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Armchair Matchmaker: ‘UFC on FUEL: Franklin vs. Le’ Edition

(Febreze: It really is that fresh.) 

Although it wasn’t exactly cram-packed with exciting finishes, UFC Macao provided us with plenty to talk about nonetheless. Let’s not act like Bruce Leroy’s Haiduken punch just didn’t happen, because it did and it was either awesome or the dumbest f*cking thing we have ever seen. We can’t tell yet.

Elsewhere on the card, some people beat some other people by decision, so join us as we decipher the judge’s scorecards and try to determine who the night’s biggest winners should face next.

Cung Le: Despite being a healthy underdog with a significant size and slight age disadvantage, Cung Le was able to deliver a spectacular knockout in arguably the most high profile fight of his career. That being said, we’re not going to fool ourselves into thinking the 40 year old is truly in the title mix just yet. At this point, Le appears to be more invested in his film career than in that of his mixed martial arts one (and rightfully so), but the man is still a draw who can both deliver exciting finishes and hang with more than most, so it only makes sense to give him another high profile, low risk fight.

The problem is, there simply aren’t that many of those kind of fights available for Cung in the UFC’s current middleweight pool. Most of the division in currently tied up and Cung has stated that he would like to take some time away to spend with his family, so we think it would be best to give Cung some time off and have him face the winner of the Hector Lombard/Rousimar Palhares battle at UFC on FX 6, or maybe Chris Leben if he is able to get by Karlos Vemola at UFC 155. Who would you prefer, Taters?

Thiago Silva: We’re not really sure what to take away from Thiago Silva’s victory over Stanislav Nedkov, who was so gassed by the time the fight came to an end that it appeared as if a well-placed yawn could have knocked him over. Silva looked quicker than he had in quite some time in the early going, yet looked frustratingly slow and linear when it came to avoiding the Bulgarian’s lumbering takedown attempts. Sure, he’s a BJJ black belt who finally showcased his submission skills, but we know that we’ll get the best Thiago Silva — win or lose — when he’s matched up against another hard-hitting striker. Enter James Te Huna, an Australian slugger with bricks for hands and a chin that’s just as solid. Not only is it one of those “fun” fights we love so much, but it actually makes sense. Everybody wins!

Takanori Gomi: Speaking of fighters that are best left to swing for the fences against guys who will do the same, we come to “The Fireball Kid.” He’s managed to save his UFC career with two straight wins, but we’re not exactly ready to throw Gomi another contender so we can watch him get submitted again. It just hurts too much. Personally, I’d like to see Gomi face the winner of either the Melvin Guillard/Jamie Varner or the Sam Stout/John Makdessi fight. We’d be guaranteed another slugfest in either case, and if Gomi stands a chance of winning anything, it’s a slugfest. Because we’re not trying to convince ourselves that Gomi will be fighting for the title anytime soon, we’d just like to see an old friend end his career with the kind of fights that defined it.

Dong Hyun Kim: Although he’s already called out Demian Maia for a rematch of their UFC 148 contest that ended with an unfortunate rib injury, we’d like to see Kim take his grappling talents elsewhere. Specifically, against a certain Icelandic grappling phenom with a demeanor that can only be described as…stoic. We’ve all been riding the Gunnar Nelson hype train for some time know, so why not see how he fares against a seasoned veteran like Kim? The grappling exchanges between these two could become the things of legend, and when you’re dealing with a fighter as stifling, dominant, and often tiresome as Kim, that’s the best you can hope for.

And because we feel we must address this, let’s move on to the night’s biggest loser…

Rich Franklin: Well, Rich, we surely didn’t expect to see you go down like that. It’s beyond an understatement to declare that “Ace’s” best days (and chin) are behind him, but there’s no denying the brilliant and captivating career he’s had. The UFC’s go-to guy also seems smart enough to realize that he should get out of the game before he suffers any more losses as brutal as the one he suffered Saturday, because they are only more likely to happen the longer he sticks around. But if Rich really feels the need to give the fight game one last shot, I dunno, maybe match him up against Vladimir Matyushenko in a special rules match where they both sit at a table, get drunk, and compare scars?

I don’t know, I’m just spitballing here.

-J. Jones

Cagepotato Comments

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El Chavo- November 14, 2012 at 12:04 am
James Te Huna, is from New Zealand (not Australia), you guys.
Breakin2ElectricBoogaloo- November 13, 2012 at 7:41 am
Cung wasn't the only fighter in the cage that could act that night. If they make a HALO video game movie Rich would make a perfect Master Chief. Has anyone ever seen a more dead on impression of what happens after taking a .50 cal to the head?
RSparrow- November 12, 2012 at 7:56 pm
Takin' my febreze jokes Danga? You bastard.
DiscoStu- November 12, 2012 at 6:09 pm
Cung Le vs. Chris Leben would be fun. As would Rich Franklin vs. Vladimir Matyushenko. With fighters approaching (or hitting already) age 40 who have taken some KO's, it's a little unfair to throw them to young up and comers. Franklin falls into that group now. There's still a few good fights among the older fighters that can co-main or headline a smaller show. But these also shouldn't be chasing or demanding title shots.
SquidInk- November 12, 2012 at 2:49 pm
Lifelong Rich Franklin fan here. "Ace" needs to call it good and hang up the gloves. Nothing more to prove, and nothing left to do but incur more damage. Follow Matt Hughes' lead and get out while your health is still intact.