UFC 91: Roundtable

In the past, we’ve done a roundtable discussion about the upcoming fights and who will win. However, everyone does that, and Inside Fights is all about going outside the box, beating it silly and getting it to tap out.

So the new roundtable will feature questions about who we’re looking forward to on the fight card and what could happen as a result of key fights.

Joining me today are iFights editor and H-Town resident Jeremy Botter and a guy who understands Canadian pride better than Kalib Starnes, Gordi Whitelaw.

1) What match outside of the main event are you looking forward to the most?
Botter: Nate Quarry and Damien Maia. I love watching Maia’s brilliance on the ground, so I always look forward to any fight he’s in.

Gordi: Like Jeremy, I’m a big fan of watching Maia work his magic on the ground, but I think that Florian vs. Stevenson is an even more compelling fight. The contrast in styles could lead to a dull fight if Joe Daddy decides to hold Florian down and work for a decision. On the other hand, it could end up a bloody brawl or a fascinatingly strategic ground war. Can Florian’s dangerous Mui Thai and fluid ground game overcome Stevenson’s explosive power?

Wong: For me, it’s two fighters in the UFC Nerd Herd division – Barn Cat vs. McLovin. McRory is 1-0 in this subdivision having already beaten Luke Cummo, but like Damien Maia, Dustin Hazelett has some slick ground skills that could negate the long reach of the Barn Cat.

2) What fight looks to be, on paper, the fight of the night?
Botter: I’d have to give the nod to Quarry/Maia again. I think you’re going to see some great work. Florian/Stevenson would be a close second.

Gordi: Aaron Riley is making his UFC debut on this card! He’s one of my favourite fighters. His bouts in the seminal Indiana-based indie promotion HOOKnSHOOT, specifically the ones against Yves Edwards and Steve Berger, were some of the most exciting fights of the early ’00s. He’s facing off against Rich Franklin trainee Jorge Gurgel. The Brazilian TUF veteran has already earned UFC FOTN honours for his preliminary battle at UFC 73 against Diego Sarieva. Gurgel had to celebrate his victory in the hospital, because he started peeing blood after the fight. Also, his jaw was broken.

Wong: I’m guessing Maia will get sub of the night, but best fight will probably be Florian/Stevenson. Kenny always brings the goods to his fight, and he seems to bring out the best in his opponents. I’ve always felt that Joe Daddy was a bit overrated, but he can still hang around and put on a good show.

3) The winner of the Florian/Stevenson fight will be facing BJ Penn for the Lightweight Title. What happens to the loser?
Botter: The impression I’m getting is that the winner of this fight will fight against Sean Sherk for a title shot. I can’t imagine Florian wanting to wait around for 8 months to fight Penn. Sherk looked fantastic in his last fight against Griffin, and he definitely deserves to be considered a contender.

The loser of the fight? I say you put him against Nate Diaz or Clay Guida. It’s time for Diaz to step up a level or two in competition, and Guida always puts on entertaining fights. You can’t lose.

Gordi: Stevenson’s already lost to Penn pretty convincingly, so a Florian win leads to the more compelling Lightweight title match. If he loses by submission, Stevenson will have to get serious about improving his ground skills. Raw power alone isn’t enough when he’s in the cage with the very best fighters in his class. Stevenson is young enough to work his way back into contention after a loss. Florian is already in his thirties, so there might be more urgency on his side. Both fighters have a lot of notoriety from TUF, so it’s unlikely that the UFC would just let either of them fade away.

Wong: Back to the drawing board. A fight with Sherk may be what’s coming up, but I think the loser probably gets a gatekeeper like Guida or Tyson Griffin

(Note: The following question was asked before Sadollah was forced to pull out of the card)
4) Amir Sadollah fights for the first time since winning The Ultimate Fighter. Should we expect his winning ways to continue against undefeated Nick Catone?

Botter: It’s so tough for me to predict anything about Sadollah because he just doesn’t have enough fights to analyze. I was impressed by Sadollah during The Ultimate Fighter and I think he has a ton of potential, but I just don’t know how to predict his fights at this point.

Gordi: Catone has the resume of a well-rounded fighter. He’s never lost a pro fight, he was an NCAA division 1 wrestler, he has a purple belt in BJJ, and he is listed as the USKBA Middleweight Champion. I’m assuming that USKBA stands for United States Kick Boxing Association, but it could just as easily stand for US-Kazakhstan Business Association. Either way, he doesn’t seem like a tomato can, and a win here would be a nice step on what will hopefully be a great career for the likable Sadollah.

5) Are there any undercard fights that you’re hoping will make it to the PPV?
Gordi: Riley vs. Gurgel could just go to a decision, since both guys are tough as nails and neither have an ounce of quit in them. It could also be 15 minutes of pure action, since both men have an all-out risk-taking style. It’s too bad that the UFC has become so stingy with prelim fights making air. I’m dying to see this one.

Wong: Well, I was hoping for McRory vs. Hazelett, but with that getting promoted I’m not going to protest seeing any of the undercard fights, but I’m not going to cry if they don’t make it either.

Kevin Wong writes for Inside Fights, Reality Dish and Prime Time Pulse. He puts the over/under on pro wrestler sightings on camera at 5

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