And welcome back to another edition of The Duel. The Duel hopes Americans enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday and also wishes everyone well in coming out of hiding in your bathroom after watching Miguel Torres. This week I am joined by Sherdog’s Lotfi Sariahmed as we discuss some news, rumors and try to figure out a way to squeeze in that fantastic Fight Night for the Troops show….
1. Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell will fight a fourth time.
Sariahmed: TRUE. For a few reasons. The UFC loves rematches for one. They always go back to what works and this is obviously a trilogy that worked. Don’t forget the business aspect of this as well. They’re not going to put on a meaningful title fight overseas as they’ve shown so now you turn to a headlining three-round bout. And for the new audience in Germany a fourth bout between Couture and Liddell makes sense from a business perspective. I think it has the potential to make too much money. Now sure from a fight perspective the match makes very little sense…but for the UFC’s first foray into Germany they’re clearly looking to be profitable first then bring in good bouts.
Huckaby: FALSE. I haven’t seen anyone point out that this makes no sense from a US money making point of view if it’s put on in Germany. That completely eliminates that in my mind because I don’t see them putting such a massive fight on tape delay. As for the future we all know they both only have a fight or two left in them so, while plausible, I think they could be used in different ways. Granted, I could easily see this fight happening and perhaps this is just wishful thinking on my end. No two people should fight four times unless the rubber match was a draw. What happens if Couture wins? Couture/Liddell V? Please no.
2. Affliction’s Fedor vs. Arlovski card will be their final show.
Sariahmed: TRUE. It’s really hard for me to believe otherwise. How can this show be successful when it has so many things going against it? UFC 93 (Franklin v. Henderson) is the week before, UFC 94 (GSP v. BJ Penn) is the week after and HBO is putting on a pretty good fight between Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley the same night. For the combat sports fan that’s a lot of money to put down over just a three week span. That’s not even including a Fight Night scheduled for the 7th of February, UFC 95 on the 21st and UFC 96 in March. The next Affliction offering needs the “casual” fan to be interested. The hardcore fan will buy it regardless but the “casual” fan will make it profitable. Affliction is paying fighters more than it can right now and after taking a hit the first show they can’t take a similar hit this time around. But they will…which is why it’s hard for me to see there being a third show.
Huckaby: TRUE. Must you steal all of the good points? This really pains me as unlike EXC they aren’t setting the sport back a decade. Though I even have to go farther than Lotfi by saying the “hardcore fan” probably won’t be buying it either. It just so happens these wonderful “hardcore fans” are the same people that can find ways to skip purchasing events from newer promotions that are putting on fights they’ve always wished to see. It’s classy if nothing else. Though even if/when Affliction folds it is only a matter of time until UFC does have competition. It might be a decade from now but if the sport continues to grow it will eventually happen.
3. Urijah Faber will come back strong and finish Jens Pulver in their January 25th rematch.
Sariahmed: TRUE. We learned two things from the last WEC card. Urijah Faber’s style has long left him open to getting knocked out the way he did against Mike Thomas Brown in the main event. He was in trouble against both Curran and Pulver at different points in those bouts for essentially the same reason he got caught against Brown. So there’s really no doubt in my mind Faber will clean that part of his game up in the Pulver rematch. As for the aforementioned Pulver, we learned at the last WEC card that he’s more than likely on the downside of what has been an illustrious career for him. Now, with only a month’s worth of training at AMC Pankration we could still see an even more improved Pulver by the time WEC 38 comes around. So if you want to hang your hat on something for Pulver come the rematch that’s it. But I think Faber will be an even more improved fighter next time out and Pulver won’t be able to answer Faber’s challenges.
Huckaby: FALSE. He couldn’t finish him in five rounds so I really don’t see him doing it in three. Maybe I’m only disagreeing for disagreement’s sake because I could see that last Faber/Pulver fight being the last true peak of Pulver’s career. A loss after competing that hard must be difficult. I still see Faber winning the rematch but Pulver has too much fight in him and too much invested to just lay down. As for Faber fixing the holes in his game, I have a feeling he knew it was there before and didn’t fix it, I doubt what he probably considers a lucky win by Brown will really change that in him.
—-SWITCH IT UP—-
4. An Anderson Silva vs. Georges St. Pierre superfight will actually happen.
Huckaby: TRUE. Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking but if they’re willing to make a Penn/GSP rematch you would think that they’d have to be willing to make a “best p4p fighter in the world” fight to market wouldn’t they? Of course this would depend on a couple of variables, namely the one where GSP would have to beat BJ Penn, and while I’m sure he’ll be the favorite he won’t be much of one. People can argue Fedor as p4p all they want (and I do) but the fact is the connotation of the term usually refers to a smaller fighter. A Silva/GSP superfight should happen considering neither one of them really have a top tier competitor left to defeat. Yes, I believe Silva should fight Okami and GSP should fight Alves, but as of this second this superfight is not only beautiful on paper but it actually makes sense.
Sariahmed: TRUE. If for no other reason than it makes sense on paper like Huckaby said…Silva won’t have more than two meaningful middleweight title fights in 2009. If he fights only twice I won’t be the only one who’ll be a sad panda. Of course there are fights at light-heavyweight for him as well but there isn’t a fight at light-heavyweight (that can be reasonably made) that would be bigger than GSP v. Silva. They’re not giving Silva a LHW Title shot. So as long as GSP gets by Penn and Alves I don’t see why this couldn’t happen…maybe even this time next year.
5. Tim Sylvia’s next fight will take place in Japan.
Huckaby: TRUE. I’m not sure where else it would be. I loved his comment about not being sure until a week before the card since that’s how the Japanese do it. We’ve always known how difficult it must be to take a fight on a one week notice but imagine how difficult it must be after years and years of having a few months notice. Then again maybe fighters in Japan find it strange having so long to prepare and they get anxiety attacks. Humor me. Tim is a big, freaky guy and they dig that…. but unlike the others he can actually fight. I guess the main question is whether or not K-1 or Sengoku can meet his pay demands, which I’m sure won’t have dropped all that much.
Sariahmed: TRUE. Where else is he going to fight? The UFC won’t have him back after he just got killed by Fedor in 3 seconds. I mean he could fight in Adrenaline MMA but I would think he’d need one more loss overseas before he becomes completely unwatchable. Here’s a question where it’s really true by default more than anything else.
6. Josh Koscheck will be able to finish Yoshiyuki Yoshida at Fight Night for the Troops.
Huckaby: FALSE. Main event, eh? I’d love to see Yoshida do well here but I’m afraid Koscheck is just a different kind of beast. I give props to Koscheck for taking this fight, though you know he wants to get that last loss out of his mind as quickly as possible. As for the fight, Yoshida has strong striking skills that will just match up perfectly for Koscheck so long as he plays his game, which he will. Koscheck might exchange a bit to start but when he sees his opportunity or takes the first punch on his strong chin I think he’s slamming Yoshida to the ground and controlling him while landing blows. I guess the question is if Yoshida will go out to punches and elbows from his back…. and I’ll say no. We’ll also add in the fact that guys coming off of a loss usually don’t come out running and play their game methodically.
Sariahmed: FALSE. He’s had five finishes in the UFC coming to the following guys: Dustin Hazelett, Jonathan Goulet, Ansar Chalangov, Pete Spratt and Chris Sanford. Yoshida is better than all of them, including Hazelett. Not only do I think Koscheck won’t be able to finish Yoshida but I question whether or not Koscheck will win this bout. Yoshida’s judo is infinitely better than UFC’s former judo “king” Karo Parisyan and even if this fight gets to the ground with Yoshida on bottom, I question Koscheck’s ground and pound. So no, he won’t finish Yoshida…he may not even win.
And that is our Duel. Join us next week when two more MMA writers discuss the upcoming Ultimate Fighter Finale, Fight Night for the Troops results and any new news and rumors in the sport.