(If there was ever a time for GSP and Anderson Silva to form a 90′s R&B group, it is now.)
Despite the UFC’s best efforts to protect their pretty boy welterweight champion (SARCASM), Georges St. Pierre will in fact be facing top contender Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 this weekend. The fight headlines what is primed to be one of the UFC’s more stacked cards of the year (*fingers crossed*), which isn’t saying much when considering the cards that have preceded it, but still.
In any case, we’re not always the Debbie Downers you guys make us out to be, so we decided to rank the UFC 167 main card fights using only the power of optimism and the almighty gif. Enjoy.
In terms of pure drawing power, it makes sense that Sonnen vs. Evans would find itself as the co-main event of the evening. But when we step back and consider what a win would mean for either fighter in terms of their division, it becomes a significantly less intriguing fight to say the least. (Ed note: I know, it’s not exactly the “glass half full” mentality we were hoping to establish, but baby steps, you guys.)
Simply put, both Sonnen and Evans have done about as much as they can do at 205 lbs: they’ve fought and been dominated by Jon Jones, they’ve picked up wins over aging legends in recent bouts, and they stand about a snowball’s chance in hell of receiving another title shot. Not that every fight needs to be a “#1 contender bout” to interest us, but throw in the fact that Sonnen was already supposed to have returned to middleweight after fighting Shogun, that Evans is coming off a pair of less-than-entertaining affairs and that these guys are friends/co-hosts and you’ve got all the ingredients for a snoozer.
Oh yeah, and Sonnen has admitted that he isn’t exactly thrilled to be fighting Evans in the first place. When The American Gangster can’t even muster up the energy to throw a slightly racist death threat his opponent’s way, look out, brother. Official Ranking:
#4 – Tim Elliot vs. Ali Bagautinov
While it’s somewhat surprising that a fight between two relatively unknown (albeit talented) flyweights would be bumped to the PPV portion of the card over the guaranteed barnburner that is Donald Cerrone vs. Evan Dunham, our expectations are still pretty high for this bout. Elliot has looked as formidable as any flyweight out there in his victories over Louis Gaudinot and Jared Papazian — the latter of which earned him a FOTN bonus — and was barely edged out by former title challenger John Dodson in his promotional debut. He also KO’d Jens Pulver in 28 seconds back in 2011, but we won’t hold that against him.
As for Bagautinov, well…he has only fought once in the UFC (at Fight Night 28), where he KO’d Marcus Vinicius in the third round after being dominated in the first. He’s also Russian, which means he has a granite chin and is perpetually fueled by despair. This fight has the potential to be a truly overlooked scrap, but we’ve also seen promising fighters choke under the brights lights of their first PPV fight time and time again, so let’s give this fight a tentative Official Ranking of:
Can anyone explain what the hell has happened to Josh Koscheck: Master Troll? It used to be that a week couldn’t go by without the guy calling us media types “retards” or publicly wishing that his former teammates would all die in a fire, yet we haven’t heard a peep from him in what feels like ages. It could be that he’s dropped his past two fights, it could be that he’s been battling injuries for the better part of 2013, but damn it, we’re starting to miss the brash, overconfident, ass-motorboating Josh Koscheck of old. Which is why we’re relatively excited to see him return to the cage this Saturday against Woodley.
Both Koscheck and Woodley hail from wrestling backgrounds and have shown that they can knock a motherfucker out when need be, so we’re hoping that this fight turns into a good old fashioned banger once they have soundly negated each other’s grappling attacks. I can’t believe I’m typing this, but I’m actually pulling for Koscheck to score a big KO here. Although he’ll never be in the title picture as long as St. Pierre is around, there’s no denying that Fraggle Rock still has some fight left in him. Official Ranking:
What’s that, you say? St. Pierre is fighting a heavy-handed brawler with a solid wrestling base? No. Fucking. Way. WILL HE HAVE TO GO TO HIS “DARK PLACE” (for reals this time) TO DEFEAT A FIGHTER UNLIKE ANYONE HE HAS EVER FACED BEFORE, YOU GUYS? TELL ME MORE ABOUT THIS “PUNCHER’S CHANCE” YOU SPEAK OF!!
Don’t get us wrong, we’re as excited to see St. Pierre vs. Hendricks as we were for any of St. Pierre’s recent fights, but we all know how this fight is going to go down. St. Pierre via decision (50-45, 50-45, 48-43). Don’t even act like that last score is not a possibility given the quality of today’s MMA judges. Official Ranking:
Out with the old, in with the new. It’s as simple as that.
There have been rumors floating around that St. Pierre might just retire following his inevitable victory over Hendricks this weekend, rumors that were started by St. Pierre’s own mentor, no less. While we’re not biting hook, line and sinker (more on this later), it’s become quite apparent that St. Pierre is looking to pass the torch to his understudy/everyone’s favorite serial-killer-in-training, Rory MacDonald.
It’s not hard to see why. MacDonald has looked absolutely outstanding in 6 of his 7 octagon appearances, dominating former champion BJ Penn, former prospect Che Mills and Mike Pyle among others. That he’s on the heels of his lone disappointing appearance against Jake Ellenberger at UFC on FOX 8 (which he still walked away from with a victory) will only serve as motivation for MacDonald to skin Robbie Lawler alive and wear him as a suit come Saturday night.
On the other hand, Lawler has experienced something of a career resurgence since re-entering the UFC, KO’ing Josh Koscheck and Bobby Voelker in back-to-back appearances. Lawler will be riding some serious momentum into the octagon on Saturday and will surely be looking to capitalize on the lack of pressure being placed on his shoulders against a hype monster like MacDonald. And if by chance, he is able to knock out Rory, expect the interwebs to respond as such…
You know what? Let’s just declare that as our Official Ranking for this fight, because I’ve been looking at it for almost a half hour straight and cannot stop laughing.
How would you rank these fights in terms of pure excitement, Potato Nation? Give us a holler in the comments section.