Welcome back to another edition of The Duel. This week we actually have a real debate for you as 5 Oz. overlord and team captain Sam Caplan is going up against the PunchDrunkGamer himself, Mr. David Carpinello. We’ll be discussing the aftermath of UFC 90 as well as the upcoming WEC and Sengoku events. Let us Duel:
1. When healthy, Patrick Cote deserves another shot at the MW Title.
Caplan: FALSE. Contrary to Cote’s belief, he did not f— up Anderson Silva. He clearly lost both rounds one and two and Cote’s knee buckling might have been a blessing in disguise because it might have saved him from an inevitable knockout. Cote was injured through no fault of his own but also through no fault of Silva’s or the fans. It was a freak accident and last time I checked with the commission, there is no provision that mandates a promotion give a fighter an immediate rematch if he loses via freak injury. Very few people were excited by Silva vs. Cote I, so why should we be subjected to the lackluster matchup again? I just don’t see any basis for a rematch as I saw nothing that made me feel the inevitable outcome was ever in doubt. There aren’t a lot of obvious challengers for Silva’s title so when Cote is healthy, I guess the UFC might consider a rematch because the “freak” injury might be the only angle they have at 185 with Silva. If they do go ahead with Silva vs. Cote II, I am praying that it’s either a Spike TV main event or second down from the main event of a PPV show.
Carpinello: FALSE. I have to agree with you on this one. Not many people outside of Canada wanted to see the first fight. It may have been a blessing in disguise that the fight ended when it did (not that Cote was injured) because that was definitely the most boring two rounds of the night. Cote is a very good fighter but regardless of Silva’s performance in the fight, Cote is not in his league. I also agree that just because you suffer an injury in a fight that you should not be automatically given a rematch. From what I have heard Cote may be out of action for up to eight months; by that time Silva could be the 205 lb champion.
My Five Cents: Not really much to say as you’re both right. Though if the top contender in the future is named to be Chris Leben or Ed Herman I might change my mind.
2. Anderson Silva should have to face Yushin Okami before considering a move to 205lbs.
Caplan: FALSE. James Irvin, Patrick Cote and Yushin Okami? What are you trying to do Huckaby, bore Anderson Silva to death? Silva needs to make some money and get tested. It’s so patently obvious that Silva’s next foe should be none other than Chuck Liddell. There’s no good reason for it not to happen other than the UFC might not be ready to kiss Liddell’s days as a major drawing card goodbye. A major ass kicking at the hands of Silva might be the straw that forces the media to stop writing “Fans love Chuck Liddell and are willing to pay to see him win or lose.” Perhaps I am wrong, and Liddell will remain teflon but by that point the UFC would be pushing the envelope. The bottom line is that Silva is five more fights away from retirement. Make them count. The UFC can either use those fights against opponents that offer little intrigue, or they could capitalize on Silva’s run and make memorable matchups.
Carpinello: TRUE. There are two reasons you move up in weight class. One is for the money and two is because there is no one else for you to beat in your division. Okami won on a DQ in the 1st round and so there wasn’t enough of a fight to determine if Silva would simply lay waste to him like his recent opponents. Okami is 6-1 since coming to the UFC and his only loss was a close decision to Rich Franklin. If Silva really is the best P4P fighter in the world than one more fight at 185 lbs should not be a problem. If you’re talking money then it comes down to how much more will the UFC really pay Silva. He has made enough coin so far in his career that he could probably buy the city in Brazil that he is from, Curitiba. As far as a Silva vs. Liddell match-up goes, I think that is crazy talk! Liddell may not still have the most drawing power but his following of fans is one of a kind. Only 18% of fans picked Rashad Evans to beat him in September. I could be wrong but Dana White is unlikely to put his boy into a fight of that magnitude after the image of the Ice melting on the canvas in Atlanta.
My Five Cents: I say he has to fight Okami first. Not only because of the most awesome DQ in their last fight but because the UFC gave him a title shot. While you’re both right in #1 that a freak injury does not mandate a rematch, I feel an injury leading up to a fight needs to be rescheduled down the line. Poor Karo Parisyan, annoying as he is, will never sniff that welterweight belt through little fault of his own.
3. Loser of three of his last four, Jens Pulver will be able to stop a returning Leonard Garcia.
Caplan: FALSE. Pulver is one of my all-time favorite fighters. We talk about pioneers in MMA and Pulver definitely fits the mold as one of the first viable lighter weight competitors in the sport. His exciting style of fighting help put 145 and 155 on the map in MMA. The man is also a class act. That being said, I just don’t think he has the juice needed to stop Garcia. Garcia is younger and more athletic. He also might be hungrier. After being on the shelf for a while due to legal proceedings, Garcia can train every day with a chip on his shoulder. He also has never held a major title, something that Pulver has already accomplished. It will be a great fight but I just don’t see Pulver being able to take out Garcia.
Carpinello: TRUE. Pulver is also one of my favorite fighters and I agree he is a class act. I don’t agree that he is lacking anything though as far as being able to beat Garcia. I don’t care if Garcia was in Attica, he has lost 2 of his last 4 fights including a decision to Cole Miller; whose other notable win in the UFC is over Andy Wang. Pulver lives for mixed martial arts and with the life he has lived and the obstacles he has overcome, it is impossible to count out the man who went to a five round decision against the best 145 lb fighter on the planet. He may not of won one of those rounds but he did show that he still has the heart to give everything he’s got inside of that cage.
My Five Cents: I was on the Caplan wagon until you reminded me of Cole Miller. I’m really not sure on the outcome but I’ll side with Caplan because even if Pulver wins I don’t see him finishing Garcia; the man is a beast.
—-SWITCH IT UP—-
4. Thiago Alves is a true threat to Georges St. Pierre’s title.
Carpinello: TRUE. Alves has some of the best low leg kicks in mixed martial arts. If he can utilize those kicks in combination with his strikes then he will certainly give GSP a handful. Alves has now won seven straight fights in the UFC including his last three victories over widely considered top ten fighters in his weight class. If GSP decides to stand and trade with Alves, then there could be a new welterweight Champion in the UFC.
Caplan: FALSE. HE’S MORE THAN A THREAT. Both St. Pierre and Alves are tremendous athletes and a credit to the sport. Any mainstream idiot sportswriter that tries to claim fighters aren’t athletes obviously has never seen St. Pierre or Alves compete. And as good of an athlete that St. Pierre is, I think Alves might be better. I also believe that Alves is a bad matchup for St. Pierre and if the fight was made official today, my money would be on Alves. I think he has too much power for St. Pierre and has the ability to keep the fight standing. We know that St. Pierre is a good wrestler, but so is Josh Koscheck, and he couldn’t get Alves to the mat. Thiago Alves is Georges St. Pierre’s worst nightmare.
My Five Cents: Oh Caplan with your sassy answer. SWERVE!~ We all want to see this fight and while I’m on the “Alves is awesome” bus I’m not yet taking the “Alves can beat GSP” train.
5. Paulo Filho will make a repeat performance and submit Chael Sonnen on Wednesday.
Carpinello: TRUE. Filho has had a long and controversial last 12 months. From his father calling him out for being in his eyes “less than impressive” to bouts with depression and rumors of his state of mind in general; Filho will enter this fight with a lot of pent up aggression and a sense of need to show fans that the fighter who is undefeated in 16 professional fights is back or for that matter, never left. Sonnen is a good fighter but 5 of his 9 losses have come by submission and Filho is better on the ground than Jeremy Horn.
Caplan: FALSE. Filho is superior on the ground but I believe Sonnen is the better all-around fighter. Sonnen also has the advantage of having fought Filho once before because now he knows not to try and mess around in top position. If Filho is on his back, Sonnen knows he needs to wave him back up. And there are so many unanswered questions about Filho in light of everything he’s gone through this year. Perhaps he’s back where he needs to be mentally, but again, the questions are unanswered. Where is his head at? Is he truly committed to fighting again, or does he need a payday in order to catch up with bills that accumulated while he was idle? Also, with the news that the middleweight division in the WEC is finished after Dec. 3, is there enough incentive for Filho to win? What kind of future will he have in the UFC after ruling out fighting UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva? Filho has talked about moving to 205 pounds, but he wouldn’t survive as a light heavyweight in the UFC. My prediction is that Sonnen wins via TKO in the third round and moves to the front of the line as far getting a title shot at Silva. UFC officials will sell it to us as UFC middleweight champion vs. WEC middleweight champion with the subplot that Sonnen’s last win was over Silva’s good friend. Sonnen is going to outwork Filho because he wants it more.
My Five Cents: I like Caplan’s pro wrestling style booking and he’ll soon be getting a phone call from Vince Russo. Both of you make good points so I’ll just point out again how angry I was when Sonnen pretended he didn’t yell “tap tap tap tap” in their first fight and complained about the stoppage. Maybe Paulo can leave us no doubt this time.
6. Give me your winner of Saturday’s Sengoku MW Grand Prix.
Carpinello: Jorge Santiago. Mired in mediocrity after a 1-2 record in the UFC, including a loss to Alan Belcher, Santiago has rattled off six victories in a row including winning the Strikeforce ‘Four Men Enter, One Man Leaves’ one night tournament ala ‘Mad Max’ last November. He has continued his career rebirth in Japan as he is not solely relying on just one aspect of his fight game. Whether it is by submission or TKO, Santiago is looking to finish his opponents. Nothing against the other fighters in the Grand Prix, nor would I be shocked if someone else won but I would put my $$$ on Santiago.
Caplan: Kazuhiro Nakamura. Many people who rip Nakamura as a fighter are doing so based on what they saw of him in the UFC. And while he was horrible in the UFC, he was much better than he showed. While in PRIDE, Nakamura was a very dangerous fighter and recorded some impressive wins over notable fighters. For whatever reason, he couldn’t hang in the Octagon. Maybe it was the travel or maybe it was the level of competition he fought. Or maybe it was something else? Regardless, I think Nakamura at middleweight is very intriguing. This will be his second cut to 185 pounds, so he should have better strength this time around. Santiago is a respectable fighter, but I think Nakamura’s judo will prove to be the difference.
My Five Cents: Trick question. This is a Japanese tournament, meaning the winner will somehow end up being Drew Fickett. I don’t know how…. but you know it’s going to happen.
Thank you for joining us. We’ll be back next week when two other MMA writers battle it out in The Duel!~