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Ben vs. ReX: UFC 123 Edition


("I’m actually preparing for my next movie role right now. It’s called ‘This Muhfucka Breff Stank: The Machida Story’." Props: twitter.com/danawhite)

With Bellator on hiatus, Friday mornings have gotten a little lonely around here. So I decided to reach out to Doug "ReX13" Richardson and see if he felt like reviving a classic feature on CagePotato, and engaging in some spirited debate on a few UFC 123-related topics that we didn’t get to cover in last week’s podcast. Will this be the beginning of a new era, or the raping of an old legacy? Read on and decide for yourself. And don’t forget to come back tomorrow night for our liveblog of Rampage vs. Machida!

Between Rampage, Machida, Hughes, and Penn, who would most deserve a title shot after a win on Saturday?

BG: Matt Hughes by a country mile. Hughes has already built up three-straight wins in his division — which sets him apart from the other headliners on the card who are all coming off of losses — and a win in his rubber match against Penn might generate interest in the revival of another big-money rivalry from the past: Hughes vs. GSP. (Yes, Georges would need to get past Josh Koscheck at UFC 124, but who are we kidding here?)

No matter who holds the 170-pound strap at the end of next month, it’s clear that the UFC’s welterweight division is short on exciting title challengers, while the light-heavyweight division almost has too many of them. Once the Mauricio Rua vs. Rashad Evans title scrap finally goes down, the winner of Jon Jones vs. Ryan Bader could legitimately be slotted in for a shot ahead of Jackson or Machida. Meanwhile, a Hall of Famer like Matt Hughes making another unlikely title run would be a lot more compelling than Jon Fitch or Jake Shields getting their dutiful turns at bat. In fact, Fitch and Shields should have to fight each other to establish the UFC’s Alpha Blanket before either of them get a whiff of championship gold.

RX: Wow, really? Country Breakfast was the first guy I eliminated. His last win over a guy under thirty years old was five years ago, and he hasn‘t shown any interest in actually fighting top 5 fighters at 170. Both Hughes and Penn are looking to win this fight so internet assholes like ourselves don’t start saying they’re washed-up bums.


That leaves us with Machida or Jackson — who deserves a shot more? Jackson does. Here’s a guy that has essentially been written off by most at this point. We’ve seen that Machida can be beaten by crowding him and forcing him out of his well-honed counterpunching style, but Rampage isn’t known for sticking to a gameplan. Things could get ugly. We’ve questioned everything about ‘Page except his citizenship status, and if he manages to solve The Riddle of the Dragon, I’ll firmly back his getting an immediate title shot. And by “immediate,” I mean put him on a plane and send him to whatever Brazilian hospital Shogun is convalescing in, falls count anywhere and Stockton Rules apply. Failing that, at least let him blast Rua’s physical therapist in the face.

What will be the best fight on the card, and what will be the worst fight on the card?

RX: The worst fight on the card is pretty obvious: Nik Lentz versus Tyson Griffin. If you don’t see “decision” written all over that fight, then please let me help you find your glasses, ma’am. Surely you haven’t forgotten about last time when Nik Lentzzzzzzzzzzzxasep[0yt54hy

Shit, sorry. What were we talking about? Oh yeah, best fight. For my money, the Premature Fight of the Night Award goes to Sotiropoulos-Lauzon. I’m expecting a fight with a little bit of boxing and takedown stuffing, followed by a furious finishing sequence on the ground. Sotiropoulos is one of the most well-rounded fighters out there, but Lauzon’s victory at UFC 118 was so impressive I’m tempted to describe him as “explosive.” If Lightweight weren’t so logjammed right now with guys lined up for a shot at the title, I’d expect this to produce the number one contender.

BG: I also expect Lauzon vs. Sotiropoulos to be a killer match — though I’m not going to ride Joe Lauzon’s nuts just because he smashed Gabe Ruediger, which most lightweights on the UFC’s roster would have been able to do. But there’s also the chance that Lauzon/Papadapolis could turn out to be one of those highly-technical games of human chess that Joe Rogan will need to keep reminding us to appreciate. A more guaranteed thriller will be Gerald Harris vs. UFC newcomer Maiquel Falcao. Falcao is an incredibly aggressive Brazilian gorilla juicehead knockout artist who finishes most of his opponents in the first round. And y’all already know what Harris does to Octagon newbies.

Yes, Griffin vs. Lentz is the obvious choice for most unwatchable fight of the night, but keep in mind that both of these guys are fighting for their jobs, and Lentz has probably been specifically warned to be more exciting or else after his 15-minute Jon Fitch-impression at UFC 118. Maybe the mutual-desperation will translate into a passionate fight. Karo Parisyan, on the other hand, was never that exciting even in his prime, and he could easily spend all three rounds clinching with Dennis Hallman. Luckily, neither of those fights are scheduled for broadcast, so we probably won’t have to see them unless they turn out well.

Considering UFC 123′s betting odds, what’s the smartest bet you could make here? (Parlays count.)

BG: If you’ve read my recent Gambling Addiction Enabler columns, you know that I shouldn’t be allowed within 500 feet of giving anybody wagering advice. My problem is that the safe bets don’t interest me. Putting small money on favorites, chipping together a profit event by event? Forget it — if it’s not dangerous, it’s not fun. That’s why I gravitate toward the underdogs — like the streaking Matt Hughes, who’s a +150 ‘dog against BJ Penn, or Dennis Hallman who’s sitting at +140 against the totally unpredictable Karo Parisyan. Or sometimes I’ll see how many favorites I can realistically stack together in a single bet. (Did you know that if you set up a five-way parlay with Lyoto Machida, Phil Davis, George Sotiropoulos, Gerald Harris, and Paul Kelly, you could quadruple your investment? True story.)

Well, for once I’m going to learn from my mistakes. Nothing fancy this time, just a two-man parlay with a couple of fighters who hold all the advantages. I think Rampage Jackson is far too predictable and one-dimensional to avoid being eaten alive by Lyoto Machida. I like Sotiropoulos and Harris to win, but a bet on George (-220) is slightly more profitable than a bet on Gerald (-250) so we’ll go with the Australian. At BetUS, a $20 parlay on Machida + Sotiropoulos will return a profit of $19.73 — pretty close to even money. I can get my thrills elsewhere.

RX: Aw, you’re tearing me apart, Lisa. Seriously, why is it when we try to predict fights, you get all “safe bets are good” and “quadruple money? Eff that.” Dude, balls. Chicks dig ‘em.

Good call on Hughes, though. The bookies are apparently under the impression that BJ Penn is going to work Matt Hughes all over the cage; take their money. Penn had the fire five or six years ago — remember when he murdered poor Caol Uno? — but he’s just not driven enough. He looked apathetic in his second loss to Frankie Edgar, and couldn’t even be bothered to put on a few pounds of muscle for a fight at welterweight. Meanwhile, Hughes is enjoying a resurgence picking on aging BJJ black belts, he has all the tools needed to win, and comparing his conditioning to Penn’s requires using fucking exponents and shit. Plus, I hear he’s undergoing Hormone Replacement Therapy, which grants superhuman powers to mere mortals.

I suggest adding Hughes to your parlay with Machida and Munoz, then season to taste with either another safe bet (Davis or Sotiropoulos) or your choice of upset (Falcao or Lauzon). For shits and giggles, I put in a six man Machida-Hughes-Falcao-Davis-Sotiropoulos-Munoz parlay, and a hypothetical fifty bucks would net just over $1400. So bet your child support on it. (Unless you’re Aaron Goddamn Rampey, in which case: get at me, bro, we’re going to Vegas!)

This weekend’s StrikeForce card: great event this weekend, or greatest event this weekend?

RX: LOL, there’s a SF show for realz? Geez, I wish there were some sort of decision-making matrix I could consult; Deathly Hallows Part 1 is out.

BG: Let me make it real simple, ReX — Which do you prefer, magical high-school boys or bear-face hand-tattoos? That’s what I thought. See you at the multiplex.

Cagepotato Comments

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Charming Charlie- November 20, 2010 at 1:59 pm
I appreciate these posts for helping swing the betting odds in retarded directions, allowing me to profit a little bit more from sensible bets, e.g., BJ Penn.
MoTropolis- November 19, 2010 at 3:14 pm
I know the Penn we have seen the last few fights have not been the same as when he was running thru the LW division, but he DOMINATED Hughes in both of their fights. Does that count for nothing?
2and0- November 19, 2010 at 1:31 pm
Rex, I don't know why but in my head your paragraphs sound like Shaggy 2 dope and Voilent J. I like it. On the (w)hole it feels good.
Nut Puncher 9000- November 19, 2010 at 1:31 pm
Ben is correct on Hughes deserving the next shot should the UFC decide its in their best interest. Hughes caught fickle fan disease after losing to GSP twice and Alves, but step back and look at the big picture. He is a HALL OF FAME champion. He has only lost four times in almost 10 years (hasnt lost in almost 2 1/2 years) and those loses came to BJ Penn (Dominant LW Champion/top 5 lb for lb'r), Alves (consistent WW top 5 contender), and twice to GSP (The Current WW champ who has all but crushed everyone in the division). He doesnt have a loss to Matt Serra or some other scrub on his resume. He has only lost to cream of the crop competition.

Hughes has a steady fan base and his "revival" is just the storyline the UFC can use. The fact is Hughes has never gone anywhere and just because you might not like him doesnt mean he isnt standing first in line.

Machida would be a close second.
Viva Hate- November 19, 2010 at 1:18 pm
Man, new dad Doug sucks. I miss old dad Mike.
RSparrow- November 19, 2010 at 12:46 pm
Why the fuck is everyone counting monkey-boy J-Lo out of this fight???

I have a feeling thats gonna fuck up everyones parlay.

I'm going Machida, Penn, Lauzon.
jimbonics- November 19, 2010 at 11:47 am
Mofo, go to google.com/reader, subscribe to cagepotato, and you can see who submitted what. Haven't seen ben use the 'ol (BG) in a while now, or at least with any consistency.

Besides, all the writing styles here are a bit different, and it's usually obvious who wrote what.

And there's nothing wrong with "we". CagePotato is a team damnit!
Crusader86- November 19, 2010 at 11:23 am
Oops, double post.
Crusader86- November 19, 2010 at 11:19 am
Ah good point. I forgot about Thiago, but even then same thing. Rashad gets rocked by Silva, does the human blanket for a decision victory. I don't know, having Rashad back up after two, not so amazing performances just doesn't seem to fit for me. However, besides the winner of Jones Vs Bader, I cannot really think of anyone that would be good for this. I know Dana wants to have Jones rise slowly, but screw it. That'd be a badass fight. I'd love to see Rashad try to blanket on Jones.
Crusader86- November 19, 2010 at 11:18 am
Ah good point. I forgot about Thiago, but even then same thing. Rashad gets rocked by Silva, does the human blanket for a decision victory. Shit, you may be right. Besides the winner of Jones Vs Bader, I cannot really think of anyone that would be good for this. I know Dana wants to have Jones rise slowly, but screw it. That'd be a badass fight. I'd love to see Rashad try to blanket on Jones.
Stak40- November 19, 2010 at 11:05 am
Crusader

Rashad beet Thiago Silva before he beat Rampage. Thats not to say he should get a title shot for getting a decision in those to fight but who else at this time would deserve one more?
Crusader86- November 19, 2010 at 10:57 am
I'm not sure I even understand why Rashad deserves a title shot all ready. He got destroyed by Machida, came back and beat Rampage, barely I may add, Rampage rocked him and he only pulled through by being a human blanket. Hell give him the winner of Jones/Bader or something. I don't see how one fight against someone who isn't even really a title contender entitles you to a title shot. C'mon meow.
rearnakedchickenchoke- November 19, 2010 at 10:43 am
Hey guys, I'd love it if you put the betting odds in there like the old days as well. It helps your pool-joining readers for sure. I definitely enjoy this format of article before the big events. Thanks.
Mofo- November 19, 2010 at 10:39 am
Also, much dap to both Ben and Rex for using your names!

It's so much better than always using the editorial "we" and never putting names on posts.

Why does CP have a policy of anonymity, and the "real journalism" avoidance of the word "I"?

Rex has been signing his posts since his first one, afaik, and it's 100 times more personable!
Mofo- November 19, 2010 at 10:32 am
Rex, props for linking to that CP post with Matt's quote about not wanting to fight Koscheck and the "younger kids".

That CP post flashes through my head every time I hear someone saying "Hughes" and "title run" in the same sentence without it being a joke.

Grandpa has been dodging actual welterweights for many years now, take him out to the shed.
ghostboner- November 19, 2010 at 10:25 am
I was certain that when Ben said "I can get my thrills elsewhere" the link would be to something human centipede related.

@Aaron GoshDarn Rampey - You wanna take over mine for a while? No really do ya?
Smitty- November 19, 2010 at 10:20 am
Nicely done Rex. Don't let Goog punk you out yo shit tho. You would really have to be retarded to believe that "The Free Rampage Abortion Clinic" doesn't stand a chance to win this fight.
RwilsonR- November 19, 2010 at 9:41 am
I'm with jimbonics on this one. Hughes doesn't really deserve a title shot, but he also has a history with this sport and that division that nobody else has. If he wins, let the man get beat again by GSP.

@ Rex - not sure about the shoes you had to fill, but I thought you filled the oversized chiseled jaw-line nicely. Excellent work! All was great, except for resorting to the over-played 'zzzzzzzzz' joke. I thought you were better than that. But then you redeemed yourself with the 'exponents and shit', and all was good again.
J-Dog- November 19, 2010 at 9:39 am
I'm real surprised Penn is a favorite over Hughes. I think Hughes will beat Penn quite convincingly. I'd put my money there. As a parlay I'll bet Penn has some sort of weak ass excuse for losing. Aloha, loser.
KarmaAteMyCat- November 19, 2010 at 9:37 am
TEACHER, TEACHER PICK ME! PICK ME!

Okay so, the only person on this planet I wanna see Karo fight is named Nate Diaz and it is being set up if Karo can just win a fight or two. Now everyone keeps on with the you can't teach an old dog new tricks and thus people are counting rampage out quit living in the past, live in the here and now. The Hughes Penn fight is suspect I even made the statement three weeks ago at the gym that if Penn showed up to the fight looking solid and in shape I would be just a little more impressed and "maybe"(HUGE FUCKING MAYBE) a believer. I just don't think Bj has the fire as you guys said I don't think dude really wants to fight for any other reason the perhaps Money, and avoiding Zuffa Law suits which seem to just be a trendy thing these days so he's finishing his contract and pondering his future to me that leaves a lot of doubt about Penn. I love the fight between Georgie and Lauzon it's an amazing ground fight on paper and could even turn into a slug it out brawl on the feet. Like I said I am a Wrestler/Jujitsu guy at heart and I can't help but love when two guy just play that game of Tetris er.. I mean chess. Yeah so UFC 123 looks promising, however after having the MMA world split in half on all three of the last three shows which were either Gold or Golden Shit it's hard to tell what to expect. If shit doesn't go down as the Bald Father wants I would expect him and Brock to clear the octagon together Steel chairs in hand. Better yet perhaps we can do an old style Dx Invasion and go attack Strikeforce challengers all they need is a couple squirt guns some water balloons and an all terrain jeep. Good luck Potato Nation and enjoy the PPV(BY THE WAY THIS IS A PAY PER VIEW WHAT WENT DOWN IN GERMANY WAS NOT A PAY PER VIEW) Thanks.
jimbonics- November 19, 2010 at 9:08 am
Good stuff.

If Hughes wins, give him a shot. Not saying he would deserve one, but if you're not going to give him a shot before his contract is up, why keep him around? People would watch that shit.

'chida / 'page don't matter, as 'shad got next.
aarondramp- November 19, 2010 at 9:05 am
Just get me the details on that Vegas trip and I may forgive you.
GILL-uh-TEEN- November 19, 2010 at 9:03 am
Strikeforce Mentally Challengers
ReX13- November 19, 2010 at 9:01 am
ARamp >>  So, no Vegas trip?And yeah, i'll spot you that i have a *mild* retart issue.
agentsmith- November 19, 2010 at 8:51 am
WTF is Ben smoking that he thinks Hughes would deserve a title shot? Yes that would make 4 wins in a row, but 3 of them would be against guys not even close to top-10 (one of which hadn't fought in over 3 years, for fuck sakes), and the fourth against a lightweight. Unless he's even willing to fight one of the top dogs at 170 first, let alone beat one, fuck all that noise about a title shot. Especially if the champ is still the guy who already destroyed him twice in a row, which it most likely will be.
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