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Armchair Matchmaker: UFC 123 Edition


(Seriously, who let that mouse into the Octagon? Props: UFC.com)

Here’s what we know: BJ Penn and George Sotiropoulos already have dates at UFC 127 in Australia. Karo Parisyan has been fired (again), and Matt Brown will surely be let go as well after suffering his third-consecutive submission loss. (Tyson Griffin also lost his third-straight on Saturday, but will remain in the promotion, as the judges’ decision in his fight against Nik Lentz was utter horseshit.) So where do UFC 123‘s other winners and losers go from here? As usual, we have a few suggestions…

Quinton Jackson: This one’s fairly obvious, assuming that nobody really wants to see an immediate rematch between Jackson and Machida. Rampage should get the winner of Jon Jones vs. Ryan Bader at UFC 126. The winner of that fight gets a title shot. Bada-bing, bada-boom.

Lyoto Machida: Once an unstoppable force in the light-heavyweight division, it’s now been a year and a half since the Dragon has put on a dominant performance against anybody. At this point, the UFC needs to re-build Machida against a mid-level contender. Give him Matt Hamill, who deserves a step up after handling Keith Jardine and Tito Ortiz. Alternately, you could throw Machida in against Randy Couture, and see if the Natural’s gift for game-planning can carry him through against the Dragon. Of course, that matchup might not be pointless enough for Randy, so don’t get your hopes up.


Matt Hughes: Joe Rogan did his best to induce Hughes’s retirement during the post-fight interview on Saturday, but the Country Boy didn’t bite. And you can’t really blame him — nobody wants to go out on a loss, especially when it’s your first loss in over two years. No, if you’re an MMA legend, you need to run up a solid string of losses before you consider hanging up the gloves. Hughes has previously said he’s not interested in a revenge match against old nemesis Dennis Hallman; if that’s still the case, why not match him up with former title challenger Dan Hardy, who’s coming off his brutal knockout loss against Carlos Condit. The young, brash, British punk striker vs. the aging, soft-spoken (though still assholish in his own way) God-fearing American patriot wrestler? Hughes would have his hands full, but it’s a fight that sells itself.

Maiquel Falcao: The Brazilian newcomer doesn’t deserve a big hop up the ladder after his "ultimate staring" performance in the third round against Gerald Harris — but he does deserve an opponent who can make an example out of him. I say, make Falcao fight a countryman who’s notorious for hurting motherfuckers. First name: Rousimar. Last name: Palhares. Middle name: Heel hook you until you cry.

Gerald Harris: Harris can still be an exciting fighter when he has a willing dance partner, and we don’t think Dana White will penalize him much for the Falcao fight. There’s a lot of names you could throw out here, but we’re going to suggest Tom Lawlor, who always comes to fight, and just saved his job by outpointing Patrick Cote at UFC 121.

Phil Davis: A fantastic wrestler with a knack for unconventional submissions, Mr. Wonderful is now 4-0 in the Octagon, and has established himself as a serious 205-pound prospect. But it seems that Dana White isn’t as high on him as we are. If Davis needs another build-up fight against an opponent who can test his striking skills, he should probably face the winner of Brandon Vera vs. Thiago Silva, who could be fighting for their jobs at UFC 125.

Joe Lauzon: After crumbling against George Sotiropoulos, and getting shelled for 15 minutes by Sam Stout earlier this year, Joe Lauzon may have secured his position as a permanent mid-packer in the UFC’s lightweight class. To shake that reputation, he’ll need to destroy somebody who has looked impressive recently. Luckily, UFC 123′s preliminary card offered two viable candidates: Paul Kelly, the British slugger who just smashed unreasonably-tall 155′er TJ O’Brien, or newcomer Edson Barboza, who turned Mike Lullo’s leg into dogmeat during his Octagon debut. Either man would prove if Lauzon’s a gatekeeper or a contender.

Got any suggestions for UFC 123′s other preliminary card fighters? Let us hear ‘em in the comments section…

(BG)

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JaredB- November 22, 2010 at 5:14 pm
And on what planet is Rogerio Nogueira not a top level fighter? Sometimes people are nuts.
JaredB- November 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm
The decision in the Griffin vs. Lentz fight was not bullshit. Lentz was outgrappling and outstriking Griffin in the first two rounds and all Griffin had to offer were a couple of takedowns. He turned it on a little more in the opening minutes of Round 3, enough to get a 10-9 but Lentz was still competitive all the way. It was a clear cut 29-28 Lentz.

Lentz is pretty legit, he's got a good all around game, he doesn't just control people against the cage, he has decent striking and is always fighting for submissions too. He looks legitimate to me. If he's such a joke who should always be stuck in the prelims, find someone who can beat him. And this hypocrisy gets really ridiculous when you think about what they're paying Jake Shields.
Jack Bauer- November 22, 2010 at 1:36 pm
The Sotiropoulos vs Siver fight is a joke, and hugely disrespectful to G Sot. They need to cancel this, and match him up against Cerrone, assuming he makes it past Horodecki in a few weeks. The winner of that would be ready for a no. 1 contender matchup, followed by a title shot in late summer of '11.
dranokills- November 22, 2010 at 1:00 pm
I would certainly POP to see to Hughes vs Hardy. goddamn how I would love to see hardy Knock hughes out and make him cry like a bitch.
Make it so matchmaker-joe.
MonsterMaulingAss- November 22, 2010 at 12:06 pm
Damn you CP!
You took my match up for Mr. Wonderful!

Check the 2nd comment of the 2nd page of the previous article.

I'll take my free T-shirt now ;)
Shane Darwin- November 22, 2010 at 10:29 am
"Harris can still be an exciting fighter when he has a willing dance partner"

What? Harris was the main one avoiding action through most of the fight. As far as the third round, it's the responsibility of the guy down 0-2 to press the action! Harris is just another terribly boring wrassler. And that retarded jab-and-weave/shuck-and-jive that he has going on is painful to watch.
RwilsonR- November 22, 2010 at 10:28 am
Also, just wanted to say that even though I can't stand Jon Fitch fights, I've never called for a rule change. However, after watching Falcao and Machida on Saturday, I do want a rule change, or at least greater enforcement of existing rules. If you refuse to engage, and just step out of the range with your hands in the air for an entire round like you are a fucking matador avoiding any contact, then you should be deducted a point. If Falcao had been deducted a point for refusing to engage in round 3, that would have put him in danger of getting a draw instead of just riding on what he did in rounds 1&2. It could also stop further antics by Anderson Silva, like what he did to Demian Maia.

I don't like strategic stalling in this sport... whether it comes from wrestlers, or assholes trying to be 'elusive.' You don't have to stupidly put yourself in danger, but you have to fight every minute you are in that cage.
RwilsonR- November 22, 2010 at 10:22 am
Great article, and great fight picks. I really like the Palhares/Falcao match-up. I wouldn't mind seeing Phil Davis get the loser of Bader/Jones to see where he lies in terms of being a prospect. I wouldn't mind them having Joe Lauzon and Tyson Griffin mix it up. Lauzon always comes out in 'beast mode' for the first round, but quickly fades thereafter. I think Tyson Griffin would be a tough fight for him. Also, I wouldn't mind seeing the Gerald Harris/CB Dolloway fight we didn't see on TUF.

@ Elentius - completely agree with you!

@ ccman - I have to disagree with your assessment, since I don't see how round 3 of Rampage/Machida was a 10-8, or any more dominant than Rampage was on the feet in the first two rounds (which is to say, not very dominant). Yes, Machida was on top for most of the round. Yes, he managed to slowly improve position. But most of the strikes were coming from Rampage off the bottom, and Machida did zero damage from the top. Then he went for an arm bar, which Rampage was turning into a slam if Machida didn't let go. I'm not arguing that he shouldn't win the round, but just because he is on top doesn't mean he is completely dominating or close to finishing the fight the entire round. Rampage kept himself completely safe down there for most of round 3.
BryanF- November 22, 2010 at 9:49 am
The Buffer 360: Know it, learn it, understand it.

JDOG
Can you post a link to your Buffer 360 pic?
cecils_pupils- November 22, 2010 at 9:25 am
Bruce Buffer is the fuckin' man!
ccman- November 22, 2010 at 9:14 am
Still not sure you win a fight when you have 2 eh rounds and one got dominated round..... if first 2 were 10-9 the 3rd was 10-8 fer shizzle. Either way hard to put page in title mix.

Bader should be 2 fights out and I think jones should be also, title should go interm, and shad should be forced to watch the machida knok out every 5 minutes leading into it.

I'm kinda sad vera is now not considered to be top teir enough that beating him give jones any love... but it really doesn't.
smithed46- November 22, 2010 at 9:01 am
"Middle name: Heel hook you until you cry." This shit got me going, haha.
J-Dog- November 22, 2010 at 8:40 am
CP - I'm really disappointed you didn't use the CP exclusive Bruce Buffer jump shot I sent you after UFC 119 for this. Mine is better I think.
RearNakedSpoon- November 22, 2010 at 8:32 am
I think Jones v Machida and Rampage v Bader would be much better fights. If Machida v Rampage happens first and Machida wins it would make sense as well.
Sorry, did I just assume Jones would beat Bader? Not that I feel bad for it.

Penn v Carwin...on the lead up to UFC123 I said if Hughes can't crack coconut head Penn and earn a KO then Carwin should get a go. Hopefully Penn is motivated enough now to allow Carwin to weight in 90lbs over.

Barboza v anyone, nice to see truly great standup skills in the UFC.
MoTropolis- November 22, 2010 at 8:30 am
@Viva

I think you mean "Falafel so good it'll make you want to choke yo mama, bro!"
knucklesamitch- November 22, 2010 at 8:11 am
@Shifty-Eyed Dog,

Ok, I'll grant you the whole "Bader/Jones needs another top tier fighter before a title shot", but all I'm saying is, if it's against Rampage, and 'Page wins, he doesn't deserve the title shot either.
Elentius- November 22, 2010 at 7:45 am
Hardy is a good fight for Hughes. I would think that Hughes can take him down and beat him up. At least I hope he can even though he is a d-bag. I love the negativity that comes from one loss after 3 wins though!
Did Baby-girl Penn really show a great improvement at 170 in 21 seconds?! He has always had superior striking against people like Hughes. Can he stop the the great takedowns and pressure from GSP Junior? Doubt it.
I don't like Hughes or Penn but I will say that Hughes is not done and Penn has not shown anything new. He still runs to a different weight class when it gets tough. When he gets beat at 170 some idiot nuthuggers will refer to the fact that he should be at 155 because of the natural size differences.
Viva Hate- November 22, 2010 at 7:28 am
Karo Parisyan after showing up for the fight in terrible shape and fighting terribly has been fired which was much deserved. Karo needs to retire, get a little more mental health counseling and open up his own falafel joint. Karo Parisyan's Falafel and Tea Castle in West Hollywood, Falafel so good it'll make you want to choke yo mama!
Shifty-Eyed Dog- November 22, 2010 at 7:28 am
@knucklesamitch

because neither Bader nor Jones has fought a top-tier opponent yet. Fighting each other is the closest thing they've had. Whomever wins should have at least one fight/win against a top tier opponent before getting their title shot. So yeah, winner of Jones-Bader gets Rampage, winner of that one gets winner of Rashad-Rua, loser of Bader-Jones gets loser of Rashad-Rua.

Don't get me wrong... they both deserve (and will get) one, just after one more fight.
Gorgzilla- November 22, 2010 at 7:27 am
Rampage is all ramped out and should just quit and do the prequel to Kindergarden Cop... Maternity Ward Cop.
Shifty-Eyed Dog- November 22, 2010 at 7:18 am
I love these picks. I especially agree with Machida/Hamill and Rampage/Jones-Bader.

I only wish the UFC watched sites like these and actually cared what we want to see.
knucklesamitch- November 22, 2010 at 7:14 am
Can someone explain the logic of Rampage getting the winner of Bader/Jones? If 'Page was to defeat the winner of that fight and earn a title shot, he'd be earning a title shot off of two victories in two years...That seems crazy. Not to mention that the winner of Bader/Jones should get the winner of Rashad/Rua...My vote is for Rampage to get the LOSER of Bader/Jones...So Bader...Then 'Page can lose that fight and be ready for the movie version of Magnum P.I.
GILL-uh-TEEN- November 22, 2010 at 7:10 am
1. I love Bruce Mother F*cking Buffer
2. Matt Hughes has the same glass jaw that Liddell has.
DangadaDang- November 22, 2010 at 6:51 am
I still think its a little early to write off Lauzon, but he definitely needs to work on his cardio if he wants to be a contender. His first round against Soctopus was pretty awesome though.
b-Rad661- November 22, 2010 at 6:51 am
Unlikely in the event that Vera wins, and Phil Davis wins, that they would fight. They are training partners. But honestly, with the way Brandon has been performing, I don't see him winning anyway.
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