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Armchair Matchmaker: UFC 121 Edition

(Worst ‘America’s Got Talent’ audition ever. Photo courtesy of

Cain Velasquez has a date with Junior Dos Santos, and Jake Shields — God help us — is still likely to face the winner of GSP vs. Koscheck. But the fates of UFC 121‘s other winners and losers are yet to be determined. As usual, we have some brilliant suggestions…

Brock Lesnar: Assuming that nobody really wants to see a Lesnar vs. Mir rubber match, there are a surprising lack of options for the new ex-champ. If Roy Nelson beats Shane Carwin at UFC 125, Lesnar vs. Big Country would make perfect sense. (Lesnar vs. Carwin II is also an option for down the road, considering Carwin never felt like Brock beat him fair and square.) But at the moment, the best available opponent for Lesnar is Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, who’s coming off his own nasty loss to Velasquez. The fading Big Nog would likely take a beating, but the UFC needs to re-build their most bankable star against a credible name, and letting Lesnar whale on a legend is an effective way to do it.

Martin Kampmann: The first name that comes to mind is Dan Hardy, though the UFC probably wants to avoid the possibility of one of their British stars dropping three straight. So how ’bout this: Nate Diaz. The TUF 5 winner and moneyweight contender is facing Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 125. If Diaz wins, Diaz vs. Kampmann is a great matchup between two guys who are on the same upper-middle region of the welterweight ladder. If Diaz gets outgrappled by DHK, then Kampmann gets a rebound against an "easier" opponent. Either way, it’s a scrap.

Diego Sanchez: Should Sanchez really drop back to lightweight after dominating one of the best fighters in the welterweight division? If he was serious about that plan, then only one opponent really makes sense: Kenny Florian, in the long-awaited rematch of their TUF 1 Finale fight. If Sanchez changes his mind and stays at 170, I’d suggest putting him against Matt Hughes, who’s enjoying an improbable third act in his career thanks to consecutive wins over Matt Serra, Renzo Gracie, and Ricardo Almeida. Strong country boy vs. energetic Mexican — does that sound familiar?

Matt Hamill: As long as the UFC stops making Hamill fight friends and coaches, we’ll be happy. Counting his DQ "win" over Jon Jones, Hamill has gone 5-0 over the last two years, and deserves a solid name for his next fight. Meanwhile, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Ryan Bader. Hamill vs. Lil’ Nog is a fight that Matt can win with his wrestling, and would make him a contender again.

Brendan Schaub: After his big win over Gabriel Gonzaga, Schaub named Frank Mir as the guy he wants next. Sounds good to us. Mir is a logical step up from Gonzaga both competitively and in terms of star-power. Of course, Mir wouldn’t have nearly as much to gain from facing a dangerous up-and-comer like Schaub, but after his last performance, the UFC probably wouldn’t mind punishing him a bit.

Garbiel Gonzaga: In eight fights over the last three years, Gonzaga has only been able to defeat Justin McCully, Josh Hendricks, and Chris Tuchscherer, solidifying his status as one of the biggest can-crushers in UFC history. But instead of firing Napao right now, the UFC should let one more prospect make their name off of him. Namely, Jon Madsen, who upped his UFC record to 4-0 on Saturday night by storming through Gilbert Yvel in the opening bout of the prelims. Madsen will put Gonzaga on his back, guaranteed. If Gonzaga can’t use his long-rumored BJJ skills to defend himself, he doesn’t belong in the big leagues.

Court McGee: Like most of the TUF winners before him, McGee passed his first post-TUF test, relying on the same attributes that got him through the reality show: Great conditioning, strong submission skills, and the ability to take abuse. His standup still needs work, to say the least, but the kid’s got potential. I think CB Dollaway would be a stiff, but necessary test for McGee. Dollaway is just as good with a choke-hold, and is a lot more comfortable in the Octagon. Dollaway isn’t is a top-shelf striker, which is good because McGee could use some more time to develop that side of his game.

Tom Lawlor: No high-production walkout routine + pre-fight colonic = victory. But coming after two losses, the Filthy Mauler isn’t out of the woods yet. I say give him the loser of the Chris Leben vs. Brian Stann match at UFC 125 to see if his win over Cote wasn’t a fluke. (If Leben beats Stann, the Crippler should get Wanderlei Silva next, obviously.) And please, Tom, no more blackface at the weigh-ins.

Tito Ortiz, Patrick Cote, Paul Taylor, and Gilbert Yvel: Dead weight at this point. Fire ‘em all and let Shark Fights sort ‘em out.


Cagepotato Comments

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oki-who oki-ryu- October 26, 2010 at 5:36 pm
::tail between legs::
grillalives- October 26, 2010 at 2:19 am
*In eight fights over the last three years, Gonzaga has only been able to defeat Justin McCully, Josh Hendricks, and Chris Tuchscherer*

what about Mirco Cro-Cop? if you cant remember that fight i need your job
ghostboner- October 25, 2010 at 11:08 pm
@MR Miss and throw pee - I feel ya bra. The unfortunate thing is that it is just too damn speculative to be used effectively, imo. You nailed it on the anderson vs Sonnen, or Todd Duffee vs that canuck tub of goo, or any number of fights where someone was getting their ass handed to them and then came back to win it. Still I have to say I agree though, the judges really need to take a lesson from you about mindset for judging, because they are treating it like a boxing/wrestling match. And I'M TIRED OF THESE MOTHERFUCKING JUDGES AT THESE MOTHERFUCKING FIGHTS!

@get off me - Miss OBI, and I do remember that article, but the only reason anyone saw the Shields fight is because it was on the same card as Penis Pecknar, and because he was fighting Kampmann. If the internet mma community is any indicator, Shields has nearly no fan interest. GSP is the draw. Granted, the UFC could probably get 250k ppv buys out of Tim Sylvia taking a dump, so I'm sure a card with Shields on it will do ok, but let's not kid ourselves. It will be due primarily to the fact that the UFC has a shitload of cash and pretty good marketing, and that there are always at least 3 or 4 other fights on the card that will make it worth watching. Shit, even UFC 108 did respectably. Although if he takes another steamer in the cage like the one he left against Kampmann, I doubt even the UFC's marketing muscle will save him. And it is definitely personal between Dana and Fitch.
Shifty-Eyed Dog- October 25, 2010 at 6:29 pm
@oki-who oki-ryu
Matt Schaub??? He's a decent quarterback and all, but I don't think he's ready for MMA. Maybe Travis Browne should fight BRENDAN Schaub instead! :P
itsgalf- October 25, 2010 at 6:29 pm
I'm thinking Cain Velasquez should take Brock Lesnar's "Frate Train" nickname as well. Take his belt, and take his nickname
oki-who oki-ryu- October 25, 2010 at 3:40 pm
nate diaz v. dan hardy another one that comes to mind
oki-who oki-ryu- October 25, 2010 at 3:39 pm
kampman v. condit maybe? how about matt schaub v. travis browne.... diego v. matt brown. Should go hammil v. winner of vera/ thiago silva
Get Off Me- October 25, 2010 at 2:50 pm
That's right, but leave Tito off the Countdown Episode and give him Jon Jones.

Beacause "one man's trash is another man's gold" the OBI article....Ha!
Remember how marketable Shieldszy is, I mean look at the Kampmann fight, Dana's got a golden boy now and he must get a shot at the title, this is by popular fan demand and this will be a huge test for GSP.
I think it's part personal with Fitch and Dana too, there's some history there.

Or nothing at all like Silva v. Sonnen?...I feel you on that.
Mr_Misanthropy- October 25, 2010 at 2:26 pm
I concur. Ideally, fights should be scored as if they were a real fight (I know, totally crazy, huh?). Whoever inflicts the most effective damage, is most aggressive in pushing the action, and was winning at the end of the contest should win. Controlling position without inflicting damage, stick and move standup that doesn't inflict damage and other forms of general point fighting, while still relevant, should be de-emphasized in scoring. Near submissons should count for more than take downs but less than knockdowns. The most important factor in winning a real violent altercation is damage done. After this it is whoever manages to last the longest to finish the job. In a sporting contest with a fixed time period I think fights should definitely be seen as a continuum that would hypothetically extend further into the future than the artificially imposed ending in the event that there is no definitive stoppage. Although this does not compensate for the eventuality that someone who is clearly losing manages a hail mary or some form of late rally to win, it embraces the idea that what is being scored is a fight and not a combat sport contest (wrestling match, judo match, karate tournament point sparring, olympic boxing, etc.). Generally the evidence of who was losing a fight is written on their face at the end of the bout. There is nothing worse than watching a guy walk away with a win when you just watched him get his face caved in or nearly KTFO and the "loser" looks like he barely broke a sweat and has a couple of red marks on him.
ghostboner- October 25, 2010 at 1:33 pm
And I think everyone is kind of jumping the gun with Schaub. I mean, he does look good so far but...Anybody remember Todd Duffee?

@Gorgzirra - I agree on the 4th round scoring, I use that alot when justifying my scoring, and when someone I like loses to a leg humper. I think it definitely applies perfectly to mma, especially when you consider the spirit of the sport. It might be speculative, but I still like it.
ghostboner- October 25, 2010 at 1:23 pm
Shields does not deserve a title shot based on the fact that Fitch is being overlooked for being a snoozer, and his decisions are more decisive than Shieldzzz. That was part joke, part serious. But really, how does one decision master get ta shot over the other? Here are my suggested match ups:
Shieldzzz vs Thiago Alves
Kampmann vs Swick - remember the title eliminator we never got to see?
Diego vs Hughes is good, or Nate Diaz

pinkyslayer- October 25, 2010 at 1:20 pm
you think tito fucking ortiz would even be able to TOUCH king mo? That dude would break titos spine before the first round was over. I agree the ufc should at least let him fight once more, bc everyone likes to see him lose and we all want it to end on a devastating knee to the face ko, but there's no fucking way tito ortiz could even compete with king mo in any area.
JaredB- October 25, 2010 at 12:14 pm
Cutting Tito Ortiz would be dumb. He's still fairly exciting against low end opponents, and would look credible again and cut a swath through Strikeforce. He'd lay a serious hurting on King Mo even at this point in his career and there's not really anybody at 205 there who threatens him. As bad as Strikeforce needs 205ers and as much as Dana says he hates Showtime, play the withholding game and use Tito Ortiz on Spike TV cards until he's winning again.
Hank Mardukis- October 25, 2010 at 11:41 am
What fight did you watch where Paul Taylor should get cut? Dude got robbed, he should get at least one more fight
scrapsallday- October 25, 2010 at 10:31 am
man, who makes Kampmann's gameplans
i understand somepeople like to keep it standing for the fans. ie. Daley fight
but why would you be trying to beat a superb wreastler by wreastling with him in a boring wreatling match, granted he went for some subs, theres still no reason that fight should have went to the ground after the first.
Gorgzilla- October 25, 2010 at 9:32 am
FightMetric never counted the knockdown (knee to the face) from Kampmann.
MMA Judging Criteria:

-Clean Strikes
-Effective Grappling
-Octagon Control
-Effective Aggressiveness

Sadly "damage done" is not a criteria in it's own but is only reflected in the ability to apply more of the other criterias.

I therefore invoke the rule of "4th round scoring" which imagines the match go for an ekstra round... Who would most likely win it then?
jimbonics- October 25, 2010 at 9:28 am

"It seems the second a mit touches his face he starts flailing around like he's being swarmed by bees."

I lol'd

RwilsonR- October 25, 2010 at 9:25 am
I'd like to see Kampmann vs. Chris Lytle next. Lytle has been on a win streak, this would be guranteed to be an exciting fight, and both guys can handle themselves anywhere the fight goes. Plus, I really like both guys, and if Lytle wis it gives him a legit reason to actually start moving up the ranks.

Or Kampmann vs. Hardy or Nate Diaz would be good fights. Actually, throw Lytle into that foursome, and you pretty much could pair them up in any way to make a really good fight.
maclaren- October 25, 2010 at 8:57 am
@Shifty-eyed Dog

Get Off Me- October 25, 2010 at 8:26 am
Kampann v. Shields- During the last minute of the second round I was trying to explain to some friends how one of the judges would probably have this fight 30-27 for Shields...Jake has this tendency to end up on top of guys at least one or two times per round, for many judges that is all that is required to win a round and eventually the fight. I think it's sickening Shields got the split, not as bad as Sherk v. Dunham, but a bad decision nonetheless.

I would like to see Fitch v. loser of the next WW title match, Kampmann v. Condit rematch would be nice, irregardless of the L, Kampann showed he should be included at the top of the WW picture and I am sure Condit and him would have a great fight that would actually keep people awake.

Lesnar should fight Mir or Carwin next, I am still laughing at myself for thinking Lesnar was going to beat Cain, I think Carwin would be the logical step, but Mir may be safer for Dana, if Brock got trounced again in the first by Carwin that would be trouble.
DangadaDang- October 25, 2010 at 8:24 am
It's really frustrating to compare anyone to Jorge Gurgel, but God Damn it Gonzaga, you could have EASILY taken this one. He needs a few tune up fights outside of the UFC or something to get him back to killer mode, or at least fight smart mode.

And Kampmann cost me big by deciding to try and submit fucking Jake Shields. THE GUY HAS NO STANDUP AND YOUR A THAI BOXING CHAMP!!! HE HAS NONE!!

Nice job Cain. If only they hyped you up for something other than being Mexican I'd prolly give more of a shit about you.

Matt Hammil needs some lessons in speed. He should have been able to finish Ortiz, as anyone should these days.
Lysol- October 25, 2010 at 8:19 am
I agree with everything written here because I am a shameless company man.
fACE7biter- October 25, 2010 at 8:16 am
I can't believe I'm saying this... but... oh, man.... fucking Jon Fitch deserves the next title shot! *vomits* Seriously though, Shields looked like shit against Kampmann. Despite having some scary good grappling prowess, like when he twice escaped a front facelock without using his hands and ending up on top of Kampmann, he showed that he's not ready for Georges. He looked weak, lethargic, and can't land a shot with any power. GSP hits like a truck and never runs out of gas, he's going to dominate this guy.

Oh and Lesnar Vs. Mir 3 is going to happen next, if only because its a guaranteed main event draw for any off month next year that doesn't have a title match. I see the winner of that fighting the winner of Nelson/Carwin for a title shot. The losers of each will also fight eachother.
Ballkick- October 25, 2010 at 8:16 am
It was my understanding that Joe Silva did the matchmaking ,....not Dana?
Dagnut- October 25, 2010 at 8:11 am
Anyone think White will give lesnar a rematch?