Are Nogueira and Sylvia the best choices for the UFC Heavyweight Title fight? Will the UFC be on network TV in the spring of 2008? Will John McCarthy one day be in the UFC Hall of Fame? Can Roger Huerta take the next step against Clay Guida? All of this and more in the latest edition of 411 MMA Fact or Fiction.
Welcome back to another edition of 411 MMA Fact or Fiction. Due to the short week thanks to The Ultimate Fighter show finale the best we could come up with is the creative force of myself and our noble MMA editor, Caleb Newby. Considering our intense hatred of one another it should still be a fierce battle. Let's get to it:
1. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Tim Sylvia are the most deserving pair to fight for the vacant Heavyweight Title.
Newby: FACT. Let's look at the roster of UFC heavyweights. Cro Cop? If only, but he's going in the wrong direction. Werdum? Hardly after his showing against Arlovski. Arlovski? See Werdum. Gonzaga? He just lost to Couture. Vera? Lost to Sylvia. Kongo? Maybe, I suppose. Any way you slice it, Sylvia and Nogueira are the best two the UFC has to fight for the title. The reason it might seem ho-hum is casual UFC fan's unfamiliarity with Nogueira's accomplishments (funny that Dana has Nog fighting for a title when he's fallen to Fedor in the past. And as we all now know, Fedor isn't even top 10) and the overwhelming hatred fans have for Sylvia the person and his lack of exciting fights. At the end of the day though, they are the two most deserving under UFC contract. Let's just pray Arlovski/Sylvia IV isn't on the near horizon.
Huckaby: FACT. Though I have to say this isn't a great matchup for Nog and if he loses the 12-year-olds at Sherdog are going to have a fit. Tim should be better on his feet, better in the clinch, and good enough on the ground to escape submissions. Back to the original statement, of course these are the guys that deserve it. Tim gets dicked around too much and the fans give him a hard time. I can't defend his "I came into the fight with an injury" garbage but he's just a big goofy guy who I can't help but like. Watch his Blind Date appearance and see if you can still hate him. Nog also gets shit from idiots who mention the Herring fight. He's beaten him three times now. It's not like some random mid-level guy almost beat him, it's a guy he's beaten three times now. Lay off. If anything maybe that should prove why a UFC debut is so difficult. I'm not really answering the statement. Yes, they're the two best guys. Good, go.
Score: 1 for 1
2. Having Jared Rollins and Jon Koppenhaver fight on TUF 6 Finale goes back on their decision to not have Noah Thomas and Marlon Sims back for TUF 5 Finale.
Newby: FACT? Here's a secret. Not very long into this season's Ultimate Fighter I realized something. I was getting bored with the episodes and the whole edited drama and immature behavior. And when Sherdog's Jordan Breen pointed out before the season began how sub par many the fighters were skill wise compared to who could be featured on the show, well, I couldn't do it anymore. So here is my confession. I can barely keep many of the names straight at this point. I fast forwarded straight to the fights several times, skipping the rest of the episodes. I have no idea what Jared and Jon did on the show, but assuming that they fought in the house like Noah and Marlon did last season, yes, that is going back on the UFC's previous decision. Not that I am all that shocked or surprised if that is the case. Business, ya know?
Huckaby: FACT. Thank God 411 has you Newbs, I don't know where else we could find a guy who doesn't watch the show and can't tell people apart. I bet I could go to MMAWeekly and not find a single person like that. And yes, I suppose you can BS your way into explaining how the situations were different but they weren't. There is always a way to explain how situations were different to explain decisions. Doesn't make it so. While Jared and Jon didn't get kicked out of the house they still were involved in a conflict and they're going out of their way to air it on the main card and bump more deserving fights off of it. Lesson learned? Get into a mini-fight in the house. Not enough to get kicked out but just enough that they'll showcase you on the main card when they otherwise wouldn't have.
Score: 2 for 2.
3. The UFC will air a network television card in the first three months of 2008.
Newby: FACT. Ooooo, this is tricky. Dana has been promising he'd be on HBO in the next few months the past year on these conference calls, so this is a risky take. I'll go with the whole writers strike making the networks desperate for original programming thing as the final push to get the UFC on a major network television channel. Sounds like CBS is the early favorite, but who's to say. The Penn/Stevenson card is where the talk is centered now. Granted, if that one doesn't make it to network television, I don't know if we'll see anything else on by March.
Huckaby: FICTION. I'll be difficult. We get fed alot of crap. I don't doubt there have been negotiations but we all know how Dana deals with business. Didn't he famously say that HBO needed them more than UFC needed HBO? Yeah, good luck with that. He's not exactly a people person and folks at CBS would urinate on him if he made that same statement. I think for this to happen, which I hope it does, they'll need to take a back seat to CBS and I just don't see that happening. The idea should be the excitement and opportunity of having mixed martial arts on network television, not finding a way to make a great deal of money out of the situation. They won't be able to do the latter and there is always another reality show about a cyclops looking for love out of a group of dwarves to be made if UFC won't agree to their deal.
Score: 2 for 3
----SWITCH IT UP----
4. Roger Huerta will take the next step and beat Clay Guida.
Huckaby: FACT. You know, I'd picked Guida from the day the fight was announced but I'm going to reach and take Huerta. We haven't really seen a weakness from him at this point other than maybe taking too long to defeat lesser opponents. Guida keeps saying if people think he's just a wrestler he's going to prove them wrong. Well, prove me wrong. Huerta has the standup and the ground skills (atleast the pounding of people on it) and I think he's shown me enough takedown defense that he'll be alright.
Newby: FACT. You know how sometimes we get amped for a fight we are sure will be an all out, exciting war and are then disappointed (ala Koscheck/Sanchez) when it fails to live up expectations? Is there really any way this won't be a fast paced, action filled battle? Can I stop asking questions? The answers are yes, no, yes. I really like both of these guys, but Huerta has been able to do it against everyone so far. It's been frustrating to see him play into his opponent's own game at times, but since he's still won, that speaks volumes. Huerta's been able to survive tough situations and prevail has been impressive. Guida is great, I just don't see him finishing Huerta or being able to outwork him to a decision in a three round bout.
Score: 3 for 4, know who else always fights his opponent's gameplan? Fedor. Roger Huerta is little tattooed Mexican baby Fedor.
5. Sergei Kharitonov will do the smart thing and immediately clinch with Mighty Mo at K-1 Dynamite.
Huckaby: FICTION. Only because of the world "immediately." I'm betting he'll exchange and feel him out until he gets hit hard a couple of times. In fact, Kharitonov doesn't exactly have a great track record against guys that can knock him out. Kharitonov's greatest attribute is his ground-and-pound and if he's looking out for his best interest that will be his gameplan.
Newby: FICTION. Three reasons. The aforementioned "immediately". The fact that so often fighters never do the so called smart thing at the get go. And perhaps my biggest reasoning, Huckaby is a long time Sergei fan, or so I've been led to believe, so I think he has a better handle on what the Russian will do. It's questions like these we're lucky to get by on technicalities though. Immediately. It's like a school true/false test that contains the word always or never. Nine time out of ten saying false will get you the right answer. Ok, so this may have lacked something on the MMA analysis side. But for you kids out there taking your finals, I've dispensed invaluable advice. I've done my job.
Score: 4 for 5. Yes, and never answer "D" five straight times on the SATs. You're a well of knowledge Newbs. MMA analysis at it's best.
6. John McCarthy, who is expected to announce his retirement, will one day be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
Huckaby: FACT. Although I suppose it has alot to do with what McCarthy says at his apparent retirement press conference. Assuming it's all on good terms it becomes a question of whether the people in charge of Hall of Fame induction will look at a ref as someone worthy enough to be in there with the greatest fighters in the history of the organization. I'm not 100% confident but I would have to imagine that at some point in the near or far future that he'll grace the halls, and probably be the only ref to ever make it. Though, to go back on my answer, it also wouldn't surprise me if he doesn't make it. Dana does after all insult fighters with broken ribs and those that have trouble cutting 20+ lbs of weight in one day.
Newby: FACT. I am lucky as I was able to answer this question after listening in on the conference. It sound like McCarthy is on good terms with the UFC management, and given their long history together and the high esteem McCarthy is held in... it would make sense. As Huckaby said, the only question is if a ref is considered worthy of joining the top fighters ever. I'd have to lean to yes in the case of Big John.
Join us next week when two different 411 MMA writers step into battle, analyzing everything from the TUF 6 Finale to new bouts made for 2008.