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Grappling with Issues: Adam Tool

Grappling with IssuesShould Randy Couture call it a career if he loses to Brandon Vera at UFC 105? Does Brett Rogers deserve an immediate rematch with Fedor Emelianenko? Would Gegard Mousasi beat Lyoto Machida or is the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion too much too soon? Who from Sengoku’s most recent event is best suited for a run in the UFC/WEC?

Keyboard warrrrriors….come out to plaaaay-yay!

It’s time once again for another adventure into the sick and twisted world of “Grappling with Issues”, the site’s semi-regular feature where you’ll find the take of a guest commentator on six topics plucked from the MMA landscape, as well as my own spin on the subject matter at hand. It’s been an action-filled month thus far with plenty more events on the immediate horizon ready to keep your couch cushions warm and your hours of sleep limited.

Staying in tune with the fervor of the season I’m pleased to introduce a recent addition to this lovely little digital home we call Five Ounces of Pain – Adam Tool! Tool made a strong 5 Oz. debut last week and should be around to continue offering his insight and opinion on a variety of things for the foreseeable future. Read ahead, as he’ll do so in the GWI-format and you can even give us a thumbs-up/down in the comments section if you’re so inclined…

Which athlete on the “Sengoku Eleventh Battle” card would you most like to see sign with the UFC/WEC?

Adam Tool: This is an easy one for me to answer. Without a doubt, Dave “Pee-Wee” Herman should be in the UFC. It baffles me to my very core when I wonder why he isn’t there already. We’re talking about a 16-1 knockout artist (he’s never seen a judges’ decision) who won his first thirteen fights without any professional MMA training whatsoever. Since his first (and so far only) career loss to Mu Bae Choi, Herman has started taking his training a lot more seriously and as a result he’s riding a three-fight win streak. He’s just 25 years old and appears to have an amazing career ahead of him, yet he’s still stuck fighting on the other side of the world. The current season of “The Ultimate Fighter” is all about adding fresh talent to the UFC’s heavyweight division, yet they’re letting one of the hottest prospects in the world go unsigned. I just don’t get it

Brendhan Conlan: My heart says Akihiro Gono, while my head and desire to see fresh talent with great potential compete in the UFC says Mamed Khalidov. However, since Gono appears to have retired DJ Gozma for the immediate future – a sad moment in MMA history as far as I’m concerned – I’ll have to go with the 29-year old Polish middleweight. Khalidov hasn’t lost a fight in more than four years, a feat assisting him en route to a 20-3-1 professional record. Nineteen of those wins have come via decision with a nearly perfect split between submissions and knockouts. Two of the losses were his first two fights.

Without a doubt Khalidov would make a tremendous addition to the UFC. He’s an exciting competitor who happens to also have a European fanbase, a bonus quality when examining the company’s continued desire to become a global entity. Given that he weighs in at around 181 pounds he’s a bit small to step into the Octagon without some serious bulking up, so he appears to be ideally suited for a dive into the UFC’s welterweight pool. He hasn’t fought many “name” opponents in his career so it would also be nice to see if he sank or swam when facing foes who are more peers than predictable wins.

As far as Dave Herman goes, I definitely see where Tool is coming from. I think he would’ve been a front-runner along with Roy Nelson to win the current season of the Ultimate Fighter had he been cast. I’m curious to know whether he was ever contacted and then declined the opportunity or auditioned and wasn’t selected for reasons unrelated to his in-ring ability. Speaking of which, fifteen of his sixteen wins have come in the first round with fourteen of them being related to strikes. Also, as MMA continues to grow, the future of the heavyweight division is going to involve genuine big men like Brock Lesnar, Brett Rogers, Bobby Lashley, and Shane Carwin. “Pee Wee” fits that impressive mold by measuring in at 6’5”, 240 pounds, and as Tool mentioned he’s only 25. I agree he would be a great addition to the UFC’s heavyweight division. If nothing else, it goes to show that with athletes like Khalidov and Herman competing outside of the Zuffa umbrella, not to mention other talented fighters like Jorge Masvidal and Marlon Sandro, there is still a lot of room for the UFC/WEC to grow in terms of bringing in the world’s premier talent.

TRUE/FALSE: Brett Rogers should be given an immediate rematch with Fedor Emelianenko instead of paired up against a different heavyweight in his next bout.

Tool: FALSE. No disrespect to “The Grim,” but he had his chance and he came up short. Strikeforce has several more match-ups for Fedor already in the works, so now Rogers needs to step aside and get back to winning. I’ve seen a few people around the net claiming that Rogers should be commended for his performance but I don’t necessarily agree with that. Sure he got a few shots in on Fedor, but he wasn’t doing nearly as well as Andrei Arlovski did earlier this year. Besides it isn’t as though Fedor is this untouchable warrior that never gets hit. He’s been beaten up much worse in some of his legendary PRIDE battles, but one of the amazing things about Fedor is the fact that he’s always been able to overcome adversity to get the win. Rogers did have a brief flurry of punches on the ground but he wasn’t really ever close to finishing things off. If he can score some big wins in the next year or two I’d say he could absolutely get a rematch, but there’s no need to do it any sooner.

Conlan: False. Strikeforce needs to focus on building Rogers back up as an unstoppable knockout machine, expose their newfound CBS audience to other heavyweight contenders, and continue to deliver match-ups MMA fans want to see. Fabricio Werdum seems to be a more logical contender for Emelianenko’s next opponent, but to be honest it’s not a scrap I’m particularly interested in at the moment unless Werdum can score another significant victory beforehand. Let’s not forget he’s only two fights removed from a knockout loss to Junior dos Santos. I think a reasonable solution to the problem lies in Alistair Overeem, who Werdum owns a 2006 submission win over, and a future DREAM event since it’s where the suspiciously shredded Dutchman seems comfortable fighting. With Strikeforce already openly cross-promoting with the Japanese promotion, a bout between the two would further establish a contender for Emelianenko while also keeping them both active until the Russian’s hand has healed and he’s ready to step back into the ring.

As far as Rogers’ next victim, Antonio Silva seems like a natural fit, and I’d personally like to see if his jaw can stand up to Brett’s power the same way it did to a few well-placed strikes by Werdum. Another thought is relative “free agent” Tim Sylvia, who certainly doesn’t have the same name-value as he did a few years ago, but he can still be advertised as a former UFC Heavyweight Champion and is recognizable to less-knowledgeable fans. Their styles are perfectly suited for each other, and I don’t just mean because of their similar haircuts, but because each has a tendency to stand and bang.

Who would you lay your last dollar down on in a fight between fellow light heavyweight champions Gegard Mousasi and Lyoto Machida?

Tool: Machida, and without a moment’s hesitation. Gegard Mousasi is pretty awesome, but he’s also pretty untested. He’s only had three fights at light heavyweight and “Babalu” is the biggest name on that list. At the same time Machida is the top ranked guy in the division with victories over four former UFC champions. His stock may be a little low at the moment, but he’s still the guy to beat until somebody beats him. I’ve already made my case for Mousasi to join the UFC so I won’t get into that here. If/when we see him in the Octagon we can hopefully speculate on this match-up a bit more, but for now I’ll lay my last buck on Machida and you can pry it from my cold, dead hands if he loses.

Conlan: As excellent as Mousasi is, I would also pick Machida to win a fight between the two, and similarly to Tool, I wouldn’t bat an eyelash before doing so. Lyoto has shown his talents against an array of top 205-pound contenders while the bulk of Mousasi’s significant wins have come against middleweights and lesser known European fighters. However, while Machida boasts a flawless record, “The Dreamcatcher” has been finished twice by opponents who haven’t sniffed a “Top 10” ranking ever in their respective careers. It tells me there are still holes in his game, as did a few moments in the Sokoudjou fight, but that’s to be expected considering he’s only 24 years old.

I don’t think it would be a dominating victory for Machida, nor do I think the bout would feature a finishing performance from him, but I think he’s a superior grappler, striker, and strategist. That’s typically a good set of qualities to have when it comes to winning decisions. All that being said, keep in mind Mousasi is eight years younger than Machida and has twice as many fights, so when he gets to be 30-31 as Machida is there’s no doubt in my mind his overall abilities will, at minimum, be equivalent to those currently possessed by “The Dragon”. He is the definition of a blue-chip prospect.

On a scale from 1-10, with “1” being “Dynamite USA” and “10” being Arianny Celeste vs. Gina Carano in a baby oil grappling session, how high would you rate the Strikeforce/CBS event from an overall standpoint (production/fights/announcing/etc.)?

Conlan: I’d label it a solid “7”. Strikeforce did a nice job showcasing a good portion of their elite talent and Emelianenko’s ability to live up to his hype by weathering Rogers’ storm before knocking him out was crucial to helping build the promotion as a possible rival to the UFC. I was very pleased to see the production team do away with the poorly animated, skinless grapplers previously used to demonstrate moves for the audience at home. The announcers could use some improvement, as I’m not sure how Ranallo’s overenthusiastic use of bad puns translates to people who might be tuning into MMA for the first time and I think it would be wise to capitalize on their primary demographic by bringing in someone a little younger (and more relatable). Additionally, I would like to see CBS allot three hours to future Strikeforce shows in order to air relevant undercard action, like the minute-long Coenen vs. Modafferi scrap, and prevent any perceived lack of professionalism brought on by an overrun. If the highest-rated portion of the show was the main event then why not try and maintain those ratings by continuing to show exciting action from earlier in the night – bonus coverage, if you will?

Tool: I’d give it an above average score of 6, as it wasn’t a blow away show nor was it a snoozer. The main event was tremendous, but attention spans were stretched to their breaking point during the title bout. The two undercard fights were solid although I still think Strikeforce missed out on a big opportunity by not airing the women’s fight. Production wise there were some hiccups, but other than a fifteen minute overrun things went smoothly enough. I’m still not sold on the three man commentary team though. Gus Johnson is still learning the sport but he’s constantly being shouted down by a living MMA encyclopedia in Mauro Ranallo.

Is the winner of Mike Swick vs. Dan Hardy merely a formality for Georges St. Pierre en route to another successful title defense or does either welterweight have what it actually takes to give GSP a run for his money?

Conlan: I think the winner of Saturday night’s co-headliner has about as much chance of beating Georges St. Pierre as I do of becoming Dana White’s Ferrari repairman. I’m skeptical to say either UFC 105 opponent even has what it takes to beat one their better 170-pound peers like Thiago Alves or Jon Fitch. I know the UFC needs new contenders for GSP, and history has certainly shown anything can happen in a fight, but neither Swick or Hardy have done enough in the division to prove they are a worthy foe for St. Pierre’s “riddum” or have more than a puncher’s chance of being able to beat him.

Tool: Unless Swick or Hardy is hiding some impenetrable takedown defense, then there’s no reason to give them more than a puncher’s chance against the champion. St. Pierre has evolved into one of the best wrestlers in the sport and that’s going to be a problem for everyone else in the welterweight division. I suppose it’s possible that Swick could live up to his nickname, press the action early, and catch GSP with a clean shot that leads to a referee stoppage, but even that’s not very likely. No matter who wins on Saturday they will be a heavy underdog when they get their title opportunity, so barring a second Serra-like incident I foresee St. Pierre keeping the belt for a long time.

Give a percentage to the likelihood Randy Couture will hang up his gloves for good if he loses to Brandon Vera at UFC 105.

Conlan: 0%. “The Natural” is not fighting Brandon Vera because he’s trying to gauge whether he has what it takes to win another championship or even put together a run at the title. He’s stepping into the Octagon at UFC 105 because he loves the competition, he knows there are some exciting pairings for him at light heavyweight, and the money he earns by entertaining the fans every few months is too good to walk away from. A loss to Vera won’t change any of those things. It won’t quench his desire to test himself against the best or the payday of a fight against someone like “Shogun” Rua, Wanderlei Silva, Rich Franklin, or “Rampage” Jackson would create. Beyond that, it’s not as though “The Truth” is some tomato can in sweatpants, and there is no great shame in losing to him.

Sure, fans will call for his retirement if Vera beats Couture down in the same manner he did Frank Mir. They’ll look at his less-than impressive record and age. They’ll say he isn’t able to focus on training with distractions like a film career, expanding the XTreme Couture brand, and dealing with an ongoing divorce. And meanwhile Randy will be in the gym, hitting the bags and making 20-year olds look like they’re out of shape while preparing to defy the odds once again in the eight-sided cage.

Tool: 10%, and the reason it’s so low is due to several factors. For one, Randy is that rare breed of athlete that has maintained such great care of his natural (no pun intended) gifts that any preconceived notions about his age can be thrown right out the window. Secondly, Randy is also that rare breed of UFC fighter that is so competitive, and so popular, that his win/loss record is irrelevant. Despite his 16-10 record and the fact that he hasn’t won a fight since August of 2007, he’s in the main-event for a second time this year and was part of the company’s second-most successful PPV of 2008. Finally, I just don’t think he’s going to lose. Vera’s younger and will have a nice reach advantage, but that’s about it. Couture is well-versed in the striking game and he’s certainly one of the most powerful wrestlers in the light heavyweight division. Vera has fallen short on nearly every attempt to step up in the UFC ranks, so is there any reason to think that this Saturday will be any different?

12 COMMENTS
  • Jak says:

    Interesting Article.. i don’t know the point of starting it off with “keyboard warriors” crap, but whatever.

    I rarely say that a single fight “exposes” a fighter, but in relation to Dave Herman, i think it’s pretty accurate. He fights and KTFO a lot of lesser fighters, but when he stepped up to mid tier competition, he got royally exposed.

    It’s great that he can ko guys in the first round, but that really showed he needs to work on a full 3 rounds of a fight. Maybe he has, but i would like to see it before he gets fed to a big wrestler that’s going to drag him down and grind him out for 3 rounds.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    After seeing Hermans last 2 fights end with him getting the ko I think the ufc should give him a chance, if he does well great if not let him go back to Japan.
    Rogers did well ve Fedor but in no way deserves a rematch, a fight with Bigfoot or Sylvia would be a great rebound fight for him and hopefully he can get back to knocking people out.
    Machida would probably beat Mousasi but I think it would be a great fight as Mousasi showed great toughness against Soko in the first round, as we all know Soko is a handfull for anybody for about 5 min.
    I think Swick would fare much better against GSP only becauce of his heighth and the fact that he trains with two guys who went 7 rounds with him and they can be tremendous help to his training for that fight.
    Lastly I would probably give up mma for good if it meant seeing the match between Gina and Arianny

  • Pajamashark says:

    @Jak

    It’s a reference to the movie The Warriors (1979) which is a hard hitting look at gang-violence known for its nuanced and historically accurate exploration of racial tensions.

    Also, it means Brendhan is old.

  • nate says:

    i must say for some dumb reason I thought this article had Adam from the band tool commenting..lol I know..i’m sorry, I’m one of those people who require a helmet in public.

    David pee-wee Herman is easily the hands down choice on that one. 25yrs old, 6’4 240lbs, ko power and still green enough that a proper camp to train at could do tremendous things to his skill set and for his career (think kos after going to aka). also after watching the current season of tuf and seeing the guys that may make it into the ufc I have no doubt in my mind pee-wee can win a few fights under the zuffa banner. I’d like to see a fight between Herman and todd duffee.

    no Brett Rogers doesn’t earn a re-match asap?! why because he made fedor bleed? he is a bleeder.. some are some aren’t. honestly if Forrest or Nick Diaz or fedor aren’t bleeding in a fight the bell hasn’t rung yet.

    strikeforce event? 6.5 solely because I could not stand Gus Johnson and his dumb robotic announcer voice. but it got an extra 1.5pts for mayhems entrance.

    gegard and lyoto? I’m sorry but as dominant as he has been you could tell that Soku was frustrating him alot when gegard wasn’t in complete control. I feel he is best when he is the dominant one and needs to be in control to find his “riddum” in the ring. with that said machida is too good at what he does and I see mousasi getting frustrated and straying from the gameplan and getting taken out by machida the superior striker.

    as for swick or hardy vs gsp? Although I love hardy I see swick as the larger threat but I also forsee that fight looking alot like the alves fight. a tactical dismantling of an excellent fighter. with that said I need rumble to make weight win two fights then hopefully we can see rumble and gsp. if gsp defends his belt twice more I feel he should take on a new challenge and fight at mw. because he is making the ww division boring at the moment. lol

    lastly let Brett Rogers put a beating on the Maine-iac Tim Sylvia because I think that man is a douche then let Rogers fight bigfoot. if he gets past bigfoot let him fight werdum then roidareem..finally if he can beat all of them…then let him rematch few-door.

    on a side note if Ill never type this much on my lg dare again.

  • Rich S. says:

    I would love to see Dave Herman in the UFC..
    He’s naturally gifted..
    He has all the power a Heavyweight should have, and the agility of a Middleweight..
    It’s amazing really.. And his submissions are just as good as his strikes..
    Early on, he admitted to not always training hard, and sometimes not training at all..
    But, that embarrassing loss he took in Japan sobered him up pretty quickly, and he’s bounced back with 3 straight, impressive wins.. In fact, I haven’t seen it yet, but apparently his last win was via upkicks.. That’s just badass..
    He’s doing everything he needs to, it’s just a matter of Dana noticing this kid..

  • fanoftna33 says:

    He was rocked early on in his last fight and almost got koed but York took him down when he had Dave in a lot of trouble and went for a heel hook, Dave aacually koed York by bringing his heel down on Yorks head about 7-9 times. Big mistake by York who was well on his way to a ko victory, but great show of grit by Herman to pull it out.

  • Rich S. says:

    Wow, that’s brutal..

  • Brendhan Conlan says:

    Yeah, it should’ve been labeled as “downkicks” cause they definitely weren’t your standard “upkick” variety.

  • BennyProfane says:

    These questions didn’t spur any type of debate. Too obvious.

    Something more along the lines of… will Lesnar still be able to dominate Carwin now that his conditioning is dramatically bruised.

  • BigDave says:

    Ok ,

    I’ll start with saying NOONE currently at 170 in any organization has a chance at beating GSP and certainly not swick or hardy who dont make the top 10 in the division.

    I want to see gono in the ufc. He is fun to watch everytime out. Also Herman would be a force although I just dont see him on a top tier level just yet but fights with Kongo or Gonzaga would be fun to watch.

    Brett Rogers doesn’t even deserve to hold fedors jock strap let alone a rematch. Yes he made fedor bleed but he bleeds easy and the only real pain inflicted on Fedor was done by fedor smashing his fist into rogers jaw. I don’t thin Rogers beats werdum, silva or silvia if they are on there game and dont see Rogers ever sniffing a big payday fight unless they let him beat up kimbo in the ufc after he gets thumped by alexander.

    I’m a huge fan of both Machida and Mousasi and this is a fight that has to happen IMO. they are the top 2 guys at 205 in the world and it would be a great injustice if this fight wasn’t to happen. As for the outcome I will have to go with Mousasi just because he has the patience and level head when he is fighting to not get caught and I think is the more powerful striker of the 2 but i think it will go to a split decision.

    5.5 is my score for the strikeforce event. Thank god the fights were good because the rest of the show was horrible. Johnson and shamrock need to never commentate ever again. The backstage intervier chich seemed like if she had an intelligent thought it would die of lonilyness, and the Camera work left alot to be desired IMO.

  • Dachman says:

    I agree that Rogers is being given way too much credit. He is 6’5″ 265 pounds and made it to the second round. I believe that Rogers would have a lot of trouble with Tim Sylvia. Sylvia’s ground game is way under rated for how big he is.

    Mousasi 2nd best 205er in the world that is crazy talk, no way. Who has he beat? From Randy, Forrest, Rua, Evans, Tito…… he would have a really hard time, if not lose every one of those match ups.

    Strikeforce get a new camera crew and ditch Shamrock he is terrible.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    As far as Rogers goes I think a rematch with Arlovski or like one of you said a match with Sylvia would be great. As for Fedor I think he should move on to fight either Overeem, Werdum or ,if possible, Barnett.
    Mousasi is a rare talent and to bet against him would be folly in most instances but I agree that I would bet on Machida if I was forced to wager my last dollar.

    But for those saying , like Dachman above, that he would struggle to beat blah blah blah. What do base this on? I’ll tell you F#CK ALL!. I’m so sick of people saying “he would struggle against” and then listing F#CKING UFC FIGHTERS! or saying Fedor hasn’t fought anyone decent recently and then suggesting the type of fighter that he should be facing is F#CKING UFC FIGHTERS like Carwin or Valasquez etc when out of the last 11 opponents he has faced 7 were top 10 at the time he fought them, 4 were top 5, 4 of them are ex UFC HW champs (who because they left the UFC they now suck. SOOOOO anoying and stupid!) and 1 a K1 champ!!!! also these guys like Carwin and Valasquez have never faced a guy who was been top10 ever and have only ever faced 1 or 2 guys each who were top 20 and that is if you would consider Kongo top 20. So what makes them such dangerous opponents? MARKETING!!!!!! perhaps? I’m not saying Fedor would beat them but he has faced such tests tens of times in his career.. Listen everyone, you aren’t psychic but you can guess at who would win like I sometimes do but for f#cks sake stop thinking that because Aoki, Mousasi, Sheilds and Fedor havn’t fought any current UFC fighters that they wouldn’t stand a chance. 1 because the UFC prevents the fights from taking place so we can’t see them fight and 2 because it is dumb and annoying. Now before you say it “anti UFC” this is not, just because I am trying to point out that other fighters may be just as talented is not “anti UFC” it is grabbing people by the shoulders and trying to shake a little sense into them because if Pride has taught us anything it is that top fighters from other organizations … sometimes … can … possibly … be … BETTER!!!!(or as good). Wow what a concept. Just imagine it. You can’t can you. So sad.

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