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Grappling with Issues – 9/14/11

Do you like Nick Diaz‘s new UFC 137 match-up more than his old one? What recently announced heavyweight fight are you most interested in? How important is a win for Jake Ellenberger this weekend in New Orleans? What was your favorite throwdown from this past weekend?

Keyboard warrrrriors….come out to plaaaay-yay!

Welcome to Grappling with Issues, our site’s regular weekly feature highlighting insight and opinion from myself and resident workhorse Jeremy Lambert whose “Walk Out” and “After Party” event-breakdowns can be regularly found on Five Ounces. As always, just because we staffers get the fancy set-up, please don’t hesitate to offer your own take on the topics in the “Comments” section below.

What was your favorite fight from this past weekend’s offerings?

Lambert: Vitali Klitschko vs. Tomasz Adamek.

In all seriousness, my favorite fight was Daniel Cormier vs. Antonio Silva. I thought that was the most interesting fight of the weekend and how it played out was very exciting. Everyone wanted to know whether or not Cormier was the real deal and by taking out Silva, who just destroyed Fedor Emelianenko, proved that was ready for the step up in competition and is ready for more top competition. He almost toyed with Silva on the feet and really toyed with him when it came to the wrestling. He had “Bigfoot,” a man with no prior wrestling experience, shooting for a takedown on him, an Olympic level wrestler. It got me very excited for not only the finals of the heavyweight Grand Prix, but also for Cormier’s future.

Conlan: I’ll go with Chris Lozano vs. Brent Weedman. The Bellator middleweights slugged it out for fifteen minutes in a fight reminiscent of Forrest Griffin’s sport-changing clash with Stephan Bonnar at the first Ultimate Fighter Finale. Weedman and Lozano showed tremendous heart, never backed down even when hurt, and put on one helluva headliner to kick off Bellator’s fifth season.

Regardless of how the pairing came about, are you more/less interested Nick Diaz vs. B.J. Penn than you were in his original bout with Georges St. Pierre?

Lambert: More interested, but that’s only because Penn is a more exciting fighter than St. Pierre. Obviously GSP vs. Diaz is the bigger fight, but GSP hasn’t exactly been delivering barn burners as of late in the cage. Diaz would have pushed him, because Diaz is a guy who is known for bringing the fight, but how much could he have brought it while lying on his back for 25 minutes? Penn vs. Diaz is a fight between two guys who rarely fail to entertain. Plus it’s just more intriguing because Diaz is known for his cardio and body shots, while Penn has a history of gassing, and the body shots won’t be too kind to his already low gas tank. Diaz vs. GSP would have been a MMA contest, Diaz vs. Penn will be a fight.

Conlan: Also more interested. To build on Jeremy’s take, Penn and Diaz are both “fighters’ fighters” in the sense they’re not just supremely skilled but that the idea of throwing down is seemingly embedded in their DNA. They’re the kind of guys who could care less about how many people are in attendance or how many PPVs the UFC sells – they simply love to scrap. St. Pierre, on the other hand, is more of an athlete who competes to make money rather than scratch some primordial itch. To put a cap on my point, if MMA didn’t exist, two of the three welterweights would be fighting somewhere whether in a bar, backyard, or boxing ring, and neither of them is currently the UFC’s 170-pound champion.

Penn vs. Diaz is going to be a fantastic affair while GSP vs. Diaz would have been entertaining as well but not in the same satisfying, staredown-of-doom, might-as-well-be-taking-it-outside-after-getting-mean-mugged-at-a-club way. Add the fact that Diaz not only semi-screwed Penn’s longtime place of employment with his attendance issues but cost the Hawaiian an opponent he’d already been preparing for (Carlos Condit). It’s business AND personal all rolled into one.

If you could make a match-up featuring someone from the “Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov” card and a fighter calling the UFC home, what would it be and why?

Lambert: Muhammed Lawal vs. Rich Franklin. I’m a fan of “King Mo” and I think he has the talent to be one of the best light heavyweights in the sport, but he just needs to quit worrying so much about his haters. I think he’s ready for the UFC, especially since the Strikeforce 205 division is so thin. However, while some people want him to face the loser of Jon Jones vs. Quinton Jackson, I don’t think he should quite get that big of a jump. He’s still young in the sport and, let’s not forget, he did lose to Rafael Cavalcante just two fights ago.

Franklin is the perfect guy to test where Mo is at in the sport right now. He’s well-rounded, well-conditioned, comes to fight, and rarely has a boring bout. He’s also a former champion with name value, so a victory for Mo would look good on his record.

Conlan: Cormier vs. Cain Velasquez because I’m a sick bastard!

Alright, alright…I’ll keep it realistic. Since Lawal is off the table, who I personally wouldn’t mind see warring with “Rampage” in media appearances before an eventual showdown, I’ll go the opposite direction with two soft spoken submission specialists in the form of Demian Maia vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Both middleweights, who share the same record at 14-3, have shown improved stand-up in the past but are known for their prowess on the ground. It’s not often you see two genuine masters of their craft go at it in the Octagon and, assuming they didn’t cancel the other out, a scenario where Souza and Maia go at it with one potentially tapping the other out could be incredible.

Of all the big UFC fight announcement made this past weekend, which fight are you most excited about?

Conlan: Since we’ve already spoken some about the love-rectangle between Penn, Condit, GSP, and Diaz, I’ll opt for something different and say Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Their UFC 140 fight is not only divisionally relevant and will move one much closer to a title-shot but the fan in me will always have a soft spot for “Minotauro” and I love the notion of him getting a chance to revenge the knockout he suffered in their first go-round. Now that Nogueira is supposedly healthier than he’s been in years, and certainly in better shape than he was due to a staph infection affecting his performance against Mir, it will be extremely interesting to see how he fares against a comparable striker with a great ground-game as well.

Lambert: I’m going to state the obvious answer and say Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem. It’s the return of Lesnar, the sports biggest draw, against the guy who everyone is in love with right now because of his size and striking. It’s a guy who doesn’t react well to getting hit against a guy who has never dealt well with pressure. It’s a bull against a horse. It’s fricken’ Lesnar vs. Overeem. I doubt it’ll make it out of the first round, but for as long as it lasts, it’s going to be highly entertaining and intriguing. Plus the winner will earn a title shot, which is a pretty big deal.

Where would a win over Jake Shields put Jake Ellenberger in the welterweight division?

Conlan: It would show he belongs in the deep end of the welterweight pool even though it should also be mentioned that Shields will clearly be fighting with a heavy heart given the recent passing of his father and may not be 100% as a result. However, Ellenberger has picked up victories over solid competitors like Mike Pyle and Pat Healy, plus took Condit to a Split Decision a few years ago. A win over Shields regardless of any asterisks is significant and earn him a shot at another big name like Thiago Alves, Diego Sanchez, or Jon Fitch.

Lambert: One fight away from a title shot. I think it’s pretty safe to say that the winner of Penn vs. Diaz will get a title shot, just because it’s going to be the fight the fans want after UFC 137, even though UFC might be a little reserved to do it because, well, look what they just went through with Diaz.

But after that, they’re going to need another contender, and that’s where Ellenberger comes in. If he beats Shields, I could definitely see him facing Fitch, as long as Fitch gets past Johny Hendricks. He could also face the Josh Koscheck vs. Matt Hughes winner or a returning Sanchez. If St. Pierre is still the champion, he’s going to need a new challenger, and Ellenberger would be a new contender as long as he can get by Shields and one other top fighter.

Who do you favor in the Bellator middleweight tournament?

Conlan: It’s hard to pick against Alexander Shlemenko since he even looked solid at times in his loss to Hector Lombard, the only loss he’s suffered in his last ten outings. I think Bryan Baker and Brian Rogers are both possibilities as well, especially in the case of Rogers, but Shlemenko’s power coupled with his experience in not only a ring (40-7) but Bellator tournaments should provide the ammo he needs to make another successful run towards a shot at the promotion’s middleweight title.

Lambert: Shlemenko is probably the favorite, but I’m going to go with Rogers. I’m pretty sold on this guy, mainly because of his explosiveness and power. I’m not sure how he’ll do if he’s dragged into the later rounds, but if he can get to guys early, I think he’ll be able to put them away. Don’t sleep on Jared Hess either. He has the toughest first round fight but his only two losses are to Hector Lombard, in the first ever Bellator middleweight title bout, and Shlemenko, in a fight he was winning before he blew out his knee. He’s fought once since the knee injury, so as long as he’s not tentative on the knee, he could definitely earn another crack at Lombard.


  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    “They’re the kind of guys who could care less”

    Couldnt care less for fucks sake. If they could care less, they care, if they couldnt care less, they dont care. Please! It sounds so dumb when you say the opposite to what you mean. Just one of those things.

  • Rece Rock says:

    I agree with Lambert I enjoyed the Bigfoot / DC fight… i expected a different look from DC but he was right on point with his game plan… shame about the broken hand though…

    I liked the Champion vs Champion fight it just felt more important not nescasarily a better match up just a BIG fight feel to it I guess…

    I’d like to see King Mo cross over against any top 5 LHW and he would get smashed… I don’t dislike Mo but he does need some humbling, I can’t take the I dont give a fuck attitude yet he comments on everything…? soo Mo how exactly dont you give a fuck?

    Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem Biggest announcement for me…. I’m a mark when it comes to Brock.

    Depending on how he wins and if he wins big then Jake Ellenberger may be looking at 1 more fight before a title shot BUT if it’s lack luster and a forgetable win then I say 2 wins before a title shot.

    I agree Alexander Shlemenko is prob the heavy favorite.

  • adamsfamily says:

    MMA-LOGIC Will you please be my boyfriend?
    I need someone in my life who is so exacting they will rain on my parade over a typo error.

  • Rece Rock says:

    What happen Logic got out on the wrong side of the bed this morning…?

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    It is no typo it is said often. In fact it is said more often than the correct way and there in lies my beef.

  • Rece Rock says:

    That’s funny I thought your beef lied between a mans buttocks.

    Sorry but I had to.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Just one of those things.

  • adamsfamily says:

    One of theose little things

  • Lord Faust says:

    Common usage > grammatical correctness.

    I quit fighting meaningless fights ages ago. It’s obvious what he meant; that’s all that communication requires.

  • crane_style says:

    “St. Pierre, on the other hand, is more of an athlete who competes to make money rather than scratch some primordial itch.”

    I think your opinion overwhelms your logic here. Because GSP doesn’t brawl like Diaz or Penn, he’s just in it for the money? I guess there’s no other option, huh?

    If you saw TUF when he was a coach, you know the man is a martial artist and a teacher. There lots of examples of other coaches who just showed up to get paid. Not GSP.

    If MMA didn’t exist, it’s true, you wouldn’t GSP scrapping in a bar or backyard. He’d be in a dojo, doing something very similar to what he’s doing now, but in front of a class of students. I think that’s a lot closer to the spirit of MMA-

  • If MMA didnt exist GSP would be wrestling in the olympics…he’s a good coach but that doesnt mean he wants to teach, otherwise he would be teaching and not competing. He’s stated he’s in it for the money several times. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but its made for 5 out of his last 7 fights to be boring as shit.

    Lauzano vs. Weedman was awesome.
    Diaz vs. Penn is more interesting due to all reasons stated before. It will only hit the mat when someone sends the other there with his fists OR when Penn is tired of getting lit up by Nicks constant shots.

    Barnett vs. Mir: catch wrestling vs. great BJJ

    Condt vs. GSP…i’ve wanted it for years and its finally here…especially after Carlos has acclimated to the level of competition in the UFC….sadly Diaz vs. GSP wont happen….cuz Condit is about to become public enemy number one in canada!

    It would make Ellenberger number one or two in line depending on who won Penn vs. Diaz….if Penn wins he’d be first, no one wants to see Penn vs. GSP 3.

  • Guthookd says:

    “I’ve thrown my life away and sacrificed everything so that I can fight. I did that. I threw my life away so I could work hard and train and fight. That’s commitment.”
    -Nick Diaz

    I don’t care who he’s fighting, I’m stoked. Georges, BJ, Condit, whoever. War Diaz.

  • Rece Rock says:

    “I’ve thrown my life away and sacrificed everything so that I can miss my flight. I did that. I threw my life away so I could drive around and post on youtube and miss my flight. That’s commitment.”
    -Nick Diaz

  • crane_style says:

    GSP doesn’t want to teach, he already teaches or didn’t you watch the show. Koscheck taught his team stuff to help them win, because that’s what he cared about. GSP educated his team about things that went past just success on the show.

    I’m sure GSP has said he likes getting paid, but that’s not the same thing Can you show any quote or clip from GSP that says money is the reason he fights? Otherwise, your just making stuff up on the internet.

    You can say GSP’s fights bores you, we all like what we like. But to then equate the fighting style of one of the most dominant fighters that ever lived, to someone who plays it safe to earn money, is what’s called “begging the question” in terms of logic.

    In other words, using the end assumption of your argument to prove itself. Like saying I’m right because you disagree with me.

  • JabCrossHook says:

    In response to the Bellator predictions, in all fairness Hess was winning on points, he didn’t even do much damage and Shlemenko threatened several times with submissions. But he got injured because he got caught right on the chin by a solid knee. He dropped and his leg was in an awkward spot, he was still hurt from the strike regardless. Its kinda ironic he blew out his knee because of a knee strike lulz..

  • Guthookd says:

    Rece – you know you love Diaz. Your feelings are just hurt a little.


  • Crane Style….he stated that he fights for a profession for the money during the serra vs. GSP countdown on the rematch. Its why he said he wont fight in a bar or on the street because he does his fighting where he gets paid for it so why risk his health and career when no money is involved.

    He also stated that his first concern is for his career and then his health….which is why he wont fight Anderson Silva…first his career and THEN his health…sounds money motivated to me.
    I dont tend to make things up but love a good Bullshitting session. I stated he was a good coach and teacher but if teaching was more important to him than money he would be coaching a college wrestling team or primarily teaching at his father’s school not ducking a superfight for the past year and a half while beating up one dimensional fighters, lightweights and Jon Fitch.

    I cant wait for Carlos to take his belt.


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