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Ben vs. Ben: UFC 91 Edition


(Randy refuses to look Brock in the eyes! BET LESNAR! BET LESNAR! Photo courtesy of Flex Magazine.)

The UFC’s heavyweight grand prix, pay-per-view buys, Tamdan McCrory‘s AFC status — we discuss it all in the latest installment of Ben vs. Ben. FYI, Fowlkes is currently a -170 favorite to win this argument.

How exactly will the main event end, and how will the winner fare in the heavyweight “tournament” as a whole?

Fowlkes: As big and powerful as Brock Lesnar is, his chances to win this fight diminish the longer it goes. He has the classic wrestler-turned-MMA fighter problem. He can get a guy down and hold him there, but aside from some inefficient ground-and-pound, he struggles to put people away.

So you’re all impressed by Lesnar’s win over Heath Herring? Great. You know who else outwrestled Herring for a decision win? Jake O’Brien. My point is, it’s not such an impossible feat. He’s never gone five rounds with someone as savvy and resilient as Couture. While Lesnar’s best hope is a decision, Couture can win several different ways.

Couture might have to take a beating in the first couple rounds. He might get pushed around more than he’s used to. But by the third he’ll turn the tide. He’ll take Lesnar’s back, discover that the man has no discernible neck to choke, then unleash a torrent of punches and satisfy himself with a TKO finish due to ref stoppage at the 4:10 mark. And still…UFC…heavyweight champion…until he’s submitted by Nogueira in the finals of this so-called tournament.

Goldstein: I say Couture takes the UFC 91 main event in a unanimous decision. We’re going to see a very methodical Randy on Saturday night, working his clinch game when he can, and doing his best to stuff takedown attempts and keep out of Brock’s punching range. He’ll go with the low-risk Machida approach, in other words, because one mistake, leading to one unfortunate position, could bring about a painful loss. I’ll agree that Randy will have Brock figured out by round three, but I’m going to give Lesnar the benefit of the doubt and say that Randy won’t be able to finish him — though Lesnar will definitely take more abuse than he ever has in his short real-fighting career.

I’ll also agree that Couture will then be subbed by Nogueira in short order. All this business about Randy being the perennial underdog who manages to beat the odds against stronger opponents through experience and game-planning is, in large part, just an engaging narrative. It’s certainly inspiring that he can perform this well at his age, but Couture was simply a more talented fighter than Tim Sylvia, and he was a far more talented fighter than Gabriel Gonzaga. He shouldn’t have been the underdog in those matches in the first place. Nogueira, on the other hand, has even more talent and experience than Couture. There’s no wearing Big Nog down, or breaking his will. Randy is fucked.

After that, I’d like to see Nog challenged by the winner of a heavyweight up-and-comers tournament, featuring Shane Carwin, Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos, and maybe Cheick Kongo (or whoever else they can find to get annihilated by Carwin in the first round). Take my advice, Joe Silva, and your once-anemic heavyweight division will be thrilling again.

Who will be taking home UFC 91’s end-of-night bonuses?

Goldstein: I’ve got Gabriel Gonzaga for Knockout of the Night. Napao has performed piss-poorly against top fighters, but he’s been a threshing machine against mediocre ones (and Mirko Filipovic, who was having an off-year at the time). Though Josh Hendricks has been on a killing spree in regional promotions, it’s hard to say if he’s ready for UFC-level competition. My gut says it’s lights-out for the new guy.

For Submission of the Night, you can’t really bet against Demian Maia, who has won the award in all three of his UFC appearances; his triangle-choke-from-the-top-with-punches super-ownage of Ed Herman at UFC 83 was one of the best finishes of the year. Maia will get Nate Quarry to tap for the first time in his career, and in an impressively unconventional way.

As for Fight of the Night, I have high hopes for the top two bouts on the lineup. I know Florian/Stevenson will be fast-paced and exciting, and will probably end via stoppage. (Florian by strikes in round 3, perhaps?) But the main event feels genuinely historic. It’s a true superfight, and as long as Randy and Brock can avoid extended positional stalemates on the ground, they’ll make up for UFC 91’s star-deficient supporting card and pick up a nice bonus in the process.

Fowlkes: Sub of the Night is definitely Maia’s. With his track record, they should just call it the ‘Demian Maia of the Night’ award. That, or pull an EliteXC and give it to him before the fight (no, these digs at EliteXC will not stop just because they’re bankrupt).

Fight of the Night is Couture-Lesnar all the way, even if it’s kind of boring at times. Ask yourself, would you want to deny Couture some bonus money after everything that’s happened? He probably wouldn’t freak out, but it’s a chance you don’t want to take.

But KO of the Night, here I’m going out on a limb and picking Tamdan McCrory to hammer the off switch on Dustin Hazelett’s face. Viva la Barn Cat! At the after-party, he will finally get laid. It will be a quick and mostly confusing experience.

The UFC expects this to be a record-breaking pay-per-view event. Are they on to something, or simply overestimating the appeal of Couture and Lesnar?

Fowlkes: Dana White thinks this will do over one million pay-per-view buys. If that’s true, UFC 92 should do about five million buys, because it is no less than five times better than this card. Obviously the main event is a draw. All the pro wrestling fans who rarely watch real fighting, the ones who would usually rather stay home and watch old Jake “The Snake” Roberts matches, they’ll buy this one.

But with so little in the way of big name action elsewhere on the card there may be plenty of people who go to a bar or a friend’s house or decide to wait for the Couture-Lesnar video to hit the internet on Sunday morning. I have no doubt this pay-per-view will do well, probably somewhere in the 700,000 range, but a million seems like wishful thinking. UFC 92, however, has an excellent chance to hit that mark, provided anyone in America still has a job and disposable income by late December.

Goldstein: If we were following The Price is Right rules, I’d try to win this particular showcase by bidding 1 pay-per-view buy. Dana White is smoking rocks if he honestly thinks UFC 91 will pull in 1.2 million buys, but 700,000 might be too high as well. Yes, the economy is in the shitter and people are ditching luxuries wherever possible; if there’s only one fight on the card that’s truly worth watching, hunting it down online the next day just seems like the fiscally responsible thing to do. Even in a bull market, you’re not really getting your money’s worth with this event. You know it, I know it, and the American people know it.

Here’s the other reason why Brock vs. Randy won’t come close to the record-breaking 1,000,000+ buys of Liddell vs. Ortiz II (UFC 66): They don’t nearly have the rivalry that Chuck and Tito did, and the UFC doesn’t even seem to be pushing the event very hard. Sure, Brock and Randy have gone through the motions in the few media appearances they’ve done, throwing some respectful smack-talk at one another, but most fans realize that this is simply a big-money celebrity superfight, and any heat between the fighters is primarily manufactured.

As for the pro wrestling fans who are supposed to cross over from the WWE — and who haven’t really been following Randy’s career — I don’t think Lesnar vs. Couture is any more must-see than Lesnar’s bouts against Mir or Herring. So temper your expectations, is all I’m saying — I don’t see this one bringing in much more than 600,000 buys.

Fill in the blank: UFC 91 is the worst UFC pay-per-view lineup since ____.

Goldstein: My first instinct is to say UFC 78, with its abysmal main event of Bisping vs. Evans, but at least that card also had Houston Alexander when he was riding his wave of hype, and Karo Parisyan, and guys like Joe Lauzon and Thiago Alves on the undercard. So I’m gonna go all the way back to UFC 72: Victory, which was even worse. Rory Singer was on the main card, for one thing. The main event of Rich Franklin vs. Yushin Okami was as unmemorable as fans feared it would be. The only other big star on the lineup was Forrest Griffin, who went the distance with Hector Ramirez. There were just three undercard matches, featuring Marcus Davis and five guys that nobody cared about. And even though it was held in Northern Ireland and broadcast starting at 3 p.m. ET in the States, the UFC made fans pay for it. So, not too awesome.

UFC 91 looks a little bit better, but without the killer main event it’s a mediocre Fight Night card at best. The Florian/Stevenson match doesn’t have any significance to the lightweight title picture — if Florian wins, he’s still the #1 contender, and if Stevenson wins, he still isn’t — and the rest of the card is pretty garbage-ass. You’ve got Tamdan McCrory and newcomer Josh Hendricks on the main card, and an undercard with zero popular fighters. If Randy vs. Brock doesn’t deliver, #91 will be on “Worst Ever” lists for years to come.

Fowlkes: Wow, I think you’re being a little too hard on UFC 91. Comparing it to 72, which effectively had no main event, is just unfair. I see this as more comparable to UFC 80: Rapid Fire. It also had a mediocre undercard, with Gabriel Gonzaga-Fabricio Werdum as the penultimate bout, and it featured a title fight between B.J. Penn and Joe Stevenson.

Granted, the Couture-Lesnar main event is both more compelling and more competitive than Penn-Stevenson. But the rest of the card is also slightly worse, so it balances out. What you’re left with in both cases is an event with one really interesting fight, one so-so match that lacks major future implications, and a lot of filler elsewhere. If the UFC sells 1.2 million pay-per-views off this, it will only serve to encourage their worst inclinations.

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Phunnybonz- November 14, 2008 at 7:27 pm
Honestly, I don't know what the fuck is going to happen which is why I'm so excited to see the fight. I'm pulling for Randy to win but Brock's size, strength and endurance challenge Randy in way he hasn't really been tested before, at least that I can remember.

Sure Randy has the experience and he is certainly no weakling himself but still Brock is an agile & quick monster. If Randy can weather Brock's bullrush charge at the start of the round and remain standing I think he'll be ok.

At this point my fear is that it is going to be a long boring "fight" consisting of nothing more than Randy trying to stay out of Brock's reach interspersed with a few take down attempts followed by clinches where nothing happens. I have a feeling I'll be yelling at my TV a lot for the referee to separate them or stand them up because of inactivity.
Brock's Cock- November 14, 2008 at 12:54 am
I'm gonna slap the SHIT outta Cuntuuuuuuuuuure!!!!!!!!!!
just some dong- November 13, 2008 at 11:39 pm
cock chestner is the best nickname ever. yes i'm new to this site and that's the best thing i've read.

gotta love the natural - he's the fucking man. but i think he's in for a world of hurt. gotta agree with bundy: cock will be too much for cooter. he'll get him scared of the takedown, then hurt him on the feet. then he'll follow him to the ground and finish him off with strikes like chuckers did.

as for lesnar's chin... doesn't matter. when has cooter ever knocked anyone out? he's got no power behind his punches. even when he's on top and "raining them down" they look weak. he suprised silvia at the start of round 1 but that's because tim's a complete tool and wasn't expecting it. even if the same thing happens, i guarantee cooter can't hold lesnar down like he did to tim. slight difference in athleticism there.

randy's a wrestler but he's up against someone who's also a wrestler, but younger and waaay bigger. he looked good on the feet against silvia but that's because he didn't have to fear a takedown (or offense in general). the guard has been changing in the ufc lately (hughes, chuckers) and randy's next on the list. all this talk about how cock is a "train that can only move straight forward" is BS - look at his footwork after punching herring into a somersault. he bounces to the side, ready to counter and throw. the man's an ass, but he's going to dominate the heavyweights for as long as he wants and i say that's awesome, cuz it's about damn time we had a real athlete in there (besides the old man). great for the sport.
walrus- November 13, 2008 at 8:21 pm
Cock Chestner, hahahahahahaha!
UFC fan- November 13, 2008 at 7:38 pm
wow that so hurts my feelings that you guys don't like my smiley faces, gee whiz, I'm gonna cry.
You are just bitter cause you didn't think of it first.
heres a smiley for you both anyways........(fuck you) :)
bundy- November 13, 2008 at 6:40 pm
Hey Ben and Ben, since i am the only one who has predicted Lesnar by brutality I would really love a t-shirt if I am right. Please!
MMA FAN- November 13, 2008 at 5:49 pm
@ BakedCagePotato
i agree with hte smilies thing
BakedCagePotato- November 13, 2008 at 5:11 pm
Way to close to call as a definite because there are way to many unknowns including Lesnar's chin, Lesnar's endurance when pressed, Couture's defense on his back, Couture's ring rust (if any), age etc. I would say decision with Brock as the winner of the early rounds, gassing due to exhaustion of he large mass straining in the clinch and to control on the ground leading to Couture winning the later rounds. The main decider in my mind is when (what round) that switch happens (i.e. who gets the 3 of 5 rounds)

Helpful Hint *How to tell if you aren't funny: You have to put a lot of smilies on your post to indicate where people should be laughing.*
ANG- November 13, 2008 at 4:46 pm
OK SO THIS MIGHT BE A STUPID QUESTION BUT I NEVER UNDERSTOOD WHY DURING THE BROCK AND HEATH FIGHT THEY DIDNT STOP IT CAUSE FOR MOST OF IT HEATH WAS IN A BALL ON THE GROUND. ARENT THEY SUPPOSE TO STOP WHY A FIGHTER STOPS DEFENDING THEMSELVES?

AND I REALLY DONT THINK THAT IT WILL PPV THAT HIGH I THINK THAT NUMBER WILL HAPPEN WITH THE BJ VS GSP 2. THATS ONE A LOT OF FANS WHO FOLOOW WANT TO SEE AGAIN I THINK.
Karate Kid- November 13, 2008 at 4:13 pm
Tooo many fools acting like they seen cock chestner fight but he hasnt even had his chin tested... Lesnar SUCKS big
UFC fan- November 13, 2008 at 3:17 pm
so you guys who think "cock chestner" is funny, you are new huh? WE have been calling him that for Around 2 months now.....you really gotta get caught up on your reading.

As for Demian Maia, I personally don't think he will destroy Nate, I think "rock" will be there till the end. maia is great submission fighter, but hes not Rich Franklin, so nate wont get K.O'd again, I think Nate will give Demian more than hes ever had.
As for Florian vs joe, I say get ready for another pennvs joe look alike, BUT there wont be a choke, it will be by cut stoppage, I predict florian will give Joe daddy a new vagina on his forehead. also I predict it will look just like TUF gay :)

I predict a screaming tantrum from Lesner as he will lose fast, and painful...and he will talk in the 3rd person weird shit talk again, and the fans will boo his ass!
two months from now it will be Kimbo slice vs, cock chestner. :)

Odds are ring girl Arianny Celeste will NOT grow a weird beard honoring the late dumbass desert-dying Tanner :)
Da Man- November 13, 2008 at 2:32 pm
Brock is big, Brock is strong. Randy will get hurt and fight will be stopped.....
The Snakeman- November 13, 2008 at 12:56 pm
Speaking of Jake "The Snake"- he will be wrestling on Nov 22nd in New Bern, NC for ShockWave Wrestling. See the website!
Armbutt- November 13, 2008 at 12:43 pm
Shawn, you gotta stand up for yourself man. I believe it's a nice bar.
Tertio- November 13, 2008 at 11:36 am
Hopefully the bad lineup will be compensated by exciting fights.
Darkside- November 13, 2008 at 5:08 am
Hope I'm wrong, but I see Lesnar likely winning by a boring 5 round decision.
Sloppy rimjob- November 13, 2008 at 3:02 am
Cock Chestner is the best nickname ever. He is officially dubbed!
Randy Couture is gonna win. It's gonna be heart wrenching to watch Randy get his ass whupped the first 2 rounds but its gonna be like Christmas when he wins. I think I'm going to enjoy watching Brock lose more than watching Tim Sylvia lose.
OrMMA- November 13, 2008 at 2:59 am
Little off topic, but anyone from the Southern California area who can tell me ANYWHERE around the Simi Valley/Ventura/Thousand oaks area who will be picking up the event? I moved down here to play football for a college and our game HAPPENS to be on that night so i can't order the fights but need to find a bar who will be showing it i can run over to watch the main event...Cronies in ventura is already a bust :(
Opie's Opinion- November 13, 2008 at 2:54 am
Brock should get Dana's cock tattooed on his ass.
Dmonicideals- November 13, 2008 at 2:05 am
Lesnar 1rKO, 3:27.

FoN:Maia-Quarry
KOoN:Brock
SoN:Maia

550-590,000 buys.
^^Do I get anything if i'm right?

I'll wait to see it before naming it a worst since. It could still turn out to be some decent fights.
MMA FAN- November 12, 2008 at 11:57 pm
And i thought Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou had the best conditioning.
I can be wrong.
im just saying what i perhaps want to bealive.
CJ- November 12, 2008 at 11:46 pm
I think Brock probably has some of the best conditioning of the entire heavyweight division. It's a mistake to think he'll have any trouble at all going into the later rounds.
MMA FAN- November 12, 2008 at 11:44 pm
Still Brock couldn't finish hearring. You really think hes going to finish couture?
Of course if Brock somehow manages to get full mount on couture it will be game over but i dont see that happening. I think it's going to be a long fight and will get to see if brock can dominate randy for 5 rounds.
I still think couture is gonna win
by the way, i saw socrpion king 2. I dont know what the hell they tried to do with that movie but it sucks real bad. Couldn't watch the full movie cause it bored the shit out of me.
Acrocerid- November 12, 2008 at 11:39 pm
Randy said it best, it's really hard to turn a speeding train. All he has to do is sidestep a few times until Lesnar gets frustrated. Of course Brock fans will say he "ran-away".
Brock is bunk- November 12, 2008 at 9:55 pm
Bundy...really? Brock has an outside chance of dominating the first 28 sec. but after that he will gas out and resort to calling for a chair from the audience. Randy dominates because Randy actually knows how to fight intelligently. Brock knows how to pretend to fight and scream and hollar at a drunk crowd. . . big difference.
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