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Ben vs. Ben: UFC 112 Edition

(‘Okay boys, let’s step back and put our shirts on before we send the wrong message to the local authorities.’ Photo courtesy of Combat Lifestyle.)

As you may have heard, UFC 112 is popping off in Abu Dhabi on Saturday morning/early afternoon. In addition to providing you with a liveblog that you absolutely don’t want to miss, we’re also going to go ahead and argue about what this series of long-odds title fights really means, and what the UFC should do next once the dust settles. Won’t you join us?

Who would you less want to be right now: Frankie Edgar or Demian Maia?

BF: Since the phrasing of this question implies that both guys are in for beatings on Saturday, and since I can’t honestly say I disagree with that assessment, I’m going to assume that what I’m really being asked here is which beating is going to be worse for the recipient. My short answer is, Maia’s beating will be intense but short-lived, while Edgar’s beating will be more of a prolonged suffering.

If forced to choose between those two, I’d take Edgar’s spot. At least when it’s over he’ll be able to say he went three or four rounds with the champ, and maybe he can talk himself into believing that he was just one or two lucky breaks away from turning the tide. Silva, on the other hand, has the ability to dish out beatings that make a man question whether he has any place in this business, or perhaps even this earthly realm. He’ll make you look stupid, and that holds true even if he decides to toy with you for five rounds. Either way, you end up emerging from the fight as a battered man in body or spirit or both.

BG: So you’re saying you’d rather be the guy who has no chance to win — I repeat, NO CHANCE TO WIN — than the guy who could at least theoretically surprise his opponent with a submission? Seems a little self-defeating to me. Basically, I would hate to be Frankie Edgar right now. It has to be disheartening to prepare for a fight where you know you won’t hold a single concrete advantage. At least Maia has an actual path to victory, as unlikely as it may be. As for your idea that Anderson Silva‘s beatings are more soul-crushing in some way, that’s debatable. Personally, I’d take a peaceful nap in the center of the Octagon over reconstructive facial surgery any day of the week.

Who deserves the next shot at the UFC’s middleweight belt, Chael Sonnen or Vitor Belfort? Should the next title contender depend on who wins the Silva/Maia fight?

BG: No matter what happens in Abu Dhabi, Sonnen should get the next shot. I know Vitor Belfort was originally supposed to take on Anderson Silva at UFC 112 before he jacked up his shoulder, but that matchup was only put together out of convenience, before Belfort even had a single qualifying fight at 185 pounds in the UFC. At the time, there were no other clear contenders to Silva’s belt, especially with Dan Henderson heading out the door. But then Chael Sonnen somehow ground out a decision over Nate Marquardt, which followed another unlikely win over Yushin Okami. Say what you will about Sonnen’s outlandish interviews or his bizarre first name — it’s like "Michael" without the "Mi"; wait a minute, should we be pronouncing it "Cull"? — but he’s quite obviously the #1 contender in the UFC’s middleweight division. And if anybody is capable of lying on top of Anderson Silva for five rounds and stealing his title in an epic display of lay-and-pray, it’s this guy.

BF: First of all, if Maia wins this fight then all bets are off. Suddenly the belt is up for grabs again, and unless the UFC gives Silva an immediate rematch, they can pretty much do what they want with it and no one will complain because our jaws will still be hanging open in shock. Maia vs. Belfort? Sure. Maia vs. Sonnen, again? Okay. Seriously, it blows the situation wide open. Which is why it’s a shame that it’s not going to happen.

But if Silva wins, then yeah, Sonnen should get next. Not only has he earned it, but he can actually make the run-up to the fight interesting. The UFC can sell that fight based on Sonnen’s mic skills alone, but they’d be better off doing it right away before the memory of Sonnen’s upset victory fades completely from the collective fan hive mind.

Aside from money, what’s really at stake in the Hughes-Gracie fight? How interested are you in seeing old-timers with no real hopes of a title fight continue to hang around and beat on each other purely for entertainment purposes?

BF: I could give you a pre-packaged answer about Renzo’s chance to restore some of the shine to his family name, or maybe spew some crap about Hughes solidifying his legend status in the last act of his career against fellow aging greats, but I won’t. It’s unnecessary and it’s boring. Instead I’ll just say that I like this fight for this fight card. It’s sort of fun, which is probably the nicest and most realistic thing I can say about it. They seem like they’re on more or less equal footing in the sense that neither one of them is headed for a title shot, but as long as it’s the third bout beneath two title fights, how can you possibly complain?

BG: As long as they can still put on a good show, I’m not complaining either. But I think the outcome will hold at least some significance in regards to Hughes’s career. He wants to keep competing, but he clearly doesn’t want to fight anybody besides other fading legends. So if he can’t beat Renzo, what else is left for him? An obligatory rematch with Matt Serra? I think this fight will determine Matt Hughes‘s continued existence as a viable product. The UFC hasn’t been using him to headline events lately like some of their other old vets — Randy Couture, Rich Franklin, Tito Ortiz — but if he can beat Renzo on Saturday, he’ll gain a little relevance, and maybe he’ll get one more chance at a high-profile fight. Or maybe he’ll use the victory as a perfect moment to retire, and then this fight really would mean something.

Cagepotato Comments

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ComaPlata- April 9, 2010 at 8:49 pm
Buffer looks like he will be having an unexpected run in with Chris Hansen later... after he picks up the "booze" and Pokemon cards from the store of course.
Yeti Stomp- April 9, 2010 at 3:40 pm
I'm going to follow this event, but not for the usual reason. This time it's more about seeing the champions do the expected and keep their belts rather than see a new champ emerge.

Just imagine what it would look like to have Silva, GSP and Penn all defending on the same card. Now that's an event, muhfuh!

Hughes - it's over dude. Retire before you look like Tito and Chuck, two more guys who can't come to grips with the fact that they're through.
budsellers- April 9, 2010 at 3:12 pm
at the press conference, the former WW chump said he did not ask for this fight... not just because renzo deserves to win based on karma and personality, i also hope hughes loses and is forced into retirement by dana(the cherry on top of that hope fulfilled would be if he is only offered fights that he is simply unwilling to accept).
rampageisgod- April 9, 2010 at 2:52 pm
The fights are still airing at the regular time in the States right?
DAN THE VIKING- April 9, 2010 at 1:50 pm
I think the Renzo v Hughes fight is an amazing addition to this card. Im super pumped to see it. Not everything in MMA has to be about getting to the top, sometimes its just about giving us a crazy good scrap. Its really cool to see a couple of likeable legends battle it out (possibly) one last time to get the fans on there feet.
AL_14- April 9, 2010 at 12:37 pm
@ iDestroy Demian Maia was never on...Oh another one of those questions. Not this time my friend.
Dr.- April 9, 2010 at 12:18 pm
SHITLE TOTS for everyone!!
PERPATRAITOR- April 9, 2010 at 11:53 am
buffer comes from a fighting family. he was an amateur kickboxer himself with his dad being a professional boxer. these people can legally dress in affliction. don't pull that shit in my hood unless your legit because i will....make fun of you behind your back.
iDestroy- April 9, 2010 at 10:50 am
Demian Maia? Which season of TUF is he from?
JCVD as Timecop- April 9, 2010 at 10:49 am
I think Edgar is going to at least do better than Sanchez did, but that's not really saying a whole lot.
Deathb4tapout- April 9, 2010 at 10:48 am
You know I dont know why ppl worry about who is fighting who.. all I care about is seeing someone punch someone else in the face.. plain and simple.. PUNCH THEM IN THE FACE!!!
Daddy_Lupo- April 9, 2010 at 10:41 am
You just stunned me so marijuana bad. Indeed he's got eyes in his neck !
dleacock- April 9, 2010 at 10:31 am
silva looks a bit more muscular then he usually does @ 185, wonder if the fixed elbow has allowed him to train better
ArmFarmer- April 9, 2010 at 10:25 am
I don't think Buffer would look as rediculous if he wasn't wearing a t-shirt designed for highschool kids and drunken frat boys.

As for the whole nap or facial reconstruction arguement.. my how quickly we forget Andersons first ufc title fight. I think you are in more danger of having your face rearranged by Anderson than by BJ. If you ask me, I'll take my chances with BJ's boxing and bjj over Andersons knees.
AkilleeZ- April 9, 2010 at 10:23 am
Is that Bruce Buffer all bro'd out??
Stanky Left Leg- April 9, 2010 at 10:22 am
I'm going with BG "a peaceful nap in the center of the octagon" seems like the better option than a goat vagina on my forehead
BuckWild- April 9, 2010 at 10:15 am
I see Chael vs Anderson that same as Clay Guida vs BJ Penn
okemos- April 9, 2010 at 10:12 am
Damian is going to win. I know it.
jimbonics- April 9, 2010 at 9:35 am
Buffer looks ridiculous in anything other than a suit.

I think the Spider/Maia fight ends in the first three minutes.

And a big FU to Cuntry Brefass.
cecils_pupils- April 9, 2010 at 9:33 am
Who can complain watching two of the P4P best fighters in the world on the same card?

Trust me... this will not be Silva/Leites II - Damian Maia will actually do his best to take the fight to the ground and will compete standing - not flop on his back like a fish out of water and hope that his opponent engages him.

Let's face it: BJ and Anderson are sooooo good that their fights may not be as fun to watch as a back-and-forth barn burner, but I'll still watch and have a blast.
Horror Fighter- April 9, 2010 at 9:26 am
Buffer has eyes in his neck!
CapitalQ- April 9, 2010 at 9:23 am
This card has all the potential to either be epic....or be the biggest flop in UFC history. Watch, another Leites fight, and then BJ makes poor Frankie look like a little kid.....But then Matt and Renzo have a brutal stand up war and save the night!!!!!! lol get real......
Kimbos Bread- April 9, 2010 at 9:09 am
Yippie Ki-yay
Dante- April 9, 2010 at 9:08 am