make it there I can’t take them as a favorite.
Harrison: TRUE. If I had to rank the four men remaining in the order of who I think will win, I’d start with Jacare, then Mousasi, then Manhoef, with Galesic pulling up the rear. Manhoef and Galesic both have the mythical “puncher’s chance,” with Manhoef having more power and bullheaded destructiveness. Mousasi is more of the total package, but still comes up short on the ground against a master like Jacare. People question Jacare’s chin since he’s never been touched by a huge shot, but it looks like his stand-up is geared towards avoiding being hit with bombs, closing the distance and getting the fight to the ground. Jacare could submit either Manhoef or Galesic in the first round, I’m fairly certain, and while it would be a bit more difficult and could result in a decision win, I could see him controlling Mousasi and winning a very technical ground battle. If he can avoid getting hurt, the only question about this tournament should be how easy Jacare’s win will be.
That does it for another edition of the Duel. Join us next week when two new MMA writers battle it out for your approval. As always feel free to leave positive or negative comments regarding any answers.