BG and Danga are back mahfuckas, baaaaaaaaaaaaam! [*cough*] Excuse me. What I meant to say was, UFC 160 goes down tomorrow night in Las Vegas, so CagePotato founding editor Ben Goldstein and staff writer Jared Jones have teamed up once again to discuss all the important themes surrounding the event. Which heavyweight fight on the main card is more likely to end in an upset? Should we write off KJ Noons as nothing more than UFC shark-bait? What’s a Nurmagomedov gotta do to get some respect around here? Read on, and throw down your own opinions in the comments section.
It seems pretty obvious that the UFC is trying to set up Dos Santos vs. Velasquez III, but who stands the better chance of throwing a wrench in their plans, Hunt or Silva?
Jared: ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS. The last I checked, Mark Hunt was riding high on the most unexpected win streak in UFC history, turned his last opponent’s jaw into mashed potatoes, and will now be harboring the kind of silent-but-deadly rage that can only be brought about by jet lag. “Bigfoot” is coming off an upset win over a sans testosterone-abusing Overeem, sure, but picking him over the man, the myth, the pseudo-Mexican who reenacted the rock scene from Cannibal Holocaust on him almost a year ago to the day? No thanks, my dude.
Ben: I hate to agree with this jackass — and how dare you try to persuade me by linking to a track from Primus’s underrated Rhinoplasty EP, Jared — so for the sake of argument, I’ll go ahead and say ARE *YOU* KIDDING *ME* WITH THIS?? Mark Hunt has built up a dubious win streak slinging haymakers against guys who allowed him to do so. Junior Dos Santos is far too disciplined to become another victim of the same old rock-’em-sock-’em Super Samoan routine. In a brawl, Hunt has a chance against anybody. But this won’t be a brawl — it’ll be boxing match, and JDS is about as good as they come in that department.
And sure, Hunt has scored a string of upsets against guys like Cheick Kongo and Stefan Struve. Meanwhile, Antonio Silva has scored far more unexpected and dramatic upsets against guys like Fedor Emelianenko and the aforementioned ‘Reem. Bigfoot has heart for days, and fists big enough to dummy up anybody in the heavyweight division on any given night, including the current champion. How many times are you gonna sleep on this guy? #BigfootEra
Gray Maynard vs. T.J. Grant: Who will earn the right to suffer a narrow split decision loss to Ben Henderson next?
Ben: I feel like Gray Maynard is one those fighters who can beat everybody in his weight division except for the very elite talents (see also: Bisping at middleweight, Condit at welterweight), and this seems like the kind of matchup that the Bully wins nine times out of ten. I’m not trying to shovel shit on T.J. Grant’s skills or his recent wins, it’s just that he hasn’t proven himself to be a Top 5 caliber fighter yet and I can’t identify any one specific thing that he does better than Maynard, other than maybe throwing those elbows of his. My prediction: This fight will not be decided by elbow strikes, Maynard will grind out a unanimous decision, and the UFC will change its mind and find somebody other than Gray Maynard to suffer the next narrow split-decision loss to Ben Henderson — maybe Anthony Pettis, after he’s done pretending to be a featherweight.
Jared: Yeah, you’re probably right about Gray, but T.J. Grant 2.0 has been on an absolute killing spree in the lightweight division, my friend. His performance against Evan Dunham really showcased how far he has come as a striker, and coupled with Maynard’s potential ring rust, Grant makes for an underdog pick that I’m more than comfortable placing a few dollars on. The fact that Grant’s striking doesn’t hold a candle to his ground game leads me to believe that Gray could find himself in a heck of a heap of trouble wherever this fight takes place. While “The Bully” maintains the ability to hold Grant down for long enough to earn another title shot (that he will likely lose), I’m going to play devil’s advocate here and pick Grant to win. Big whoop wannafightaboutit?
Does anyone want KJ Noons to ever win a fight again?
Jared: It sure doesn’t seem like it. I realize that he and Donald Cerrone are both coming off losses (which, in Cerrone’s case, almost meant the loss of his life), but that’s like saying that the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Florida Panthers are both coming off “rough seasons.” Noons has dropped four out of his last five fights, including a (bullshit) loss to Ryan Couture — who was just steamrolled by Ross Pearson in his own debut — in his last contest, and you’re going to stick him in there with “Cowboy” Cerrone, the man who only loses to title holders and future contenders?
Don’t get me wrong, Noons is one tough sonofabitchbastard and this should make for a great fight, but also one that Noons stands next to no chance of winning. Cerrone hasn’t made the same mistake of flapping his gums off like he did before the Pettis fight, but what he will do is use a game plan similar to that of Jorge Masvidal to dominate Noons en route to a UD victory that bears at least one 30-26. My question is: With 5 losses in his past 6 fights, will Noons go one-and-out in the UFC, or is he being primed to take Leonard Garcia’s throne as the affable yet down-on-his-luck slugger?
Ben: I actually think the UFC does want KJ Noons to win another fight and stick around in the company for a while — what with his fan-friendly slugging style and gorgeous head of hair. It’s just that they don’t want him to win this fight in particular. This match is a rebound for Cowboy, plain and simple, and Noons will play his role accordingly. (As for your prediction that one judge will score it 30-26? That would be Cecil Peoples. Meanwhile, Nelson Hamilton and Glenn Trowbridge will dispose of their scorecards after Cerrone wins by second-round TKO. Ah, yeah. Cecil Peoples jokes. I’ve been doing this for over five years now, and that’s not depressing at all.)
The UFC tends to give second chances to guys who are immediately thrown to the wolves in their UFC debuts or step in as short-notice injury replacements and get smashed, and Noons certainly fits that first category. Look for him to return later this year in a fight he can actually win. (Say, what’s that Yancy dude up to?)
Which prelim fighter is most likely to be unemployed after UFC 160? And why is the guy with the best record in MMA curtain-jerking on FX?
Ben: Well, Jeremy Stephens is the only prelim fighter who’s guaranteed to be cut if he loses on Saturday, considering that he’s already on a three-fight losing skid, and he’s fighting an Octagon newbie who’s best known for getting spinning-backfisted into a living death. The only problem is, I think Stephens will win that fight.
So I’m going to make a riskier pick and say Brian Bowles will never fight in the UFC again. The former WEC bantamweight champion has drifted out of relevance following his loss to Urijah Faber at UFC 139 and his subsequent year-and-a-half long injury layoff. George Roop will outstrike Bowles to a decision victory, and the UFC will realize that there’s really no point in keeping Bowles around anymore.
As for Khabib Nurmagomedov (aka “The Eagle”), it’s only his unpronounceably ethnic name that’s keeping him stuck underneath the Colton Smiths and Rick Storys of the world. But once he tears through Abel Trujillo, he’ll be the owner of a 20-0 record and four straight wins in the UFC. At that point, it won’t matter if his name is Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop Steinberg, the UFC won’t be able to keep this guy a secret any longer.
Jared: Wow…Roop over Bowles? Scanners, meet gif.
On Bowles’ WORST DAY, he would still beat the stuffing out of the puffed up crow’s cock that is George Roop, and I say that with all due respect. Luckily for us, this theory is going to be put to the test on Saturday, as Bowles will be coming off the longest layoff of his career as you mentioned. While I usually don’t base fight predictions on a fighter’s record, the fact that Roop hasn’t put together 2 wins in a row since 2008 (well technically, 07-08) is a more telling statistic than the reach advantage that Roop will fail to utilize as he has most of his career. Come Monday morning, Roop is going to venting his frustrations with fighter pay, the UFC’s preference of stand-and-bangers, and President Obama’s “crappy policies” to any two-bit journalist that will listen. Don’t worry; I’ve already got his number on speed dial.
It’s anyone’s guess why a guy as talented, not to mention exciting as Kebab NumaNumaYeah is still buried on the prelims, but in this case, I think it might actually make sense. UFC 160’s main card is stacked, quite honestly, yet I haven’t seen one advertisement for the event despite watching Bar Rescue on Spike TV for six hours yesterday. My masochistic TV tendencies aside, DW & Co. are probably thinking that the best way to score some last-minute PPV buys is with an exciting televised card for the meek, non-Smashers to enjoy. Starting said card with a fight that is sure to both bring the pain and piss off the Culinary Union? Sound like a win-win to me.