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Grappling with Issues – 1/21/11

Who should Jose Aldo face if Mark Hominick loses to George Roop? What do you think about Kimbo Slice ditching his gloves for a pair of professional wrestling boots? Is Jay Hieron a lock to win Bellator‘s Season 4 Welterweight Tournament? Does Melvin Guillard pose more of a threat to Evan Dunham‘s success in the ring than would have been the case against originally scheduled opponent Kenny Florian?

Keyboard warrrrriors….come out to plaaaay-yay!

Welcome to Grappling with Issues, our site’s regular weekly feature highlight insight and opinion from myself and Adam Tool. As always, just because we staffers get the fancy set-up, please don’t feel precluded from dishing out your own thoughts on each matter in the comments section at the bottom of the column.

Do you like/dislike Strikeforce matching Lyle Beerbohm up against Pat Healy at a Challengers event in February?

u>Tool: I’m mostly in favor of this match-up, as Healy represents the type of tough veteran fighter that could give Beerbohm some trouble. I don’t think this is the fight where “Fancy Pants” picks up his first loss but a strong submission fighter like Healy is always going to be dangerous. There’s a part of me that wishes Beerbohm was already moving on to bigger named opponents and away from the Challengers series, especially since Strikeforce‘s lightweight division is extremely barren at the moment. In any case I think Beerbohm scores another stoppage victory here on the way to bigger things in 2011.

Conlan: I think it was an extremely poor decision on the part of Strikeforce to pair Beerbohm with Healy. They are risking a 15-0 lightweight’s record on a small show against not only an extremely difficult draw but one who is only 25-17 in his career. Meanwhile, “Fancy Pants” is 3-0 in the promotion with two wins over notable opposition in the form of Duane Ludwig and Vitor Ribeiro. In my eyes he’s easily earned the opportunity to face one of Strikeforce’s top 155-pounders like Josh Thomson, J.Z. Cavalcante, or K.J. Noons. It’s not as if he doesn’t have a promotable backstory to use in terms of having overcome drug addiction to open his career up with fifteen straight wins. He also earned thirteen of those victories with a finishing performance so he can’t even be faulted for a lack of entertainment value in the ring. The only positive I see in the entire situation, besides of course the fact the show will be twenty minutes from my residence, is Beerbohm being used as a headliner indicating he’s in store for bigger and better things if he can get by “Bam Bam” (with the same rub ringing true for tough-as-nails Healy too if he wins).

Now that all eight participants have been revealed, who do you see winning the Bellator Season 4 Welterweight Tournament?

Tool: It’s hard not to consider Hieron the favorite, especially given the lack of big-name fighters in the rest of the field. Heiron’s seven-fight win streak includes some decent names, and given the fact that most people had him pegged for a UFC run it should be no surprise that he’s the favorite here. The dark horse candidate has to be season two’s welterweight runner-up Dan Hornbuckle, but if I was a betting man I’d throw everything I had on Hieron winning the tournament and securing a shot at Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben Askren.

Conlan: I think Hieron is probably the favorite as well, as he’s beaten some legitimate foes and is currently on a nice run in his career as mentioned by Adam. However, I don’t think ring-rust can be discounted when considering the Long Islander will have been out of action for a little more than a year when he debuts in March for Bellator. He will go from having fought three times in two years to three times in three months, and I can’t help but wonder how that process will affect Hieron’s performance in the tournament.

As for my pick, I’m going with Olympic Judoka Rick Hawn. He is 9-0 thus far since transitioning into MMA with seven of his wins resulting from rendering his opponents defenseless via strikes. His grappling is clearly world-class and he’s shown powerful, precise striking even though he’s only been fighting for two years. If he can avoid being taken down and controlled, which I honestly think is only a risk in terms of an eventual showdown with Askren, I think Hawn has a good shot at putting his stamp on the sport with three straight wins en route to a title-shot.

With Josh Grispi out of the picture, what should the UFC do regarding an opponent for featherweight champ Jose Aldo if George Roop is able to defeat Mark Hominick this weekend at Fight Night 23?

Tool: I know I’m not alone in hoping that Hominick is able to secure the next shot at Aldo. While I don’t see him winning the belt if he does get the shot, at the very least Hominick’s measured striking approach should provide an interesting opponent for the new UFC Featherweight Champion. He showed some excellent movement and a disciplined offensive attack in his bout with Leonard Garcia so he’s certainly one of the most enticing possible opponents for Aldo.

If Roop scores the upset then that leaves the UFC scrambling once again. They want to get a featherweight title fight on their big UFC 129 card, but they’ll be hard-pressed to find a worthy fighter that is ready to go then. The most logical choice would be the winner of the upcoming Chad Mendes/Michihiro Omigawa fight at UFC 126, but even if the winner of that fight comes out without a scratch it’s still not a perfect solution. Mendes wasn’t exactly a fan favorite when he was in the WEC and if he pulls out another grinding victory in his UFC debut he’s not likely to have too many people clamoring for him to face Aldo. Omigawa would be a great contender if the UFC was planning to hold the next featherweight title fight in Japan, but obviously he doesn’t have anywhere near the same amount of name value here in the States. Of course, all of the former WEC featherweights are lacking name value amongst UFC fans so I guess that’s not as big of an issue as it seems.

Conlan: I actually love the idea of Omigawa/Mendes potentially filling in if need be. Though I’d like to say 16-1 Diego Nunes, who beat Mike Brown at UFC 125, is an option he and Aldo both train at Nova Uniao so I don’t think that’s a realistic scenario. The only other person I can think of who might make sense is Dustin Poirier since he dominated former contender Grispi on New Year’s Day and has a solid record to back up to emergency booking (9-1 with eight finishes and his only loss involving the judges’ scorecards).

BUY/SELL – Stylistically speaking, Melvin Guillard is a more dangerous opponent for Evan Dunham than Kenny Florian would have been.

Conlan: SELL. Florian has the ability to finish opponents from any position whereas “The Young Assassin” is primarily a striker who relies more on power than precision. If/when Dunham takes Guillard down he’ll have far less to worry about from the bottom than would be the case with Florian, known for not only his BJJ background but an ability to open up opponents with his historically sharp elbows. Guillard is more explosive than “KenFlo” but he lacks the polished technique necessary for beating someone of Dunham’s caliber outside of landing a single knockout punch.

Tool: Just to stir the pot a bit I’ll go with BUY. Don’t get me wrong, Florian is a better fighter than Guillard any day of the week. Similarly I feel confident in picking Dunham to win tomorrow night. It’s that last line of Brendhan’s answer that I want to focus on though.

Guillard has made a career out of putting guys on Queer Street. He’s toned down on his aggressive style since joining up with Greg Jackson’s camp, but at the age of 27 it isn’t as though “The Young Assassin” has already lost his power. Dunham’s shown a tendency to engage in flat-out brawls with guys before and while I think his reach will keep him out of danger, all it takes is one punch to completely turn a fight around. Florian certainly has the skills to put Dunham in danger if the two should ever end up meeting, but it’s Guillard’s one-punch power that I believe is the greatest cause of concern for Dunham and his fans.

Other than the main event, which fight on Saturday’s card are you most excited for?

Conlan: It may not result in the prettiest bout of the evening but I’m definitely looking forward to Pat Barry and Joey Beltran throwing down in the Octagon. Both heavyweights love to exchange on their feet and owe fifteen of their seventeen combined wins to having rendered an opponent defenseless with strikes. It’s not often you get to see two stand-up savvy individuals from the “big boy” division go at it with a knockout nearly guaranteed for fans’ entertainment, and as such I’m pumped about the pairing.

Also, beyond their styles or physical attributes, Beltran and Barry are very likeable from a personality standpoint, and though their charisma may not necessarily make me want to see either of them get beat up I can definitely appreciate the added intensity it brings to the table.

Tool: No question for me, I’m all kinds of excited about the featherweight showdown between Hominick and Roop. Roop took a strange path back to the UFC but he’s done alright for himself since cutting back down to 145 pounds. Hominick has looked much better as of late, having not lost a fight in two years. He even managed to do something that seems to be impossible: winning a decision against “Bad Boy” Garcia. The title implications of this fight only make it that more important and it’ll be interesting to see if Hominick can not only win, but if he can also pull off the kind of impressive performance that might make people give him some sort of a chance against Aldo.

What’s your take on the news that Kimbo Slice will be participating in a professional wrestling match in Japan?

Conlan: Akin to my take on the latest Justin Bieber album which is overall indifference. Slice is by all accounts a nice guy and I wish him the best of luck but I stopped caring about professional wrestling, or his impact on Mixed Martial Arts, awhile ago. If anything, I suppose I’m surprised he’s not opting for a WWE paycheck and a one-and-done bout at Wrestlemania. The involvement of celebrities, especially with a fighting or “tough guy” background, isn’t uncommon and Slice definitely has the personality, as well as mainstream following, to do well on the stage the promotion would provide.

Tool: It’s funny because even though he’s a terrible fighter Slice is still in the record books as the most-watched MMA fighter of all time. I doubt there are many people reading this right now who wish Slice would have stuck around in mixed-martial arts, but if there are any Kimbo fans then by all means speak up in the comment box.

This move to the world of pro wrestling makes a fair amount of sense, but it’s his decision to perform in Japan that makes way more sense. They love a good freakshow fighter over there, so if Kimbo decided to move back into MMA he’d probably have a much easier time of it on the other side of the planet. Japanese promoters will have no problem putting Kimbo in there with a vastly outmatched opponent, and even if he does lose it’s not like they care much about a fighter’s record over there. With Bob Sapp reportedly moving towards retirement there’s a void in the “muscular black dudes who can move between combat sports” department. I think Kimbo is the man to fill that void and I wish him the best of luck with whatever he decides to do.

  • danw84 says:

    I don’t care what anyone says, I’m a Kimbo fan and I’d watch any of his fights. I don’t care that he’s not good, put him up against someone else who sucks.

    I have no idea why.

  • Rece Rock says:

    I like it…Strikeforce Challengers events are mostly better than there bigger cards.

    I agree- I take Hieron as a fav. should still be a very interesting tourney… BFC!

    SELL. To face Florian a young guy has to have some pressure in the back of his mind. Guillard is a threat physically not so much mentally.

    Pat Barry and Joey Beltran…. Hype or Die!

    Love Me some Kimbo no matter the genre… think it’s just his persona and holding out hope that something exciting is about to happen… as much as i know he sucks, he’s still got that it factor. It’s a shame he wasn’t discovered years earlier once again regardless of what form of combat sport or sport entertainment that he would of pursued I’m sure a well trained and youthful Kimbo would have rocked the MMA / Boxing/ Entertainment world even a bit more than he did already.

  • Guthookd says:

    OK fuckit, I’ll admitt it…I’m a Kimbo fan. Not a great fighter, not a pretty looking guy, but funny as hell IMO. I would have loved to see a reality show where they make Kimbo do all type of things that freak him out….handle snakes on a plane, eat foreign foods with Andrew Zimmerman, do some dirty jobs like pumping sewage, sleeping in the snow and eating maggotts with Bear Grylls…you know. I think that shit would have been great.

    -I think Lyle is an animal and it doesn’t matter who they match him up with on this second tier. He’s going to rip Healy a new one.

    -I pick Dan Hornbuckle to win the BFC tourney. He’s well rounded already and I’m sure his beating via wrestler-style forced him to improve his TD defense.

    -If Roop wins then he should get the shot. The rest if bullshit politics IMO. If it’s a title shot eliminator then that’s what it should be.

    -Guillard is no where near the threat that Kenflo poses. Dunham got lucky in that sense; a much easier fight he will have. On the other hand a win over Kenflo would be way more important that a win over Melvin, even with Melvin’s recent streak.

    -I think I’m most looking forward to seeing how Meathead has continued to improve. I was impressed with his progress last time out and I hope he comes out even better. During TUF I thought he would never have a chance after the show, but he’s prooven me wrong. I like that.

    -I think it’s great that Kimbo found a job. I’ll never watch wrestling, but I wish him luck. I hope he doesn’t get injured too soon.

  • Guthookd says:

    The fight I’m really looking forward to most is actually Yoshihiro Nakao vs. Dave Herman. On HDnet tonight as part 2 of the SRC event from 12/30/2010. Pee-wee said that if Nakao tries to kiss him he’s going to fucking kiss back!! lol. Nakao was the dude who kissed Heath and got a prefight KO punch for it (I believe).

    Good shit and Dave is tough.

  • Guthookd says:

    Brendhan, can we please get a forum for 5oz?

  • MCM says:

    I’d love a forum for 5oz too.

  • I like it, its possibly the toughest fight so far for Fancy Pants, and after beating healy, then start putting him in there with JZ, The Punk or KJ…some people become more famous in a loss than a win( Stephan Bonnar, Evan Dunham, Korean Zombie) so if Lyle has an outstanding performance against a tough vet like Healy but still loses, no harm, no foul.

    Im takin Hornbuckle

    I agree with Guthookd for two reasons, 1st the one he posted, and secondly, who else would be ready in such short time provided Roop doesnt get hurt tomorrow night?

    SELL- Gullard has one punch power and that’s where it ends, his sub defense has improved but not to the level well he can fend off a sub from someone like Dunham who has come closer to submitting Sherk over the likes of Matt Hughes and Frankie Edgar(who both tried and failed to submit the muscle shark as well)

    This whole card looks fun but Im goin with Matt wiman vs Cole Miller. Matt wiman kinda got a turn around of sorts in that last fight with Danzig, as he was clearly robbed in his fight with Sam stout. The guy has an iron chin, energy for weeks and is just fun to watch bring it everytime he gets in the cage. On the flip side of things, Cole Miller looked great in dispatching Ross Pearson, and while beating Dan Lauzon isnt much of an accomplishment the way in which he did it was nothing short of incredible. I doubt either of these guys will finish each other, but Im sure they’ll never quit trying.

    Lastly good for Kimbo, Im not a huge fan of the guy but I wish for everyone who works hard in life to succeed and that’s one thing no one can say Slice doesnt do. I doubt he’ll be around in pro wrestling long because it takes a level of athleticism that I dont see him having(mainly because those rings beat the hell out of your knees according to Mick Foley) and mic skills which I also dont think he has.
    Cant wait for Fight night 23!

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    I just gave a thumbs down to anyone who said they liked pro wrestling or Kimbo. It does explain a few things though. Sorry but how the f#ck can you enjoy pro wrestling and MMA?. Wahooo over-acted, fake fighting between goodies and baddies. I must admit I did watch it when I was 10. I guess I didn’t know any better.
    Not a Kimbo fan and I think he is a symptom of what is wrong with MMA today. He would never have made it into top level MMA had he not been a youtube sensation. Is MMA a serious sport or a medium for celebrities to make a quick buck. If you want to make top level MMA companies your home, be a top level MMA fighter. I wonder if the NBA would give a youtube star a go? or do you think he might have to be able to play decent basketball?.

  • BigDave says:

    ok im going to make this easy.

    1. I don’t like anything strikefarce does and this is another example of why. They are incapable of putting together fights that anyone wants to see but on the brightside after Fedor gets beat by bigfoot and overeem gets subbed by verdum They will be a company that will be gone by years end.

    2. I’m a Hornbuckel fan so I will stick with him as my pick but will be a tough tournement.

    3. Its a number 1 contenders match so if roop wins then of course he should get the shot.

    4. Guilard is not as good as florian but dunham needs to be smart about it or melvin will knock him out.

    5, Hominick/roop

    6. Bimbo Splice is a crackhead loser I could give a shit less what he does as long as I don’t ever have to see it.

    Thumbs down if you like but thats my opinion.

  • danw84 says:

    MMA-Logic, I don’t believe I said anything at all about liking pro-wrestling.

    There’s nothing wrong with liking Kimbo, it’s the same as liking anyone else based on their image rather than just skill. I don’t really care that you don’t like Kimbo, but I’m going to thumbs you down anyway because I disagree with you disagreeing with me.

  • danw84 says:

    James Thompson has had 7 fights since Kimbo Slice, losing all but 2, a win and a no contest. Are you out there saying he shouldn’t be allowed to fight?

    Just because a guy is popular doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve to do whatever an athletic commission says he’s capable of doing.

  • At mma logic…do you enjoy action movies? Or do you not because the stuntmen are just doing fake stunts that dont cause any real harm? That’s how I like pro wrestling. Secondly Alot of pro wrestlers continue to perform their craft with fractured spines that they continue to get tossed onto, dislocated shoulders, gashes in their faces that comissions woulf stop fights over. They’re good atheletes, not fighters, and outstanding stuntment. Some are even good actors.
    Anyway that’s how people enjoy both, or at least have enjoyed both. Plus the good guy bad guy thing isnt there so much anymore as wrestling is a mirror of our times.
    and last, Vince McMahon is a rich or richer than the fertitta brothers or scott coker and his main ppv outsells any other ppv year in and year out, so someone must like it.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Hey I’m under no illusion that people enjoy it. It escapes me why people enjoy it but if you like men pretending to fight go for it. I enjoy some action movies but I wouldn’t enjoy an action movie if it was men pretending to feud and fight in a ring with masks and tights on. Movies tend to tell a story and it is not the same shit over and over. I would love to know how many times a chair has been tossed into the ring for some “wrestler” to use, causing the ref to give the “wrestler” a very stern warning. LOL. Come on not only is it fake but it stupid fake. Perhaps the illusion is lost on me. I am always amazed at how many adults go to the “wrestling”. I am sorry but I just think it is really f#cking stupid.

    Hey I am not a fan of Kimbo because he was getting very close to pro wrestling when he was in MMA. He bought fans to MMA that were not there to see a serious sport but there for the “character” Kimbo Slice. I don’t see that as being healthy for MMA. I am not saying Kimbo or Thomson shouldn’t be allowed to fight. Where you got that from I don’t know. I just said if you are a top quality MMA fighter you belong on top quality MMA cards. If you are a guy who made his name beating up nobodies on youtube and was told you must go through TUF to make it into the UFC but then lose your very first fight on TUF but make main event cards anyway I’m annoyed. Look he can go and fight Walker in some small show somewhere and do his thing but can you not see how this cheapens MMA and brings it further away from a serious sport and closer to “sports” entertainment. How many other sports would have done anything similar. His fights with Tank, Bo Cantrell, Thomson and Seth were undoubtedly fixed in 1 way or another and he did not earn his way into the UFC by losing his very first TUF fight. He was a fraud and does not deserve to be on UFC, SF or any other top MMA cards. It should never have happened. I’m f#cking happy we have seen the last of that unfortunate episode known as Kimbo Slice. His name even makes me sick. His name is Kevin Ferguson not the undertaker, not the big show, not Kimbo but Kevin Ferguson.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Well I gave you a thumbs up for disagreeing with me disagreeing with you dawn. How do you like them apples?.
    I don’t mind you liking Kimbo but I do mind if you want him to be on MMA cards for his image rather than his ability as an MMA fighter.
    MMA is a sport where you earn …EARN! your way to the top through ability.

  • MCM says:

    I agree superdavenorcal. Professional wrestlers put their bodies through abuses no other sport would ever allow. I’m not saying anyone has to like it, and watching them get “hit” or just lay there waiting for a move is pretty insulting to real fight fans, but you have to give them credit for the stunts they pull off and the abuse they take all in the name of entertainment.

    On that subject, can we also stop comparing Kimbo to Bob Sapp. Bob Sapp has been a professional athlete his entire career, he’s engaging on a personal level, an entertaining character in front of the cameras, and a genetic freak of a human specimen. By contrast, Kimbo is an ex street thug, appears to be a nice guy but is a dud on camera, and is physically nothing to write home about. The only thing they have in common is being black. Japan would be better off courting Lashley to replace Sapp.

    – Beerbohm should be fighting Melendez IMO. As stated, he’s 3-0 in SF over tough competition, he has one of the best marketing stories in the sport, and he’s asked for the fight and Gilbert doesn’t have a problem with it. Fancy Pants already holds a better resume than Noon, Gilbert has recently fought Josh and JZ is 1-3 in his last 4 and coming off a loss. So who else is there?

    – Big fan of Hornbuckle and Hieron, but I too think Rick Hawn is gonna surprise a lot of people in this tourney

    -Hominick or Roop are as good as any. I like the idea of Poirer too. Or have Kid Yamamoto step in just for fun. 😉

  • danw84 says:

    I’m confused then MMA-Logic. Is Kimbo still with the UFC? Are we still seeing him at the top level? He went 1-1, a record that rarely leads to a cut in the UFC, and yet he’s gone. He never got to fight any big names, and the biggest name he did fight in the UFC, Houston Alexander, he beat. So where’s the issue? Do you think Houston didn’t deserve to be on a main card? He had been in the past. How about Mitrione? He’s on main cards, and he had NO fights before TUF, he was just an NFL player. Is it only ok to get a straight walk into the UFC if you’re a relatively unknown and unaccomplished NFL player, but if you were fantastic it’s a joke?

    It makes no sense. Why do you have an issue? Kimbo wasn’t given a title shot with a 1-1 UFC record (unlike someone who is incredibly popular), Kimbo wasn’t given big name fighters, he had to do TUF and get there and he got his chance and now he’s gone. How is he different than any other fighter who busted his ass and got to the big show then just simply couldn’t hack it?

    Kimbo never got to the top, so yeah I agree you have to earn your way there. Kimbo didn’t.

    Finally, yeah, his name is Kevin Ferguson, not Kimbo Slice. Just like how Mirko Filipovic is not Cro Cop. Just like how Anderson Silva is not The Spider. Just like how every fighter isn’t his nick name. What is your point?

  • LiverPunch says:

    Come on dawn. Are you trying to say Kimbo Slice deserved to be in the UFC?. He was a cash cow that made it there because of his name not his ability.
    If you think Kimbo should not have earned his way up or any fighter should not have to earn their way up I disagree too.
    Kimbo ended up with a 4-2 record. His win over Thompson was fixed. How many standing TKOs have you seen? how many times have you seen a fighter punch another fighter at will for over a minute and not have the fight stopped like Thompson did for at least 50 unanswered blows?. His fight against Bo was fixed. Bo got hit once and tapped. Even his fight against Seth was fixed. They told Seth to keep it standing. Tank had lost 7 of his last 8 and lost to Kimbo to make it 8 losses from 9. Kimbo was a fraud and the whole thing was unfortunate. His only win that I would consider legit and worth something was over Houston who had lost 3 in a row in the UFC and was to lose a really boring fight with Kimbo to make it 4 losses in a row in the UFC.
    I think to make it to the UFC you should either be an extremely promising young fighter that appears on Fight Night cards or an elite MMA fighter that is with in the top 30 in the world.
    I can’t blame Kimbo for taking the money but in reality he did not deserve to be in the UFC and was found out. To be honest I don’t think “meat head” should be there either.
    I wont miss Kimbo 1 bit.

  • Brendhan Conlan says:

    Great comments so far! I’ll see what I can do about a forum.

  • Dufresne says:

    My main problem with Kimbo being in the UFC wasn’t how he got on the main card, or even how he got in the organization. It was his pay.

    He made $25k for his first fight in the UFC while every other member of the TUF Heavyweights made a base of $8k and if they won they got another $8k. So Kimbo was walking in to the organization supposedly on the same level as his TUF colleagues and yet he was guaranteed over 3x what they were getting paid? That’s BS.

  • Dufresne says:

    Oh, and $25k is more than Nelson, the winner of TUF: Heavyweights, made when fighting for the #1 contender spot. Explain that.

  • qat says:

    Well, as i agree with you Dufresne, it is pretty simple to explain.

    After the ratings Kimbo brought to TUF, and the exposure he and the UFC got, it would had been – businesswise – reckless not to let him fight at least once, so that the “Kimbo only viewers” can have a good look at a real UFC card and maybe become real fans. Of course that have to be televised bouts..

    And Kimbo and his manager knew that as well, so he could cut a better deal. The UFC surely couldnt let him fight in another promotion right after TUF just because of some 10k..
    After he won his first fight, it was clear he has to get at least another one. After he lost that, he was cut very rapidly, even surprising to many people, you can draw your own conclusions to that.

    The whole Kimbo-incident is imho no reason for a hardcore MMA fan to complain about the UFC, there are things of course, but that one i think they handled pretty smooth.

  • MCM says:

    I said it at the time and I’ll say it again,

    Kimbo got to fight for the UFC so that the UFC could own his name and likeness for merchandising. Could you buy a Kimbo action figure BEFORE he signed with the UFC? No. But you can go down to Target now and pick one up right now.

    And I actually agree with LOGIC on his stance on Kimbo, Lesnar’s title shot, and MItrone.


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