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THE DUEL: Special Post-UFC 91 Edition

It seems like whenever there is a big event, every media creation known to man feels compelled to do a “special edition.” Well, why should UFC 91 and “The Duel” be any different? We’ve decided to sell out and present for you a special “Post-UFC 91 edition of The Duel.”

And in honor of this special occasion, we’re bringing in both David Andrest and Sam Caplan. Actually, we didn’t bring them in because it was a “special occasion,” they’re doing it this week because they are the only guys we could dig up at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning.

Let’s us Duel!

1. Randy Couture won round one

Andrest: False. Randy looked competitive in round 1. I heard the after show and listened to Stephan Bonner explain some theory about Randy being smaller therefore him getting up is worth more than a take down and other nonsense. The simple fact is Lesnar put up a 10-9 performance, based on effective grappling, a comparable stand up game, and obvious “Octagon” control. Randy landed some very good punches, and wasn’t nearly as brutalized as some feared he would be, but not getting beat as bad as the man before you is still getting beat.

Caplan: False. As David said, Couture fought well in round 1 but Lesnar definitely won it in my mind. I would like to add though that I don’t think Couture was trying to win the round. He really seemed to be pacing himself and was picking his spots. Everything from Couture’s perspective seemed like it was being done to build up towards later in the fight. If Couture had wanted to steal the round, he could have.

2. If Couture hadn’t taken that punch in the second round, he beats Brock Lesnar

Andrest: False. Couture takes a longer beating and continues to be controlled by the bigger stronger guy. If people re watch that fight objectively, they can clearly see it was only a matter of time. From the first time they locked up, it was clear it was only a matter of time, and it was just a case of how badly would the smaller man with the similar skill set fall victim. Sure anything could have happened, but it wasn’t going to, and before anyone even puts the thought into the back of their head it was not a lucky punch. He meant to throw it, he meant to land it.

Caplan: True. Just look at the staredown before the fight! Randy was smiling like he knew he had it in the bag while Lesnar appeared a bit nervous to me. Couture had him cut and had him starting to gas. Randy was setting up the win for the fourth and fifth round. Kudos for Lesnar to throw that punch and have the accuracy to land it behind Couture’s ear. But if he didn’t connect and the fight went on a little longer, Randy would have had him right where he wanted him.

3. Last night was the last time we’ll be graced with a fight from Randy Couture.

Andrest: False. I think last night was probably good for Couture on some levels. After the fight he seemed in a good frame of mind, did not sound defeated mentally. There are still some interesting fights for Randy, and it’s not like he embarrassed himself and looked like Ken Shamrock last night. He was just fighting in THE match up that has always given him trouble. There is money to be made with interesting super fights. Who knows, maybe a rematch down the road with Lesnar?

Caplan: True. Good for Couture on some levels? Wow, next thing you know Andrest you’ll throw out the old it was a “moral victory” cliche. Look, Couture didn’t look bad last night. He had a good gameplan and was executing it well. However, last night’s loss hurts his legacy and he didn’t look like the physical marvel that he appeared to be during the Sylvia and Gonzaga fights. Couture is 45 last night and he finally started showing some signs of his age. With super heavyweights like Lesnar, Shane Carwin, and Cain Velasquez coming up, there’s no future for Couture at heavyweight. Light heavyweight could be an option but the UFC is three times as deep at 205 as it was when Randy last competed at that weight. Randy has nothing left to prove to anyone — probably not even himself. Randy is going to go home and think about his future and realize there’s no reason for him to continue fighting.


4. As far as current UFC heavyweights are concerned, Brock Lesnar is unbeatable

Caplan: True. Outside of the UFC, I think Fedor beats him and Josh Barnett gives him a lot of problems. Inside of the UFC, I don’t think anyone can touch the guy. I’m a huge Nogueira fan but I believe Lesnar is one fighter who could give Nogueira a beatdown that even he couldn’t come back from. Frank Mir? C’mon. Lesnar smashed him the first time they fought. As long as Lesnar doesn’t slack in his training, he’s going to be UFC heavyweight champ for a long time.

Andrest: False. Lesnar IS beatable. You are talking out of both sides of your face Caplan. It was you who pointed out: “If Lesnar hadn’t have knocked out Couture, Randy would have won” just two short questions ago. The list of coulds is very long. Nogueira, Gonzaga, and as much as I hate to say it Mir. We still don’t have a clear picture of what Carwin brings to a marquee match up as well. So I think it may be a bit early to say Lesnar is unbeatable.

5. Brock Lesnar can beat Fedor Emelianenko

Caplan: False. Lesnar started to gas a little last night. Randy fought cautious and didn’t pressure Lesnar for extended periods of time. Had he done so, Lesnar might have been spent by the end of the first round. If Lesnar and Fedor fought today, Fedor would smash him. Fedor’s standup is better than Randy’s and he’s got a better submission game. I realize Lesnar is still new to MMA, but he’s the same age as Fedor so even if you look three to four years from now, I still believe Fedor will be the better fighter.

Andrest: True. Fedor is better everywhere as Sam pointed out. But again we are dealing in “could” and “what if.” Could he do it? Sure he could. Why not, I can’t imagine it ever happening but Lesnar is a big, strong, fast guy. He could catch Fedor with a big shot, it’s not likely, but I guess it “could” happen.

6. The over/under for UFC 91 buys is 900,000. Do you have the over or under?

Caplan: OVER. I thought the media attention that the event received in the last week was sensational. I don’t care about the state of the economy — if people really want something, they figure out a way to pay for it. And a star studded main event like Lesnar vs. Couture is something that people will make a sacrifice for. I don’t think UFC 91 will hit seven figures, I predict it will come pretty damn close.

Andrest: UNDER. I thought the media attention that the event received in the last week was sensational. But as Dana loves to point out, nobody watches the UFC alone. I think based on only a late push by the media they may have missed out on some bars and establishments that may have purchased the event had it received the media attention sooner. This is a hard side to argue because I think they’ll do around 750,000 buys and I think it is the economy that held them back in the end. Purchasing PPVs is no longer on autopilot.

  • Noah says:

    Couture is not done! He was fighting, as many have pointed out, the worst matchup you could give Randy. A bigger, faster, stronger guy with a very similar skill set. I’m not going to say Brock got lucky or get into a lot of “what ifs” but Randy was fighting his fight and Brock caught him with a hard punch. I was worried that Randy might get steamrolled because of his age and size disadvantage, but he looked good. I don’t see any reason he should stop fighting.

    About the rest of the card, I was very happy with it. I thought there were some potential good fights going into the event, I certainly wasn’t one of those people saying this card stunk without the main event. But I have to say I certainly wasn’t expecting the fireworks I saw. This was a very strong card, I can’t think of another card this year that was as exciting from top to bottom as this one was. Last night was the reason I buy UFC PPV.

  • romano says:

    having read many of the articles on his site…i sometimes wonder if i live in the same world that sam caplan does.

    i don’t understand the man’s reasoning, nor how his conclusions make sense to anyone but himself.

    2nd question – caplan, you’re calling brock unbeatable, yet you believe he’d have lost if he missed THAT punch….what about the short elbow that wobbled couture? am i to believe that had the knockout punch missed then brock would have been unable to connect for the rest of the fight? odd logic sir…it really seemed as if all brock needed to do was connect one time, he was winning round two…randy was breathing heavy in between rounds and i don’t feel that he would have had much more gas than brock later on.

    3rd question – with everything going on in randy’s life right now, and the legal bills that have piled up…and the fact that randy is marketable, healthy and always around the sport that he loves…logically i can’t imagine a scenario barring injure where couture decides to retire.

    4th question – everyone is beatable dummy…neither randy nor herring are submission experts, so how could you conclude that brock has filled that hole in his game? training partner hearsay maybe?

    like i said…we must live on different planets caplan.

  • Davey D says:

    Nogueira will defeat Mir & Lesnar both via submission. Mark my word’s. I was really hoping we’d get to see Couture vs. Nogueira but I guess it just wasn’t in the card’s.

    Sam mentioned Josh Barnett. I’d really like to see him against Brock but dout it’ll ever happen. My money would be on Brock to win that fight. Against Fedor & Nog’…not sold just yet. Those two are simply the best in this great sport.

    Here’s to round 4…are you listening Zuffa?

  • Ross says:

    Randy will be back- look Id rather watch interesting fighters LOSE interesting fights…I dont care if you lose as long as you bring it. Randy brings in #s for ppv, fans love him, he is still going to be competitive, he still feels he can compete. Thinking Randy should retire is as short sited as saying Chuck should of retired. there is more than just winning, being marketable and always giving fans a good show is more important. I dont want to see Bisbing plan to get a decision, Ken Flo get into a sparring match with Huerta or watch Lyoto get into a point match with someone. To me none of those guys will ever ever ever carry a PPV.

  • HexRei says:

    Of course couture will be back. He has three more fights on his contract, and there is still a lot of money to be made in superfight-style matchups. I see no point in his going down to the deeper LHW though, there are still HW’s he can match up with well.

  • warmingo says:

    where is everyone who was saying this was a waste of a randy fight?

  • skwirrl says:

    The event will be lucky to break 700K The bar I was at was packed to standing room only. I also didn’t hear much prefight hype from a bunch of people I know who follow the sport. It was the – I’ll watch it somewhere, but i’m not paying for it attitude. Bars made a ton of cash but every guy with a wife and kids to put dinner on the table for went out with some buds and watched it in public or with a large group of people.

  • skwirrl says:

    Also Dana will rant and rave and say it sold over a million. But Tom Attencio tried to say Affliction was in the neighborhood of 200K. By this I mean, Dana will do what he does best and lie through his teeth.

  • HexRei says:

    wow skwirrl the bar was full, what a convincing argument, ever considered that’s because it drew a bunch of new fans from the WWE demographic who perhaps didn’t want to buy a PPV for an event with only one person they recognized? and then you back it up with the assurance that if dana should disagree with you, he must be lying!

    Well luckily in Nevada, you can determine PPV #’s because each is taxed by the state and that data is a matter of public record. I seriously doubt Dana is going to “lie through his teeth” about something so easily verified or refuted.

  • ttttt says:

    Brock would lose to a guy the same size as him. He has no skill in any area accept for maybe wrestling.

    Id like to see randy back at 205 hes just to small for HW.

    If Brock beats someone his own size maybe i wont hate him so much but untill then.

  • warmingo says:

    herring was his own size well 10 lbs less

  • romano says:


    A bar doesn’t count as one buy bud….the deal that they have worked out with the ufc is the reason why they have a cover for the night…please folks, do you really think that those bars pay 50 bucks for the event and that’s it? it counts like closed circuit did back in the day…think of every cover charge paid by each individual like a movie ticket…now think about your comment….kinda stupid huh bud?

  • Davey D says:

    A few bar’s close to me do not have a cover charge to watch the UFC event’s. They usually pay around $1,400 or so to get the PPV from what I understand. These places get good business during PPV event’s so they don’t feel the need to charge a cover. I like the bar thing, it’s cool but this past weekend I went to a fight party and had a blast. Watching from a couch with pizza & beer is a lot better.

  • darkmetal says:

    tttt, so you are saying that Lesnar couldn’t beat Tim Sylvia? Pulllease.

    Sam, I don’t think Lesnar was gassed after the first round. My evidence? The shots of his and Randy’s corners, where it was shown that Couture was struggling to regain his breath, whereas Lesnar was not breathing that heavily and was talking calmly to his corner. Nervous at times? yes. But gassed? no.

  • Jeffrey says:

    lost all respect for Caplan with his answer to #2. The staredown is your objective reason for Couture to win!! The staredown!! talk about something that has nothing to do with anything. Comlpete spectulation. Come on, you write for the best MMA blog, you need to bring some facts to the table or go home.

  • Troy says:

    Everyone is talking about Couture’s plan was to wear down Lesnar, and had the fight gone into the late rounds that plan would lead to victory. However, watch the fight again, and check out Couture in his corner between rounds 1 & 2, and you will see is was breathing and gasping for air just as hard if not harder then Lesnar.

  • rob says:

    to piggy back off your statment troy – what’s with Goldie saying when randy ahd him up against the cage (paraphrasing) randy’s doing a nice job of wearing brock out – they were up against the cage – – anyways i have the under of 900k because the WWE “buyer” ahs already bought – i doubt they got another 300k in buys from that….I would say 800-825k, which is a huge number….

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    Lesnar didn’t look gassed to me. Maybe in round three or four, but those didn’t happen.

    Lesnar was a bad match up for Couture. Fighters like ‘Nog and even Gonzaga will be more problematic for Lesnar due to their size, solid stand up (I’ll never forget Gonzaga’s knock out of Cro Cop) and grappling.

    Speaking of stand up, Lesnar’s hands looked pretty good, especially since he’s only had four fights.

  • Nick Travaglini says:

    Sam, You may be a little crazy if you think Lesnar is the favorite in a matchup with Nog. The prototipical fighter that Lesnar will have issues with is a guy with decent to above decent stand up and can fight from his back. That lumps in a few guys like Nog, Gonzaga, and as much as I hate to say it, Mir. Nogs hands, Gonzaga’s kicks, and their ability to submit him from almost everywhere will be Lesnar’s bane. He will not have the belt long, but I think he will get it a few times over because he beats most other fighters in the division. It will be interesting to watch either way.

  • matt says:

    lesnar is very beatable. i was not impressed with his victory over an opponent he had 55 pounds on come fight time. yes couture is one of the best of all time but it looked like a father fighting his 8 year old son. gonzaga would give him a tough fight. nog will give him a tough fight on the ground. cain velasquez would negate the wrestling and pick him apart standing and carwin would be tough for him too. plenty of matches for him within the ufc

  • FoSho says:

    I’m gonna laugh my ass off when Mir comes out of this “tournament” the champ!!!

  • D says:

    I still say that Round 1 could have gone to Randy if Lesnar hadn’t stopped the takedown at the end of the round with an illegal cage grab. IMHO, a cage grab that stops a takedown or assists in an escape should be an automatic point deduction.

    Would that have stopped Randy from being KOed in the second. Probably not, but a Randy takedown would have been a big momentum shift going into the second.

  • Gary Ibarra - says:

    I think the best fight would have to be Lesnar versus Shane Carwin. Carwin is a beast just like Lesnar, both wrestlers. That would be the hardest fight to pick I think.

  • HexRei says:

    FoSho on November 17th, 2008 2:32 pm

    I’m gonna laugh my ass off when Mir comes out of this “tournament” the champ!!!

    What about Nog and Mir’s respective careers (much less what we’ve seen of them on TUF this season, Mir looks fat and slow) makes you think Mir would even get past Nog to fight Brock again? I also seriously doubt Mir could take Brock again, two hail-mary submissions in a row = not likely, Mir himself admitted he was barely conscious when he pulled out that sub.

  • Imbecile says:

    Andrest took this one by a mile, except for one nice point by Caplan in correctly pointing out Couture’s excellent gameplan that *may* have paid off in the later rounds.

    Props to Andrest for correctly pointing out the credible threats to Lesnar as a Heavyweight champ. Nogueira possesses the chin, jiu-jitsu, and endurance to frustrate Lesnar and drag him into the later rounds. Gonzaga seems to be forgotten on most people’s lists, but I think he presents a very real threat to Lesnar. Sure, Gonzaga doesn’t much seem to like getting hit, and he has suspect cardio. But Gonzaga also has world class BJJ, and is much stronger and better able to force his jiu-jitsu game on an opponent than most others. I’m interested to see how Carwin comes along, but I imagine Brock will still be better than Carwin at his strong points. But Carwin hits hard, and that might stop Lesnar. I don’t see Mir as a credible threat in a rematch. However, against any of these guys I would still have Lesnar as a heavy favorite.

    I also disagree that Fedor would destroy Lesnar. I think it would be much the reverse. Caplan was only half-right when he said Fedor has better stand-up than Couture. Fedor hits much harder than Couture, and from different angles. But Couture has far superior foot work and head movement, and that keeps you from getting hit. Fedor may have a better chin than Randy, but getting hit from Lesnar won’t be the same as recovering from a blow from Fujita. And Fedor’s wrestling is far from the level of Couture or Lesnar. I say Lesnar takes this fight around 7 times out of 10, no matter how sacrilegious that is to us hardcore MMA fans.

  • Imbecile says:

    Frank Mir is 200 times the athlete that Brock Lesnar is!!!

    But like Nogueira on the soccer field, Mir still loses to the guy who is nowhere near his athletic equal.

  • Robert says:

    Fedor would submit Lesnar 10 out of 10 times.

  • pk_squall_pk says:

    Every single fight past Couture means easy takedowns because of smal opponents, Fedor included. I think Brock wins every fight hes in if he gets past Nog.

  • pk_squall_pk says:

    Slow opponents*


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