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Tag: UFC 84

‘Ben vs. Ben’: The UFC 84 Argument, Pt. 2

UFC ring girls
(Ring girls: Who needs ‘em?)

Here’s the second half of CagePotato’s head-to-head bitchfest on “Ill Will,” brought to you by the two similarly-named editors of this site. If you missed part one, click here.

***

QUESTION: What does Wanderlei Silva’s future hold?

Fowlkes: Keith Jardine will beat Wanderlei Silva at UFC 84, and when he does it’s going to create some difficult questions for “The Axe Murderer.” Dana White says that he loves Silva. You can see why he would. But as great as he is in terms of showmanship, aggression, and “gameness” (as the Brazilians say), Silva’s best days may be behind him, as is evidenced by his lack of significant wins in recent years.

He’s just taken too many beatings and slowed down too much for his style to be effective any more. He’s got to evolve or get out the game. The question for the UFC is, do they bet on a Silva renaissance or try to convince him to drop to middleweight and start anew?

If Jardine really thumps him, the UFC has to go with door number two. If he has a strong showing, they might try putting him against someone like Matt Hamill or Sokoudjou and figure either way someone gets a bump. Regardless, anything less than a win on Saturday means Silva’s UFC career begins to slip away, even if it might take another fight or two before it completely disappears.

Goldstein: I’m also expecting Jardine to win tomorrow, but not because Silva’s game hasn’t evolved or because his physical condition is on the decline. It’s simply because the rule sets and environments of the UFC and Silva’s old home in PRIDE are so different that they’re barely the same sport. Until Silva can prove that he can work effectively in the Octagon, I’m not betting on him. But I think he can get used to the new terrain in time, and once he does, he’ll have some more thrilling fights left in him.

Losing to Cro Cop, Henderson, and Liddell doesn’t mean that your career is over — it’s the kind of setback that can befall any fighter who continuously fights top competition. Dana White knows that too. Still, Wandy will probably be ordered to drop to 185 if he loses to Jardine. There aren’t a ton of big-money matchups for Silva as a middleweight, but if he can score wins against guys like Rich Franklin, Yushin Okami, and Michael Bisping, he’ll certainly be invited back up to 205 to rematch Chuck Liddell or take on Rampage for the first time in the UFC. Dana White has to be taking the long view on the Wanderlei Silva situation, especially when there are so many other rival leagues that would step over their own mothers to pick him up.

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ESPN.com’s ‘MMA Live’, Episode 2

Here’s the second episode of ESPN’s new online series, MMA Live, co-hosted again by Kenny Florian. In this installment, the panel breaks down UFC 84′s main event, Tito Ortiz’s career, Mike Tyson’s rumored jump to MMA, and Rich Franklin’s rumored jump to 205. In the “MMA for Dummies” segment, Bas Rutten runs us through “The Exorcist,” a neck crank sub perfect for when your opponent just ain’t givin’ up that rear-naked choke. If you missed the first episode, it’s after the jump.

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It’s Like He Wants to Barf…

vomit puke barf

Fightlinker Ryan’s UFC 84 picks are up, and all of a sudden I’m feeling a whole lot less nervous about this whole ipecac-drinking thing. Not only did Ryan pick Tito and Wandy to win their bouts, but he also gave the nod to Reljic over Gouveia, and Koppenhaver over Yoshida. Feel free to head over to FL to point and laugh, or get re-acquainted with my own UFC 84 predictions here.

One final note: I haven’t puked in like twelve years. Maybe more, I don’t really remember. But it’s been a long time, and I don’t look forward to doing it again.

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‘Ben vs. Ben’: The UFC 84 Argument, Pt.1

BF(BF)
BG(BG)

Fowlkes and I spend a lot of time pondering and writing about MMA. Often, we disagree. With that in mind, we’d like to present the first installment of a new feature where we argue about the topics of the day — in this case, all the major themes coming out of Saturday’s UFC 84. This one’s actually a two-parter; come back tomorrow for spirited debate on Wanderlei Silva’s future, the necessity of ring girls, and the intensity of BJ Penn and Sean Sherk’s personal relationship.

***

QUESTION: What will be the best fight of UFC 84?

Goldstein: The best fight of a given event generally starts with a large dose of drama and ends with a decisive finish. Penn/Sherk has drama out its ass — these guys hate each other — and Ortiz/Machida has it too, as it’s Ortiz’s last fight, and one that Dana White desperately wants him to lose. But I wouldn’t bank on Ortiz/Machida to be a particularly exciting match. Both fighters are questionable finishers (five of Machida’s last seven matches have gone to a decision, compared to four of Ortiz’s last seven) and before his punking of Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Machida was widely thought to be a boring fighter. The UFC set this match up to make Ortiz look less marketable, and it isn’t likely to be a barn-burner.

As for Penn and Sherk — how can this be anything less than legendary? Penn tends to make any fight exciting, and both guys will be looking to finish. Penn has to exploit his striking advantage and avoid being laid on by Sherk; a dull fight is not in Penn’s best interest, strategically speaking. I think Sherk is too tough to get stopped earlier than the third round, and if the fight goes into the championship rounds, his conditioning advantage will kick in. So Penn has this sweet spot of the third round where he’s most likely to win, and as the minutes and rounds tick by, anticipation will amp up the drama even further. If BJ wins, he’ll be the UFC’s undisputed lightweight ruler, and his reaction could be just as memorable as the fight itself.

Fowlkes: While I agree with your preconditions for what makes a great fight, I don’t necessarily think it will be Penn-Sherk that turns in the best performance of the night. Seems to me that you’re forgetting about Wanderlei Silva/Keith Jardine. That has plenty of drama — Silva needs a win badly and Jardine needs something to force the UFC to stop overlooking him — and it features two guys who like to stand and bang, which always yields great potential for a decisive finish.

On top of that, when’s the last time you saw Wanderlei in a boring fight? Tell me. I demand to know. I think Sherk-Penn will be worth the pay-per-view price alone, but Silva-Jardine is going to produce some fireworks either way, my friend.

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UFC 84: ‘Ill Will’ — BG’s Official Picks

Keith Jardine UFC
(Listen, buddy: win first, skanks later.)

As promised yesterday — here are the final picks I’m making for my ipecac bet with Ryan of Fightlinker. Will they be enough for me to avoid vomity humiliation? Well, Ryan has mentioned that he’s predicting Wanderlei Silva and Tito Ortiz will win their bouts, and I don’t see the rest of his choices being any less duhtarded. We’ll be scoring this on the three-point system: one point for calling the winning fighter, and additional points for correctly calling the method of victory (one point) and round (one point). How fun! My picks are below; feel free to debate them in the comments section. — Ben G.

MAIN CARD
B.J. Penn def. Sean Sherk via submission, 3rd round : I went over this in my UFC 84 gambling guide. Fowlkes made some good points yesterday, but I still think Sherk is going out like Joe Stevenson, with a bloody face and an arm around his neck. Just because Sherk’s two losses didn’t come via submission doesn’t mean that he’s unsubmittable, especially against someone as talented as Penn.

Keith Jardine def. Wanderlei Silva via decision: I also went over this in the gambling guide. (By the way, if you want to see a short video version of me making those exact same points, check out this clip from CombatWire.com.) Jardine was able to outsmart Chuck Liddell when they fought, and Wanderlei Silva is basically a dumber version of Chuck. I think the most logical pick is another decision win for Jardine.

Wilson Gouveia def. Goran Reljic via KO/TKO, 2nd round: I don’t like to pick against guys with undefeated records, but that rule shouldn’t apply when a fighter has less than eight pro fights, and Reljic (7-0) has beaten absolutely nobody you’ve ever heard of. I wouldn’t assume that Gouveia’s ground skills are necessarily better than Reljic’s, but I can see him catching the Croatian with a heavy shot, Lambert-style. Also, betting against the American Top Team is generally a bad move.

Lyoto Machida def. Tito Ortiz via decision: Machida isn’t a fight-finisher, and unless he’s in the cage with Ken Shamrock, Tito really isn’t either. But Machida is far more well-rounded, and his tendency to take his opponents out of their rhythm is well-documented. I’m very confident that Machida will win, and he could easily do it via TKO or submission, but given the recent fight histories of these two, a decision feels likely.

Thiago Silva def. Antonio Mendes via KO/TKO, 2nd round: Undefeated record + UFC experience + ATT = a total lock. Eight of Thiago Silva’s 12 wins have come via first-round stoppage; ten come via KO/TKO. The only advantage that Brazilian UFC newcomer Antonio Mendes has is that he’s 3-0 against guys named Silva. He is a hard-ass, though, and I don’t foresee a steamrolling. I say Mendes gets through round one, shaken but not quite out.

As for the undercard…

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The CagePotato/Fightlinker UFC 84 Pick-Off: Holy Christ, What Was I Thinking?

Ipecac vomiting

Three weeks ago, I entered a devil’s wager with Fightlinker.com, in which Ryan Harkness and I would go head-to-head in predicting the results of this Saturday’s UFC 84, with the loser having to do something awful. After reviewing the reader suggestions on CP and FL — which ran the gamut from permanently scarring to financially unfeasible (good effort anyway, guys!) — we both decided on something simple. The loser will have to put up a video of themselves drinking ipecac. To illustrate ipecac’s gruesome effects, Fightlinker posted this video. Wa-wa-wee-wa. Needless to say, I really don’t want to lose. So if you have any inside info/messages from God regarding Saturday’s fights, hollatchaboy in the comments section. I’ll post my official picks tomorrow.

(BG)

Also: FL found some amusing CBS Saturday Night Fights promos starring Kevin Ferguson himself. You simply must watch them after the jump.

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Gambling Addiction Enabler: UFC 84 Edition

Wanderlei Silva UFC 84
(“Gimme $2,000 on Jardine.”)

This has already been getting some play on the forums, but for those weak bastards who haven’t joined yet, betting odds for UFC 84′s three marquee match-ups have been released. Shall we take a look?

BJ Penn (favorite) vs. Sean Sherk (underdog)
Our buds at BetUS have Penn as a -230 favorite (you’d have to bet $230 to win $100 back) with Sherk riding the +180 underdog line (a $100 bet would score you $180). Setting aside BJ’s current hype as one of the most talented fighters in the world, he really does hold an advantage over Sherk in every aspect other than conditioning; his standup is better, his submissions are much better, and he’s not going to let Sherk lie on top of him the entire fight. But Sherk’s undeniable talent and accomplishments are preventing oddsmakers from calling this any wider than it already is. If you want to make a high-percentage wager on the Prodigy, do so at BetUS. If you’re going for the longshot, throw down a bill on Sherk at PinnacleSports, where they’re giving the Muscle Shark a juicy +232 line.

Lyoto Machida (favorite) vs. Tito Ortiz (underdog)
BetUS says -220 for Machida and +175 for Ortiz, a slightly closer line than Penn/Sherk, owing partly to the fact that Machida still doesn’t have a win against a top-10 light heavyweight under his belt — not that Ortiz is top 10 anymore, but he could easily be Machida’s toughest challenge to date. Will the Dragon still stomp Ortiz? Yeah, pretty much. Ortiz may be a better wrestler, but that’s about it. Lyoto seems to come from the Anderson Silva school of well-rounded badasses with very few holes in their game, and he’s probably a lot more focused than the stretched-in-all-directions Ortiz, who can hopefully schedule some workouts between reality show appearances, t-shirt company management, sex with Jenna Jameson, and bitching about Dana White whenever there’s a microphone in the room. Pinnacle has Machida at a far more attractive -185, while Ortiz nut-huggers can squeeze a tiny bit more value out of their misguided bet at BetCris, where he’s +180.

Wanderlei Silva (favorite) vs. Keith Jardine (underdog)
Here, folks, is the only smart underdog bet of the lot. BetUs has Wandy as a -185 favorite with Jardine the ‘dog at +145. Look, we know the Axe Murderer was a killer in PRIDE — but he needs to win a couple in the Octagon to convince me that he’s just as fearsome over here. Take away the use of soccer kicks and knees to the head on the ground, biased refs and judges, matchmaking that had him go up against opponents that were tailor-made for his style, (*cough*steroids*cough*), and the confidence that comes from never losing, and we’re not even talking about the same guy anymore. Silva won’t be doing any axe-murdering at UFC 84 — he’s going to be fighting not to lose, and will come out a much more cautious, tentative version of himself. Meanwhile, Jardine is surely working on another great game-plan with Greg Jackson, knowing that if he pulls off another big win his title shot will be waiting. Great risk, great reward, etc. Pinnacle and Sportsbook have Jardine at a solid +150. I don’t think there’s enough value in a bet on Wanderlei, but if you disagree, Pinnacle and Bodog have him at a more reasonable -160.

(BG)

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UFC 84 After Parties: Arianny vs. Dana

Arianny Celeste afterparty

Dana White UFC afterparty

If you’re planning on attending UFC 84 in person, there are at least two after parties scheduled with big names attached as hosts: You’ve got the UFC’s #1 ring girl Arianny Celeste making an appearance at Hawaiian Tropic Zone, and Dana White (no photo available) hosting the official “Ill Will” jammy-jam at Privé. In case you’re having trouble deciding, we’ll run it down for you.

Arianny’s party has an open vodka-bar for ladies until midnight (i.e., awesomely drunk girls); Privé offers no such hookup. Both clubs will surely feature hot bartenders, but the ones at Hawaiian Tropic Zone will all be wearing bikinis. When Arianny eventually shows up and makes her way to the velvet-roped VIP section, she’ll probably be rolling in with Edith Labelle, and their hot friends, and any fighters they’re friendly with (and Ariel Helwani, probably!). When Dana shows up just before closing time, he’ll be in a sour mood from whatever Tito’s post-fight t-shirt slogan is, and he’ll be trailed by the TUF 7 castoffs who followed him in just to kiss his ass. On the other hand, everybody wearing an Affliction shirt will be denied entrance at the UFC’s official afterparty, which could significantly decrease the douchebag ratio.

Questions?

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CagePotato vs. Fightlinker: The Devil’s Wager

JL

As mentioned on Saturday, I’ve agreed to put my dignity where my mouth is and accept Ryan Harkness of Fightlinker‘s challenge to a UFC 84 pick-off. Whoever predicts “Ill Will” more accurately wins; the loser will have to do something unpleasant, of the winner’s choice.

Here’s the fun part: I need your help to determine the punishment that Ryan will endure in the very likely event that I win. Something practical perhaps, that helps promote CagePotato.com in the Great White North? Something that demonstrates the superiority of my beloved New York City to Mudville Montreal? The usual naked donkey riding? Shoot us your ideas in the comments section. Just remember, these guys have no shame, so you’ll have to be creative. If we use your suggestion, we’ll make it worth your while. All proceeds go to charity. (Just kidding!)

By the way, Ryan and I will be keeping score not just based on which fighter wins each matchup, but how and in what round those victories are achieved. So if God talks to you some time in the next couple weeks and mentions anything about UFC 84, let us know, m’kay?

UPDATE: Or, you could go here to toss in suggestions on what I would have to do in the event of a loss. Please be gentle.

(BG)

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CagePotato vs. Fightlinker: The BetUS.com Squaretable Podcast!

BetUS

On Friday, Damon D of BetUS.com invited me back on his little radio show to talk about Kalib Starnes’s foot and Chuck Liddell’s durf, along with Ryan and Jake of Fightlinker.com. I may not have been able to keep up with the comedic tornado of those two, but there were a couple moments where I did sound halfway knowledgeable. (Well, you’ll have to be the judge.) Click here to listen, but first, some notes…

— We recorded the show just before news broke that Matt Hughes had been signed to headline UFC 85 against Thiago Alves, so a good deal of our conversation is now basically worthless.

— Near the beginning of the show, I announce that Ben Fowlkes (of IFL.tv and TheFightingLife fame) will be joining CagePotato full time starting this Thursday. He can introduce himself more thoroughly that day, but please feel free to give him a round of applause from wherever you’re sitting. It’s cool, because now when I use the word “we” on this site, I’m referring to Ben and I, not just me and the voices coming from the microwave.

— Damon asks me at the end of the show what we’ve got happenin’ on the site next week. At the time I was like “duhhhhhh,” but it turns out we actually do have something really special coming up. Tune in Monday for more details.

— Also at the end of the show, Fightlinker challenges CagePotato to a duel. Basically, Ryan and I will be betting on a particular fight, and the dude who picks wrong will have to do something humiliating. “Riding naked on a donkey” was just the first idea that was thrown out; those aren’t necessarily the terms of the bet. Will keep you all posted as this develops…

(BG)

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