Do you consider Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva 2 in Brazil to be a lock? Is Phil Davis more likely to pull off an upset at UFC on FOX 2 than Chris Weidman or Michael Bisping? Will this weekend’s show on FOX pull in more viewers than their original offering in November? Who should the UFC match Melvin Guillard with next?
Keyboard warrrrriors….come out to plaaaay-yay!
Welcome to Grappling with Issues, our site’s regular weekly feature highlighting insight and opinion from myself and resident workhorse Jeremy Lambert whose general contributions and “Scorecard” event-breakdowns can be regularly found on Five Ounces. As always, just because we staffers get the fancy set-up, please don’t hesitate to offer your own take on the topics in the “Comments” section below.
Who should Melvin Guillard face in his next fight?
Lambert: Jacob Volkmann. Even though Volkmann is on a nice little streak and Guillard has lost his last two fights, Volkmann’s resume lacks a big win and Guillard’s losses have come in high profile positions. Plus, it’s not like Volkmann has blown anyone away with his performances, which usually means UFC will punish you a bit instead of rewarding you with a fight against a top contender. If nothing else, Guillard usually has exciting fights and he’ll either knockout Volkmann, ending his win streak and allowing UFC to handle him differently, or get choked out, giving “Christmas” a finish during his streak.
Conlan: Sorry Jeremy, but I think Volkmann is as bad a suggestion as could have been offered. Why would the UFC want to risk giving Guillard a third consecutive loss (essentially a lock given Volkmann’s grappling/submissions)? Rather, I think the organization would be wise to pair Guillard with a striker to provide him with an opportunity to get back on track in highlight-reel fashion. There are plenty of guys on the roster who have some name value and will come to bang. The one I’d go with is Anthony Njokuani. He may be linked to John Makdessi at UFC 145 but that’s definitely a bout they could restructure to include Guillard instead.
TRUE/FALSE – Pat Barry will have a winning record in the Octagon at the end of 2012.
Lambert: TRUE. I’m going to assume that Barry will fight three times in the Octagon in 2012. He’s already fought once and got his hand raised in victory. So he only needs to go 1-1 in his next two bouts, which sounds pretty reasonable given that he’s in the heavyweight division and I think UFC will give him favorable match ups, especially if he loses his next fight.
Conlan: FALSE. I think there may have been a misunderstanding here since Lambert is only looking at 2012, not Barry’s overall record in the Octagon. The win over Morecraft brought it up to 4-4 meaning he’ll need to go 2-0 (or 2-1) to improve things to what I would label as a UFC-worthy level. Since I can’t envision him having an undefeated campaign this year, and there’s no guarantee he’ll fight three more times, I don’t see him working his way above .500 anytime soon.
Biggest threat to pull off an “upset” at UFC on FOX 2 – Chris Weidman, Michael Bisping, or Phil Davis?
Lambert: Well, considering that Vegas actually has Weidman as a favorite over Demian Maia, I’m not sure if that will count as an upset. I’m picking Maia to upset Weidman, but I think Weidman has the best chance of pulling off the upset based on the question. I think Weidman and Maia are pretty evenly matched and that if Weidman can score takedown, play defense on top, and control the position then there’s no reason why he can’t win a decision.
Conlan: I think Weidman is a good choice and I’m actually picking him to beat Maia as well. However, for the sake of discussion I’ll go with Davis. “Mr. Wonderful” has the wrestling to fend off Rashad Evans’ relentless takedowns and work his way back to a standing position if he does indeed get put on the mat. He’s got excellent reach and is extremely athletic, two factors also potentially posing problems for the smaller, bulkier Evans. I’m still giving the nod to Evans in terms of actually coming away with a win but I won’t be shocked if Davis exits the Octagon in victory.
More likely to happen: Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans in Atlanta or Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen in Brazil?
Conlan: Silva-Sonnen without question. For starters, Jones has only hinted at fighting in April at UFC 145 while Dana White has come out on record a number of times pointing at the possibility of doing Silva vs. Sonnen 2 at a stadium show in Sao Paolo this June. More importantly, I see Sonnen’s chances of winning this weekend being far greater than Evans’ based on the way they match up against their respective UFC on FOX 2 opponents. With both aspects in place there’s little doubt in my mind regarding which scenario has a greater probability of happening.
Lambert: I’ll go with Jones vs. Evans because I’m not fully convinced that Silva will be 100% healthy by the time the Brazil show rolls around or that he truly wants to fight Sonnen again. I’m also not convinced that sending Sonnen to Brazil is the best idea either. On the other hand, Jones and Rashad want to fight and they want to get things over with. The only thing stopping this fight from happening in Atlanta is Rashad’s health after the Davis fight and Rashad winning, of course.
OVER/UNDER – 5.7 million viewers (on average) for UFC on FOX 2.
Conlan: OVER (but not my much). I think the event will lose some non-fan viewers because the show doesn’t feature a title-fight but will make up for the hit based on a few things. The lineup features more star-power including a pair of Ultimate Fighter winners with experience coaching TUF as well as Sonnen who himself has gotten a bit of mainstream attention based on his colorful personality. It’s also two hours long so there’s more time for buzz to spread if things start out strong instead of a single fight that average folks will rush to tune in for at the very end of the broadcast.
Lambert: OVER. The first event had the luxury of being the first event and having that curiosity factor. This event doesn’t have that going for it and I’m not feeling the buzz for this event like I did for the first one. There is one huge factor working in this events favor though and that’s the success of FOX. They’re coming off the NFC Title game, which did 57.6 million viewers. You would have that UFC could get at least 10% of that audience. Also, FOX has done good ratings all week with shows like American Idol, Touch, House, and Alcatraz. So even though the event may not have the buzz of the first, FOX is on a roll right now, and that momentum could lead to a big number.
Will Zuffa take anymore steps this year to prevent PED use in the sport?
Conlan: No, not unless a major star gets popped and they need to save face in the mainstream media. Fighters are already tested by State commissions and the UFC has gone “above and beyond” by implementing their own pre-contract screenings. Personally I’d love to see them do more such as implementing their own system of fines/suspensions or randomly testing fighters but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.
Lambert: I think they’ll take a minor step or two, sort of like they did with the whole “all new fighters will be drug tested” rule. Maybe they’ll dabble in some out of competition testing or they’ll institute a harsher punishment, but it won’t be anything major if they do take another step. As long as they show a little bit more progress this year then I’ll be happy.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC