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Ben vs. Ben: UFC 92 Edition

(‘You seem like a nice boy.  It’s a shame what Rashad is going to do to you.’)

Merry Christmas, Potato Nation.  In the spirit of giving, we present to you our customary pre-event face-off.  It was either this or a gift card to The Pottery Barn.  So, you know, you’re welcome.  Enjoy the holiday, and all the best to you and yours.  Don’t forget that we’re back on schedule tomorrow and liveblogging UFC 92 on Saturday.  Doin’ work, son.  

Exactly when and how will the three marquee fights end?

BG: Let’s start with the easy one. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira subs Frank Mir via armbar at 2:52 of round 3. And it’s not just because he has better jiu-jitsu and can absorb more damage. He will win because that’s how the TUF 8 story ends. It is written: Big Nog represents everything that is good and pure about this sport, while Mir is the cocky John Kreese–like asshole who didn’t care that the house pranks were interrupting Efrain Escudero’s sleep. (Monster!) Minotauro is going to beat Mir standing for the first two-and-a-half rounds, and then an ill-advised takedown attempt from Mir during the third will blow up in his face, leading to the submission win for Nogueira. We need this to happen, just like we need Lesnar vs. Nog for the real heavyweight title.

If Forrest Griffin can stick to the game plan he had against Rampage — playing it smart and safe, but pouncing when there are opportunities — he’ll beat Rashad Evans in a split decision. Here’s a fun stat: Evans has never won a unanimous decision in the UFC, even though five of his eight Octagon appearances have gone the distance. I’m not saying that judges don’t like him (although who knows, maybe they don’t), but it may suggest that if a fight goes to the scorecards, it’s because he wasn’t able to dominate his opponent. Also, Rashad’s never gone five rounds — Griffin has been there before.

Finally, Wanderlei Silva beats Quinton Jackson via unanimous decision in UFC 92’s Fight of the Night. It’s a difficult outcome to predict because of all the variables separating Silva/Jackson III from the previous two installments but Silva definitely has the advantage. I’m going to give Rampage the benefit of the doubt and say he’s eating normally this week, rather than following his occasional fasting/hallucinating routine. And while Wolfslair might not be the most acclaimed MMA camp in the world, the friendly and nurturing environment he’s found there will give him the confidence he needs to not perform like a shambling wreck. Jackson might get beaten to a pulp, but he won’t be knocked out.

BF: I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of some way Mir might win, just to be contrary, and I’ve got nothing.  He definitely won’t sub Big Nog.  He doesn’t have the cardio or the faith in himself to outpoint him over the course of five rounds.  And if Mir becomes the first person to knock Nogueira out there’s simply nothing left for me to believe in.  Nog submits Mir via rear naked choke at 3:55 of round two.  That’s that.

Something about Forrest Griffin makes me pick against him and yet always feel like I’m making a mistake.  I don’t know what it is, but I’m going to do it again.  I see Rashad Evans outworking him and out-gameplanning him en route to a unanimous decision.  That’s right.

“Rampage” Jackson is a much better fighter now, technically speaking, than he was in Pride.  But Silva still has a weird power over him.  Jackson is trying to act like this is just another fight, no big deal, but Wanderlei don’t play that way.  Every fight is a blood feud to him, especially when it’s “Rampage” across the cage.  His ferocity will overwhelm Jackson, who will hang tough for a while, but right around 2:36 of round three he’ll get dropped by a right hand and then finished by a torrent of punches on the mat.  Afterwards Dana White will insist on taking him out to dinner and might even slip an Ambien in his water.

CB Dollaway vs. Mike Massenzio is scheduled for the #3 spot on the main card. What the fuck? And subquestion: Which fight would you rather see in its place?

BF: What the fuck, indeed.  I’m not going to try and sort through the tortured logic that led to this decision, but suffice it to say I think it was the wrong one.  That’s a good bout for a Spike TV Fight Night.  Not as a headliner, but definitely broadcast-able.  On a card as loaded with great fights as UFC 92, it sticks out as the weakest of the bunch by far.

The purist in me would rather see Dean Lister and Yushin Okami, no doubt.  I realize it will probably be a methodical ground war, but so what?  I love that shit.  That said, I can realize why the UFC may be taking a wait-and-see attitude about broadcasting it.  

But Dan Evensen-Pat Berry, that should end with somebody getting knocked out, and it probably won’t take long.  I know it’s tough to justify putting newbies like them on the broadcast portion (though Dollaway and Massenzio aren’t exactly vets), but if I’m being honest I have to admit that I really want to see this one.  I’m guessing it will make the broadcast if there’s any time at all, which there should be since there’s no way Mir is going to last five rounds with Big Nog.

BG: I hear you on Lister/Okami — as insulting as it is for the UFC to stick two of its best middleweights on the dark card, it really feels like the kind of fight where Joe Rogan will have to constantly remind us how exciting it is. (Translation: it’ll be boring as hell unless you’re a grappling fanatic.) So assuming we’ll get to see the Evensen/Barry bash-fest at some point, I’d rather have Matt Hamill vs. Reese Andy on the main card instead of Dollway/Massenzio.

It shouldn’t matter that Hamill and Andy are both coming off losses. Lately, Hamill has shown a greater willingness to use his hands rather than rely on his wrestling base; it didn’t work out for him in his most recent outing against Rich Franklin, but it made for a thrilling TKO win in his previous fight against Tim Boetsch. As for Andy, there may be more to him than we saw in his UFC debut in July, where he lost a decision to Brandon Vera. After all, this is a guy who has wins over Kala Hose, Mike Ciesnolevicz, and K-Sos under his belt. The loser of the Hamill/Andy bout might have to exit the UFC, at least temporarily, but the winner will prove himself to be a legitimate threat in the light-heavyweight division.

Who would you most want to see fired from the UFC if he loses his match tomorrow night?

I guess I wouldn’t mind if I never saw CB Dollaway again. I know it’s not his fault that he’s on UFC 92’s main card — we can blame Dana White and Joe Silva for that — but it doesn’t mean I still can’t be put off by the situation, and resent him for it. And if he loses to a barely established up-and-comer like Mike Massenzio, it doesn’t look good. That would make Dollaway 1-2 in the UFC, with his sole win being over Jesse Taylor. Exactly how much loyalty is warranted for TUF runners-up in this tough economy? It’s not like he won the six-figure contract.

Plus, his utterly bitch-like protest of his own tapout against Amir Sadollah at the TUF 7 finale left a bad taste in my mouth, and as several of you pointed out, he looks like Launchpad McQuack.  Obviously, Reese Andy and Dan Evenson should be on high alert since they lost their UFC debuts, but let’s be real: Dollaway is expendable.  Unfortunately he’s BFFs with Ryan Bader, so even if he loses he’ll probably live to fight another day.

BF: There’s who I want to see fired, and then there’s who’s most likely to be fired.  Dollaway takes the first category easily, but not the second.  If he can’t beat Massenzio, there’s really no reason to keep him around except for the fact that he’s probably fighting cheap under the notoriously non-lucrative post-TUF contract, which, combined with his moderate name value, is probably what will keep him around.  Being BFF’s with Bader, well, that and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee anywhere.

Reese Andy, who is also probably fighting cheap, is in the real must-win situation.  He’s not terribly exciting to watch and matching him up against Hamill feels suspiciously like a convenient way to get rid of him while also giving Hamill a confidence boost after the Franklin fight.  I don’t necessarily want to see it, but Andy will lose and he’ll be out of work afterwards. 

P.S. Andy’s decision win over K-Sos?  That was a gift from some inept judges, so don’t make too much out of it.

Cagepotato Comments

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Sandy- December 28, 2008 at 12:51 am
0-3, was I
Anonymous- December 28, 2008 at 12:50 am
Ozone- December 26, 2008 at 7:30 pm
haha i was wondering who cb reminded me of i couldnt put my finger on for the evolution of the sport i agree that it is happening at a lightning pace right before our eyes, in 10 years the top fighters are going to be unreal!
ChucksRetirementParty- December 26, 2008 at 2:55 pm
Same to you CJ, I just actually went TO work a little bit ago even when I didn't have to work. Simply because I'm just trying to waste time until tommorrow. The card is mindblowing in that all 3 marquee fights are so evenly matched that they're just simply too close to call. I don't even feel 20% confident in my Griffin pick but we'll see. I think this will be a card for the ages.
CJ- December 26, 2008 at 1:56 pm
It was fun debating with you ChucksRetirementParty. Gotta get home from work now. We'll see how everything goes tomorrow. I'm siked.
CJ- December 26, 2008 at 1:54 pm
We'll never see Royce fight again but i'm talking about Couture, Mir, Sylvia and the other fighters that were dominant before MMA really took off and will now have a hard time being successful, at least imo.
CJ- December 26, 2008 at 1:52 pm
I see what you're saying. The only difference between MMA and baseball though, is that this sport is evolving so fast that we actually have a chance to see these icons fight together. It's like Barry Bonds actually having a chance to compete against those pitchers that Hank Aaron batted against or rather Hank facing the pitchers we have nowadays. Hank would look like shit and I'm sure it would lower his stock in most people's eyes.
ChucksRetirementParty- December 26, 2008 at 1:46 pm
The Couture comments I'll say you're mostly accurate except I think the reason some consider him the greatest fighter of all time would be because the dude was in title fights like 50% of the time or some shit. I forget the number. And you have to realize that the quality of the athletes in the sport evolves as the sport evolves.

For example, me and my friend always have this argument about baseball. He'll say something like "How can they sit there and say Hank Aaron was better than Barry Bonds?"(probably a bad example) "If Barry Bonds was hitting back then he'd hit 2000 fuckin homers, seriously look at the quality of players". To which I would respond "Yes, you are correct. If Bonds was hitting in the 1950's he would probably have averaged atleast 1 HR per game". "But you fail to realize the state of the game THEN, vs. the state of the game NOW. Back then they didn't have anything remotely close to the training, nutritional, or strength regimens that we do now. Therefore, yes, he would be superhuman."

I guess what I'm getting at is the overall scheme of "quality opponents". Look at it this way: Royce Gracie is considered on the Mount Rushmore of MMA. He never lost a match in his heyday. But who did he beat? If you look back at it and look at the names, he didn't beat anybody worth a bag of shit. But, if you look at it in context as to where the game was in his time then you have to consider him one of the greatest of all time.

So if you say things like Tim Sylvia isn't a quality win. Well, at the time he(Mir, that is) defeated him, Tim Sylvia was undefeated and considered the top heavyweight in the world. You can look at what he has become now and look down upon him, but what a fighter is now doesn't reflect what he's always been. HOLY SHIT I'M RAMBLING! But you get what I'm trying to say...maybe. Even I don't get what I'm trying to say at this point. But, let's agree to disagree and just make our picks.

Forrest by submission somewhere between rnds 3-5.
Mir or Nogueira are getting TKO'd. I don't know who. Perhaps double KO. (LOL Gray Maynard).
And same goes for Wandy/Rampage. Someone's getting KTFO'd.

Feliz Knobby Job- December 26, 2008 at 1:33 pm
I think CB looks more like Howard the Duck than Lanchpad Mcquack.
CJ- December 26, 2008 at 1:20 pm
1. I don't think records determine someone's quality as a fighter. I think the quality of the opponents they've fought and beat determines their quality as a fighter. Anyone who thinks Couture is the greatest fighter of all time is very wrong. Not because of his unimpressive record, because of the the quality of the opponents he's lost to and the relatively small number of fights he has under his belt. Couture represents an old breed of fighter. He was dominant when the UFC's heavyweight division was very thin. The heavyweights coming up in the UFC now are a new breed of fighter. Bigger, faster, more well rounded. He may have been one of the best at one point, but he's old now and I doubt he'll ever hold a title again.

2. I don't hate Mir, per se. I think he's very overrated. He ran through the heavyweight division at a time when there was almost no talent in it whatsoever. That doesn't earn him any respect in my book. I don't think he was "lucky", I never said that at all. I think that he got a favorable call by the ref in the lesnar fight and it definitely helped him pull out the win. He beat Sylvia fair and square, but sylvia isn't a very impressive win.

3. I didn't really mean to insult you, I just think you're giving Mir way too much respect. He will be completely outclassed by Nog. Check the cage potato power rankings, Mir is ranked 10th in heavyweights. I think that's actually a generous ranking. After he loses to Nog, I don't think we'll ever see him in the title picture again.
ChucksRetirementParty- December 26, 2008 at 1:04 pm
CJ, 3 things are evident.

1. You think records ultimately determine someones quality as a fighter. While they are a great indicator, sometimes people have "ok" records and are incredible fighters. Randy Couture is 16-9 and considered the greatest fighter of all time by some people.

2. You hate Frank Mir. Discrediting his wins over Brock Lesnar and Tim Sylvia in any way somehow convinces you he's "lucky". Well, I dislike some fighters but I give respect where respect is due.

3. You think I'm on Frank Mir's nuts. I think the guys a great fighter, just like I think Big Nog is, but I'm not on anybodys nuts, bro. My original point was just saying I think this fight will be closer than people think.
CJ- December 26, 2008 at 10:23 am
Hardonk is 7-4 with wins over nobody with any skill at all. Not sure how that qualifies as a dangerous fighter, but okay.

I'm fully aware of Mir's accident and return to fighting and it is a very inspiring story. However it has nothing to do with the outcome of this fight. Before the accident Mir hadn't beaten anyone with a name other than Sylvia. Let's be honest, Sylvia is basically a gatekeeper for the heavyweight division now days. His last fight he barely pulled out a win over Lesnar and it can be argued that he wouldn't have won the fight if the action wasn't stopped after the "illegal" blows to the back of the head.

I'm saying Mir has not proven himself at all. There's no way this fight is going to be close. He hasn't beaten or even fought any tough competition. I don't get why you are all over his nuts.
Perdew- December 26, 2008 at 10:22 am
@ ChucksRetirementParty

i'm gonna start by saying I think Nog will win. hopefully by submission. But i do think he will keep it standing and box the shit out of mir. Then mir is desperation out of not being able to control the fight on any level will try to take it to the ground. He will be too tired and Nog will get the sub.

but that is possibly wishful thinking coming out like i think its definitely going to happen.

I do like what you are saying. how you are not saying mir WILL win. but as far as pre-accident, he did make a dominant run. however, I don't think it was in a very strong division. His technique was clearly great though. I do think you give the quality of his opposition much too much credit. Nog is easily far and away 100000000x's better than any of his opponents, especially his losses.
ChucksRetirementParty- December 26, 2008 at 9:57 am
You must not know the story of what happened to him after his motorcycle accident following his win over Tim Sylvia. The dude almost died and was basically told by doctors he would never fight again, and maybe never walk normally again. I distinctly remember the night he came back in his first fight when he took on Cruz. He was fat, out of shape, unmotivated, and extremely slow. The dude fell into such a deep depression he tried to fucking kill himself. It was a very sad situation and it was evident when he got into the ring. But when he finally said enough is enough and got his life back together, he took on Antoni Hardonk (a very dangerous fighter) and destroyed him. Vintage Mir style. If you can't remember, or you didn't watch MMA back when he was making a Vitor Belfort-esque run through the heavyweight division then I can understand why you think the way you do. But, perhaps that's a good thing.

Also, I never once said he had the same type of experience Big Nog has. There's maybe 2 or 3 guys in all of MMA who have that type of experience. If at all that many. But you are simply discrediting him based on 3 fights. The guy is a freak and this will be an EPIC fight. The fight of the night in my opinion. And ofr the record, I never said he WILL win, I said this is a toss-up fight. Much closer than people think.
CJ- December 26, 2008 at 9:22 am
He's 11-3! Hahaha! Are you kidding me? What body of work? Beating Tank Abbot? Barely pulling off a win against Lesnar? Where do you see anything that compares with Nog's experience?
ChucksRetirementParty- December 26, 2008 at 9:10 am
You do realize that he was a depressed, fat, alcoholic pill-addict when he fought Brandon Vera, right? Like I said, subtract his Pe de Pano through Vera fights (3) and look at his body of work and tell me hes not one of the best heavyweights in the world. You can't.
CJ- December 26, 2008 at 7:41 am
sick. milk is good but i don't know if i care enough to watch it again.

yo, check out joanne has ufc 92 predictions and she's completely wrong and completely hot.
Perdew- December 26, 2008 at 7:24 am
or milk
Perdew- December 26, 2008 at 7:23 am
im bringing my laptop and we are watching slum dog millionare gran torino or 7 pounds
CJ- December 26, 2008 at 6:55 am
Hahahaha. No one listen to anything Perdew has to say.

Yo it's slow as shit today. Haven't gotten a single call yet. Fucking Tom just showed up and walked over to ask if Bill was in. It's gonna be another saturday with both of us hanging out, like wednesday was.
Perdew- December 26, 2008 at 6:45 am
wow CJ

you must think it's white boy day.
CJ- December 26, 2008 at 6:31 am
It's interesting when I read someone saying that the Mir-Nog fight will definitely not make it to the judges cards, but then in the same breathe saying that Mir will win. If the fight doesn't go the distance who do you think is going to be the one being stopped? The guy who went the distance in pride with fucking Fedor TWO FUCKING TIMES or the guy who got knocked the fuck out by fucking BRANDON VERA? C'mon gimme a break. Nog winning is the most sure thing on this entire card. I want Nog to win by KO/TKO but I could see it going the distance or Mir getting winded and getting subbed late.

Both Evans and Forrest are very smart fighters. Neither one of them is going to have trouble going the 5 rounds, they're young and have great camps. Anyone who thinks this is going to be the same as the Rampage-Griffin fight is dead wrong. Evans is a completely different fighter than Jackson. I think Evans is quicker and less defensive. I see Evans either getting the KO very early, very late, or winning by unanimous decision.

We all know how much of a beast Wanderlei is. The thing is I think he's been pretty much the same beast his entire career. His biggest asset is his unending hyper aggression. He's awesome at overwhelming people. He's a pretty 1 dimensional fighter and always has been. Rampage on the other hand, has evolved a whole lot as a fighter since their last two meetings. I think Rampage's conditioning is better, he fights smarter, and I think his hands have improved as well. (Thanks Juanito, you scum bag.) So there's no way their fight is going to be anything like their first two meetings. I think Rampage is going to be more than ready for Silva and I think he's going to KO him in the first.
datboycos- December 25, 2008 at 10:15 pm
I'm really looking forward to these fights, I like Mir's chances but Nog's got this one. Forrest has been looking pretty good and I know he wants to hold on to the belt as long as possible, and for some reason I don't really like Rashad. Rampage looked good in the 2nd fight up until the end, they were both landing hard shots and working. That being said, I've got Rampage in this one...Wandy's a bad dude and I love watching him fight, I just have to go with Page.
AnonymousLVman- December 25, 2008 at 8:19 pm
Wow, Mir is so focused for this fight its unbelievable, he is such a cool guy and is laid back (he is not an asshole, tv plays on certain things), he fights so smart its incredible, Nog is going to be his toughest competition for sure, but mir has him figured out believe me, watching him train always pushing himself, dont count him out but it will be a great fight. Rampage, idk man. He is looking good right now though. But wand whenever I see him is in great sheap and ready to fight, he is so scary, its going to end up like their pride fights except in UFC. Idk about griff/evans it will be a great fight and this whole event will be amazing
Shobu- December 25, 2008 at 8:07 pm
After seeing Nog vs Herring, which no-one else here has apparently, I am going to have to say Mir wins for sure, mainly because when Nog gets knocked down, unlike Herring, Mir probably won't let him back up. If Nog wins, then Lensar will use those giant lunchbox hands of his and knock Nog TFO by gnp in their meet up.
Forrest wins over Rashad
Wandy wins over Page by destruction