For every UFC event, I’m planning to do a five-question preview with one other writer from the site. It’s a new perspective of looking at the upcoming card that goes a littler farther than simply predicting fights. Each question will be based on a fight of the main card. Shawn W. Smith is first up.
Five questions for UFC 162
Some may find this shocking, but I find UFC 162 more compelling than UFC 148, if you want to compare July cards which featured Anderson Silva. There is a lot of pressure on these fighters to perform. Frankie Edgar, Mark Munoz, and Tim Boetsch are among the names with serious pressure on them to perform. The card may lack some firepower with Chan Sung-Jung off the card, but I’m still confident this will be better than it appears on paper.
Is it safe to say that Cub Swanson against Dennis Siver is going to be fight of the night? Both guys have knockout power and constantly fight at a rapid pace.
Allen: Once Ricardo Lamas had to withdraw from the card due to Chan Sung-Jung replacing Anthony Pettis at UFC 163, this was my prediction to be fight of the night. People may discount Dennis Siver due to his age or being too predictable at times, but he’s as tough as they come.
This should be fight of the night based on how both fighters love to push the pace and rarely get finished. Siver has done well in moving down to the featherweight division and knows how massive a win would be over one of the top fighters in the division. Swanson knows a win against Siver would probably mean he’s one win away from fighting for the title. This has all the makings into being fight of the night.
Shawn: If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching this sport over the last decade, it’s that nothing is ever safe. When everything can change with one punch or one crank of the neck, any fight could last 15 seconds or 15 minutes.
That being said, both men are striking specialists with knockout power. I would be surprised if it wasn’t a quality fight in contention for fight of the night. These two sure do seem to have a knack for picking up that award.
In 2010 and 2011, Mark Munoz was rolling through the competition in the middleweigh division. Then he showed up out of shape and was manhandled by Chris Weidman last July. With the recent weight loss, does he get back on track against Tim Boetsch?
Allen: The Mark Munoz comeback story has been pretty remarkable. When you look at the pictures of his weight cut, it’s astonishing to see how in five months someone can change their life like that. It’s obvious that Munoz is going to be extremely motivated to earn the win, but Tim Boetsch never goes away easily. Boetsch is as gritty as they comes and won’t shy away from wrestling with Munoz.
This fight is arguably the toughest one to predict because both fighters are pretty similar and are coming off loses. I’m expecting both to be very aggressive and the fight will come down to who implements their game plan more. Munoz will need to control him on the ground and not stand up with him for too long. Boetsch tends to tire out as well, so hopefully the new and improved Mark Munoz is ready to fight for fifteen minutes. I like his chances on Saturday.
Shawn: From the pictures I’ve seen, there’s no arguing that he’s out of shape now. Munoz looks as though he has reinvented himself after pudging up to 260 pounds after the Weidman bout.
This is a very compelling fight, and one I think could go either way. Both are coming off hard to swallow losses where they took a severe beating. Every fighter reacts differently to taking that kind of embarrassing defeat, so we’ll see which one can bounce back.
Tim Kennedy has gotten a lot of attention recently for his comments about fighter’s pay. Do you think he has the right to be outspoken or should he be quiet and concentrate for his fight against Roger Gracie?
Allen: Kennedy’s comments gained a lot of heat because he was well paid in Strikeforce and never fought in the UFC. This is your first fight in the biggest company in the world and you are already bashing the company? The fighter pay needs to be fixed, but he should have waited until after his fight to make those comments. Now you have people talking about your comments rather than your actual fight.
It was just odd to see him make comments like that. The winner of his fight against Roger Gracie will probably be put in the top ten of the middleweight division. In such a wide-open division, where there aren’t many elite fighters left. Kennedy should be thankful for this opportunity and be ready to move his way up in the rankings.
Shawn: This is an interesting one. I do think on average fighters are underpaid. I don’t know how anyone could argue otherwise. There are fighters who compete in the world’s biggest promotion and make under $10,000 for a bout (Ian McCall being the most prominent). I understand the UFC gives out there own little bonus checks after the fights, but we as media don’t see those.
Kennedy is a bizarre case because he is actually one of the better-paid fighters. Look back to his last Strikeforce bout. He made $80,000 for that fight. When you add in sponsorship money, he probably made significantly more than that. Do you make that much money in a year? I certainly don’t.
To be fair, Kennedy did retract the statement and apologize. He did the right thing and I’m interested to see if he can work his game against Gracie.
Charles Oliveira is a heavy underdog going up against Frankie Edgar. Do you give him any chance of upsetting Edgar on Saturday?
Allen: What boggles my mind about this matchup is that Oliveira is 2-3-1 in his last six fights, along with getting knocked out by Cub Swanson who is in the opening fight of the pay-per-view. How Oliveira is in this matchup just doesn’t seem right to me. It seems that they are just feeding someone to Edgar, so he can get back on track and earn a victory. Edgar may have lost three fights in a row, but they were all highly competitive.
Oliveira is very dangerous on the ground, which has been proven with his three ‘Submission of the Night’ achievements. He is very crafty and elusive when on the ground, which is the only way he’ll be able to win on Saturday. Edgar is better in stand up and throws more effective combinations, while always threatening to go for a takedown.
This is a very difficult matchup for Oliveira, where he’s outclassed in almost every area. You have to believe Edgar is going to be on top of his game, especially when he’s in desperate need of a win. Unless Oliveira can manage to lock in a submission, he doesn’t have much of a chance in this fight. His chances are slim to none going up against a world class fighter in Edgar.
Shawn: Simply put, no. Oliveira is a great grappler, there’s no denying that. That being said, I haven’t seen the evolution in the other parts of his game that I’d like to see from someone who competes at the highest level. Sure, he could catch Edgar in a freak submission, but I wouldn’t bet a dime on it.
He’s not supposed to win. This is a fight put together for the purpose of seeing Edgar move himself back into title contention. He’s a money fighter and he’ll prove it Saturday night.
Speaking of underdogs, Chris Weidman isn’t the underdog that some thought he would be. Are you buying into the hype that some fighters are hyping him up to be such as Georges St. Pierre and Daniel Cormier?
Allen: You can look at it from two perspectives. Weidman is an extremely difficult matchup for Silva based on his success as a wrestler and being able to finish fights using submissions or devastating elbows. Then you have Silva, who has shown great improvements in his takedown defense and is on another level when it comes to striking.
The comparisons of Weidman and Chael Sonnen are far-fetched because Weidman can finish fights in both ways. He uses more elbows and is patient when being in top position. The issue with Weidman is that he’s not very experienced in big fight situations. It would make me more confident if he beat someone like Vitor Belfort or even Luke Rockhold before being put in a title fight. If the middleweight division wasn’t so depleted, he wouldn’t be in this title fight.
He is extremely talented and will be a top five middleweight for years to come. I do not believe in the hype though because Silva’s takedown defense is much better than for what people give him credit for. I’m very against judging a fighter off one fight, which is why I don’t put too much stock into what Sonnen did to him at UFC 117. Even if Weidman tries to grind the fight whether it’s on the ground or against the cage, Silva is great at counter striking and can end the fight in an instant. If it goes longer than two rounds, I’ll be surprised.
Shawn: I’m absolutely not buying the hype around Chris Weidman. They rushed this title shot because it was a money fight and I think this kid will pay the consequences Saturday night. He’s a good fighter with good submission skills and evolving striking, but he has beat no one anywhere near the top of the division.
His biggest wins were over Damian Maia and Mark Munoz, who are fringe top 10 middleweights. I would have liked to see him beat one of the elites in the division whether it would be a Yushin Okami, Vitor Belfort, or a Michael Bisping. Add on the fact he’s coming from a yearlong layoff for surgery and I think this kid will be lucky to see the end of the first round.
Allen: The card seems fairly predictable, although I’m still pretty blown away on how many fighters are picking Weidman. It’s not even just wrestlers; you have fighters like TJ Grant and Frank Mir, who aren’t wrestlers yet still favoring Weidman to win. He’ll have to make the fight ugly to win. It’s time for Weidman to show if he’s one of the top fighters in the world or he’ll be just another victim.