And welcome back to another edition of The Duel. We’re slightly rushed this week as we needed an emergency backup for the emergency backup and I’d like to thank our editor David Andrest for stepping in on super short notice to fill in. Joining him is the Punch Drunk Gamer himself, Dave Carpinello.
We might have been short on time but it got out! It’s the thought that counts. Again, big thank you to the Davids for stepping up this week.
And we Duel:
1. Dan Henderson won the fight against Rich Franklin.
Carpinello: TRUE. I gave Henderson a 2 to 1 advantage in the fight and I was shocked that Cecil People’s cousin at ringside scored the bout 30-27 for Franklin . Henderson was the aggressor in round 1 and 3 and round 2 could have gone to either fighter but I scored it for Franklin . Henderson was able to control the fight when he got it to the ground whether by takedown or when Franklin slipped on the canvas. I would not call the fight a convincing win for Henderson and nor would I have been shocked if Franklin won the split decision. Perception and heart make up probably 90% of who someone thinks wins a fight.
Andrest: TRUE. When the initial call of 30-27 was announced, I thought for sure the judge at ringside was scoring in favor of Henderson as well. I found myself watching the fight and waiting for Franklin to emerge and take control of the fight. Henderson seemed to do just enough to win this. That may sound harsh, or as if I’m taking something away from Henderson’s performance, but I’ll just call it an unfavorable style match up for both men.
My Five Cents: It was a fight that could go either way but Andrest is correct that it’s an unfavorable style matchup. If they fought again you’d see the same fight.
2. Mark Coleman should retire.
Carpinello: FALSE. I would have serious problems with people calling for Coleman’s retirement considering he has been in this sport longer than most fans have been watching. That being said if he doesn’t get some help with his training camp and conditioning then he may not want to fight again. It is not like he was outclassed by a fighter who is almost 20 years younger. Unless I was watching a different fight, maybe Shogun needs to hang them up if it took him 3 rounds to beat a tired elder statesman who hadn’t fought since 2006. By no means is Coleman a challenger for any title but why not a third fight with Shogun or a match-up of Hall of Famers with Randy Couture?
Andrest: TRUE. Coleman should have retired with dignity a few years ago. I have nothing against him, in fact I’m a fan, but I can not support the idea of a fighter who is clearly outmatched continuing to poorly attempt to compete on an elite level. Thank god for knee injuries, what would this fight have looked like if it were Brock Lesnar across the cage from him? MMA is young and we fortunately don’t have to read about a long heritage of fighters with obvious brain damage from injuries suffered from competition. I fear that if we continue with the Coleman, Shamrock, Sapp fights it’s only a matter of time.
My Five Cents: As I stated last week I’m not sure you can judge Shogun or Coleman on this fight. You could argue Shogun is a shell of his former self and that’s the only reason Coleman looked okay. Or you could argue Shogun is fine and Coleman performed well. While I don’t really want to see it, another fight against a UFC heavyweight could be interesting.
3. Andrei Arlovski is the toughest test for Fedor in four years.
Carpinello: FALSE. His fight against Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic back in 2005 was a great fight by both fighters and probably his toughest fight besides Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and although Arlovski has improved over the recent years; ‘Cro Cop’ circa 2005-2006 would have KO’ed him in the first round. Don’t be so quick to forget that two years ago Fedor beat a very game Matt Lindland in Bodog. Lindland cut him badly and if not for some help from the ropes, Lindland may have been able to secure a takedown and ride out a victory by stoppage. Arlovski has shown great improvement recently and he should put up a much better fight than Tim Sylvia or Hong Man Choi. Unless Fedor is unprepared or Arlovski is able land that brutal right followed up with a Muay Thai clinch; then Fedor should be able to win this fight without it going to a judges’ decision. Setting up a fight that fans have been waiting too long for – The Last Emperor versus The Baby Face Assassin!
Andrest: TRUE. Arlovski is the best athlete Fedor has fought. Many people like to discount Andrei, and prop up names like Cro Cop, to this I like to point out that the cage is much different than the ring. Honestly it is a different sport all together in my opinion. A kick boxer, boxer, or any fighter who would like to implement a strong stand up game benefits greatly by fighting in a ring. With all due respect to Mr.Carpinello, I believe Arlovski’s style benefits greatly from this and a bout with Cro Cop or anyone in the world would look much different depending on fighting surface. I think he is by far the most dangerous opponent Fedor has faced in recent memory.
My Five Cents: I have to go with true as well. I keep getting yelled at when I won’t say Fedor will destroy Arlovski. Fedor is bound to lose at some point though one can easily point to Arlovski’s weak chin, his lack of certain ground game and the fact he’s going to boxing. Unless Arlovski gets an early KO I don’t see this ending well for him.
4. Chuck Liddell will defeat Shogun Rua in April.
Carpinello: TRUE. I don’t believe that 3 months training time for Shogun will be able to improve his conditioning enough to last a 3 round fight with Liddell. It was expected that Shogun would need some time to get his conditioning back and shake off the ring rust but he looked like a totally different fighter against Mark Coleman. Liddell may have had his problems in the cage lately but his gas tank has not been the problem.
Andrest: TRUE. It pains me to say it. I think Rua is the more skilled of the two, but I agree 3 months with his current camp isn’t going to change anything. This is the second fight in a row where Rua was scheduled for three rounds and showed with three quarters of a round worth of cardio. It’s embarrassing, and painful to watch.
My Five Cents: Liddell has to be the favorite here. Some point to Liddell getting caught at times but the all-knowing Jordan Breen recently pointed out to me that even though he gets huge credit for his standup, Shogun doesn’t exactly have great one punch KO power. Probably not even enough to shake Liddell.
5. Babalu Sobral will submit Sokoudjou.
Carpinello: TRUE. Sokoudjou is an exciting fighter with a lot of upside potential but after shocking Ricardo Arona and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira opponents have caught on to his style. Babalu is veteran of many ring and cage wars and will use that experience to control this fight and eventually get it to the ground. Where Sokoudjou has shown he has little skill and Babalu will submit him in Round 2.
Andrest: TRUE. Sokoudjou just doesn’t have the skill on the ground to hang with Sobral. Unless Sokoudjou catches him early, this fight will go to the ground and the end is inevitable.
My Five Cents: I can’t argue but Sobral is more of the Arona/Nogueira mold than he is the men that have defeated Sokoudjou. If it happens a third time I think that’s going to be a skill set you just can’t argue with him beating.
6. The “PRIDE curse” is real.
Carpinello: FALSE. Dan Henderson just beat Rich Franklin, Quinton Jackson was the UFC LHW Champion and Anderson Silva had 5 fights in PRIDE before making his way to the UFC and dominating every opponent he has faced. “Minotauro” Nogueira came to the UFC and won the interim HW Title by defeating then UFC step-poster child Tim Sylvia. The whole PRIDE vs UFC debate should be closed. They are all professional fighters and some are going to be successful in the UFC like those listed above. Others will not be so fortunate such as Mirko “Cro-Cop”, Heath Herring and Wanderlei Silva. If the circumstances had been reversed and PRIDE bought the UFC a few years back, then you would probably see similar results with the UFC stars competiting in Japan on a regular basis.
Andrest: FALSE. There is no PRIDE curse. There are a number of different factors that have gone into the success or lack of success of fighters that have entered the UFC via the acquisition of Pride. I have already rambled on about Ring vs. Cage. Rule differences have played a big part. And then of course some guys just were not as good as they appeared against talent that may have been mediocre to begin with. I’d also make a case that MMA is evolving at such a rapid pace that it’s a safe bet that what worked in 2008 will not be enough to be competitive in 2010. The biggest difference in the last three years that I’ve noticed is conditioning. If you can’t go 15 minutes, you will not be successful. This has not always been the case. What is staggering is the number of fights in the last two years where the more skilled fighter has lost due to lack of preparation.
My Five Cents: I just like asking things like this as if I’m a Sherdog message board poster because some people fume. Of course it’s rule differences and a different environment, not to mention the success of many while shockingly the Nakamuras of the world didn’t catch the UFC by storm….
Again, big thank you to Dave Carpinello and David Andrest for stepping up late. We’ll be back next week to talk Affliction results and preview GSP and BJ Penn II.