(Simon Cowell said they sucked. L.A. Reid said they sucked. Nicole Scherzinger said they sucked. Paula Abdul said they should keep practicing and never give up their dreams. / Props: jessektabor2)
UFC 135 goes down tomorrow night in Denver, and as always, it’s incredibly important that you hear our opinions about it. Fresh off his controversial split-decision victory over Seth Falvo, CagePotato staff writer Jared Jones returns for another head-to-head column against founding editor Ben Goldstein. Can Rampage pull off an upset? Is Matt Hughes on his way to retirement? Whose new screen-name will be more humiliating? Read on and get yourself educated…
Is there a part of you that wants to see Rampage get his belt back? How likely is that to happen?
JJ: There will always be a small part of me that wants to see Page with a belt again, if only so I never have to watch that same clip of Rampage exclaiming just how much he wants it back in every pre-fight commercial he’s been in since losing it. On the other hand, I fear for the lives of Southern California if he does win the belt and then loses it again.
As far as the likelihood of Page being the champ again, I’d say it’s better than those bookies would have you believe, but not much. Let’s face it, Rampage earned this title shot with a razor thin decision over Lyoto Machida and an unimpressive decision over a now retired Matt Hamill. Yes, he seems incredibly focused and in shape and yes, Bones’ chin has yet to be tested, but Jones is simply too quick, diverse, and smart to get caught by a straight boxer like Rampage.
BG: First off, no, I don’t want to see Rampage get his belt back. Not even a little. Dude gives me a headache sometimes. Like Nick Diaz, he’s a paranoid weirdo with a persecution complex — everybody’s cocky, everybody’s fake. Look, if you’re one of the hordes of eCritics that have emerged since Jones beat up Shogun, I’m sure you have your reasons. But to me, Jon Jones represents the latest step in MMA’s evolution, and it would feel like a regression if he were unseated by a guy who pretty much just throws hands these days.
The odds on this fight are so inflated because as loud as Rampage’s supporters can be sometimes, nobody’s actually betting money on him. Why would they? Jones has an 11.5-inch reach advantage, he’s far more athletic, and he’s unpredictable. Bones might beat up Rampage standing just to prove a point. After Saturday, we can stop calling Jones the “future of MMA.” He’ll officially be the present — a defending champion. Now what will that make Rampage?
Josh Koscheck is going to kick Matt Hughes’s ass, right? I mean, that’s not really a question, so…how do you feel about the fact that Josh Koscheck is going to kick Matt Hughes’s ass?
BG: I mean, I don’t feel sad about it if that’s what you’re asking. Between his two welterweight title reigns and induction into the UFC Hall of Fame, Hughes has accomplished all there is to accomplish in this sport. I don’t think another championship belt is in his future, and I don’t really need to see him spend a couple more years knocking around against other contenders. His wife is ready for him to come home. Come home, Matt.
As for tomorrow’s fight, Koscheck has the striking advantage and Hughes won’t be able to put him on his back with any consistency. Kos by late TKO, followed by an emotional in-cage retirement from Hughes, as the crowd solemnly sings “A Country Boy Can Survive” in unison.
JJ: Ben, you ignorant slut. Weren’t we all saying the same thing about Ricardo Almeida just a little while ago? Matt Hughes may be coming off one of the most embarrassing (not to mention fastest) losses of his career, but this ain’t gunna be no walk in the park for Fraggle Rock. Koscheck’s striking has been overrated praised ever since his brutal finish of Yoshiyuki Yoshida, but was all but useless against GSP. Is Hughes as good on the feet as GSP? Hell no, but his wrestling is better than Koschecks, and if, no, WHEN he eeks out a boring decision over Koscheck, I’ll be dancing my cares away with all that extra bread.
JJ: If this was a just world, I would say no. But Michael Bay still finds work, so it clearly isn’t, and as long as these guys WAR!!! then who the hell knows what’s going to happen. Diaz has only won three of his past eight fights, his wrestling sucks, and he isn’t anywhere near anyone’s top 10, or 20 for that matter. If Gomi loses, it’ll probably be by submission, and as much as it pains me to see him off, he would need a few wins elsewhere and an improved ground game if he wants back in the UFC. But I am really hoping he is able to turn Diaz’s lights out, if only to know that is possible for Christ’s sake.
BG: I agree that the loser should have to get a couple tune-up wins outside of the UFC, but I’ll put it like this — Gomi’s job is safe and Nate’s isn’t. Even if Gomi gets boxed up and gogo’d in the first round, the UFC will still keep him around for their upcoming Japan show, guaranteed. As for Diaz? He got bounced out of the lightweight division, then bounced out of the welterweight division, and now he’s back at lightweight. Another bad loss, and it would be clear that there’s really no place for him. Plus, don’t you think Dana wants to stick it to the Diaz family after that shit Nick pulled? King Pinkberry never forgets.
JJ: First, hand me that old bucket filled with bum sperm!! Seriously though, I would say the easiest way would be to bet it all on Page or Hughes, who are the most attractive underdogs, but I’m a man of variety. Despite getting swarmbashed (new term, called it) by a fever ridden Kyle Kingsbury recently, Ricardo Romero looks decent at +140 against the submission susceptible James Te Huna, and if “Big” Ben Rothwell decides to trade strikes with Hunt, then it could be an early night for him…
Screw it, I’m gunna go ahead and drop half of that C-note on a Boetsch-Ferguson-Romero parlay and the other half on a Hughes-Page-Rothwell parlay. Let’s just hope my bookie is more forgiving than last time.
BG: Wow, Hughes and Jackson in the same parlay? How much is Bodog paying you to write this garbage? Learn from my mistakes, Jared — doubling up on parlays is the quickest way to heartbreak. During my years of giving terrible gambling advice, I think I’ve matured enough to learn a valuable lesson: There are some events where you simply can’t make a huge profit, so don’t even try. And let’s face it, these UFC 135 odds are a total nightmare, filled with blowouts where you can’t justify putting money on the favorite or the underdog. But if I have to, I’ll put $30 on Jon Jones, $30 on Travis Browne, $30 on Tony Ferguson, and $10 on Gomi for the upset. According to BetUS, that would give me a potential profit of $42.02. Yuck. Moving on…
Screen-name bet time: Make one specific prediction for a fight at UFC 135. The person who makes the more accurate prediction gets to change the other person’s commenter name to something embarrassing for a week.
JJ: Nate Diaz will give the old “Stockton Heybuddy” about a minute before finishing Takanori Gomi with a guillotine. Is that too obvious? Either way, enjoy being Bisping’sgaysecret for a week.