(Double chin-smush. So intense. / Video via YouTube.com/UFC)
Are Chris Weidman‘s chances for an upset as good as everybody seems to think they are? Is Tim Kennedy better at talking than he is at fighting? Does UFC 162 feature the most stacked Facebook prelims in the history of curtain-jerking? And Dave Herman‘s getting fired, right? Read on as CagePotato founding editor Ben Goldstein and staff writer Jared Jones debate these topics — and so much more — and be sure to come back tomorrow night for our “Silva vs. Weidman” liveblog, beginning with the FX prelims at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.
Chris Weidman has become the fashionable pick for an upset against Anderson Silva. You don’t actually believe he’ll pull it off, do you? I mean, you’re not a moron, right?
JJ: Now, I may be a moron, but there is one thing I am not, sir, and that, sir, is a moron.
If we were to have this debate immediately after Weidman had finished knocking Mark Munoz into an ice cream cake-induced depression, I would have told you that Anderson Silva was a dead man walking. “Weidman brings the kind of grappling prowess that, like Chael P. Sonnen before him, will all but completely suffocate Andy’s offense,” I would say whilst smoking a corncob pipe and farting into a wine glass, “And his striking, while clearly not on Silva’s level, has improved enough to keep the soon-to-be former champ hesitant in those rare moments when he won’t be fighting off his back.” I would have mocked you for daring to claim otherwise, then had security escort you out of my chalet bungalow when you inevitably lost your cool like a common miscreant.
And honestly, not a lot has changed since Weidman punched (and punched and punched) his way to #1 contender status almost a year ago to the day. That’s the problem. Weidman has been recovering from shoulder surgery and Silva has been retiring roided-up LHW’s in between increasingly shitty movie appearances. Am I crazy enough to pick a Chris Weidman coming off a year layoff to upset ANDERSON FREAKING SILVA? What do I look like, a moron?
BG: I feel like this wave of Weidman-support isn’t so much based on realistic analysis of the matchup, so much as fans’ natural desire to see some change after seven years of having the same champion dominating the competition, and other UFC fighters’ totally understandable self-interest in having that dominant champion go away for a while. It’s wishful thinking, basically.
Instead of discussing what Chris Weidman could theoretically do to Silva, you only need to consider Silva’s body of work in the UFC to understand that this fight probably won’t go the challenger’s way. And that’s fine. Weidman is still a young athlete who only started competing as a professional mixed martial artist in 2009. Experience counts in this sport, and Weidman just doesn’t have it. Whatever work he’s been doing in the gym, it won’t prepare him for that moment when he realizes — perhaps too late — just how talented and fearless Anderson Silva really is. I will now link you to the greatest GIF in MMA history.
The good news is, Weidman has a long career still ahead of him. Three years from now, Anderson Silva might be retired, and Chris Weidman will still be beating up top contenders. He’ll have his moment. Saturday night will not be that moment.
Tim Kennedy seems to talk a lot for a guy without many significant wins. Will Roger Gracie silence him for once, or will Kennedy finally live up to his own hype?
BG: Indeed, Tim Kennedy talka lotta boolsheet. This is the guy who called his fellow Strikeforce fighters “a bunch of little vaginas,” and criticized the UFC for giving Ronda Rousey a title belt instead of making her fight for one. He’s unapologetically American, possibly anti-Mormon, and he’s not afraid to put your business in the street. In a way, he’s like an in-shape version of Roy Nelson, in the sense that he’s clearly not here to make friends, and will remain true to himself even at the expense of his career. He hasn’t even had his first fight in the UFC yet, and Dana White already can’t stand him. (“No disrespect, but who gives a fuck about Tim Kennedy?” White said when asked about Kennedy’s recent fighter-pay gripes.)
I mention all that to say this: I really don’t know if he’ll beat Roger Gracie, but his job might depend on it. The reason why the UFC continues to do business with Roy Nelson is because Nelson gives the fans what they want to see, every single time: A devastating knockout, or a fat guy getting the shit beaten out of him for 15 minutes. That’s entertainment. But if Tim Kennedy is unpopular with his boss, not a huge viewership draw, and not particularly cheap to have around, he’d better win on Saturday, or lose in a spectacular dogfight.
Alright, I know that’s a cop-out. Here’s my official prediction: Kennedy manages to keep the fight standing and wins by unanimous decision; the performance won’t do much for him, one way or the other.
JJ: My problem with Tim Kennedy isn’t that he shoots his gums off every now and again, it’s that for all the shit-talking he does, he’s never really impressed me all that much in the ring. He’s got a pair of decent victories over Robbie Lawler and Melvin Manhoef, but he was little more than a walking punching bag for Luke Rockhold and was similarly outgunned by Jacare back at Strikeforce: Houston. If Kennedy wants to continue trashing everyone and everything, he’d best score an impressive victory in his UFC debut.
Thankfully for Kennedy, I don’t think the bookies are giving him his due credit. Kennedy is a solid wrestler with decent standup skills to match, which makes him the Kryptonite of Roger Gracie (or really, any modern-day Gracie). I mean, did you even see Roger’s fight against King Mo? It was like watching a MacGruber sketch; you knew that a bomb was gonna go off at some point, it was just a matter of how long you could suspend your disbelief.
Is there anybody on the card whose odds of getting fired afterwards are greater than Dave Herman‘s?
JJ: Short answer: No. Long answer: Noooooooooope.
BG: Definitely not, and I’m a little shocked that Herman hasn’t already been fired, what with his three-straight stoppage losses and the multiple marijuana-related misunderstandings. But hey, it’s not like Gabriel Gonzaga has been the most consistent heavyweight on the UFC’s roster; maybe Herman can pull off the win here and save his job. I’d say that the next guy on the danger-list might be Chris Leben, whose history of drug suspensions and other mayhem far overshadows Herman’s — but Dana White simply loves him too much. So I’ll just point out that Rafaello Oliveira has gone 1-2 in his latest UFC stint, and he’s facing Edson Barboza on Saturday. Never a great combination.
On the next page: Is Cub Swanson a legitimate title contender, what’s the most profitable bet you can place on this card, and why are Seth Baczynski and Mike Pierce stuck on Facebook?