With UFC 159 slated for tomorrow night, CagePotato founding editor Ben Goldstein and beloved CP staff writer Jared Jones have teamed up to argue about all the important themes surrounding the event. So how will the absurd light-heavyweight title fight end, exactly? What will happen if Alan Belcher actually lets Michael Bisping take a free shot to his face? Can the third women’s UFC fight possibly live up to the first two? How many more fights can Leonard Garcia lose before the UFC gives him the ol’ heave-ho? Read on, and throw down your own opinions in the comments section.
Will Jon Jones immediately demolish Chael Sonnen, or will he play around with Chael a little before demolishing him? And will Chael retire after the loss?
BG: I rarely make sweeping statements about who will win an MMA fight because 1) anything can happen in this crazy sport, and 2) the things you write on the Internet often come back to haunt you. But yes, Jon Jones will win this fight. I absolutely guarantee it. Sonnen’s best weapon — his relentless wrestling attack — will dash apart against Jones’s own wrestling, which is precision-tuned for the sport of MMA. Quickly out of options, Chael will throw his patented “I give up” spinning backfist, fall down against the cage, and will whisper a quick prayer to his God before Jones literally eats him and shits him out. And I do mean literally, okay? Literally.
I’m leaning towards a quick beat-down in this fight rather than an extended clowning, because Jones takes his job too seriously to “play around” with an opponent. (He’s not exactly Mr. Fun, we’ve noticed.) And once Chael feels the power of a large light-heavyweight, he’ll realize what a bad idea this whole thing was in the first place. To exit the sport directly after another humiliation wouldn’t fit in with Sonnen’s blustery self-image, so I think he’ll take at least one more fight — maybe at middleweight, maybe at light-heavyweight — before calling it quits. Once he starts losing to non-champions, he’ll wisely make the switch to full-time UFC talking head and occasional hair-texture tester.
JJ: Mark my words, this fight will be Jon Jones’s UFC 97 (or UFC 112, depending on which fight you thought was worse). Jones may not be a fun-loving guy, as you stated, but it also appears that the tryptophan-induced honeymoon between these two TUF coaches has passed, leaving behind only apathy in its wake. If you’ve noticed in the past, the foes “Bones knows” on a personal level seem to last the longest in the cage with him (Rampage, Rashad) — perhaps out of respect, perhaps because they are both tough as hell — so I think we should start preparing ourselves for a tepid, five-round affair highlighted by Bones’s jab and Sonnen’s desperate attempts to convert a single leg.
And when all is said and done, Sonnen will snatch the mic out of Joe Rogan’s hand, and in an attempt to mimic [enter professional wrestler name here]’s infamous retirement speech, will announce that, and I quote:
I just got a call from Dana, he said ‘Chael, I think it’s time to hang ‘em up.’
‘You see, You’re overpaid, and at light-heavy, you kind of suck.’
‘You’ve been losing fights, without much brain or brawn
And your WWE-shtick is starting to make fans yawn’
‘I mean, no one’s coming to see you in living rooms or bars,
Maybe you should stick to MMA Tonight, or become a pro-wrasslin superstar.’
He handed me a pink slip, a FOTN-bonus, his ATM card and pin.
He said, ‘Chael, take it all, then get the fuck back to West Linn.’
I thought for a moment and I said, ‘I’ll tell ya’ what, Uncle D.’
‘You need not worry, for these arms and these charms, you will not again see.’
JJ: You’re right, so take a step away from the ledge, brosef. If Cody McKenzie loses, he’s getting axed (or should I say, GUILLOTINED…*crickets*…damn, play me off, Johnny!) for sure. Common logic dictates it. McKenzie’s three losses in his past four contests dictate it. The almighty chart even dictates it. As a big fan of the TUF 12 alum/thorn in Josh Koscheck’s ass, it saddens me to realize that McKenzie could possibly receive his walking papers on account of a guy whose continued employment undermines the newly-established firing policy of the organization he is fighting for. Then again, if McKenzie can’t beat Garcia – and the oddsmakers seem to think he won’t — perhaps he doesn’t really belong in the UFC anyway.
As for Garcia, well, I’m convinced by now that he could walk out in a banana hammock puffing a blunt on Saturday, get choked out in the first 30 seconds, and test positive for bath salts in the aftermath of his vehicular rampage across southern California and still not get fired. I’ve got nothing against the guy – he’s consistently entertaining to his own detriment (a common trait among my favorite fighters) and I honestly think Max Holloway was “blessed” *crickets, tumbleweeds* with the decision in their fight at UFC 155. At this point, we should just start asking ourselves which will come first: Garcia’s firing or the legalization of MMA in New York? Honestly, I’m picking the latter.
BG: I’ll just argue on the side of logic then. Nobody in UFC history has lost five consecutive fights and kept their contract, and Garcia won’t be the one to break that trend. And it doesn’t matter if the fight is a barnburner — even if it wins Fight of the Night, the UFC will finally realize that Garcia is a guy who can’t even beat the Cody McKenzies of the world, and cut him loose. To do otherwise would be goddamned unseemly. Even Garcia seems to be preparing for the inevitable. (I feel it’s my duty to point out that Garcia would currently be on a seven-fight losing streak if he wasn’t gifted those ill-gotten wins over Chan Sung Jung and Nam Phan in 2010.)
McKenzie has a little more wiggle room because he’s not carrying the same kind of lengthy losing streak into this fight; at least he can say he’s won a match in the last 12 months. Cody is goofy and likable, and most importantly, cheap. If he loses in a hard-fought battle — especially if he gets screwed by the judges, which is always a possibility when you’re fighting Leonard Garcia — I say he keeps his job.
Alan Belcher recently released a video where he said, “Michael Bisping couldn’t hurt me with his best punch solid to my chin…There will be at least one time in the fight where I’m just going to drop my hands and say ‘come on man, give it your best shot’.” We already know that this sort of thing is a bad idea. How bad of an idea is it against Bisping specifically, and will you cheer if Bisping knocks Belcher the fuck out for trying it?
BG: Bisping may not be known for his one-punch knockout power, and maybe Belcher could get away with giving the Count a free one. (If you’ll recall, Chris Leben tried the exact same thing against Bisping and avoided a KO, although he was on PCP at the time or something.) But let’s be honest: This is a straight-up asshole move, and it puts Belcher in danger for absolutely no reason. Dismissing your opponent’s power is one of the surest ways to get dicknailed by karma. Personally, I’ll be laughing my ass off if it actually happens. But considering that Bisping has been his usual charming self in the leadup to this fight, I’ll be pretty satisfied if the Count gets knocked out instead. For the record, I don’t think anybody’s going to sleep in this one: Bisping by decision.
JJ: I’d like to think that Belcher possesses the kind of standup skills to put Bisping in all sorts of trouble, but methinks Belcher might be a little out of his league, like Jorge Rivera and Jason Miller before him. His biggest victory in his UFC career was arguably his trouncing of Rousimar Palhares, who isn’t exactly as feared by his middleweight counterparts as he once was. While Bisping has lost most of his fights against elite-level competition, he’s also faced a hell of a lot more elite competition than Belcher.
Will Belcher make good on his promise? Perhaps in the early going, but Bisping will probably be too content with his jab-n-jog strategy to even take him up on the offer. Will Bisping eventually knock him out? It’s hard to tell — the only guy to ever TKO Belcher in the UFC was Jason Day, who was also the last person Bisping was able to finish in the first round. MMA Math determines that Bisping will run through Belcher, but I think we should expect to see Bisping exploit Belcher’s subpar wrestling en route to a dominant but ultimately unsatisfying decision victory. In either case, the day I find myself cheering for Bisping will be the day that Nick Diaz gets his real estate license.
Is it possible for the UFC’s third WMMA fight to exceed our expectations given how amazing the first two were? Or has the bar been set at an unreachable level for Sara McMann and Sheila Gaff to achieve?
JJ: I’m of two minds about how the UFC has decided to introduce WMMA into their brand. On one hand, sprinkling female fights on various cards here and there is an idea that I am coming around to more and more each day. By simply introducing the fight as another fight, it makes the gender issue a non-issue and puts a lot of pressure on the ladies to perform, which has resulted in two amazing fights thus far. On the other hand, it does set the bar so high that you just know some fans out there are waiting for the slightest slip up — a slightly boring fight, perhaps — to write off the sport entirely.
That being said, how exciting this fight ends up being depends heavily on which fighter is able to keep the fight in their realm. If Sara McMann is able to use her Olympic wrestling pedigree to take Sheila Gaff down at will (which, again, she is heavily favored to do), this fight might not wind up being the most exciting thing in the world. But if Gaff is able to keep things standing and unleash her Tazmanian Devil offense, we could witness the first “Knockout of the Night” in UFC-WMMA history. If that doesn’t silence some haters, I don’t know what will.
BG: As much as I like Sara McMann as a human being — I don’t know her personally, but she just seems like a super lady — I agree that a quick, vicious knockout from Sheila Gaff is probably the best-case scenario here, if the goal is to convince skeptical UFC fans that anything is possible in a women’s fight. And Gaff can certainly make that happen, as she possesses a level of punching power that’s downright Rothenhauslerian.
But look, there’s a reason this fight is on the FX prelims instead of the main card. As you hinted at above, a measured, wrestling-based gameplan from McMann will likely be the story of this fight, and the UFC is hedging a little just in case it’s a dull affair. It’s overly dramatic to suggest that the marketability of women in the UFC will be affected much by this bout, but it’s kind of up to Sara McMann to make this a memorable fight. If she takes Gaff down and TKOs or submits her, it’ll be a good one. If she stands and bangs, it’ll be a good one. If she just lays on top of Gaff for three rounds or executes some Cormier-style wall-and-stall, it won’t be good — not for the viewers at home, and not for McMann’s immediate title prospects.
BG: Get the fuck out of here. Whether Magalhaes has more “skills” than Davis (as he claims) is debatable. What isn’t is that Davis has so much more relevant experience in the Octagon. I like how Magalhaes rags on Davis for not fighting anybody who was really good at grappling or striking — conveniently forgetting Davis’s wins over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Alexander Gustafsson, it seems. Meanwhile, we’re supposed to give Vinny respect because of one UFC victory against Igor Pokrajac and a few wins over some Russian talent in M-1 Challenge? This is a huge step up in competition for Magalhaes. I really hope he’s taking it seriously, because he’s got his work cut out for him.
JJ: How can you talk about the 1X DEFENDING M-1 LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT G.O.A.T like that, bro? Vinny Magalhaes hangs out with Chael “The World’s Most Dangerous Man Fuck You Ken Shamrock” Sonnen and beats up Russians in his spare time. Russians, you guys. They’re like 5/6ths human, 1/3rd cyborg, and two-parts archangel on average, and you think Magalhaes can’t handle some pink tights-sporting pair of clownshoes who looks like Starvin Marvin and packs even less punching power?
We might detest him for it, but Vinny Magalhaes is about to single-handedly shatter the myth that things like “fighter rankings” or “octagon experience” or “notable wins” matter in a UFC fight. And it all begins with his first round, SOTY-earning gogoplata victory over Davis on Saturday.
Rustam Khabilov (a.k.a SLAM duh duuh duuh) is fighting a guy named Yancy. Yancy. Discuss.
JJ: Looks like I’ll have to revamp my “Worst Draws for a UFC Debut” article. It probably sucked anyway. But yeah, Yancy.
Khabilov by Khalibomb (Khalima-bomb?) at three seconds into the first.
BG: Yancy. It’s like “Nancy,” but with a Y. Personally, I’m more interested that Yancy Medeiros hasn’t competed in three years, and he’s dropping two weight classes for this fight, and his nickname is “Frisson.” But yeah, Yancy’s screwed here. Khabilov will throw him. How Yancy lands is his business.
BG: Nelson will win by KO, setting up a fight against Mark Hunt for the UFC’s inaugural HeavyDWeight Championship.
JJ: Trick question: Nelson by DQ after his testicles are literally kneed out of his scrotum by Kongo. Joe Rogan will then enter the octagon, scoop up Nelson’s testicles, and force Arianny and Brittney to eat them while the audience cheers them on.
It’s a working theory.