Welcome back to another edition of The Duel. This week features two spirited long time rivals in the form of me battling nokaut.com and fiveounces contributor Caleb Newby. Let the battle begin…. and don’t forget to vote for the winner (me).
1. Thiago Alves’ weight had something to do with his win over Matt Hughes.
Huckaby: TRUE. No, no, I’m not saying that’s why he won. Matt Hughes is old, Thiago Alves is young. He’s faster, has much better hands and he handled Matt’s takedown attempts easily. But it probably had SOMETHING to do with it, don’t you think? What if Alves was forced to cut all the way to 170lbs? How dehydrated and weak could he have been coming in? We’ll never know because Alves was allowed to fight big and then hilariously asked for a title shot. Somewhere at home Travis Lutter laughed at Dana White’s reaction. Yeah, I don’t think so Big T. Once you prove to him you can make 170lbs I’m sure you’ll talk but coming in so far over isn’t exactly the right way to get your goal. Come to work on time then ask for the promotion.
Newby: TRUE. What was really cool is how the entire group of us picked Hughes on the UFC 85 Pain Poll. Just wanted to point that out. That being said, of course this is true, especially with such a vague term such as “something.” It’s pretty basic physiology. When you have huge welterweight such as Alves, who has a known history of struggling to make 170, of course it is going to be easier when he doesn’t have to shed that last four pounds. If it’s been that tough for him in the past to make 170, you know it’s been hell on his body (diuretics anyone?) to lose those last few pounds. Was that the difference in the fight versus Hughes? Doubtful, but it should be enough to spare Hughes from a total free fall in the rankings, or a full out catapult of Alves.
2. Leites win over Marquardt should “count” (not meaning the win, just in future fight making, rankings and the like).
Huckaby: FALSE. To clarify, what this means is that Leites did indeed get the W for the fight but for all extensive purposes Nate Marquardt was shown to be the better fighter. Can you really rank Leites above Marquardt after that fight? Can you give him the next big match and drop Marquardt down to fighting TUFers? If they fought again wouldn’t Marquardt open all kinds on Thales yet again? Now I can see the other side, the illegal knee might have taken something away or a win is a win and should always be treated as such. I say no, Thales deserved to win the fight by scoring standards but Nate Marquardt proved to be the better fighter in my mind.
Newby: FALSE. Easy question. And to showcase my reasoning using a different angle than Huckaby, let’s go into the past for a different, though similar, example Nick Diaz’s scored a victory over Gomi at PRIDE 33 last year. Diaz won. I saw it, you saw it, everyone saw it. Then Diaz tests positive for marijuana. Now I put testing positive for marijuana in a much different category than a positive steroid test, yet the failed test led to the fight being ruled a no contest. But really, we all know Diaz won that fight, pot or no. The commission can make whatever ruling they want but Diaz was the better fighter that night. Same principle applies to Leites and Marquardt. Sure, Leites won, though as Huck said (he loves it when you call him that, trust me) Leites won on the scorecards, but Marquardt won that fight.
3. Fabricio Werdum has done enough to earn the next HW title shot after Mir.
Huckaby: TRUE. But that doesn’t mean he’ll get it. No one really wants to see Nog/Werdum II but apparently no one told Fabricio that as he’s went out and TKO’d Gonzaga and Vera back-to-back. To me that earns a title shot. Randy Couture earned a HW title shot by being retired and being Randy Couture. Gabe Gonzaga got one simply for beating Cro Cop. Nog got one just because he was Nog and he beat Heath Herring. Isn’t TKO’ing Gonzaga and Vera in consecutive fights actually MORE than you need to do in a depleted UFC heavyweight division? But the fact is Nogueira and Mir will be off filming TUF and they won’t fight until the end of the year so Werdum will probably have to win one more fight against a top talent that will fall out of the sky magically. Anyway, the question wasn’t if he’ll get the next shot, it was has he earned it. And yes, he has. And is anyone else now mildly intrigued with the idea that the groundgame of Nog/Werdum would be a stalemate but now Werdum apparently has the stronger striking? Does this not add a fun new dimension to the idea of that fight?
Newby: TRUE. This is more about the UFC’s total lack of a heavyweight division than it is anything else. Using my personal heavyweight rankings, let’s see who does deserve a shot over Werdum. Fedor (obviously). Barnett (never gonna happen). Couture (the “current” champion). Sylvia (ok, maybe not deserve a shot but you get the idea). Arlovski. Who from that list does the UFC have under contract? I thought as much. Instead, checking out the UFC’s website we’ll take a look at the highest profile heavyweights they have. Mark Coleman, Gabriel Gonzaga, Heath Herring, Cheick Kongo, Brock Lesnar, and Brandon Vera. Can you even make an argument that out of that group Werdum doesn’t deserve the next crack at the title? No, you can’t. Give that man a title shot. Who cares if Nog/Werdum isn’t the fight people are clamoring for, the man has earned it.
–Since Newby was too scared to disagree with anything I said I guess I’ll have to disagree with everything he says–
4. Michael Bisping will one day hold the 185lb title.
Newby: FALSE. By “the” I assume you mean UFC title. This was a tough one. Curses on you Huckaby for making it open ended like that too. You couldn’t have said “in the next three years” could you? Regardless, as much as I love Bisping, I have to go fiction. Anderson Silva is the king at 185 for as long as he wants to be first off. Silva has made talk that he’d retire in a couple years, which if so, is cause of celebration for all middleweights out there. But we have Silva as division king for at least two more years… someone I don’t see anyone defeating. I’d actually expect the UFC to give Bisping a title fight before then, probably soon, to capitalize on having a name opponent for Silva on a winning streak. After Bisping loses that fight he’s back to treading water with Franklin and the rest waiting for Silva to get bored and move on. And who will be looking to jump once Silva gets bored and moves on? Just Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt, Yushin Okami, and potentially Dan Henderson and Paulo Filho. That’s a scary line up of top talent, plus who knows what new prospects will tear into the UFC in the next couple years. Look, I love Bisping and think he has tremendous talent and potential at middleweight, but with the line up he has in front of him, having to defeat at least two of these top fighters in a post Silva world to snag the championship, it’s just a bad bet. Sure he has a shot, but faced with the choice of betting on one horse or taking the field, unless your horse is Penn, Silva, GSP, or Fedor, take the field. Good luck Bisping, I’ll happily be proven wrong, but it’s false.
Huckaby: FALSE. DAMMIT it’s not possible here. Of course I meant the UFC you stupid bastard. Your short comings aside, you made solid arguments across the board. Anderson Silva, Anderson Silva and Anderson Silva. If he moves on you have Franklin, Henderson, Okami…. Bisping hasn’t showed any type of ability that would make you put him at that level yet. Yes, a split decision loss to Rashad is impressive but it was still a loss. I can’t make the argument he’ll be a champion based on beating an unemployed guy and a slightly above average guy at the weight class. We all know he lost to Matt Hamill and I think based on a performance like that he’ll have a long career in the UFC as more of a gatekeeper. He’ll continue to main event in England against the Sinosics and Days of the world but I think when they finally pull the trigger and put him in there with a top 10 middleweight he’ll feel the difference and come up short.
5. KJ Noons will retain his title over Yves Edwards on Saturday.
Newby: FALSE. Remember when Edwards was the unofficial UFC lightweight champ? I do, because they told us many, many times. Topsy-turvy as Yves’ has been, his switch to ATT seems to have paid off and done well for him and his jumping knee KO earlier this year was a thing of beauty. Expect Edwards to hang well enough on the feet with Noons and outclass him on the ground. Noon’s isn’t going to submit Edwards and while he certainly could knock him out, Edwards just has more ways to win this. So here’s to thug-jitsu bringing home the EliteXC 160 pound strap. Edwards, submission, round two.
Huckaby: TRUE. NOTE: Newby told me at 1pm he only had one question left to answer he was confused about. 6 hours later Adam Morgan IM’s me with a Newby IM asking who he thought would win Noons/Edwards. BUSTED. Asking for outside help in a DUEL? Truly pathetic Caleb, I mean that’s bottom of the barrel. Luckily this is the answer I was pulling to say anyway. Noons can join Kimbo and Gina as the EXC golden boys, a position I just can’t see Yves filling. Unless they want this strap to be the official Showtime title. The only two arguments for Yves here are ground game and ATT. While I believe ATT to be the top of the line, I can’t pick a guy based on his fight team alone. This leaves the ground game where I’m sure Noons has been training non-stop, both to not go there and what to do when it happens. I think Noons can keep this on the feet and be more technical than thugjitsu standing. Of course now I’m remembering the Charles Bennett fight and I’m starting to cringe a little. Atleast I have some guts.
6. Mayhem Miller’s experience will win out over Jacare’s amazing submission abilities.
Newby: TRUE. Mayhem has been in there with far, far better competition than Jacare. A quick bit of research shows that of Jacare’s 8 wins, a whopping five are against guys who have career 0-1 records. Yes, he submits everybody and it a BJJ wiz kid, but this is the first big time competition for Jacare in MMA and we’ve seen how skilled jiu-jitsu practioners fair in their first step up to tough competition. Thing is, this isn’t just a step up, it’s a giant leap. Miller may act like a clown but he is no joke. Only two losses in the last five years (to Trigg and a decision loss to GSP, which is impressive in and of itself) while compiling 14 wins in that time. So while I typically dislike breakdowns that focus on information you can discover from the fight finder, it’s relevant in this instance. I can assure you that Miller’s typical opponent hasn’t had a 0-1 professional MMA record. As they say, a jiu-jitsu black belt is great, but let’s see how you do while getting punched in the face. Give me Mayhem now. Give Jacare a couple more years and continued seasoning. Then this will be a real pick’em.
Huckaby: FALSE. Thanks for giving us their records Newby! How old is Mayhem? What’s Jacare’s real name? I have no idea where to look for this fundamental information! And I am also a Mayhem Monkey and will be pulling for my guy here but the fact is while Miller has faced better MMA competition he hasn’t faced this level of BJJ competition. How is Miller going to beat Jacare? Knock him out? What, with his amazing kickboxing skills? Oh, he’s going to full mount Jacare and pound it out? Beat him in a decision? Again, with his lesser BJJ game and K-1 level kickboxing? I give you Mayhem’s wrestling and that alone could give him a decision. That alone. Maybe he could knee him in the head alot on the ground. Either way, thank you for giving us information we could find anywhere and true insight. You sir are a professional.
And that does it for this week’s DUEL. And again if you feel the need please vote for your victor.
Join us next week when two other 5oz contributors will step in and hopefully debate.