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5 Oz. of Pain Presents: The DUEL

Welcome back to another edition of The Duel. This week we have two 5 Oz. All-Stars in Sam Cupitt and Ram Maramba. Cupitt came up with an idea to disagree on each topic simply for fun but failed to do so on #5 because the simplicity of the idea was simply too much for him. He wanted to disagree but at one point he simply couldn’t follow through. While this made everyone sick we still went through with the idea and this was the result. Let us Duel:

1. Forrest Griffin will capture the UFC LHW Title this Saturday.

Cupitt: FALSE. I think Forrest has a good chance in this fight if the fight goes to the ground. Obviously if he is on top but I think he could potentially use his underrated guard game to catch a lazy Rampage in the early rounds if he gets fortunate enough. However, if Rampage decides to keep this fight on the feet then it will be a long night for Forrest. Griffin doesn’t have the wrestling to get Rampage to the mat and he doesn’t have the power in his stand-up game to trouble the Champ. All those ingredients make for some, to quote Van Halen, “real fine poundcake” if your last name is Jackson. So minus any Danny Ocean-esque heist attempts, no, Forrest Griffin will not capture the UFC light-heavyweight title.

Maramba: TRUE. Thanks for shafting me with this answer, Cupitt. I’ve spent the last few late nights boning up on my Rampage knowledge and was sufficiently convinced this will be just short of a lopsided victory for the champ. Now we gotta play this Devil’s Advocate junk. Hang on while I renounce my Catholicism and do a 180 on my 2nd amendment stance…there. Jackson wins almost all measurable categories in this matchup; he can strike, wrestle, escape, defend, run, catch and block better than Griffin by almost any standard. He’s the combine star and Forrest better hope he’s more Mike Mamula than Dwight Freeney. Griffin’s only obvious advantages are God-given size and grappling ability, a skilled Rampage has arguably eschewed due to being so good at everything else. Where the challenger has a notable edge is the ever-important factor of intangibles, a stew of grit, heart, endurance and all that other bushido stuff that is easily flung around but something very few people can claim. Griffin has that hard-nosed, Rocky Balboa aura MMA was built on, starting with folk heroes like Royce Gracie and stretching all the way in the MMA timeline through underdogs like Jens Pulver, Matt Serra, Randy Couture and to a lesser degree, TUF runt Amir Sadollah. In a seeming mismatch against the engineered badass like Rampage the fairy tale conclusion is all to obvious, the worldly mutt taking down the thoroughbred in a grinding, against-all-odds epic battle. A bit saccharine for sure, but it’s a story that’s very real and quite common in recent MMA history. Griffin has proven more often than not a persistent if not imposing force. Guys like that have all day to win the fight, banking on one false move that all fighters maker sooner or later.

My Five Cents: Well played. I have to go with Rampage here, though it’s not by a large margin. I like Ram’s argument that he has the measurable categories and this fight will be up to Forrest and his intangibles. Plus Ram used my Colts’ boy Dwight Freeney as an example so he wins this by a small mile.

2. Lawler vs Smith II was thrown together too quickly and won’t be nearly as entertaining as their first bout.

Cupitt: FALSE. A fight between Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith will always play out exactly the same way regardless of how much time either has to prepare. Both fighters are what I will dub for the purpose of this Duel as “instinct” fighters. They don’t have complex gameplans, they just go out there with the basic intention to hit the other dude hard over and over again and to avoid that whole ground thing unless they are in trouble. Both Lawler and Smith should be in good shape still from their first fight and Smith’s foot shouldn’t bother him too much come fight time. On July 26th, Lawler and Smith will turn up again and will once again beat the piss out of each other and we will all enjoy it thoroughly. With any luck we won’t even have to see that tacky steel worker intro, Smith got last time.

Maramba: TRUE. This one’s easier to spin, but not by much. The timing won’t kill this bout, the disparity in skill will do it this time around. Smith looked amazingly sharp in their first swing, absorbing Lawler’s punches and returning the favor with gusto. It was only a matter of time, but Lawler didn’t cut right through a one-dimensional opponent like many had supposed. Personally, I didn’t think Smith’s chin would make it out of the first round; when he not only came back for the second but actually put up some fierce resistance I was damn near shocked. This time around, Lawler knows the guy in front of him and will put him away in the 1st, again denying us the multi-round slugfest that we so desperately want and even more desperately need.

My Five Cents: I gotta go with Ram here. Obviously I phrased the query. Scott Smith, while I have a man crush on him, isn’t nearly as good as Robbie Lawler and I think it will show in the rematch.

3. Shinya Aoki will win the DREAM LWGP this month.

Cupitt: TRUE. Finally, something I can agree with. I was feeling rather negative disagreeing to everything but here’s something I can get behind. In my opinion, Aoki is the new age Sakuraba, with what he lacks in the personality he makes up for in colorful tights. He has the uncanny ability to be able to completely negate his opponent’s offense. In the words of George Michael Bluth, Aoki’s style is just an “awesome mind puzzle”. A puzzle that will bewilder the old-school stylings of Caol “insert business’ name” Uno and one that will stifle Kawajiri’s skill set or will completely baffle the most likely tired Eddie Alvarez. Aoki’s ability to force the fight to the ground via either guard pull or takedown and then completely control the pace and action in the fight is what will prove the difference against Uno and whoever he faces in the final.

Maramba: FALSE. A gimme from our friend from Oz, our NSW fairy, the 5oz. staff member who proves that the only thing better than being legal is being barely legal. Catch him on Darlingurst and Victoria every night this week, dressed up as a blood-stained Minnie Mouse spouting out MMA predictions on a stolen milk crate. Thank you for the gift of picking Aoki over fellow top contender Eddie Alvarez. I shall bow; please don’t feel obliged to curtsy. Representing their stereotypes well, Alvarez and Aoki have typical games to suit their nationalities. Alvarez has Mongo strength, hits hard and is a standout at wrestling, the martial art as American as baseball and apple pie. Aoki prefers the more esoteric, mind-over-matter art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, opting to use high-level technique to overcome strength. He has used his grappling wizardry to great success against larger, stronger fighters in the past (e.g. JZ Calvan) but the Philadelphia native is a different animal. Aoki has never seen anyone who combines his strength with instinctual technique and incredible athleticism like Alvarez, and that list includes Joachim Hansen, Mach Sakurai and the aforementioned Calvan. Even then, to attribute all of Alvarez’s success solely on his gym prowess is a mistake. His big bang performances in the Grand Prix notwithstanding, Alvarez knows what he can and can’t do on the ground. He won’t submit anyone any time soon, but he knows how to stay out of trouble, play defense and fight within his game. Aoki is pretty damn good at that too, but I don’t see him dominating the more active and aware Alvarez the way he did a more plodding, less explosive JZ. In the end, Eddie and his freshly split unibrow should take home the lightweight prize, scoring one for the underrated and overlooked lightweights here at home in the good ol’ USA.

My Five Cents: I also love Alvarez. I also love the phrase “barely legal,” yum. Then again I have a friend who I introduced MMA to and he has no idea who “Aoki” is and I always have to say “rainbow tights” for him to realize who I’m talking about. He loves “rainbow tights.” Aoki vs Alvarez please.

—-SWITCH IT UP—-

4. Ricardo Almeida will end Patrick Cote’s three fight UFC win streak.

Maramba: TRUE. It’s easy to overrate Almeida at this point in his comeback from a 4-year layoff to run his school. He looked outstanding in return fight, choking out his opponent in just over a minute, but Rob Yundt was a UFC rookie who has proven in his second fight that his neck normally out there for the taking. Cote on the other hand is still being underrated despite a 4-fight winning streak, all against known UFC commodities. Cote’s the hotter fighter by far, but Almeida’s base skill of BJJ is so much more developed than Cote’s bowling ball hands. A more sound striker would give Almeida fits; Cote isn’t that guy. “Cachorrao” is dealing with a ticking bomb as long they stay standing and Cote is well-rounded enough to stave off the Brazilian for a stretch. However, as Travis Lutter showed, once in tight on Cote it’s only a matter of time until they hit the mat, where Almeida can dictate the pace. He has so many ways more to win, granted he can keep his chin tucked long enough to work his game.

Cupitt: FALSE. I have no doubt that if Almeida gets Cote down long enough then this fight will be over pretty quickly but I’m wary as to whether Almeida can get it there. Almeida looked very good against Rob Yundt but Yundt was basically a walking submission dummy who was struck with stage fright. Yundt couldn’t have been a more tailor made opponent for Almeida in his first fight back. Cote has fought in big matches before and so he shouldn’t get dwarfed by the occasion. If “The Predator” plays it safe and sticks to picking apart Almeida a distance he should be able to secure a lop-sided decision win. This is a very good fight and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Almeida pull it out.

My Five Cents: “I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Almeida pull it out” to end your argument? Oh Cupitt. No one respects Patrick Cote’s game and this fight would probably seal his deal. Though I also don’t expect him to win, I wouldn’t say he’d lose just to say he’d lose.

5. Jesse Taylor should be allowed back in the UFC in 2008. (Editors Note: question was asked a week prior to new information).

Maramba: TRUE. This TV’d up Dana White hide-tanning was brought to you by Burger King’s Whopper Jr., as fake char-broiled as Jesse Taylor’s ass for the sake of hype-inducing dramaaaaa.” Sucks to be Jesse Taylor, having your career used as a pawn for the sole purpose of building up heat on an otherwise cold season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” The good news is it was only a matter of time before they played the Prodigal Meathead Card when they needed it. Luckily for Taylor, the anti-Affliction card in three weeks needs his attention-getting mojo. The original question was should he be allowed to return this year; my answer is he never should’ve been gone. Babalu was kicked out for something replayed for the masses on YouTube, not for spitting on a bouncer and getting arrested in Florida. BJ Penn did both things and wasn’t even touched. The UFC obviously have no hard and fast guidelines for life outside the ring; for them to kick out Taylor had an air of hypocrisy. Unfortunately for him, he did at a time when the show needed a kick and the pants and his window/female terrorizing rampage was just what the doctor ordered.

Cupitt: TRUE. I know the vast majority of you readers vomit in your mouths a bit when the two duelers agree with each other but I can’t play devil’s advocate here. So, Jesse Taylor broke some shit and beat his UFC fighter chest in public, who cares? He has a problem with alcohol. A problem which the UFC and Spike encouraged over many weeks with the issuing of free alcohol and the urging of the contestants to go wild and break as much shit as they wanted. To take away the chance of being the “Ultimate Fighter” is one thing but to completely banish poor Coco from the UFC due to a public indiscretion is a bit rough. He survived the many weeks in the house without incident and earned his spot on the finale. A second chance is more than warranted. On a side note, I guess I could have disagreed with the wording of the question as Taylor was never actually a UFC fighter to begin with but that would be getting into semantics and would most likely aggravate Mr. Huckaby. I wouldn’t want to do that as I’ve heard he’s 7 feet tall and knows Krav Maga.

My Five Cents: I am and I do. And Jesse Taylor is a moron who pissed on himself. He might be back but he doesn’t deserve it and learned no lesson. I feel he should go piss on himself again to get a real feeling of who he is.

6. I know it’s early, but given the previous beatings he’s taken from his back, Heath Herring is the underdog against Brock Lesnar.

Maramba: TRUE. I’m a true believer when it comes to Lesnar and Herring is a good matchup for him. Other than his Texas roots, I don’t have much love for the Crazy Horse and his oddly assembled MMA game. He has yet to display his supposedly top-level Muay Thai in the UFC even though he had the perfect arena to do so in his last fight. His submission game is well-documented but, as Banky O’Brien showed, his wrestling needs a lot of work. Hey, guess what Lesnar’s good at? Oh yeah, he’s also the size of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Lesnar victory by Fireman’s Carry.

Cupitt: FALSE. I’m aware that Heath Herring has a hard time staying upright on windy days let alone against fighters with any form of wrestling pedigree but hasn’t Herring earned the right to not be labeled the underdog in this fight? Herring has fought for over 10 years against some of the world’s best fighters not to mention pulling off victories against very good wrestlers such as Tom Erikson and Mark Kerr. Brock Lesnar on the other hand has had two fights and in his last fight he may have looked impressive and very dangerous but there are still many questions to be answered. Cardio, submission defense and ground control are all big question marks going into a fight against a guy who has fought and beaten some of the best out there. In short, we are aware Lesnar can get Herring to the ground but we don’t know if he can keep him there and if he can, how long he can keep up the ground and pound he showed against Mir for. Question marks like that shouldn’t warrant Herring the underdog status in this fight.

My Five Cents: I gotta go with Ram here. While we knew what Mir could do to him we really don’t know what Herring can do to him from his back. More than likely just lay there and take a pounding. Of course Herring can win but his best chance isn’t very likely. Maramba, circle gets the square.

And that is your DUEL this week. Next week we will return with another set of questions dealing with breaking news, upcoming cards and another set of results.

18 COMMENTS
  • Jeff L says:

    This was a good one, thanks. Although I am REALLY with Sam on the last one. Herring has been in the game and faced top shelf competition. It’s all hype that has you thinking he’s going to roll through Herring, nothing more. Not saying it couldn’t happen, just no freaking way it should be the assumed conclusion to the point of labeling Heath the underdog. On a side note, I bet Herring has to come out to the ring first like Mir did. Call it nitpicky, but that bugs me. Great article though, guys.
    Hey, you guys doing staff predictions for tomorrow or what? Expected to see those up by now. Happy 4th!

  • saerbarnet says:

    #1 Hype.. Or the abysmal ground work in the Kongo – Herring Fight? :p

  • TMAC says:

    #5 – Jesse Taylor still needs time to grow up in the areas Dana told him to work on; mental and emotional. Yes he stopped drinking and that is an excellent start, one that should be applauded. However the booze just magnified Jesse’s basic immaturity. I’m all for giving him a second chance, but I don’t like the message it sends Jesse, that everything is all good just 3 months after being so out of control.

    And for those that keep harping on TUF producers encouraging drinking and destructive behavior in the house, yeah it is something that the show should work on, but it is in no way justification for acting like a moron in exactly the manner your boss just told you not to act in and doing so at his boss’s place of business. This is nothing like the other examples of fighters misbehaving outside the octagon, this was done in a such a manner that Taylor was begging to be made an example of. I say bring him back in 3-4 more months if progress is seen by UFC management, but that’s just me.

    Finally #6 – Brock will take down Herring sure, but when Herring sweeps and gains top position will Lesnar become somewhat cockroach like? Takedowns aren’t the only way to achieve top position and my guess is Lesnar’s guard isn’t striking fear in his oppenents.

  • HexRei says:

    i am frightened by the number of writers i have seen on this site “boning up” or “doing research” on rampage. its not like the guy is some obscure nobody, he was one of the stars of Pride and he’s one of the stars of the UFC. If you have to “bone up”, you probably have a massive amount of old MMA to catch up on.

  • Ram Maramba says:

    I don’t care who it is, I’m doing “research” and “boning up” if I’m going to write about someone. If it’s Rampage Jackson or some KOTC spare, I’m going to do everything I can to know everything I can about him.

    I spent five years as a repair technician; every call I went on I had a technical manual with me. I would “bone up” and “research” every diagnosed issue before I went on site. It didn’t mean I didn’t know I was doing, it meant I cared enough about my duty to be damn sure I was putting out quality service. As a consistent visitor and contributor to the free content on this site, I’d think you yourself would appreciate the staff putting forth effort to not to speak out of ignorance and to “bone up” and do “research” on the pertinent subject.

  • HexRei says:

    Ok, just never seen you post that, about anyone, before Rampage (perhaps you were the person I noticed saying both phrases). Perhaps you mentioned you were “boning up” on other fighters you wrote about to and I missed it, or perhaps you just talked about doing it more with Rampage than others.

    So, honest now, had you seen all his Pride fighters before you started “boning up”? I’m just curious.

  • HexRei says:

    er, Pride fights. Rather than fighters. Also I said “to” instead of “too” if one wants to be picky.

  • Jeff L says:

    Ram says: ” I’d think you yourself would appreciate the staff putting forth effort to not to speak out of ignorance and to “bone up” and do “research” on the pertinent subject.”

    Well, I sure do, Ram. Perhaps if you were a “true mma” fan like our arrogant friend HexRei, you would just KNOW everything off hand, like he obviously does.

  • HexRei says:

    @#8 Jeff, I never said shit about that knowing everything off hand. I replied to Ram already and explained my position, feel free to read it, it’s the two posts before yours.

  • Ram Maramba says:

    HR:

    I think it was me that used both phrases; I commented on one of Caplan’s posts about Rampage a couple days ago.

    The only “new” fights I hadn’t seen before boning up were his K-1 bouts with Abidi. The rest of my “due diligence” was regarding his high school wrestling, Juanito Ibarra and, oddly enough, his family life. I also tried to look into his relationship with Hammer House quite a bit, something I’d never done. Honestly, I have only seen a little more than half of his fights and not all of his PRIDE fights. Peeking at his Fight Finder ledger, I haven’t seen the Matsui or Ishikawa fights nor have I seen his smaller org bouts.

    I research every main-eventer we’re expected to cover; it’s par for the course. With Jackson in particular however, maybe due to such a long stretch without seeing him in action, I was a bit surprised to see how consistently explosive he is. The Arona slam is replayed over and over again; it’s easy to forget how often he displays the same exciting power in other fights. I got the same feeling watching Fedor fight freakin’ Hong Man Choi. It’s huge part of what makes this game so much fun for me. The athletic prowess these guys display is never short of amazing, even the 50th time around.

    I appreciate the support Jeff, but HexRei is a good guy who contributes quote a bit tou or little 5oz. community. I didn’t mean to sound like a dick and I apologize if I did. I just thought it odd that of all things, I’d be brought to task for trying to remain educated. That’s a curve…

  • Evan says:

    HexRei…I would be shocked if anyone didn’t spend some time reviewing a fighters body of work before writing a prediction. There is simply far too many fighters and far too many fights to have a mental Rolodex of everyone without brushing up event if you only spend 3 minutes doing it.

    Ram…shoot me an email if you could.

  • HexRei says:

    @#10 Ram, thanks for the reasonable explanation. I was perhaps overly negative in my first post, certainly I didn’t mean specifically to target you. Your point is taken, and I didn’t mean to get people all riled up. But Forrest is goin down in the 4th 😉 (maybe the third though)

  • HexRei says:

    And I do appreciate your enthusiasm for the sport man, that’s the most important thing.

  • Jeff L says:

    Point taken. My apologies then to you, Hex. I need to lay off the Sherdog for awhile, as I’m beginning to assume everyone is out to belittle everyone else. I think Rampage in 3 makes a lot of sense as well. :)

  • Caleb Mock says:

    I don’t know how Herring can beat Lesnar. Based on my experience in Wrestling and Jujitsu, it doesn’t take too long for a wrestler (especially one of Lesnar’s caliber) to learn top control.

    And there’s no doubt in my mind that Lesnar can take down Herring. Kongo took Herring down. Freakin’ Kongo.

  • Sam Cupitt says:

    I must say in my defense, I had no idea we would be running with my little idea. Huckaby gave me no indication and preferred to chastise me through his position of Duelmaster.

    Such tactics are lame and I will be forced to Duel it out with the little beesnatch in the future if shit like this is pulled again.

    Yours Sincerley, Angry Mob.

  • Cathedron says:

    I’m far from a Lesnar groupie (his loss to Mir won me some money), but I don’t see Heath Herring being too dangerous for Brock. Lesnar can take the fight to the ground at will. I don’t care how tough Herring is, he’s a cocky doofus who cares more about putting on a show than getting a win. I think Heath is in for a beating.

  • Jackyl says:

    Herring has faced top competiton but I don’t see him competing with Lesnar’s athleticism. Herring is not a submission expert like Mir and I don’t see him controlling Brock on the ground. This fight plays into Lesnar’s strengths more than a lot of people are thinking. And I know all of you loved it that Mir beat Brock so fast but the fact is that Mir owes that win to Mazzagatti. When do you ever see a standup and a point deduction for ONE punch to the back/side of the head while the opponent was turning away? No warning or anything. Mir was in trouble and Mazz bailed him out. Regardless, I don’t see Herring subbing him, don’t see him getting a ko, and don’t see him controling Lesnar enough to grind out a decision. Brock by tko stoppage round 2.

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