(Sure, the relationship looks intense now, but in five years Swick will be taking him for granted and Hardy won’t even bother to do his hair anymore. Photo courtesy of Combat Lifestyle.)
To get ourselves pumped for tomorrow’s UFC 105 event in
Randy Couture is going down in weight (again) to give yet another boost to his seemingly endless career. What do you make of his chances to beat Brandon Vera on Saturday, and what happens next for "The Natural"?
BF: I have to admit that despite all the amazing things we’ve seen Randy do, some part of me always thinks that his next fight will be when Father Time finally catches up with the ageless wonder and stomps him into an unrecognizable mass and blood and pulp before looking down at him and saying, ‘That’s for making me chase you all these years.’ I can’t shake the feeling that this will happen some day, but then again, I don’t think it will necessarily be this Saturday, nor do I think it will necessarily happen against Brandon Vera.
This ought to be close, but Couture will win this. He’ll win it by being more aggressive and forcing Vera to play his game in the clinch and on the mat. Vera might think he’s going to leg and body kick his way out of this one, but by the third round he’ll have that I-didn’t-know-it-was-going-to-be-this-bad look that we’ve all seen before. Couture by decision.
After that, maybe he takes another fight with Tito Ortiz. Whether Tito wins or loses at UFC 106, there’s bound to be some fan appeal there. Both of them might be talking that title shot jive, but the light heavyweight strap is currently dealing with some other issues and is not available to take your call. Please leave a message at the beep.
BG: I’d love to take the opposing viewpoint here — Randy’s slowing down, Vera’s length will be a massive problem for him — but Couture always has one more comeback left in the ol’ fanny-pack, and Vera tends to lose to good fighters. His decision win against Krzysztof Soszynski in August was his most notable victory in the last three years, and he didn’t even look good in that fight. Vera is susceptible to being bullied around and broken down, which is what Couture does best. My God, Randy, we just can’t get rid of you.
If Couture beats Vera and Tito Ortiz beats Forrest Griffin next week, then Couture vs. Ortiz will be the next #1 light-heavyweight contender’s match. We don’t have to like it, but that’s business; the UFC is dying to give one of these guys one last shot at a belt. I know, Machida and Rua have to have their rematch first before the title’s sorted out, but it’s not like Couture or Ortiz are strangers to long layoffs. No matter what happens tomorrow, I hope the UFC lets Randy take on old veterans and champions from now on, and not use him as a stepping-stone for up-and-comers. He deserves better than to ride out his career taking reverse spinning elbows from Jon Jones.
BG: Oh, God no. Is Hardy a better striker than Thiago Alves? Is Swick a better wrestler than Jon Fitch? Do either of them have a fraction of BJ Penn‘s jiu-jitsu prowess? No, and those other dudes got flattened. GSP’s takedowns and top control are too good; nobody can andull his riddum. Mike Swick might be able to keep it competitive against the champ for a round or two, but neither he nor Hardy is on
Despite Hardy’s toughness and gameness, Quick Swick will win tomorrow’s #1 welterweight contenders bout. His striking’s a little better, and his grappling is a lot better. Swick likes to bang, but he’s not going to get into the kind of slugging war that Hardy can come out on top of. If Hardy begins to win the standup, Swick will revert to wrestling and ground-and-pound and take back control of the fight. It’ll be a good scrap, but it’s also an easy one to predict. Swick is a better fighter, and will probably win by unanimous decision. This ain’t rocket science.
BF: I agree that this is Swick’s fight to lose, though I was a little surprised to see that he’s a 2-1 favorite. Hardy could make this very competitive if he fights smart, and any time you go to a decision in the other guy’s backyard there’s always a very good chance that you could get screwed. I don’t care how experienced a judge you are, those damn soccer chants would sway anybody.
But no, neither Swick or Hardy would stand much of a chance against GSP right now. Truthfully though, who would? Jake Shields is the best welterweight outside the UFC, and judging by his performance against “Mayhem” Miller last weekend, he’d get absolutely wasted by
Not surprisingly, this
BF: I think Terry Etim is probably the best young British prospect the UFC has. Lately they’ve been feeding him relatively easy opponents, and Shannon Gugerty looks like highlight reel fodder for him. He’s a young guy with great size and range for the weight class, and if he shores up his wrestling and ground game, he could be around for a while.
Of the Team UK TUF guys, however, I have to admit that I’m most interested in seeing what Andre Winner will do. I was surprised that he didn’t win the finale, but he seemed like the best pure athlete on the cast and also the one with the greatest potential. I think he runs through Roli Delgado in the first round on Saturday and reminds everyone of what a bad-ass he seemed to be until that plodding fight against Ross Pearson, who I’m still not at all excited about seeing this weekend.
BG: Sure, choose the guy that Joe Rogan once compared to Anderson Silva. That is so like you, BF. As for Andre Winner, I was interested in him myself until he couldn’t cut it against Ross Pearson, so I’ll be withholding my Winner-interest until further notice. No, my personal U.K.-scrapper guilty pleasure is Paul Kelly, who was fun to watch as a welterweight, and has serious potential as a lightweight. He’ll be taking on Dennis Siver, who’s streaking lately, but Kelly is bigger and stronger, and he has a natural talent for wrestling that a lot of his countrymen lack. And I hope he does win, because the British crowd could be in for a rough night at UFC 105. Both TUF 9 winners are on the card, and they’re both underdogs in fights against more-established Americans. Bisping might lose, and Hardy is almost definitely going to lose. It’s pretty much up to Kelly, WInner, and Etim to put in brilliant performances, and follow them up with those barely-intelligible victory speeches we’ve come to know and love.
Should the UFC do another Country vs. Country season of TUF? If so, what would it look like, ideally?
Not to get all IFL on your asses, but it would be a much better idea to try out a Camp vs. Camp season on TUF. I’d go with
BF: It’s interesting that you started that last paragraph with, “Not to get all IFL on your asses,” and then proceeded to get totally IFL all over all of our asses. You know what the IFL’s biggest problem was? Well, probably overspending and underperforming, or maybe the failure to get a reliable, live TV show. But another big problem was that the teams weren’t organic. And why? Because it’s tough for any MMA camp to find unsigned fighters to fit all the different weight classes. One gym didn’t have many middleweights, another might have their heavyweight get hurt, and the next thing you know it’s a bunch of ringers who meet their coach for the first time at the weigh-in. Those problems wouldn’t go away just because you stuff them all in a house together. You’d either need to find a bunch of guys in one weight class all training at the same gym, in which case odds are they’re not all ready for the big time. Or you’d need to find guys from each gym specifically chosen to match up with guys of a certain weight from another gym.
You’d either need to find a bunch of guys in one weight class all training at the same gym, in which case odds are they’re not all ready for the big time. Or you’d need to find guys from each gym specifically chosen to match up with guys of a certain weight from another gym.
Country versus country is problematic for different reasons. As awesome as your