With a veritable buffet of fights going down this weekend in UFC 161 and World Series of Fighting 3, we here at CagePotato decided to dust off a rivalry older than Paraguay vs. Uruguay in attempt to break it all down. CP staff writers Jared Jones and Seth Falvo were more than willing to step up to the plate (and over the bones of their past victims) to wage war on a variety of topics relating to this weekend’s action, so read on and let us know how you think either event will play out in the comments section.
Jared: Call me crazy, but I’m taking the under here. Specifically, 4. As Henderson recently stated, Evans has looked a little “shy” on the feet ever since he was knocked out by Lyoto Machida in the midst of delivering one epic tongue-lashing at UFC 98. My prediction is that this fight goes down in a similar, albeit less dominating fashion as Evans vs. Davis. Rashad was able to nail 3 takedowns in that fight, and that was against a guy he was absolutely eating up in the standup department.
A fear of Henderson’s patented H-Bomb is going to result in a Rashad Evans who is timid on the feet (like he was against Lil’ Nog) and who will look to wear out his older foe with his superior speed until Hendo tires out around the 3 minute mark of the second round. It is then when Rashad will truly start looking to impose his will on the ex-Strikeforce champ in the form of the takedown. Truthfully, I hope it doesn’t ever come to that, as I am using the precedent set forth by Vitor Belfort to predict that Hendo lands a TRT-fueled flying knee to Evans’ dome as he shoots for his first takedown.
To answer your other question: Yes, the “50 takedowns” claim is probably the weakest hook I’ve heard in quite some time – like saying that you’re “going to attempt 100 submissions on this chump before the final bell.” Unless of course, by “takedown,” Evans means that he is going to pick Henderson up and present him to the audience like a life-sized Oscar statuette before slamming him through the mat a la Hughes vs. Trigg 2. Then I could see the appeal.
Seth: Can you even imagine how boring it would be if Evans actually did earn fifty takedowns throughout the course of a three round bout? Henderson would have to literally run into a takedown as soon as the first round begins, but then get back to his feet before Evans could mount any type of offense, only to get taken down again before landing anything himself. Steps two and three would have to repeat until the end of the round, and then the entire sequence would have to repeat for the next two rounds. Joe Rogan would have a heart attack trying to call the (lack of significant) action. “Oh, THERE’S A TAKEDOWN RIGHT THERE…now he’ll look to work for OH HENDO IS BACK UP and loo- oh wait! Rashad’s GOT THE TAKEDOWN HERE and now he’s trying to trap that OH! NICE MOVE BY HENDO! AND NOW A SCRAMBLE!”
And as far as the PPV draw goes, it’s not like it really matters. Evans and Henderson are both pretty strong PPV draws, and the rest of the main card has some very interesting, fun-looking fights. Evans could have given the fans a link to his favorite stream and this card would still break 400,000 buys. So…I give his bogus fight-hyping attempt an A for “at least it’s original?”
Which UFC 161 main-eventer should retire if he loses, and which UFC 161 fighter has the most to lose on Saturday night?
Seth: I’m glad you asked these two questions together, because my answer is the same for each one: Both of the main-eventers. The decision to book Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson for UFC 165 sends them a pretty clear message that this bout ain’t exactly for contendership — it’s to stay relevant. Both guys are coming off of losses in dreadfully forgettable fights, and making it two straight would be pretty damning at this point in their careers. Factor in how Jones already holds a convincing win over Rashad, how Hendo is pretty much unable to compete in California until further notice, how both guys made a ton of money throughout their careers — and by the way, the whole “neither guy is getting any younger” thing also deserves some recognition – and the idea of either guy attempting to drop to middleweight to rejuvenate his stagnant career just seems ridiculous. Thanks for the memories, now walk away before you’re remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Jared: Damn Seth, do you enjoy taking away men’s livelihoods? This is a tough one for me to answer, quite honestly. Fact is, either one of these guys could still put a whooping on most of the UFC’s light heavyweight division whether they win tomorrow night or not. The question we should really be asking (and you did to some degree with your final statement) is: Do we really want to witness either fighter’s slow demise? Neither Evans nor Henderson has had that Chuck Liddell string of KO losses to convince them that they can’t hang anymore, but I guess the obvious answer here would be that Henderson should retire if he loses based simply on his age.
Henderson had his shot against Jones when there were still enough of us who – whether honestly or out of some “Because PRIDE” delusion – thought he could pose a threat to the unstoppable champ. He blew it (or rather, his MCL did), and his loss to Machida wrote home the notion that Hendo probably isn’t getting anywhere near Jones before he retires. Win or lose, I say give Hendo another fight with Wanderlei Silva next and then force them both to retire. Nostalgia wins, the UFC wins, the audience in attendance wins, and two guys who have sacrificed their minds and bodies to the sport we love for umpteen years will retire on what will surely be a Fight of the Night winner.
And who has the most to lose at UFC 161 should be quite obvious: Roy Nelson. If the dude had agreed to lose a few more pounds when Dana White first asked him to, perhaps he wouldn’t currently find himself in a work environment so hostile that he’s been forced to resort to blatant idiocy to get out of there.
Alright, let’s get down to serious business: Which UFC 161 Fighter has the best nickname?
Seth: One of the best examples of a terrible athlete having a great nickname is that of former NBA athlete Bryant Reeves. What made his nickname so great? For one, it was actually given to him by his college teammates, not something he made up himself. In today’s age of mediocre nobodies calling themselves “The Machine” and conservative chiropractors telling the media to refer to them by a Motley Crue song title, it’s refreshing to see a guy actually earn his nickname the way he’s supposed to. He was tall, he was husky, he was from such a small town that his teammates gave him the name after watching how fascinated he was by his first ride in an airplane. He was…Big Country.
I tried to like Reeves. I honestly tried. But he was such a stiff in the NBA, with such an undeservedly great nickname, that I just couldn’t cheer for the guy. By the time he was pushed out of the league (not that it took long), I pretty much knew that any time I saw a “Big Country” who was so much as competent at his sport – let alone good – I’d be a big fan. Then along comes Roy Nelson, with his doughy physique, mountain-man beard, and actual skills worthy of the awesome nickname. Easy call. The fact that he’s entering tomorrow night’s bout with three consecutive first-round knockouts to his name just makes it all the better.
Jared: I tend to agree with your argument that nicknames should be earned, not chosen by the fighters themselves, which makes Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley and Ryan “Big Deal” Jimmo (the former of which I would have preferred been spelled using the Justin McCully Grammar Guide) seem all the more pompous. “Suga” Rashad Evans is simply too cliché and unoriginal for my taste, and you chose “Big Country,” so I’m quickly running out of options here. Oh wait, I’m not even close.
I could pick James “The James Krause” Krause if I was some “meta” hipster douchebag, but I’ll pass. “HD” is a nickname better suited for a Diaz…“The Savage,” “The Punisher” and “The Duke” are similarly uninspiring…I guess I gotta go with Alexis “Ally-Gator” Davis by default. It’s somewhat original, it’s got a clever bit of wordplay involved (which is about the only thing I can praise Tim “The Maine-iac” Sylvia for these days), and I had a strange fascination with alligators as a child, so there it is. Being that you’ve probably lost half your family to gators down there in Cajun country, I can see how you’d be hesitant to choose hers.
Click the “next page” tab to hear Jared and Seth wax poetic on all things WSOF 3-related, then throw cheap shots at each other’s upbringing…