The Round Horn 3.27.14: Medal of Wee-Bravery
Posted by Koeddy Laemmle on 03.27.2014
How does Johny Hendricks' injury affect the UFC welterweight division? What are some of the best fights from the first quarter of 2014? 411's Wyatt Beougher and Jeffrey Harris debate these topics and more!
It's main event time here at The Round Horn as we eliminate one more panel member to bring this competition down to the final two. Voting will be open until Tuesday at The Round Horn subreddit for anybody who would like to participate and a winner will be announced in next week's column.
After two full weeks of competitions the overall scores at the end of Round 2 are:
Our friend from reddit comes in as the lowest score this week and we must say farewell to Mr. Weebrave. I thank him from participating and hope we will see him again in the future! This also means Wyatt will enter the final round with a one point advantage in our showdown between two of 411mania's most respected MMA contributors.
Today, we discuss Johny Hendricks' recent injury and how it will effect the landscape of the UFC's Welterweight division. Now let's get on with the finals:
BUY OR SELL: Melvin Guillard was prematurely released from his UFC contract and should have received another fight before termination.
Wyatt Beougher: SELL: Guillard is 4-5-1NC in his last ten fights, and the no contest is because he threw a questionable knee while Ross Pearson may or may not have been down on the mat. Guillard needs a sports psychiatrist to get his mind right before he steps back into the Octagon, and, failing that, he's probably better served facing lesser competition in some smaller promotions. Guillard has always been a victim of his own success and ego, and I think that as long as he was employed by the UFC, that wasn't going to change. Maybe this cut will be the wake-up call that he needs to develop some humility and refine his game before he makes a bid to return to the big leagues. Only time will tell.
Jeffrey Harris: BUY: Ultimately, it's not my call, but I think it was a bit of a premature release. I can see why he was released. Guillard's been in decline per his recent record. He's 2-5-0 with 1 No Contest in his last eight fights. Now you could argue that the No Contest against Ross Pearson could've been a win for him due to the borderline knee strikes, and how sometimes illegal blows do not always cause a NC or prevent a TKO win. Now Guillard did not look good in his last fight, but he's had a long and storied career with the company. He has the most knockouts in the lightweight division at 10. I think based on all those issues, he should've gotten at least one more chance.
BUY OR SELL: Georges St-Pierre showing interest in a Super Fight between him and Anderson Silva long after the buzz surrounding the possibility has died down.
Jeffrey Harris: SELL: I think it's all much ado about nothing and more of an exaggeration by the MMA media yet again. Here is a translation of what GSP said to ESPN Brazil that was later translated by Blood Elbow's Fernando Arbex: "There were conversations before but they were talking about me going up at 185. I weigh 190 pounds, the guy weighs 230 pounds when he is off season. I'm 190 pounds off season. Right now I'm 195 at maximum. My friends saw him and he is now 230, 235. I know people who know him. He is very big. It's not a fair fight for me. Before, Anderson Silva was in my size when he used to fight in Japan but he is very big now. They were talking also that he was going to come in my division when I was the champion and I would have no choice. But me going up and after I fight go back down...I can't play with my weight. I can't come back and fight for the title or in a superfight. It has to respect my conditions, all I ask is a fair fight. Right now I need to take some time off. But if they have an offer with something good, maybe." It doesn't really sound like he's truly interested or committed to a super fight with Anderson Silva. GSP is also talking about a fair fight, which sounds like he wants Anderson Silva to fight him at a much lower weight, even though his last opponent, Johny Hendricks, was cutting down from a similar weight as Anderson Silva does to fight at 185 lbs. And would Silva really fight at a weight lower than 185 lbs in his first fight after he returns from such a tough leg break? Not buying it. I don't believe this fight will ever happen, and I don't think GSP is really interested in it either.
Wyatt Beougher: BUY: I went back and forth on this one, because I want to see a rematch with Hendricks if GSP is coming back, but I can certainly understand why a fight with Silva would be more appealing, both for St. Pierre and for the UFC. For GSP, it allows him to continue with his sabbatical, and then come back in 2015 for what would arguably be the biggest fight (and payday) of his career. For the UFC, not only do they get their biggest buy rate of 2015 (since Silva has said he won't be able to fight in 2014), but they also don't have to worry about Georges St. Pierre coming back to fight for the title he vacated, only to retire or take another leave of absence after a potential win. At this point, I think a fight with Silva is probably safer for the UFC overall, and then if GSP decides he wants to come back full-time, put him up against Hendricks again (or whoever the welterweight champion might be) after that.
credit: Fight Now TV
BUY OR SELL: Johny Hendrick's injury is a blessing in disguise as it will allow the UFC enough time to determine an appropriate challenge to his newly won Welterweight Championship.
Wyatt Beougher: BUY: At this point, there are a lot of guys who *could* fight for the welterweight title, but none of them really have the resume to put themselves head and shoulders above the rest of the potential contenders. Hector Lombard was a borderline top 15 fighter who won a less-than-exciting decision against Jake Shields and is now 2-0 at welterweight, but personally, that's still not a large enough body of work in the division to earn a title shot. Rory MacDonald is on a one-fight winning streak after losing to the guy who just lost to the champion, Woodley just lost to Shields two fights ago, Jake Ellenberger just lost to MacDonald in his last fight and is currently booked against Tarec Saffiedine, Saffiedine is the last Strikeforce welterweight champion but he only has one win in the UFC and it came against a guy who wasn't even in the top 15...I could go on. To me, Hendricks' injury gives the UFC time to see if Matt Brown can move to seven straight wins (against admittedly lesser competition) and also to book a fight between Lombard and MacDonald. From there, see where Hendricks is in his recovery, and depending on how well Brown does, either pair him or the winner of Lombard/MacDonald up against Hendricks for his return fight. Of course, there's also the possibility that the UFC tries to lure GSP back for a return fight with Hendricks in advance of a potential fight with Silva, but, as I mentioned already, that seems like a bad idea to me.
Jeffrey Harris: BUY: Had Carlos Condit had won, he'd have been the clear cut choice, but even then he probably would've wanted another fight if the wait to fight Hendricks was long. But now the scene at the top of the welterweight division is a little muddled right now. Lawler lost a close fight on points, 3-2, to Hendricks. People want to see the rematch and to see Lawler fight for the belt again. Carlos Condit was injured and lost to Tyron Woodley. Woodley is coming off two wins, but he still had that iffy split decision loss to Jake Shields. And Shields? After two horrendous fights and wins over Woodley and Maia, he just got a taste of his own medicine against Hector Lombard. So what does that do? It puts Woodley and Lombard firmly in the top 10, and both of them are clamoring for a title shot. But who else is out there? The Immortal One himself, the Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matt Brown. Currently in the UFC's rankings, Brown sits at No. 7. Now you can argue, he hasn't had wins over top 5 opponents, but he's gotten six wins in a row. No one else at welterweight right now has a win streak that big. He went 4-0 in 2012, and was the only UFC fighter to do so that year. A few years ago, a win streak like that used to be enough to get you a title shot. Brown is currently scheduled to fight Erick Silva. In my humble opinion, that's a pointless match-up that makes no sense. Silva is a decent prospect and an exciting fighter, but he's not at top 10 opponent. Brown should be switched in to a big match-up against someone like Robbie Lawler. That's a marketable, lucrative fight. And who has else has been making waves lately? None other than Stun Gun Dong Hyun Kim. He's been on an incredible tear and is coming off two impressive finishes over John Hathaway and Erick Silva. Guys who were never finished or knocked out before in their MMA careers before Kim fought them. Kim is also due for a bigger fight next. There's Rory MacDonald who thinks he deserves a title shot by fighting Demian Maia, but I don't agree. So you have all the makings here for some type of a mini-tournament to determine Hendricks' next opponent with about 20 fighters vying for a title shot. Let them fight it out to see who truly deserves one.
When it's all said and done who do you believe will get the first crack at Johny Hendrick's Welterweight gold?
Jeffrey Harris: Matt Brown. I think Brown is the darkhorse in the division right now. He's incredibly underrated, and I never expected him to go on the type of run he's been on now. Brown's improved a great deal and become a much more positive, determined fighter. The only problem is, he should be in a big fight next against a top guy and not someone like Erick Silva. But again, he went 4-0 in 2012 and was the only UFC fighter that achieved such in 2012. He's on a six fight winning streak. No other fighter at welterweight has done that. If he wins his next fight, that's 7-0.
Wyatt Beougher: If GSP comes back, he's the obvious choice, but let's assume that that particular return is off the table, at least for the time being. I honestly think Rory MacDonald is going to get the first crack at Hendricks, probably by Hendricks' choice, although, as I said, I'd prefer he have to fight Lombard to earn that right. If MacDonald does get the title shot, then I think Lombard faces Woodley, with the winner of that fight either facing the winner of Hendricks/MacDonald or Matt Brown, assuming he can get past Erick Silva in May.
What are some of the best fights from the first quarter of 2014?
Wyatt Beougher: Some of my personal favorites thus far this year include: Daniel Straus/Pat Curran III from Bellator 112, Johny Hendricks/Robbie Lawler from UFC 171, Tarec Saffiedine vs Hyun Gyu Lim from UFC Fight Night 34, Alex Caceres vs Sergio Pettis from UFC on FOX 10, Renan Barao vs Urijah Faber from UFC 169 (what can I say? I like seeing Urijah Faber lose), and also Ronda Rousey vs Sara McMann, because I've loved a good shot to the liver since Bas Rutten was regularly winning fights with them.
Jeffrey Harris: Robbie Lawler vs. Johny Hendricks was a fight for the ages, despite some of the disappointing negativity to come from the 411 Ground & Pound Radio Show panel. I for one was really impressed with Lawler showing a lot of improvement in this fight and his recent UFC run at welterweight overall. Before this fight, I couldn't get out of my head how easily Tim Kennedy was able to take him down and just blanket him whenever he wanted. Hendricks wasn't able to take him down in this fight until the very end. Both fighters left it all out there, and it was one of my favorite welterweight title bouts ever. Daniel Straus and Pat Curran had an excellent rematch in Bellator. In a dramatic and close bout, Curran managed to get a choke with the scores tied going into the final round and seconds to go in the final round. Despite the last fight being a bit of a bore, and my disagreement with the circumstances of the rematch, it was a great fight. Abel Trujillo and Jamie Varner pretty much saved a very dull UFC 169 single-handedly with their Fight of the Night performance. Alex Caceres and Sergio Pettis had a great, underrated fight at UFC on Fox 10 with Caceres putting an end to Pettis' undefeated streak. Caceres has come a long way from previously being labeled "the worst fighter on the planet." I think another underrated fight was Tarec Saffiedine vs. Hyun Gyu Lim since it was a last minute replacement for UFC's first Fight Pass card. Lim actually looked very impressive in the fight, but Saffiedine managed to come back with some incredible striking technique and leg kicks to save the fight for himself and win his UFC debut. I highly recommend giving this fight a shot if you ever have the chance.
Recommend a couple of your favorite fights or fighters that seem to not get the love or respect you feel they deserve.
Jeffrey Harris: First and foremost, the Baddest Man on the Planet, Joe Warren. After a disappointing stretch where he lost to Alexis Vila and Pat Curran, he rallied back and won the season 9 bantamweight tournament in Bellator. He's now set to fight Eduardo Dantas this year for the bantamweigh title. A win here would give him titles in two separate weight classes. Warren has clearly improved in his recent fights and since he started training with Greg Jackson.
Another is Raphael Assuncao. People were actually talking about TJ Dillashaw fighting Renan Barao after Dillashaw's last win. Hey, what about the guy who actually BEAT Dillashaw? Assuncao is on a six-fight winning streak in the bantamweight division and is the rightful No. 1 contender right now to Renan Barao. He's not nearly getting the attention and respect he deserves.
And finally Dong Hyun Kim. He's really turned himself around in his recent fights. He was previously known as a mostly boring grinder, but he's definitely turned things up as of late. He's knocking guys out who have never been finished or knocked out before. The dude now has 10 wins in the UFC at welterweight and has only lost twice in the Octagon. I can't wait to see who he fights next, but a lot of the attention is still going to the likes of Hector Lombard and Rory MacDonald, fighters who haven't looked all that impressive as of late.
Wyatt Beougher: It's really a shame to me that a lot of the fans who've come in post-TUF have no idea just how great Kazushi Sakuraba is. Pretty much anything from his career preceeding the start of 2009 is worth watching. Same goes for Bas Rutten - for a lot of newer fans, he's the funny guy from Here Comes the Boom, but he was really one of the most dominant mixed martial artists of his area, and, as I mentioned already, his mastery of strikes to the liver was truly a sight to see. For Fight Pass subscribers, I recommend going back and watching WEC events as they add them, as that entire promotion was arguably the most exciting promotion to watch from their Versus debut in June of 2007 until they were folded into the UFC. I can't think of another promotion who has put on so many awesome cards, top-to-bottom, for a four-and-a-half year span.