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Grappling with Issues – 12/22/11

Will lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez face a Strikeforce or UFC fighter next?? What would you like Dana Claus to bring you this year for Christmas? Would you lock horns in the cage with Cristiane Santos for the right price? Who in MMA deserves a lump of coal in their stocking this year?

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 general contributions and “Scorecard” 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.

Also, Merry Christmas to all from the GWI staff or, if you don’t roll that way, have a fun-filled, safe weekend and watch out for over-nogged drivers!

Who would you like to see Gilbert Melendez face next, and who will he actually mix it up with?

Lambert: I’d like to see him in the UFC facing the winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Ben Henderson, but I’m not holding my breath for that happen. I’m going assume that UFC will send over one of their top lightweights, otherwise the only guys for him to fight in Strikeforce are K.J. Noons or Josh Thomson. So who will red rover, red rover, Uncle Dana send over? It shouldn’t be someone coming off a loss, because that would be doing a disservice to Melendez. So it needs to be someone coming off a win, but also well known/good enough to make the fight intriguing. With that reasoning, I’m going with the winner of Jim Miller vs. Melvin Guillard. Both guys are near the top of UFC 155 division and if Melendez can get by either guy, it’ll further prove that he belongs in the Octagon.

Conlan: I too would like to see him against Edgar/Henderson but, like Jeremy, I’m also under the impression that scenario is about as realistic as Randy Couture winning an Academy Award for his work in Expendables 2. I like the thought of Miller/Guillard for the reasons Lambert listed. I think the winner of Joe Lauzon vs. Anthony Pettis could also be a possibility. However, I have a feeling the UFC won’t send one of their guys over until mid-2012 so Melendez’s next defense will come against someone from his home-promotion instead (likely Noons who Strikeforce wanted to pair him with anyways before Jorge Masvidal ruined their plans).

How would Gegard Mousasi fare in the UFC’s light heavyweight division – poor, average, or excellent?

Lambert: Average. He’s a good striker, solid on the ground, and his wrestling looked much improved against Ovince St. Preux, but I still don’t think it’d be good enough to stop the takedowns of guys like Rashad Evans, Jon Jones, Phil Davis, or even Quinton Jackson if he decided to wrestle. Mousasi would fall in line with guys like Rich Franklin, Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar, etc. where he’d win some fights, lose some fights, but always stay “in the mix.”

Conlan: Somewhere between “average” and “excellent”. I also question his ability to stop superior wrestlers and let’s face it – he fought to a Draw against Keith Jardine. He may have deserved the judges’ nod in their bout but it was still close enough to call the result into question. To be an “excellent” 205er you need to be mopping the canvas up with “The Dean of Mean”, not going the distance while occasionally being put in bad positions. I also think he’d need to bulk up some since he’s a natural middleweight and would be undersized in comparison to some of the folks in Jeremy’s response.

What is one thing you’d like Dana Claus to bring you this year for Christmas?

Lambert: Half his bank account would be nice.

Honestly though, while Dana can’t really do anything about this, it’d be nice to have a healthy roster to use in 2012. So many fights in 2011 either fell through or had to be re-scheduled due to injury that it got tough to get excited when fights were announced because I always had that feeling that the fight would end up getting canceled. Unfortunately we’re already off to a bad start with Georges St. Pierre being out for over half the year and guys dropping like flies on UFC 142. I guess St. Dana isn’t real.

Conlan: I’m sure White would be happy to give Jeremy half of his bank account…the part with the zeros that is.

I’ll go with a tournament or two. The UFC has already booked a four-man competition for the company’s inaugural flyweight championship so clearly they can’t be too opposed to the idea and it would be a good way to rain some on Bellator’s parade, taking away one of the unique aspects of Bjorn Rebney’s group. Tournaments would also help in determining a clear-cut, deserving contender in divisions where there is a logjam at the top.

How much money would it take for you to step into the cage with Mrs. Cyborg?

Conlan: You couldn’t pay me enough money to do so on a legitimate level and not because I’m afraid but because it’s a lose/lose situation (similarly to the same reason Zuffa will never toy with the idea of having her fight a male opponent). In the end I would either be fighting a female or getting beaten up by a girl, the more likely outcome I assure you. However, for a few thousand dollars I’d gladly follow in the footsteps of another B.C. (Bo Cantrell) and instantly take a dive as though she was a beardless, Brazilian Kimbo Slice.

Lambert: One million dollars……sorry……one hundred million dollars.

My face is my money maker, that’s why I spend all day behind a computer. I can’t have Mrs. Cyborg ruin my face for chump change, I need Brock Lesnar money at the very least. I’d be worth it as well. Because I wouldn’t just go in there to take a dive. I’d hype up the fight better than Frank Mir against Lesnar and I’d take training super serial by working out with the likes of Gil Martinez. I guarantee I last longer than Hiroko Yamanaka because I would follow the game plan.

Book a heavyweight bout featuring a UFC heavyweight and an incoming Strikeforce heavyweight.

Conlan: The twisted side of me wants to go with Daniel Cormier vs. Cain Velasquez just because it’s a match-up that will never happen.

On a more serious note, and avoiding any of the guys who have already been booked for UFC appearances, I’ll go with Josh Barnett vs. Mir. Both men have good stand-up plus polished ground-games. Beyond that, each knows how to promote the hell out of a show so the pre-fight trashtalk would be epic, and it would also be one of those iconic UFC vs. PRIDE pairings that fans like me have dreamed about seeing for years.

Lambert: Ben Rothwell vs. Valentijn Overeem. Why? Well, why not? It probably wouldn’t last longer given Overeem’s track record, but can you imagine this thing going past the five minute mark? Oh boy, the Tweets my fellow 5 OZ writer Samer Kadi would send out! I love obscure heavyweight fights as long as they don’t involve top heavyweights and it doesn’t get much more obscure than Rothwell vs. Valentijn.

Name one fighter who should get coal in his stocking this year.

Conlan: Chael Sonnen. Sure, he’s as entertaining a personality as you’ll find in MMA but in the context of coal we’re talking about naughty/nice. In 2011 Sonnen was convicted of money laundering, ratted out his associates in the same case to reduce punishment, served a half-year of his suspension for performance enhancing drug use, blatantly lied to the public, made statements about smacking another man’s wife on the ass, insulted an entire country, and beat up an American hero in Brian Stann. However, I’m pretty sure Sonnen would tell you that he is Santa Claus and the reason he gave himself a lump of coal is because he has plans on transforming it into a diamond with his mere grip.

Lambert: Miguel Torres. It hasn’t been a good year for the former WEC champion. He had an extremely boring with Antonio Banuelos in the first ever UFC bantamweight bout on PPV, he lost to Demetrious Johnson, and had another pretty lackluster fight against Nick Pace capped off with some wacky rolling kick. Then outside the cage, he got in trouble on twitter and was released from the company and made an example of. I like Torres but he didn’t deliver in the cage or out of it this year.


  • fanoftna33 says:

    I really cant see the UFC sending anybody in the top 10 over to SF, although I would love it and fans would also it is bad for UFC business and thats why it will not happen, I feel they will try and bring in other top LW fighters and maybe even lure in Alverez to take on Gilbert.
    I think Mousasi would be top of the middle of the pack, not quite top 10 but not far off, he has very good striking and solid subs but not the wrestling to keep up with most of the UFC LHW fighters.
    I would love to see DW give the fans a chance to vote for Anderson Silvas next fight, let us vote and acually make the fight.
    I would never want to fight Chris Cyborg but would love to have the chance to get my ass whipped by here in training, she has great all around skills and loves the game.
    Karatoniov vs Struve would be a blast to watch.
    Any fighter that made a stupid comment about rape should get coal, Griffen- Evans-and Torres.

  • JabCrossHook says:

    Conlan did you actually watch the fight against Jardine? The only thing Jardine did in that fight was get TDs, he did nothing with them.

    The ref looked like him and jardine are in the same homosexual motorcycle club, he stopped the fight numerous times over bullshit to give jardine ample time to rest right after mousasi would three piece combo him and get him dazed. He took a point off for an “upkick” that didn’t land, it was a push and that’s why the fight ended up in a draw. Re-watch the fight closely and tell me why the referee Mike Beltran doesn’t deserve to lose his job over favoritism…

    Also didn’t you guys see the interview of Mousasi where he said he has no bjj coach, no wrestling coach, no strength and conditioning coach, and no one to show him how to cut weight. IMO he could cut to MW and be a beast.

  • Rece Rock says:

    I wanna see Melendez get the # 3 or 4 guy in the UFC LW division & if he wins then see if theres a chance at a cross promotional champion vs. champion fight.

    Mousasi would fare average in the UFC’s light heavyweight division due to his training regimen and the fact he’s not as explosive as he needs to be to contend with guys like JJ, Machida, Rashad & co…. I mean it wasn’t that long ago he fought Jardine to a decision, After reading some statements he made about his camps I think his training is what keeps him mediocre.

    Let’s rephrase this question : What is one thing you’d like 5oz Claus to bring you this year for Christmas? … PLEASE BRING BACK THE MOBILE VERSION OF 5OZ.

    I’d do it for any amount of money over $5000… i’m punching her in the tit first chance I get.

    Chad Griggs vs. Pat Barry

    Chael Sonnen should get coal spray painted green, yellow and blue… 😉 The end is near Sonnen your on borrowed time pal.

    Brittney palmer in that pick is reeeeeeeeeedunkulous. I heard of keeping christ in christmas BUT I dont think they meant to make men yell out loud JESUS CHRIST!

  • MCM says:

    – Florian. There’s no one else, IMO, that makes more sense that Kenflo.

    – Average in LHW. With a good camp, top 10 in MW.

    – I would 5oz Clause to bring back the thumbs up/down. For Dana Clause, bring over the entire HW lineup from SF.

    – I’d fight Cyborg for $100. I ain’t proud, and that’s drinking money.

    – Karatoniv / Kongo

    – Michael Bisping. He knows why.

  • edub says:

    Everything is gonna be dream scenario for myself:

    -Bellator folds, Mike Chandler fights Gil, Eddie Alvarez fights the winner of Lauzon-Pettis, The winner of Chandler-Melendez fights Frankie after he beats Ben. Step three profit.

    -Gegard renews his hard training ways and comes to the UFC as a MW. He beats up two people, then loses to Rich Franklin in a #1 contender match. Rich then finally beats Anderson by flying scissor heel hook.

    -As high as they offered me. I would slam the shit out of that bitch. Then I would leave the cage, meet both Meisha Tate and Ronda Rousey in my hotel room, have mud delivered, and have the best time of my life.

    -Shane Del Rosario-Pat Barry

    -Anybody who uses PED’s.

  • MCM says:

    “Rich then finally beats Anderson by flying scissor heel hook.” – edub

    I like where your heads at.

  • Brendhan Conlan says:

    EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m pissed at myself for not listing Brett Rogers as the lump of coal winner. Easily the worst transgression in 2011 of any mainstream fighter I can think of.

  • Angry Mike says:

    Nah. Bisping gets the coal. And it should be numerous pieces in the stocking that are then used to ass whip him.

  • edub says:

    Brendhan- Good call, and I completely agree.

    And good for you adding it into the comments, because what he did was easily the worst.

  • I would love to see Gil fight Jim Miller or Melvin Guillard…which works since they’re fighting shortly.

    fair- the Wrestlers and bigger guys would just be too much for him.

    Free tickets to Diaz Vs. Condit…that’s all I want from Dana.

    i’d fight Cyborg for the publicity and dinner afterwards. Just the ability to tell everyone she whooped my ass and bought me dinner would give me a cool story no one could top.

    Matt Mitrione vs. Bigfoot

    Tito Ortiz….no explanation required.


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