Which fighter competing this weekend has had the furthest fall from grace?
Jared: Danny Lauzon coulda bin a contendah. A CONTENDAH I TELLS YA!
Seth: I don’t see how it can be Dan Lauzon when he was never much more than a novelty signing in the first place. He was signed to a UFC contract because he was the younger brother of the guy who upset Jens Pulver, and at barely eighteen years old he was the youngest fighter in UFC history. He was a prospect that didn’t work out, and now he’s back in the minor leagues. Call me crazy, but isn’t he just following the same career trajectory that at least 70% of ex-UFC fighters follow?
Meanwhile, it’s hard to remember that preliminary fighter Jake Shields was considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet just three years ago. He was a dominant, albeit incredibly boring Strikeforce champion who hadn’t lost since 2004, and seemed destined to put fans to sleep on his way to a UFC title shot. Try to wrap your head around the fact that the UFC brought Shields over from Strikeforce before they brought in Nick Diaz, Josh Thomson and Gilbert Melendez knowing where Shields is today.
A boring loss to GSP didn’t help his cause. Neither did a failed drug test after his return to middleweight. Now, Shields has been reduced to the prelims of a PPV card that features two women making their UFC debuts (although, to be fair, they’re two of the best female fighters not named “Ronda” and “Cyborg”), and fans are already looking forward to the baseball game/girlfriend’s favorite show/kitchen accessory infomercial that they’ll be watching instead of his fight; a fight he’s not expected to win, by the way.
Why Is No One Talking About WSOF 3?
Seth: The short answer: Because Jon Fitch is in the main event.
The slightly longer answer: Because no one is sold on Josh Burkman being a legitimate threat to Fitch.
I guess losing Tyrone Spong didn’t help matters, but the loss of Spong vs. jobber is hardly the reason why no one seems to care about a card featuring Josh Burkman vs. Jon Fitch as the main event and a guy trained by former WWE wrestler Steve Blackman kicking off the main card.
Also, this card lost Rolles Gracie, too.
Jared: I hate to keep agreeing with you, being that this is a “vs.” piece and all, but John Fitch is like the Guy Fleegman of UFC castaways.
Seth: Which would make Josh Burkman the Tim Allen of TUF alums?
In all seriousness, I think we should start getting used to the fact that the WSOF is basically America’s answer to BAMMA (or maybe King of the Cage); a relatively small, almost Triple-A level MMA promotion that, while not producing many top of the food chain contenders, provides a great place for prospects to build up their resumes and the occasional UFC washout to throwdown. If that sounds like an insult, it isn’t meant to. I’m pretty sure that the people behind the WSOF are smart enough to realize their place as an upstart, “off-off-Broadway” promotion that will probably never compete with the UFC or even Bellator. But as long as they keep putting on entertaining, semi-plausible fights, what other reason do you need to tune in? We can’t even ask for a UFC title fight that meets both those criteria on most occasions.
Will Burkman be able to score the ultimate feather in his cap a win over Fitch, or will Fitch out-Fitch Burkman in a classic Fitchian performance once again? Fiiiiitch.
Seth: Will Burkman be able to stay on his feet long enough to avoid a wrestleFitching? Probably not. Fans are quick to discredit Fitch over his recent losses due to his “win the round at all costs” strategy, but the fact remains that he’s still one of the best welterweights on the planet today. Unless Burkman’s takedown defense has just evolved that much since their first meeting, or if he catches Fitch with his best shot early, I really don’t see him winning this fight. Fitch via Fitchian Decision.
Jared: I’ll play devil’s advocate here. For as much shit as Burkman seems to get on a personal level, he seemed like a perfectly pleasant individual when I spoke with him before his WSOF debut. The dude’s got his quirks, sure, but he’s also had a rough go of things over the years, which makes his current career surge all the more impressive.
To focus more on the fight itself, it’s hard to deny that Fitch doesn’t hold most of the advantages here. But if I know one thing about Burkman based off his brutal knockout of Aaron Simpson at WSOF 2, it’s that the dude throws heat. They may not be the most technically sound punches, but if Burkman is able to defend Fitch’s takedowns (like he was able to do against Gerald Harris) for long enough to land a decent combination, I’d say he stands a damn good chance of putting Fitch to sleep. It’s not a great argument, but everyone gets caught. Ev.ree.one.
So what does Ray Sefo plan on accomplishing with this welterweight title fight, anyway? Who exactly is he going to get to challenge for it?
Jared: Chalk it up to a marketing ploy, I guess? I’m not entirely sure why so many upstart promotions feel the need to immediately establish champions before there are even a crop of contenders available. And when you’re giving said title shot to a guy who has never fought in your organization (and is coming off a loss, no less), doesn’t that make the title shot kind of pointless to begin with? So yeah, it’s called a “marketing ploy.” Like when that toothless gypsy who surely frequented the street corner nearest to your childhood home claimed to have “The World’s Best Gumbo,” when all he really had were a couple dead crawfish stirring in a rusty rainwater barrel.
Seth: Toothless Gypsy? Sick burn, bro.
Anyways…it’s funny how Dana White has done everything he could to keep Jon Fitch away from the UFC welterweight title picture since 2008, and then as soon as Fitch is released from his contract, Ray Sefo goes and creates a meaningless welterweight championship for Fitch to challenge for. As for what it’ll accomplish, I dunno, maybe Sefo finds it unfair that Jon Fitch has never won a major organization’s title and wants to give him the opportunity that Dana White wasn’t giving him. Or maybe all that stuff you wrote, I don’t know. I’m just as confused by the whole “WE MUST IMMEDIATELY ESTABLISH A WORLD CHAMPION!” mentality that many budding MMA promotions have as you are.
And as for who they’re going to get to challenge for it, I’ll leave the readers with this terrifying scenario: If things play out the way that the oddsmakers predict they will, there’s an extremely real possibility that Jon Fitch vs. Jake Shields will be forced down our throats in the near future. For five rounds. For the World Series of Fighting Welterweight Title. Have a nice day.