(…and if you turn the poster over, you’ll see Ben and Seth, butt to butt.)
UFC 169 is poppin’ off this Saturday in Newark, featuring two title fights, a must-win battle between a pair of fading heavyweight legends, and a bunch of other crap that you may or may not care about. Join us as CagePotato founding editor Ben Goldstein and editor emeritus Seth Falvo debate the major storylines surrounding the event, from Urijah Faber‘s resurrected title hopes to our always iron-clad gambling advice (LOL), and much more. Enjoy…
True or false: Even though Urijah Faber has already been beaten once by Renan Barao, he still has a better chance of becoming champion this weekend than Ricardo Lamas does.
BG: True. Barao has proven that he’s a better fighter than Faber, but the Cali Kid is so talented and dangerous that nobody really outclasses him at 135. If Barao has a bad night and Faber has a good night, it’s within the realm of possibility that Faber could find a way to choke him out; their skills aren’t that far apart. And maybe there isn’t a talent-gap whatsoever. The fact that Faber’s five WEC/UFC losses have all come in title fights — and the fact that he’s still undefeated in non-title fights, after a full decade of competition — suggests that perhaps there’s some kind of psychological block that’s preventing the California Kid from firing on all cylinders when a belt’s on the line. (Then again, that’s probably the best reason to pick against him on Saturday.) But in this chaotic sport, anything can happen. No absurd win streak lasts forever, and sometimes the sun shines on an old veteran’s ass, so to speak.
SF: False, and not just because this column would be really boring if we both agreed with each other. No one is denying that Urijah Faber is an outstanding talent, but you pretty much made my point for me when you wrote “if Barao has a bad night and Faber has a good night” in regards to his chances of becoming the bamtamweight champion. Lamas, on the other hand…okay fine, his odds aren’t looking any better. Both men have the same slim chances of walking out of The Prudential Center with their respective division’s title, making “Faber has a better chance” technically wrong, and me technically correct. And everyone knows that technically correct is the best kind of correct.
Let’s say Barao defeats Faber on Saturday. Let’s say that he also never fights Dominick Cruz. Does that make Barao’s title run any less legitimate?
And now, your weekly reminder that Todd Harris is no longer a part of our lives.
In order to get us hyped for Donald Cerrone vs. Ben Henderson III at Fight Night 59 next weekend, the UFC has generously made the pair’s initial meeting at WEC 43 available for viewing on its official Youtube page. In what would be voted “Fight of the Year” by Sherdog when all was said and done, Henderson would defeat Cerrone via unanimous decision and secure the interim lightweight championship in the process.
But rather than give you some paint-by-numbers play-by-play of a fight you can watch with your own two eyes above, we’d rather call your attention to an ultra-brief moment during “Cowboy’s” introduction that we simply cannot stop watching.
At around the 2:13 mark, the camera pans across the audience in attendance at WEC 43 — specifically, those sitting in the premo cageside seats. It’s the classic kind of crowd shot that has given us dozens ofgif-worthy moments in the past (“Girl in the White Dress” hnnnng), but none that stack up to the woman in the red blouse sitting in the second row.
After hours of research that probably could have been spent doing something more productive, we have yet to clarify whether or not the man sitting to her left is Paul Buentello. What we do know, however, is that she is miserable. Like, 8 months pregnant and waiting for her husband to return home with the pizza miserable. (Ed note: Yes, this took us *hours* to determine. Big whoop, wanna fight about it?)
What in God’s name happened to her? Is she tired? Flu-ridden? Under duress? Is she trying to avoid being caught with her sidepiece on camera like that OSU fan last week? Or did we simply happen to witness the exact moment in which Buentello pitched her his latest catchphrase? Infinite possibilities, each more intriguing than the last…
Check out the full video of Cerrone/Henderson 1 above, if you’re into that sort of thing. I, on the other hand, have some phone calls to make.
Benson “Smooth” Henderson is a talented fighter with a knack for winning the fights he loses. But on the oft-overlooked business side of MMA, Henderson is a dud.
As champion, he consistently failed to move the needle in terms of PPV buys and ratings. His rematch against Frankie Edgar at UFC 150 drew a paltry 190,000 buys—one of the worst buyrates in recent UFC history.
The UFC shipped Henderson off to FOX for his next two outings, presumably to build his name via fighting on a massive television network. Henderson headlined UFC on FOX 5 and UFC on FOX 7. They both earned modest numbers, with the former receiving an average of 3.41 million viewers (1.6 rating in the adult 18-49 demo) and the latter 3.3 million viewers (1.6 rating in the adult 18-49 demo).
After almost every UFC event, the UFC will hold a post-fight press conference. One of the first things mentioned at these get-togethers are the winners of the Fight Night Bonuses. These $50,000 pay-bumps are (usually) handed out to four fighters per event: Two combatants take home Performance of the Night awards, and the individuals that were deemed to have the best fight on the card take home Fight of the Night.
Performance bonuses are a nice little perk that the UFC hands out. However, much like that fuzzy block of cheese in the back of the refrigerator, they may have reached their expiration date.
On a recent edition of the Co-Main Event Podcast, host Chad Dundas suggested that the UFC do away with Fight Night bonuses, and instead use those funds to provide a monthly stipend to every fighter on the UFC roster. Not only is this a good idea, it’s the right thing to do, and it’s the right time for the UFC to do it.
The last time a proposal such as this was floated, it was UFC president Dana White that offered up the suggestion. Ignoring the fact that the majority of the 500 plus fighters on the UFC roster are underpaid as professional athletes, White puffed out his chest, and focused on “the lower level guys,” telling the Las Vegas Sun, “(Expletive) yeah, it could happen (doing away with Fight Night bonuses). That’s what I’m thinking about doing. All the (expletive) lower-level guys think they need their money boosted. Everyone thinks it’s not enough money, so that’s easy to do.”
It was a predictable outcome because it pitted UFC newcomers against long tenured and established fighters. White used a basic dirty management style when he floated the idea, pitting the two factions against each other. Since the UFC veterans outnumber the promotional newbies it was a foregone conclusion that the idea would fail to gain traction.
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.
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.
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?
0:04 – Cerrone steps into frame and excitedly claps his hands and stomps his foot because he’s just so damn excited to see his buddy Benson again. They embrace like two long-lost friends.
0:10 – Dana White reminds them they’re here to promote a fight and tells them to square off. Cerrone, who’s already four inches taller than Henderson, gets up on his toes, and Henderson just smiles and laughs because his buddy Donald is such a clown.
0:15 – Dana tells them to “face forward, shoulder to shoulder,” and Cerrone takes the command as literally as possible, then starts nudging at Henderson like a young boy pestering his older brother. Cerrone, wearing a soon-to-be-banned Budweiser shirt, announces that “rounds are on ‘Cowboy’ after this fight.”
(Cain doesn’t see an enormous head. He sees a big, beautiful, blood-piñata, just waiting to burst open and spill its bounty. / Photo via MMAFighting.com)
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 obviousthat 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?
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?
The fight will mark Cerrone’s seventh UFC appearance in the last 14 months. Get that money, Cowboy.
Update:MMAFighting reports that Alvarez’s withdrawal is flu-related. “Alvarez’s sickness resulted in weight loss and stopped him from training. He apparently tried to fight through it, but he felt worse on Monday and was forced to pull out of the bout.”
(“How ’bout we say ‘triangle choke, round 2.’ I’ve got a t-shirt riding on this.” / Photo via MMAFighting.com)
With UFC 159 slated for tomorrow night, CagePotato founding editor Ben Goldstein and beloved CP staff writer Jared Jones have teamed up to argue about all the important themes surrounding the event. So how will the absurd light-heavyweight title fight end, exactly? What will happen if Alan Belcher actually lets Michael Bisping take a free shot to his face? Can the third women’s UFC fight possibly live up to the first two? How many more fights can Leonard Garcia lose before the UFC gives him the ol’ heave-ho? Read on, and throw down your own opinions in the comments section.
Will Jon Jones immediately demolish Chael Sonnen, or will he play around with Chael a little before demolishing him? And will Chael retire after the loss?
BG: I rarely make sweeping statements about who will win an MMA fight because 1) anything can happen in this crazy sport, and 2) the things you write on the Internet often come back to haunt you. But yes, Jon Jones will win this fight. I absolutely guarantee it. Sonnen’s best weapon — his relentless wrestling attack — will dash apart against Jones’s own wrestling, which is precision-tuned for the sport of MMA. Quickly out of options, Chael will throw his patented “I give up” spinning backfist, fall down against the cage, and will whisper a quick prayer to his God before Jones literally eats him and shits him out. And I do mean literally, okay? Literally.
I’m leaning towards a quick beat-down in this fight rather than an extended clowning, because Jones takes his job too seriously to “play around” with an opponent. (He’s not exactly Mr. Fun, we’ve noticed.) And once Chael feels the power of a large light-heavyweight, he’ll realize what a bad idea this whole thing was in the first place. To exit the sport directly after another humiliation wouldn’t fit in with Sonnen’s blustery self-image, so I think he’ll take at least one more fight — maybe at middleweight, maybe at light-heavyweight — before calling it quits. Once he starts losing to non-champions, he’ll wisely make the switch to full-time UFC talking head and occasional hair-texture tester.
JJ: Mark my words, this fight will be Jon Jones’s UFC 97 (or UFC 112, depending on which fight you thought was worse). Jones may not be a fun-loving guy, as you stated, but it also appears that the tryptophan-induced honeymoon between these two TUF coaches has passed, leaving behind only apathy in its wake. If you’ve noticed in the past, the foes “Bones knows” on a personal level seem to last the longest in the cage with him (Rampage, Rashad) — perhaps out of respect, perhaps because they are both tough as hell — so I think we should start preparing ourselves for a tepid, five-round affair highlighted by Bones’s jab and Sonnen’s desperate attempts to convert a single leg.
And when all is said and done, Sonnen will snatch the mic out of Joe Rogan’s hand, and in an attempt to mimic [enter professional wrestler name here]’s infamous retirement speech, will announce that, and I quote: