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 411mania » MMA » Columns

The Round Horn 3.13.14: 3 Guys and a Redditor
Posted by Koeddy Laemmle on 03.13.2014

Last week we saw the beginning of The Round Horn's first ever interactive competition. Four fans of mixed martial arts: Alex Hall, Eric, Maniz and "The Man Called" O were asked a list of questions and readers of 411mania and reddit voted on their answers in a style similar to the ESPN TV show, "Around the Horn". If they make a good point you can up-vote them, if they make a terrible point you can down-vote them. At the end of each voting period I tally up the total number of points accumulated and the lowest score is eliminated until there is only one person left. The four winners of Weeks 1-4 will then meet to crown the first official Round Horn Champion. The voting periods end every Saturday and Tuesday.

After a rough start in Round 1 to last weeks competition, Maniz caught a lucky break when Alex Hall dropped out in order to pursue his degree at "Sporcle University". We wish Alex the best of luck in all his future endeavors and anticipate his return one he memorizes every match in WrestleMania history. The 2nd Round went a little better for Maniz but at the end of the round he was still our lowest scorer and thus has been ELIMINATED our total scores so far are:

Eric: 64
Alex Hall: 62
Maniz: 37
"The Man They Call" O: 49

Eric and O will face off in the finals of our Week 1 matchup and you can vote for the winner now at The Round Horn Week 1 FINAL Round. Also kicking into gear is this weeks matchup between three of 411mania's finest and one of reddit's very own. You can vote for this matchup by going to The Round Horn Week 2 Round 1. Today we start the Week 2 process, the four panelists for this week have already sent their answers in and are ready to begin competition.

Alright! Now onto our first contestant this week, he's dangerous ladies and gentlemen and he has no boudaries, just ask the other 4th graders he plays tag with at lunch recess folks, I give you Evan Zivin

Evan Zivin: Hey, 411. And what's going on, you Reddit people. You Redditors. You Redditcans. You...um...Redditdelphians? I don't know what you people call yourselves. My name is Evan. I'm just your normal, self-obsessed fan of watching men and women punch each other in the face for personal gain, just like all of you. I write a column called "Five Quick Rounds." I look at the top stories in the MMA world and dissect them in a way that doesn't look like every other news report on the Internet. I try to amuse myself and my readers, I don't take things too seriously, and you should totally check it out. In fact, you should go read it right now. It's okay. I'll wait. It may not be your cup of tea but I can at least say that it's better than the last guy who wrote the column. He sucked.

Don't tell Wyatt I said that. He's a violent man.

Very violent… I would like to personally thank Wyatt Beougher for releasing Mr. Zivin from a headlock long enough for him to type some answers to these questions. I will keep my distance as long as he promises not to slug me."

Wyatt Beougher: Hey everyone, my name is Wyatt Beougher, and I'm the host of 411mania's MMA Fact or Fiction. I've been an MMA fan since the Randy Couture debuted at UFC 13, I'm a lifelong professional wrestling fan, a diehard fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, Cincinnati Reds, and the Penn State Nittany Lions (where I studied Political Science and International Business). I wrestled for most of young adulthood, I've also boxed, and I've trained in mixed martial arts on and off for the past seven years as my job (and related travel) allows.

Our reddit user this week got his user name tattooed on his posterior after a late night drinking with some friends. When the tattoo artist asked our panelists what he would like to have tattooed he could only manage to vomit uncontrollably and now his name forever represents the sound he made in his finest of hours.

Weebrave: I am Derek Osland from the booming metropolis of Fargo, North Dakota. I follow mixed martial arts religiously, and have for the past year, after moving my interest from amateur wrestling to MMA. I have driven to Denver and Winnipeg for UFC fights.

Rumor has it the real Jeffrey Harris died years ago and impersonators have taken over to keep his namesake going.

Jeffrey Harris: Greetings everyone, I'm Jeffrey Harris longtime writer and MMA reporter here for 411mania.com.  I handle the weekly MMA's 3R's column.  You may also know me from my reviews in Movies/TV and also my fighter interviews and live onsite coverage of UFC events.  In wrestling I've also interviewed the likes of Kurt Angle, The Miz, and Claudio Castagnoli (now Cesaro in WWE).  So just call me the 411mania Jack of all Trades.


Alright our top story this Saturday is UFC 171 and the fact that we will crown a new Welterweight champion for the first time in six years. Who do you think has the edge in the historic title fight between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler?

Evan Zivin: If I said anything other than Hendricks, I would be a hypocrite. I have been fascinated with the career of Bigg Rigg since he knocked out Jon Fitch back at UFC 141. It doesn't happen too often when we get to see a fighter evolve and develop into a world-class athlete right in front of our eyes and we have seen that with Johny over the last 5 years since he entered the UFC. He has so much momentum taking him into this fight and, as much as I love Robbie Lawler, I just don't think Saturday will be his night. Johny has the knockout power to put Robbie on his butt, the wrestling to keep him there, and the resiliency to stay on the attack for twenty-five minutes straight. I don't think Robbie will be able to keep up with Johny's pace. Also, the beard. I can't bet against that beauty. 

Wyatt Beougher: My heart says Hendricks, because he beat GSP back in November; however, my head is also smart enough to realize that counting out Lawler is a mistake. While I think Hendricks has the better wrestling and enough power in either hand to knock Lawler out, I'll also admit to not giving Lawler a chance against Rory MacDonald, and that didn't exactly work out in my favor. I certainly think this fight could go all five rounds, but I think if it does make it to the championship rounds, Hendricks will have the advantage, as he was able to split those rounds against noted cardio freak Georges St. Pierre, and I'm just not confident in Lawler's conditioning past even the second round.

Weebrave: I am a big fan of Hendricks and think that he has the better skills but the fact that Robbie Lawler is a southpaw could cause problems. In his book Fightnomics, Reed Kuhn found that southpaw fighters beat orthodox fighters 57% of the time. This stems from the familiarity that each has with the other. Southpaw fighters are much more familiar with the orthodox than vice versa. Johny Hendricks has only faced one southpaw in his career. He lost that fight, to Rick Story, and Robbie Lawler is a much better striker than Rick, he stopped Josh Koscheck's wrestling. Does that count as MMAth?

Jeffrey Harris: As much as I like Robbie Lawler, I got to give the edge to Johny Hendricks.  Lawler is really the underdog here, and I am pulling for him to finally take home a UFC title.  However, after fighting Georges St-Pierre, Hendricks is basically seen as the uncrowned champion.  The majority of fans and pundits saw Hendricks as the winner of that fight that got screwed over by the judges.  So with that, he's already seen as the "champion."  Besides that, while Lawler has looked good since he moved down to welterweight returned to the UFC, Hendricks has the better record.  Before Lawler went on this current run, Hendricks knocked out the likes of Jon Fitch and Martin Kampmann before they were on losing streaks.  Besides his knockout power, Hendricks also has great wrestling and proved he can go for five rounds in a UFC title fight.  His grappling looks like it could be a major weakness to Lawler, and that's another reason I see Hendricks as having the edge in this fight.  

Dana White has stated Carlos Condit will receive the first shot at the new champion if he is to win his co-main event fight against Tyron Woodley at UFC 171. If Condit were to lose the fight who do you think would get first crack at the new UFC Welterweight champion?

Weebrave: Personally I would like to see Hector Lombard if he knocks out Jake Shields. Tyron Woodley is a fine choice too if he beats the stud that is Carlos Condit, but he did lose last June in Winnipeg. Rory MacDonald is campaigning but he does not deserve it. He has lost his killer instinct and lost to Robbie Lawler just one fight ago. If Woodley and Shields win I would offer the shot to Nick Diaz. He does not deserve it on merits but he is right he is the biggest draw in the division.

Jeffrey Harris: Well, Nick Diaz is a phone call away.  In my humble opinion, Tyron Woodley should get the fight.  Condit right now is the No. 2 guy at welterweight behind Hendricks.  Arguably, Condit easily could have been plugged into the UFC 171 title bout himself.  Condit lost a close decision to Hendricks based on the takedowns, and it looks like the fight was turning more over to his favor toward the end of their bout.  In five rounds, you could argue that Condit would have more of an advantage to win the title.  So with all that in mind, if Woodley were to decisively beat him, why wouldn't he deserve the fight?  Yes he'd be 3-1 in the UFC overall, but Condit would be a huge win and would slot him easily into the top 5.  It shouldn't be Rory MacDonald, and it shouldn't be Nick Diaz.  Nick Diaz was already gifted his title shot against Georges St-Pierre.  He hasn't won a fight since 2011.  If the UFC really wants to put him into a superfight to exercise his drawing power, just book Nick Diaz vs. Anderson Silva.  If Diaz were to turn that down, than there really is no pleasing him.  

Wyatt Beougher: Nick Diaz? No, seriously, that'd be the worst possible precedent the UFC could set, giving a guy on a two-fight losing streak back-to-back title shots, especially considering he's been on a year-long retirement and reportedly just turned a rematch with Condit. A quick scan of the UFC's official rankings tells me that the most likely suspects should Condit fall to Woodley would be: Rory MacDonald, Jake Ellenberger, Jake Shields, Matt Brown, and Demian Maia. Of those guys, MacDonald would be the most likely suspect, as he's just beaten Maia a couple of weeks ago and his only losses in his career were to Condit (a last-second knockout after winning the first two rounds) and Robbie Lawler (a very close split decision). If MacDonald's win over Maia wasn't impressive enough to earn him the shot, I think Ellenberger drops off of the list, as his last fight was a loss to MacDonald, and even a win in April against Tarec Safiedine shouldn't be enough to leapfrog the Canadian, and so does Maia, for obvious reasons. So that really only leaves Jake Shields and Matt Brown; Shields would be riding a four-fight win streak since losing to GSP and Jake Ellenberger in back-to-back fights, but there's the matter of that pesky failed drug test after his win over Ed Herman. Plus, his fights are about as exciting as watching paint dry, and I doubt Dana's going to want his new champion's first title defense to be against the human equivalent of ZZZQuil. Now, Matt Brown, on the other hand? He's a sixteen-fight UFC veteran, and while his record in that time is 11-5 against pretty middling competition, he's also riding the longest active win streak in the UFC right now at six fights, so you could certainly make a case for him to get the shot. Plus, unlike MacDonald and Shields, Matt Brown hardly ever has boring fights, so he actually makes sense as a replacement for Condit, who he was slated to face in a contendership bout back in December before a back injury derailed him. MacDonald is the most likely, but Brown has a legitimate chance

Evan Zivin: According to the UFC Rankings, the most definitive set of rankings in all the land (stop laughing), the next title shot, if it doesn't go to Condit, should go to Rory MacDonald. I think that would make the most sense. He's the only Top 10 fighter who has a win over two other fighters currently in the Top 10 so it's the most logical booking you can make. Also, there's a ready-made story UFC can use to sell the Rory fight since he's been pegged by GSP, and many others, as the heir to the welterweight throne that was abdicated by his training partner and mentor. Personally, I'd be cool with seeing someone like Matt Brown or, if he beats Condit, Tyron Woodley getting the shot. One would think knocking off the #1 contender, especially in dominant fashion, should make you worthy of a title shot, right? I don't know. I'm just looking for good fights. Go earn your paycheck, Joe Silva.

There seems to be a large portion of mixed martial arts fans who are discontent with the recent cards for the UFC Fight Pass shows, are these complaints justified or is this simply a case of insatiable fans?

Wyatt Beougher: I'm going to have to go with the latter, because while the TUF: China card was pretty awful outside of the main event, Gus/Manuwa was actually a really fun card. I think what the more fickle MMA fans need to remember is that just because a card might not look that great on paper, some of the best overall nights of fighting in UFC history have come from those "bad" cards. Do I think it was a mistake for the UFC to put their prohibitive number one contender and one-half of last year's Fight of the Year on a Fight Pass card that a lot of fans in the US didn't even watch? Sure, but you can't blame them for giving a show at the world-famous O2 Arena a big name fighter in the main event, and the time difference between London and even the east coast of the US made it difficult to sell the card to FOX, I'm sure. If the fans want something to complain about, how about the back-to-back combination of UFC 169 and Fight Night: Machida vs Mousasi, which featured 20 out of 24 fights going to decisions, many of them boring. Those cards were more stacked, name-wise, than Gus/Manuwa, but so many of those fights were just flat-out boring. Contrast that with Gus/Manuwa, where only one fight was actively bad, and that was only because Melvin Guillard desperately needs a sports psychologist.

Evan Zivin: You could say that fans were being a little irrational for the first two months, when Fight Pass was free, but now that we have to pay money for the service, the complaints are completely justified. Dana White may think the complaints are silly but that doesn't mean they actually are. I'm not paying 10 bucks a month to watch one-fight cards that are of lesser quality than what UFC puts on Fox Sports 1. It's almost impossible to get excited for Fight Pass' live offerings when it's hard enough to justify paying for Payperviews when the quality of those shows have been diminished so much due to the UFC stretching it's roster so thin. I'm not getting the bang for my buck that I used to and it sucks. If UFC cares about these Fight Pass cards, and they should since most of them are international events that UFC is using to break into these countries, then they better start beefing them up. Either that or make them consist entirely of new, international talent that UFC is trying to turn into local stars. That way, I can completely ignore those cards and not feel like I'm missing anything important.

Jeffrey Harris:  I think Scott Neitlich put it best that "fans on the internet are loud, but not numerous."  I don't think these complaints are justified because there is nothing making them watch these cards.  I see a lot of complaints that cards are watered down and spread thin.  And I see complaints that now fans have to pay to see fights that used to be free for UFC Fight Pass.  Well no.  These new Fight Pass cards are additional cards meant to cater to international audiences so they can finally watch events live in their prime time slots.  We aren't getting a lesser number of events because of Fight Pass.  We are still getting four events on Fox this year, plus a number of events on Fox Sports 1 as well as the PPV preliminary fights.  And if UFC Fight Pass cards are watered down, low-level cards that aren't worth watching and paying for them, then you really don't have to watch them.  As far as UFC asking fans to pay for what used to be for free, there's still a great number of fights available for free via UFC.com, YouTube, Fox, and FS1.  For fans that are upset about the Facebook fights going to Fight Pass, there was a time where the only way to watch prelims was if there was more time available for the PPV broadcast or buy streaming them on UFC.com.  UFC didn't start broadcasting the PPV prelims until around 2009.  The way I see it, Fight Pass is really for the hardcore MMA fan.  However, ultimately, no matter what type of fan you are, there is something out there for you.  As an MMA fan, there are more options available to you than ever before.  UFC fights are readily available on Fox, FS1, and PPV.  Bellator MMA is available on Spike TV.  World Series of Fighting has fights broadcast on NBC Sports.  AXS TV shows a lot of the regional MMA scene.  So in that respect, MMA fans have become a little overzealous and insatiable with their complaints.  

Weebrave: You mean the two best cards of the year so far? I think that fans in MMA focus too much on names instead of the matchups that are going to occur. The cards have been amazing. I have more of an issue with the lack of the library on Fight Pass. I was supposed to be paying for every single fight in the library and to date they only have 1/10th of it. That is just unacceptable and horrible business practice imo. 

Jimi Manuwa suffered his first career defeat, do you think he will learn and bounce back from this loss a better fighter and end up Top 10 fighter in the 205 weight class?

Jeffrey Harris: I would say the answer is yes.  Manuwa lost, but he lost to a guy who is ranked No. 1 in the division right (Per UFC's official rankings).  Manuwa is actually ranked No. 11 at the moment behind Ryan Bader, Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson, and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.  Bader has been a perpetual that has hovered perpetually at the top 10 level throughout his UFC career for the last few years, but he's always failed to get to the upper-echelon of fighters in his weight class.  Dan Henderson, at the age of 43, likely does not have much time left in his career.  His career was arguably prolonged thanks to his use of the controversial TRT, which he's still being allowed to use in his rematch against Shogun coming up.  As much as I love and respect Henderson, his career is likely over very soon between his recent losing streak and athletic commissions adopting the ban on TRT.  Chael Sonnen will be facing Wanderlei Silva next, and that fight will be contested at light heavyweight, even though 205 lbs is not Sonnen's natural weight class.  With that in mind, by virtue of fighters retiring or their careers winding down, it won't be so hard for Manuwa to rebound and make it into UFC's official Top 10.  It will really just depend on who he fights next and where they are situated in the rankings.  If he fights and beats someone like Ryan Bader or Rogerio Nogueira, who has not fought in over a year, his ascension up the ranks is all but assured.  

Weebrave: Yes Jimi Manuwa is a good fighter even if he is not elite. I believe that he belongs in the 6-10 Ranking Range. He will likely never reach the top three with his age and wrestling but his striking is impressive enough to beat good fighters. I like the Anthony Johnson vs Phil Davis loser or Ryan Bader for his next fight. The winner of that fight would have one more chance to make a push for a title shot. 

Wyatt Beougher: Manuwa is thirty-four years old, and has been a professional in MMA for six years now - he's not exactly a young prospect still trying to figure out his game inside the cage. He has a very defined skill set, and he's very good at what he does, so I'm not sure he comes back as a better fighter. However, I'm not suggesting that he won't ever become a Top 10 light heavyweight in the UFC, because while I don't trust him against guys like Jones, Evans, Davis, Cormier, or Bader due to their wrestling pedigrees, I think he could give a good fight against the other guys ranked above him in the top ten (Jimi's currently ranked eleventh): Glover Teixeira, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Mauricio Rua, Dan Henderson, and Chael Sonnen, especially since he might move into the Top 10 by default if the last two guys on that list are forced to retire with the recent ban of TRT. Did I just damn him with faint praise? Probably, but the fact remains that with as hard as Manuwa hits, even the wrestlers that are ranked above him aren't safe, especially Rashad and Bader, who have shown a propensity for being knocked out in highly entertaining fashion. As for who Manuwa should fight in his next outing? I say give him Bader, who recently signed a four-fight contract extension and is currently rehabbing an injured hand suffered during his decision win over Anthony Perosh back in December. Not only does that give Bader a chance to show he's improved his striking defense since losing to Glover Teixeira last September, but it also will give us an accurate indicator of how good Jimi's counter wrestling really is, which would go a long way towards determining just how good he's going to be in the UFC's light heavyweight division.

Evan Zivin: All elite fighters learn from their losses. This loss may be the best thing that happens to Jimi's career. Not only does he not have to fight with the pressure of being undefeated anymore, he now has a perfect, real-life example of the flaws in his game that he can use to re-invent himself and turn himself into a fighter worthy of being a champion. Look at the progress Gustafsson made after his first loss to Phil Davis. Look at the progress Hendricks made after his first loss against Rick Story. You tend to learn more from a loss than you do a win. All fighters know where their strengths are but it is crucial for them to understand where they are weak as well so that they can turn those weaknesses into strengths. That's how a striker or a wrestler turns into a true all-around mixed martial artist. If Manuwa is a true elite fighter, he will take this loss and come back stronger. He will work on his cardio. He will work on his takedown defense. He will learn to dictate pace and prevent himself from getting caught again like he did on Saturday. As far as his next fight, the loser of the Dan Henderson-Shogun Rua rematch would be a good fight to see where he truly stands in the light heavyweight division. We know where his ceiling currently is. Now let's see what rung on the ladder it knocked him down to so he can begin climbing back up.

That's all we have for Round 1 everybody, voting will be open until this Sunday after which Round 2 starts. Next week we will find out which two of our panel members are moving onto the final round of Week 2 and meet our next set of panelists. Until then best of luck to all our panel members and come join the debates!


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