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Ben vs. Ben: UFC 95 Edition

(Diego will try anything to get to 155.  Anything.)

With UFC 95 (which we’ll be liveblogging) just a day away, we took some time to berate one another regarding some of the more pressing issues surrounding the UFC’s trip to London.  Okay, so there’s essentially no main event here, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still have some fun with a night of free fights on Spike.  Plus, there are Chael Sonnen’s ridiculous claims to discuss, and so much more…

What are Diego Sanchez‘s chances as a lightweight contender? Who has the skills to beat him?

BG: His chances are freakin’ excellent. Sanchez was already the fifth best welterweight in the UFC by my count (after GSP, Alves, Fitch, and Koscheck), and he’s looked incredibly dangerous in his last two wins over David Bielkheden and Luigi Fioravanti. I was particularly surprised to hear that he was dropping to lightweight because it seemed like he was gathering steam for a title shot at welterweight. Think about it: Fitch and Kos have already been dominated by St. Pierre, and if Alves can’t beat the champ this summer, who else is ready?

When he’s on his game, the Nightmare is exactly that. With his size, aggressive striking and ground-and-pound, and new focus on jiu-jitsu, I believe he’ll whip Joe Stevenson tomorrow night; I also think he’d smash the Fisher/Edgar/Griffin/Guidas of the world, and would probably take out Sean Sherk as well. That leaves Kenny Florian (who Sanchez beat at the TUF 1 finale, when Florian was fairly inexperienced and competing two classes over his natural weight) and BJ Penn. Call me crazy, but I think Sanchez would make both of these matchups competitive, to say the least. In fact, if Penn’s crushing, greasy loss to Georges St. Pierre really did break his spirit in some way, we may be looking at a new Stevia-powered lightweight champion a year from now.

BF: Let’s not kid ourselves, this is a big weight cut.  Sanchez was in the 190’s fairly recently, and a lot of people would be so gassed by dropping that much weight that come the third round they’d be moving like Phil Baroni on Ketamine.  That said, Sanchez’s discipline and conditioning have never been an issue, and that makes cutting weight safely sooooo much easier.  As long as he doesn’t suffer from the sudden loss in water and body mass, Joe Stevenson really has nothing for him.  

At the same time, I don’t see Sanchez as the lightweight champ any time soon.  A motivated B.J. Penn (motivated to train and fight, I mean, not make videos and excuses) beats him easily, and I still think overpowering wrestlers like Sean Sherk and maybe even Gray Maynard would give him fits.  It’s a stylistic problem more than a weight issue.  He just doesn’t do terribly well against good wrestlers.  But if KenFlo can somehow take the belt from Penn, and if Sanchez gets the first crack at him after that, his chances are a lot better.  

How will the end of the night bonuses be distributed at UFC 95?

BF: For all the bitching we’re bound to do about a UFC event headlined by the very Fight Night worthy match-up between Diego Sanchez and Joe Stevenson, I think there’s still plenty of potential in this line-up.  At the top of my list is the bout that I’m certain will garner Knockout of the Night, and that’s Rory Markham vs. Dan Hardy.  It’s hard to even say who will be on the business end of that KO, but if I have to take a shot at it I’ll say Markham lays out Hardy, but not until they’ve both taken a good beating.

As for Submission of the Night, that’s going to the man for whom the bonus should eventually be named: Demian MaiaChael Sonnen’s a step up in caliber of opponent, but he’s still submit-able and I don’t think it will take more than two rounds for Maia to figure out a way to make him tap.

For Fight of the Night I could be the pragmatist and say it will go to the main event, but predictions that boring are your province, Goldstein, and I’ll leave you to it.  Instead I’ll actually go out on a minor limb and say Nate Marquardt vs. Wilson Gouveia.  They can both fight all over the place and are both hovering near the top of the division in the UFC, but need a big win to push them over.  That’s a recipe for a war, and I think Marquardt takes it via third-round TKO.

BG: Okay, for Fight of the Night I gotta go with Sanchez vs. — HEY WAIT A MINUTE. Alright smartass, you want non-boring predictions? Here goes.

Neil Grove will score the KO bonus in the first round of his fight against Mike Ciesnolevicz after one of his trusty haymakers finds its mark. I know, you thought I was going to say Josh Koscheck would get the bonus, especially considering what he did to Yoshiyuki Yoshida two months ago. Well, Koscheck is actually going to lose his fight against Paulo Thiago in the second round (TKO stoppage due to injury) when his leg snaps in half, Corey Hill-style, while checking a kick. After the fight, Koscheck will test positive for steroids. He will appeal his nine-month suspension, but it will be upheld.

Submission of the Night will go to Stefan "Stretch" Struve, who will make Junior Dos Santos tap like so many other non-English speakers before him. The smart money’s on triangle choke, but my gut tells me gogoplata. Dos Santos got lucky against Werdum, and everybody’s hanging off his nuts now, which I think is a bit premature. I’d also like to take this opportunity to point out that Struve looks like Chris Horodecki with another set of legs attached to his legs.

The Fight of the Night award is really Terry Etim/Brian Cobb’s to lose. After three rounds of intense brawling with some within-a-ball-hair submission attempts thrown in from both sides, Etim will earn a split-decision victory. (Cecil Peoples will judge it for Cobb, but you can’t really blame him since Cobb did control so many of the standup exchanges). The embrace that Etim and Cobb share in the center of the Octagon after the last horn sounds will only be the beginning of their friendship. And in 2012, the two men will open a pub together called Terry Cobb’s — which will be known to locals as "The 29-28" — in Etim’s native Liverpool. Terry Cobb’s will gain brief infamy as the site of Simon Cowell’s suicide in 2017.

Chael Sonnen says his match against Demian Maia will determine the best middleweight in the UFC.  Let’s pretend he really meant #1 contender. Is he right?

BG: Oh, heavens no. At this point, a fight between Maia and Yushin Okami would decide who the second-best middleweight in the UFC is. If Sonnen manages to pull out a win tomorrow night, he’d still need to beat either Okami or the winner of Henderson/Bisping before he starts making wild claims like that. Look, I like Sonnen; I think he’s a top-15 middleweight right now. But beating Paulo Filho while the troubled WEC ex-champ was in the grips of opiate-withdrawal-hallucinations isn’t the tremendous accomplishment that Sonnen apparently thinks it is. His wins over the last two-and-a-half years in the WEC and Bodog Fight have certainly been impressive, but besides Filho, he never faced anyone near the top 20. And of course, he went 1-2 in the Octagon his first time around, in 2005-2006, so it’s not like he vacated a title and is coming back to claim it. He couldn’t quite handle the competition in the UFC and left to build his record elsewhere, like many other good fighters before him.

It’s hard to judge how seriously Sonnen is taking his own hype. If he’s saying he’s better than Anderson Silva just so people will pay attention to him, then bravo, sir — your plan worked out perfectly. But the problem with talking shit is that you have to back it up at some point, and the UFC is throwing him in the deep end right away. The only thing that Sonnen’s fight against Maia will likely prove, in my opinion, is that Demian Maia is one of the best 185-pounders in the world. Side note: How are you gonna publicly call yourself one of the two best middleweights in the UFC when Dan Henderson is one of your training partners at Team Quest? What’s Hendo, chopped liver?

BF: First of all, Hendo’s usually down at the Temecula branch of Team Quest while Sonnen’s up in Portland, so it’s not as if they’re bro-ing down over beers at Sassy’s after training sessions (which is their loss, really).  Second, don’t underestimate Sonnen’s ability to willfully deceive himself.  He is, after all, a pro fighter.

If he beats Maia, I’ll be surprised and impressed.  If he actually finishes him I’ll be fucking astonished.  And I will be forced to admit – as will you, Goldstein – that either Sonnen is better than we thought or Maia was overrated.  More likely though, Maia wins by submission and has one more fight against the winner of Marquardt/Gouveia before he is unquestionably the top middleweight contender.  

Henderson/Bisping proves nothing much for the middleweight class either way it turns out, but it fits with the reality TV narrative just a little too perfectly.  As for Yushin Okami, I’ve never bought into the lukewarm hype behind him.  He looked just aiiight against Dean Lister, and the best middleweight he’s beaten in the past couple years is, who, Jason MacDonald?  Naw, man.  I don’t see it.  But hey, if Thales Leites is deserving of a shot…

Cagepotato Comments

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TUF Guy- February 20, 2009 at 10:03 pm
And for the record, I lost my virginity to a baseball bat named Rocket.
MrBlonde- February 20, 2009 at 3:19 pm
The only way this main event will give me any satisfaction is if Dan Quinn suicide bombs the main event. Diego just annoys me with his cliche "I'm not that kind of mexican" zen poses/prayers and Joe daddy had boundary issues Stevenson comes off ultra douchetastic.
Your Fucking Father- February 20, 2009 at 3:05 pm
I swear half of you assholes come on here to talk shit to each other just to get a fucking response so you have some purpose too your life. Yeah I am talking about you TUF GUY, I offered to give you the address to my gym a few days back so you can check out what a real MMA gym is about and strangely enough I have not gotten a response. Good idea to keep silent and not get your bitch ass submitted. Oh and Diego is going to win, Sonnen is out of his fucking mind.

Carry on.
BC Big Bud- February 20, 2009 at 2:42 pm
Diego Sanchez (156) vs Joe Stevenson (155)- Diego by TKO
Rory Markham (170) vs Dan Hardy (170)-Dan Hardy KO
Wilson Gouveia (185) vs Nate Marquardt (185)-Marquardt KO
Chael Sonnen (185) vs Demian Maia (184)-Maia Sub
Paulo Thiago (169) vs Josh Koscheck (170)- Kos Dec
Brian Cobb (155) vs Terry Etim (156) Etim Split Dec
Stefan Struve (240) vs Junior Dos Santos (237)-JR Dec
Mike Ciesnolevicz (235) vs Neil Grove (263)-Grove Dec
Evan Dunham (154) vs Per Eklund (155)-Dunham Dec
Troy Mandaloniz (168) vs Paul Kelly (169)-Kelly KO

Lighten up.
the chronic- February 20, 2009 at 2:33 pm
Everybody Love Everybody!


Lets go Tropics!
portland mma- February 20, 2009 at 1:05 pm
I agree with mayhem 420, seriously fisher is one of the most underrated dudes in the UFC and has some sweet fucking chops too.
bonerjams 98- February 20, 2009 at 12:45 pm
choking yourself while masturbating went out in 6th grade Diego!
devilmonkey- February 20, 2009 at 12:33 pm
Fuck Cliff, I was all excited to make a witty Michael Hutchence auto-erotic asphyxiation joke and I come to find you already did. Sonofabitch!

Now I know how mad and disappointed you must have been when Theo got that earring.
Machete for hands- February 20, 2009 at 12:12 pm

naw man dont worry about it. thats an old picture of him. he doesnt have that one tattoo of two hands praying on his ribs. if you go back to a couple of topics you'll see a pic of him now and youll see what im talking about
BuckWild- February 20, 2009 at 11:57 am
Lets hope the choke out fetish photo is not resent because he looks kind of doughy and not ripped !
Billy Bad Ass- February 20, 2009 at 11:50 am
@ TUF Guy...

Oh dude, I know you don't joke around with homoerotica. We all know you're very serious about it. Sorry if I offended you, Nancy.
Machete for hands- February 20, 2009 at 11:41 am
@Jay Smith

brown pride carnal. entiendes loco?? truchas ese
mayhem420- February 20, 2009 at 11:38 am
Wow I mad alot of comments.... none of which were actually from me.
Now I know why I stick to the forums.....
Anyways Fisher would give Diego fits. His stand up is way better and he is no slouch on the ground. He has submitted Thiago and that was at WW...

Ouch! That hurts- February 20, 2009 at 11:31 am
Agree with Portland MMA, let's move on.

TUF Guy- February 20, 2009 at 11:30 am
@ Portland,

don't blame me. It is a retard domino effect. I say something, for some reason one person gets offended and says something stupid, then I make fun of that stupid kid and all the other stupid kids get offended, so I make fun of more stupid kids, and more stupid kids start talking and the cycle goes on and on. LOL

@ Billy Bad Ass, I don't use anyones name, I never claim "FIRST", I never joke around w/ homoerotica because those are all signs of weakness and last resorts.

I am a big strong man. I would be mad at me too if I was you guys.
Jay Smith- February 20, 2009 at 11:30 am
@ Machete for hands
So, you're a white boy only brave enough to call black people racist names over the internet?
portland mma- February 20, 2009 at 11:25 am
Dude the whole making fun of tuf guy thing is retarded. It's like 50 percent of the comments. Its fucking stupid.
Tuff guy's a bitch ass trick- February 20, 2009 at 11:19 am
All this talk about Sanchez and Penn, it just hurts my heart to hear people disregard Kenflo, c'mon man...his chances of winning are better than you think. Ill be honest, if i was betting a lot of money i'd probably bet in Penn's favor..but im not betting a lot of money and im going with KenFlo, i really do think he's got a great chance of winning. KenFlo vs Sanchez would be a good for sure.

P.S. Tuff guy's a fag, he thinks he's cool cuse he keeps comming back and popping off about "i own you and this and that". Dude, you own nothing but that keyboard in front of you. Your a fag....please shut up now.
Ceeph- February 20, 2009 at 11:04 am
Chael Sonnen would be the next Stevia spokesman if he wasn't Republican, cuz well they don't believe in that stuff. Demian wins by Maiaplata rnd 2.
Fat girl- February 20, 2009 at 10:52 am
1 900 EAT-MORE

Call me!
TUF Guy- February 20, 2009 at 10:45 am
fat girl

I'm in love. What's your number?
@danomite - February 20, 2009 at 10:44 am
thats DYNNOOOOMIITTEEE!! thanks.
CanadianProduce- February 20, 2009 at 10:43 am

I thought I was the only one who knew about that. INXS forever!!!
My Fight Wiffa Cheeto- February 20, 2009 at 10:43 am
Phil Baroni sure does love his Ketamine... "SPECIAL K IS THA BEST EVVVVVAAAAAA!!!"
guess what- February 20, 2009 at 10:43 am
tuf guy impersonates you guys when he's scared. he needs fake friends to back him up. cuz the imaginary ones that he has have walked out on him