Wednesday, November 9, 2011
The UFC! ... on FOX
On November 12, we're about to be spoiled. The UFC is going to take us to the store and buy us anything we want. The UFC is coming to FOX. In case you haven't figured it out yet, FOX is on free TV. You don't even have to be registered with a cable provider to get it. You could walk into an empty, dilapidated building that's been primarily used as a squatting station for the homeless, plug in a crappy TV (since this is already a ridiculous sentence, let's just assume that this empty building somehow has electricity), throw up the classic "bunny ears" antennas, and there's a 73% chance you'd still get the UFC on FOX.
This is going to be an incredible occurrence in a sport where much of the money they make is still due to pay-per-view revenue. But wait.
The UFC isn't making it's debut on primetime TV with just any fight. This isn't Asscrack vs. Backsack. This is Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos, quite possibly the greatest, most compelling fight in the history of heavyweight mixed martial arts.
(Allow me a quick rant: in sports, I am normally not a fan of the whole "whatever great thing just happened is better than anything that's ever happened, simply because I'm being reactionary instead of rational" view. The best example of this happened a few years ago when Appalachian State (a Division II school) defeated the Michigan Wolverines in the first week of the college football season. Everyone started screaming about how this was the "biggest upset ever." Puh-lease. Michigan sucked that year, and App. State was the defending Div. II national champion. The biggest upset ever was Frank Trigg developing into a decent color guy alongside Michael Schiavello.)
The only fight I can think of that even comes close to rivaling the intrigue and build-up of this one is Fedor Emelianenko vs. Mirko Cro Cop. In fact, stylistically, Cain vs. JDS has definite similarities to that fight. Mirko Cro Cop was a feared striker who could end any fight with one bomb and was extremely difficult to take down, and if you got him there, there was an excellent chance he was getting right back up (kind of like Junior Dos Santos). Fedor Emelianenko was a small, quick heavyweight that could hurt you with punches and beat your brains in if he got on top (sort of like Cain Velasquez).
Lets not kid ourselves, though. Cain and JDS are both better athletes than Mirko and Fedor are (and were). Not only that, but they will also fight on the biggest possible stage, both globally and chronologically.
We have reached the point of this article where it's (probably) time for me to give you my prediction on the fight. Well, geez ... this is going to be an embarrassing moment ... but honestly, I have no idea. Both guys are at a level where I feel like they could both do almost anything to one another short of sneaking a shank into the Octagon and stabbing each other in the clinch.
I favor Cain by the slightest of margins, simply because he's shown a wider array of skills, and he's proven that he can battle his way back should he be rocked or put under some kind of adversity. I also must mention that these two are famous for their training mystique. There's an unwritten rule that fighters don't discuss who gets the better of who when they're in the gym (hear that, Jon Jones?), but everything I've ever heard or read about Cain suggests that he's the greatest athlete anyone has ever seen. He beats welterweights in conditioning drills. He hits mitts like a professional boxer, and he seems to have no limit to his cardio. I'd bring up a fight where he got tired, but that fight doesn't exist.
Before Junior made his UFC debut against Fabricio Werdum, he was an unknown. Then, a video of him hitting mitts surfaced online. People flipped. It was still a huge upset at the time, but there WERE people that picked him to win based solely on this video. Since I can't seem to locate it at this time, I'm going to take this opportunity to link this vid, which was made by my main man Matt. Check out 2:22 and tell me that isn't an astounding display. While we're here, where you at, Matt? Hit me up.
The most interesting aspect of this fight will be where it goes in the first two minutes. Niether guy has ever shown any kind of problem with his proverbial "gas tank." If Cain decides to close the distance and clinch early, JDS could be in for some big punches and takedowns from in tight. If Cain stands at range and allows JDS to start jabbing to the body, setting up one of those evil hooks or uppercuts, he could be in trouble. I don't see this happening. Cain will establish his flow early and he'll begin to dominate JDS with a well rounded attack beginning in the third round. This will be an incredibly close fight, and it will go to a decision. In fact, the percentage that it will go to a five round decision is akin to the percentage that you'd be able to receive the UFC on FOX in an empty, dilapidated building (roughly 73%). Cain by TKO. (Yup.)
Late addition: it has been confirmed that the broadcast team for this fight will consist of Mike Goldberg, Joe Rogan, and Brock Lesnar. Having Lesnar in the booth for this fight is both a ridiculous and understandable move. It's understandable because the UFC hopes that, since they are finally live on network television, random people will be flipping through the channels and think to themselves "Wow, these guys are good ... but who ARE they?". They're basically banking on Brock Lesnar being a familiar face and voice to all of said random people, and that this will somehow make them more comfortable. It's ridiculous, though, because it's Brock Lesnar. I would give him little to no chance of beating either of these guys. He's already been annihilated by Cain, and he's going to have a tremendous amount of trouble with Alistair Overeem. So whats the point? The point of having him there is so he can say things like "I like my chances against either of these guys." Then again, Lesnar was a cooler coach on TUF than most thought he would be, so who knows. Regardless, interesting wrinkle. Then again, this fight has all kinds of them.