And welcome back to another edition of the Duel. This week we’re sticking mostly to Saturday’s UFC 93 from the UK. Joining me this week from Sherdog is the always self-assured Jordan Breen. His opponent, the only man who can match Breen point-for-point…. couldn’t make it so instead we have Caleb Newby, a 5 Oz. contributor.
Let us Duel:
1. Rich Franklin is more likely to be knocked out than Dan Henderson at this Saturday’s UFC 93 main event.
Breen: Chintastically TRUE. No matter who you’re picking in the bout, this should be non-negotiable. Franklin isn’t a massive homerun hitter, and even his more spectacular finishes like Quarry and Hamill have been based on a prior concentration of asskicking. Flush Anderson Silva power shots could only make Henderson go wobbly and into retreat mode. Meanwhile, Franklin has always been susceptible to flash knockdowns from lesser hitters, like Tanner and Loiseau, and has been knocked out in all his losses. If one man gets arranged in a fleshy heap, it will be Franklin.
Newby: TRUE. I don’t see this as being much of an argument. I’m leaning Franklin to win this via decision, but for a legitimate knock out (not a referee stoppage) it’s easily more likely Franklin that will go to sleep. Rich has been knocked loopy twice by Anderson Silva and his only other registered loss is via TKO to another top ten pound for pounder in Lyoto Machida. Meanwhile, Hendo has never been knocked out or even defeated by technical knockout, although Silva was close to being the first before he went for the submission instead. Henderson is another MMA fighter with a legendary chin and there is no reason to think he’s lost it. Yes, yes, I know. Hunt and Nog were thought impervious to being put to sleep too. Problem with that argument is these things are mutually exclusive and have no bearing on each other. Side note: I don’t think any serious MMA analyst or fan who calls a fighter “impossible to knock out” means it in the strictest literal sense as much as they do to emphasize a point. Anyway, while Franklin is a very talented striker that can finish people, it is safer to bet in Henderson’s powerful left and right hands to bring the bout to a close if you want a UFC 92 Wanderlei-esque result.
My Five Cents: If you guys agree alot I was going to disagree for fun but I can’t even bring myself to do it here. Big ups to Newby for calling writers “analysts” instead of “experts.” Just because one can analyze things well does not make them correct. I mean you write here.
2. Either man will win another UFC belt at some point in their careers.
Breen: Stylistically FALSE. Whether it’s at 185 or at 205, if you look at the fighters who will be likely champions in the near future, neither Franklin or Henderson would be well-equipped to take the crown. Anderson Silva controls the middleweight title as long as he wants; Franklin obviously can have no say in the matter, and in a 25-minute fight which all-but-excludes the possibility of simply pinning him down to a decision, Henderson would fare no better in a rematch. By the time either fighter earns a 205-pound title shot, the champion will either be Quinton Jackson or Lyoto Machida. For Franklin, a Machida rematch would go virtually the same because of his average-at-best chin, inability to take sustained damage, and a looping striking style that is difficult for most fighters but easy counter-fodder for Machida. Against Rampage, Jackson’s cleaner counterpunching and the disparity in one-punch power would be too much for Franklin. For Henderson, a Rampage rematch would likely unfold in similar fashion with Rampage being the sharper puncher and better equipped for the five-round haul. Against Machida, Henderson’s telegraphed punching would be make him uneventful target practice.
Newby: TRUE. I’ll fess up, I nearly said false. It’s hard to imagine either dethroning Anderson Silva at 185 while 205 is so incredibly stacked that it is nothing short of a long and difficult road. Getting past Rampage, Forrest, Rashad, Lyoto, Liddell… it’s not going to be easy. That being said, both are names and have the advantage of not having to take a couple extra fights to build recognition, particularly Franklin. What put this over the top as a true statement for me though is Silva’s stated desire to retire sooner than later. If that holds up, 185 is going to be wide open again sooner than later. And let’s not forget that before Silva took over the division Franklin was widely considered the best in the division with Henderson not far behind. If Silva was going to be around another 3-5 years this would be a solid false. As that’s not the case, I’ll take my chances with one of them breaking through at light-heavyweight until middleweight opens up again.
My Five Cents: On one hand you must admire how someone like Breen just ignores Rashad Evans completely from his argument out of certainty. On the other hand I was also going to add Newby’s point that Franklin wouldn’t need to win more than a fight or two to get a title shot due to his name value.
3. Rousimar Palhares will become the third straight man to submit Jeremy Horn in the Octagon.
Breen: Unenthusiastically TRUE. Horn has been going through the motions for about three years now, and it’s unfortunate to see that lack of zest in a former elite competitor. In contrast to the zealless fashion he fights now, Toquinho comes out like a bomb and will look to loop punches and slam Horn with haste. Despite all his great offensive grappling, Horn’s ground game has always had defensive liabilities, and against a guy like Toquinho who can work a smash game or a finesse game, and has submission versatility, equally adroit at finishing from the back or with leglocks, Horn will likely be tapped for the fourth time in five fights.
Newby: TRUE. Does Horn even care anymore? I’m not ragging on the guy. He’s put in his time and more than earned the right to do whatever he wants. I wonder if there is even any adrenaline going after having over 100 professional career fights. Does he fight back yawns on his walk to the cage? These are the things I want to know. As for Palhares, he’s is a jiu-jitsu wiz and looking to prove himself. He fell short against Dan Henderson due to Henderson’s superior wrestling. That won’t be a problem for Palhares this time. For the sake of consistancy, we can root that Palhares wins via guillotine. Still, after this fight Palhares will be moving up the middleweight ranks while Horn is sent back to the smaller shows after his third straight UFC loss.
My Five Cents: How can you say he doesn’t care then say he’s going to smaller shows with a loss? And Breen more than sured up any hesitancy I might have had.
—-SWITCH IT UP—-
4. Mark Coleman’s claim that months to prepare for an opponent will lead to a better Coleman in the cage.
Newby: TRUE. Although I am not prepared to qualify it by how much better. PRIDE had a well known track record of last minute fight announcements and bout changes. It goes without saying that a full, proper training camp will produce a better fighter than a one with a few weeks to get into shape. That’s to speak nothing about Coleman’s mindset going into this fight. From what I’ve read he knows this may be his last shot and is taking his training seriously. At least he’s not fighting Fedor, he gets a potentially rusting Shogun Rua. Not to say Coleman will win, but if he does, what I wouldn’t give to have Wanderlei jump the cage and bumrush him.
Breen: TRUE. A guy like Coleman, who is up there in age and has a several life pursuits outside of the cage, is obviously going to be helped along by a greater window of time to prepare at his own pace rather than attempting to pull all his training partners to Ohio for a six-week blitz of a training camp. However, I think that a “better” Coleman in the cage is actually going to be the product of people’s assumption he’s “old” and spent, using a pair of fights against Fedor Emelianenko and his stylistic mauling against Mirko “CroCop” Filipovic as evidence. Those bouts aren’t exactly the best fights to make deep analysis as to how “past it” a fighter is, only what awaits Coleman when he faces the best heavyweight in the world or an overwhelmingly better striker who he can’t set-up double legs against.
My Five Cents: This one is going to be nearly impossible to be right about or proven. Even if he does well one can easily argue Shogun isn’t Shogun for whatever odd reason you want. Plus I really don’t think a long training camp for someone like Coleman is necessarily a good thing. We’ve seen he and Randleman talk a big game and fail miserably before. The real question is if Coleman will let Shogun pet his daughters’ heads if he loses the fight.
5. Marcus Davis will win his gatekeeping test against Chris Lytle.
Newby: TRUE. Battle of the scar tissue. This is setting up to be a slugfest that the fans will enjoy. Lytle is tough as nails and near impossible to stop, making this a difficult fight to call. I’m going on the presumption that the near entirety of the bout will be a stand up affair. Davis is the more affluent striker and should prove as much here in a tough decision victory. Against someone with less grit and determination than Lytle I’d go with a stoppage, but Lytle is Lytle and unlikely to go down. That being said, this has to be the leading candidate for fight of the night. Let’s hope a cut doesn’t spoil it.
Breen: Heavy-handedly TRUE. Despite solid technical boxing skills, Chris Lytle has shown historically (Robbie Lawler) and recently (Paul Taylor) that he’s willing to abandon fundamentals for fire-fighting. While his chin and toughness are enough to carry him through those sort of fights, given how badly Taylor was able to mark up Lytle and arguably win their bout, the much heavier handed Davis will be able to do greater damage with his hands when he forces the issue against Lytle. Furthermore, despite his boxing acumen, Lytle carries his left hand low, and often drops it while kicking or throwing right hooks. A cue like that may mean showtime for the southpaw Davis.
My Five Cents: I won’t argue with the logic from either of you, as you’re right Lytle will bang. But I love Chris Lytle so both of you can shut up. I’m an adult.
6. Gina Carano will never fight in the UFC.
Newby: TRUE. There are too many obstacles in the way to make this more than an outside shot. Gina’s contract status with EliteXC and that debacle being the first among them. While the legal dispute there cannot go on indefinitely, there are too many other variables. Dana White has changed his tune on women’s MMA, or Carano in particular, and has said he’d give it a go… in the WEC. Then there is the chance she’d sign with Strikeforce instead for the freedom it would allow her as opposed to the typical Zuffa contract. I can’t imagine Carano willingly giving up lifetime rights to her likeness in video games and allowing Zuffa to sell promotional items with her face on it unless the pot was substantially sweetened. Add to that we don’t know how long she’s going to stick around in this business with the ever present lure of Hollywood’s siren call. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 4 anyone?
Breen: Logistically TRUE. There are heavy structural considerations for the UFC all the time. There is a reason they run five divisions and the WEC’s featherweight and bantamweight divisions, which would richly benefit from the UFC veneer, are left where they are. There is a reason why right now, managers are complaining that Zuffa aren’t signing new UFC fighters until approximately April, and why many “loser leaves town” fights have been put together for the coming weeks and months. There’s always heavy logistical considerations for running the promotion, and taking on Carano would mean, at bare minimum, they’d need to put a division around her by signing talent and hosting a regular amount of fights which would promotionally rob Peter to pay Paul in a grand way. By the time Zuffa had a capacity to install more divisions, or women’s divisions, into their product, it’s far from certainty Carano would still be active in the game given her extracurricular demand.
My Five Cents: Good point on having to sign a full division. That won’t happen.
And that has been your Duel for this week. I’d like to thank Jordan Breen and Caleb Newby for competing. Join us next week when two other MMA writers will battle it out in The Duel!