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Old 02-23-2009, 11:34 AM #1
jakkups jakkups is offline
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Default Future Shock: The Champions in 2010

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The great Royce Gracie once said, “A belt only covers two inches of your ass. You have to cover the rest.”

What Royce meant, of course, is that you need to wear underwear. He was also probably referring to the fact that a belt -- either a cloth awarded by an instructor or a gold-plated eyesore from a promotion -- can’t do your fighting for you. Great champions have shown up only to turn in substandard performances; guys who got their brown belt from Sears have delivered some epic, ass-thrashing bouts.

That said, a championship belt is indisputable proof that you’ve achieved rare air in the combat sports -- especially if you had to dodge the murderer’s row in a promotion like the UFC, which is gleefully masochistic in its matchmaking.

Performances from contenders like Demian Maia and Diego Sanchez on Saturday’s UFC 95 freebie were indicative that 2009 is going to be a turbulent one for defending champions. Which titles will stay strapped in place and which will expose the rear cleavage of its former owners?

If I knew, I’d bet big and blog from Acapulco. Until then, be happy with irresponsible speculation. The guaranteed-not-to-be-accurate champions on Jan. 1, 2010:

UFC Lightweight Champion: Sean Sherk

The 155-pound belt is B.J. Penn’s for as long as he wants to hold on to it. Given his famously erratic motivations, that might only be for another couple of weeks.

Penn has shown little more than fleeting interest in being a lightweight shark. He fled from the UFC in 2004 to take open-weight fights in Hawaii and overseas. When he came back, he was obstinate in competing at 170 pounds. Only after losses to Georges St. Pierre and Matt Hughes did the promotion convince him to start skipping the bacon.

Literally the second after unifying the lightweight title against Sherk, Penn called out Georges St. Pierre.

Penn’s divisional ADD gives me little confidence that he’ll be able to focus on defending his lighter-weight belt. His attitude hints he considers the class to be beneath him -- that he’s so much better than everyone else, there’s no fear to get him out of bed in the morning.

Which is why a lackadaisical Penn will drop a decision to a busier, hungrier Kenny Florian in the summer -- who will, in turn, have no answers for the wet blanket that is Sean Sherk in the fall.

Sherk regains his strap; Florian continues dropping other contenders; Penn begs to fight Lyoto Machida.

UFC Welterweight Champion: Georges St. Pierre

Jon Fitch is a brick wall. If St. Pierre can toss him around like an empty beer can, he’s going to grind Thiago Alves down. Unless he doesn’t. But he probably will.

UFC Middleweight Champion: Anderson Silva

Demian Maia might be the Fred Astaire of jiu-jitsu. It’s too bad Silva is the Gene Kelly of kicking everyone’s ass.

Maia’s technique -- which involves sucking opponents into his Phantom Zone of a guard and digesting limbs -- might give Silva some night sweats, but we’ve yet to see how effective it is against someone with a black belt in jiu-jitsu from the Nogueira brothers. My guess is, not as effective as Silva’s stand-up against someone who’s spent most of his training life off his feet.

Who’s left? Nate Marquardt? He looked dangerously sharp in his stand-up Saturday, but that confidence is bound to leak out of his nose the moment Silva connects with a barrage of knees. (Marquardt’s destiny probably lies with Rich Franklin in a battle of who would be champion of an alternate universe in which “The Spider” was never hatched.)

Unless Silva has a repeat of his abysmal Patrick Cote non-fight -- essentially sabotaging himself -- he has little to fear. The man who can take his title hasn’t shown himself yet.

UFC Heavyweight Champion: Randy Couture

Let’s all be spared the Metamucil-with-extra-protein jokes. There’s better logic at work here.

Frank Mir will continue to be Brock Lesnar’s Achilles heel: Both are quick starters, but Lesnar’s tendency to throw opponents to the mat is the worst possible strategy against Mir, who is most dangerous where Lesnar instinctually wants the fight. He’ll lose by submission. Again.

That leaves Couture to busy himself with either Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira or Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic. While the latter bout fills me with utter dread -- I can see even a fading Croatian punting Couture’s head like a FILA demo -- it’s entirely likely that a battle of aging warriors will be won by the craftiest of the lot.

That leaves Mir and Couture for a Christmas engagement. Considering Couture probably wants no part of Mir on the mat in the first two or three rounds, it’ll be a kickboxing match, and that’s a game Couture has been playing longer. Having worn Mir down for 10 or 15 minutes, “The Natural” might start in with the ground throttling.

A record sixth UFC title would be an appropriate capper for both the year in MMA and Couture’s tenure as the elder statesman of the sport.

UFC Light Heavyweight Champion: Quinton Jackson

Any concerns that Jackson’s emotional breakdown and subsequent highway rampage after a title loss to Forrest Griffin in the summer would influence his fighting were put to rest -- right along with Wanderlei Silva -- in December.

If we accept that Jackson will not need to be straight-jacketed between rounds, and we also accept that he will handle the difficult-but-not-insurmountable Keith Jardine in March, then we’re left with a summer or fall pairing between Jackson and current champion Rashad Evans.

Evans has arguably made the bigger strides in his conditioning: Having faded somewhat against Michael Bisping, he looked fresh late against Forrest Griffin.

Jackson, though, usually shows up with a tuned engine and possesses both power and combinations in his mitts Evans has yet to deal with. (Versus Chuck Liddell, the former champion loaded his right hand like he was posing for a still.)

Five-round war. Traded takedowns. Jackson lands the bigger shots and the decision. Meets Lyoto Machida Super Bowl weekend in ’10.

And if his cornermen are smart, they’ll hide his car keys.
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Old 02-23-2009, 01:47 PM #2
dannythefrogs dannythefrogs is offline
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Quality post mate!

I'm new to this site as you can see.

I'm not so sure that Sherk beats Florian so easy . . . . . I wouldn't mind seeing what happens if Florian and Sanchez fight again though. Don't think that will be quite as one sided this time!

If Alves can make weight for GSP I think that could be an awesome fight. And as good as GSP is, I think just maybe Alves can KO him . . . His power is extreme! Or GSP smothers and destroys him on the ground.

Anderson Silva = Bad luck to all Middleweights! Maybe someone else can have a chance if he goes to LH!
A return to Middle for Wanderlei Silva could provide some interesting brawls if he can stay away from those 1 punch KO's!!!!

At LH, I can't argue with Jackson, again the power is awesome. And if he's right he should beat all of the rest . . . . . . Although it’s a seriously stacked division.
Evans is getting better all the time though so maybe he won't be too easy to dislodge.
Surely Machida can't sleep his way to the title can he??? Great win last time out! He's the least hit UFC fighter of all time I heard???
How about Chuck vs Shogun? I think Chuck will get a win there even if he is past it.

At Heavy I think the Brock vs Mir fight will be better than expected. Mir looked very good on his feet last time and Lesnar is powerful and quick for his size. I can see him getting submitted again but not as quickly or as easily this time. Plus if he can keep Mir down and land the big bombs he might put him away.
I wonder if Captain America can formulate a plan to beat the big Brock if he can earn another crack down the line . . . .
Outside chance for a short reign I'd say Congo . . . . .
And what about Fedor? Maybe just maybe. Get on the phone to Mr White!

Champs in 2010;

Light - Penn (if he wants to) if not Ken Flow!

Welter - Alves (if he makes weight) but not for too long, GSP gets him in a rematch!

Middle - Silva (if he stays)

Light H - Jackson!

Heavy - Brock . . . Or maybe Fedor, yeah right!!!
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