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411 Fact or Fiction MMA: Is Michael Bisping vs. GSP the Right Call?

March 8, 2017 | Posted by Lorenzo Vasquez

Welcome back to another edition of 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! I’m your host, Lorenzo Vasquez III, and it is my pleasure to bring you the 411 on the fact and the fiction making waves in professional mixed martial arts. Thank you, for your votes and comments last week. It is appreciated and I encourage you leave your feedback, thoughts, or general comments below. Last week, Jeffrey Harris decided to try his hand at outing Mark Radulich as they tore through subjects like USADA granting Cris Cyborg a therapeutic use exemption, Bellator MMA’s reliance on older stars, and Demian Maia opting to fight Jorge Masvidal instead of waiting for a title shot in addition to other subjects. Jeffrey rushed in hitting hard while pushing the pace. He was able to make it a close fight by making it a gritty affair. Mark took some damage but walked away with the 16-to-13 victory. Congratulations Mark and thank you both for your efforts and contributions.

This week, Wyatt Beougher and Alex Rella will try to get back on track as they look to get inside the winning column by routing the other over subjects like Michael Bisping vs. George St-Pierre, Tony Ferguson fighting Conor McGregor, Demetrious Johnson tieing Anderson Silva’s record of consecutive title defenses, and much more! Grab some grub and make yourself comfortable because it’s time for another round of, 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! Let’s get the showing going…

TALE OF THE TAPE
RED CORNER
Wyatt Beougher
Host/Reviewer/Columnist, 411 MMA/TV & Movies/Wrestling Zones
2-5-0

VS

BLUE CORNER
Alex “Little Mac” Rella
Contributor, 411 MMA Zone
1-6-0


Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre for the middleweight title is a devastating blow and waste of time for the middleweight division, one of the better-stacked divisions in the UFC.

Wyatt Beougher: FICTION Does it suck for guys like Yoel Romero and even Jacare, who probably should’ve already had a title fight over guys like Dan Henderson and a guy who’s been off for over three years in GSP? Absolutely. But calling it a “devastating blow” to the middleweight division or implying that it’s a “waste of time” is a bridge too far. Even when Anderson Silva was on his dominant run through the middleweight division, cards headlined by middleweight fights weren’t exactly setting buy rate records, so bringing in one of the UFC’s all-time biggest draws in St. Pierre to take on a champion who can sell the fight in Bisping isn’t the worst idea for the middleweight division, and it’s just another reminder that the UFC is still a promotion and not beholden to the same championship/playoff determination systems that the major American sports leagues use. So while a Bisping/St. Pierre fight might not be the best fight for the middleweight division purely from a sport perspective, I still think, in the grand scheme of Michael Bisping’s championship reign, it’s not even as egregious as his first title defense, nor will it be particularly bad for the middleweight division.

Alex Rella: FICTION I don’t like this booking and think GSP is making a mistake going up to 185, but I’m not outraged by this. Sure this fight is frustrating, but everyone should stop being shocked by the UFC’s booking at this point. They don’t care about their self imposed rankings when there is an opportunity to make another they think will draw bigger numbers. Just try to enjoy the actual fight itself and block out the UFC’s nonsensical decision making. Yoel Romero is the clear number one contender and he is being pushed back, but there is a possible solution that doesn’t hold up the division too much. Put Romero up against Luke Rockhold in a number one contender fight. This way all of the top contenders are competing against each other with Weidman vs Mousasi and Jacare vs Whittaker.


The judges in Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson made the wrong call by granting Woodley the majority decision and should take any heat over the decision.

Wyatt Beougher: FACT Look, I’m not an MMA judge, but when no less an authority than Dana White is saying you screwed up, you probably screwed up. All sarcasm aside, in this instance, I actually agree with White. I might have fallen asleep prior to the main event on Saturday night (admittedly, I’m getting old, or at least feeling that way), but I’ve watched and re-watched it three times now, and I tend to agree with 411 reviewer extraordinaire Robert Winfree that Wonderboy took rounds 1, 3, and 4, and I don’t even think it was a Jon Jones/Alex Gustafsson situation where any of those rounds were close enough that the “champion’s advantage” should have helped Woodley regain his title. Of course, I’m sure in Woodley’s mind, anyone who thinks Thompson won that fight is just racist, but in this instance, he’s wrong. He lost the fight, and Thompson deserves a rematch. With the fight not exactly garnering rave reviews, I’m not sure if we’ll get the conclusion of the trilogy, but it should happen.

Alex Rella: FICTION That mess of a fight was tough to call. I thought Thompson won, but I see how it could have gone either way and I don’t think you can give the judges a hard time. It is hard to score a fight when there are rounds when practically nothing happened. I think it’s safe to say Woodley took rounds 3 & 5 and Thompson took 1 & 4. Round 2 is the one that could have gone either way because so little happened in it. I thought Thompson won it, but it was close by default. Not that I would ever rewatch that fight, but if I did, I could probably see where Woodley took round 2. Don’t blame the judges for this one, let’s just hope we never see a third fight between these two.


It isn’t worth rebooking Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov; instead, Ferguson should be granted the next lightweight title shot against Conor McGregor.

Wyatt Beougher: FICTION I’m torn on this one, because I really, really want to see Ferguson/Nurmagomedov, but at the same time, Khabib has pulled out of this fight twice now and El Cucuy’s nine-fight win streak should certainly be enough to get him a shot at Conor McGregor. And while a fight with McG would certainly move the needle (and a fight that I personally would love to see), the current lightweight champion is…mercurial…so it might be several months before all this nonsense with Mayweather is settled and even longer if a fight ends up materializing out of it. I’d prefer Ferguson not go the Rashad Evans route and sit on the sidelines waiting for a title shot, and while I’m fine with the rumored Ferguson/Alvarez title eliminator that Eddie started lobbying for when it looked like Khabib wasn’t going to be cleared, ultimately I’m going FICTION on this one because Ferguson/Nurmagomedov is the fight that I was emotionally invested in and it’s still the fight I most want to see (barring a miraculous change of heart from “the Notorious”, of course).

Alex Rella: FACT Unless McGregor is out of action until 2018 for boxing or family reasons, you absolutely should just give Tony Ferguson the next lightweight title shot. Ferguson has defeated higher caliber opponents and is the far more active fighter. Khabib has fought three times since the start of 2014, Ferguson has won 8 fights in that time span. They’ve both defeated a lot of the same guys, but Ferguson has also won against Josh Thomson and Edson Barboza. If McGregor is ready to go in a couple months, it just doesn’t make sense to hold up the division any further. Book McGregor vs Ferguson and then throw Khabib up against Nate Diaz or Eddie Alvarez.


SWITCH!

The biggest winners of UFC 209 were David Teymur and Lando Vannata as both showed tremendous spirit and heart, technical aptitude, and a promising future in the UFC.

Alex Rella: FICTION They had a great fight and are full of potential, but I would not consider them the biggest winners of UFC 209. While great, their fight had no impact on the rest of the division and neither is close to cracking the top 15 rankings despite their efforts. I would put their fight behind other great accomplishments from Saturday night. Alistair Overeem brutally knocked out Mark Hunt to keep himself at the top of the heavyweight division. Dan Kelly beat former champ Rashad Evans in the biggest win of his career and will likely get a name fight next. And Darren Elkins had a truly epic comeback to win his 4th fight in a row, that performance will likely get him a top ten opponent his next time out. I would consider those three to be bigger accomplishments than their exciting fight.

Wyatt Beougher: FACT I mean, you could make the argument that Woodley was the biggest winner, considering he retained his welterweight title in the main event with a gift decision, but when you factor in that Teymur and Vannata not only raised their status in the eyes of fight fans and likely their employer with what was far and away the Fight of the Night, but also walked away with an additional $50,000 each, I think this one is definitely a FACT. Teymur, even with his win bonus, would’ve walked away with $28,000 and Vannata with $25,000 had they not picked up FotN honors, so coming out of the event with an increased reputation and a nearly 200% increase in what they were expecting to take home makes it hard to argue that they weren’t the biggest winners of this past weekend. And based on what we saw in that fight, I don’t think it’s a stretch to state that they both have promising futures in the UFC, especially with Vannata having already proven that he’s not afraid to jump in the cage with a contender on short notice – that goes a long way towards staying on Dana White’s good side, and will probably mean even if he loses his next fight and starts out his UFC career 1-3, he’ll get at least one more chance to prove he belongs.


Considering Rashad Evans had been away from the cage for almost a year and that his fight at UFC 209 was his third in over 3-years, it is reasonable to withhold judgment on his middleweight debut for at least one more fight in said division.

Alex Rella: FACT Of course he should get one more chance at 185. Rashad Evans is very clearly not the fighter he used to be, but it was his first time cutting down to 185. Cutting an extra 20lbs is a huge drop, especially for an older fighter. Plus he went up against a very underrated fighter in Dan Kelly. Kelly is a 4x Olympian and is now 13-1, he’s a tough fight for anyone. I doubt Evans is going to make a huge impact at 185lbs, but I’d like to see him get another chance to.

Wyatt Beougher: FICTION Rashad’s thirty-seven, and at the pace he’s currently on, he’ll be thirty-eight before he fights again, and he really needed to have an impressive debut at middleweight to make the drop worthwhile. Instead, he lost his third straight fight to a guy who is even older than him, and, on top of that, his move to middleweight was completely overshadowed by another former champion of a different weight class making the move to the 185-pound division. Sure, GSP doesn’t have the history with Bisping that Rashad has (what with Rashad/Bisping being the first fight between winners of The Ultimate Fighter and basically being the reason Bisping moved down to middleweight, in addition to handing Bisping his first professional loss), and we may not know what GSP’s going to look like inside the Octagon after over three years away, but I doubt that even if Evans had won this past weekend, there would be many people clamoring for him to get a shot at Bisping over St. Pierre.

Without even an impressive middleweight debut to go on, and a title shot at least a year away (and that’s if he drastically increases his annual number of fights), I just don’t see any good reason Evans should subject himself to an additional weight cut at his age. Granted, Evans has said in the past that he was making the 205-pound light heavyweight limit without cutting weight, but at 37, any cut becomes more difficult (spoken as a thirty-six year old fluent in weight cutting) and more draining on his body. That said, he’s no closer to a title opportunity at light heavyweight, so if he honestly thinks he has a better shot at moving up the rankings at middleweight (which anyone who actually watches the sport and knows how shallow the UFC’s light heavyweight division is at the moment would disagree), then I certainly think he’ll be afforded that opportunity. And I’ll admit that he could come out of the gates in a potential second middleweight fight and look like a rejuvenated fighter and at least temporarily dispel the retirement talk, but at this point, I’m confident in saying that it’s just not likely at this point.


It’s safe to say, Demetrious Johnson will tie Anderson Silva’s record for most consecutive title defenses (10) after he fights Wilson Reis at UFC on FOX 24.

Alex Rella: FACT Yea, Mighty Mouse should win this one. I just don’t see Reis pulling off what would be one of the biggest upsets of all time. The former EliteXC champ got his title shot because he is a talented fighter on a decent winning streak, but also largely because there aren’t any other fresh matchups at flyweight for Johnson. Johnson has beaten almost everyone else in the top 15 rankings and the only rising prospects in the division are Sergio Pettis and Brandon Moreno, but it would be a disservice to throw either one up against the champ at this point in their careers. I expect Johnson to continue his dominance here.

Wyatt Beougher: FACT I don’t mean this as a knock on Reis by any means, but at this point in his reign, Silva had fought such luminaries as Travis Lutter (non-title because Lutter missed weight), Patrick Cote, and Thales Leites, and while Reis is a perfectly respectable 22-6, with 5 of those wins and only a single loss coming in the UFC’s flyweight division, I’m just not sure he’s going to be much more of a challenge to Johnson than those guys were to Silva. And while Silva ruled the middleweight division, I would be comfortable making the argument that Johnson has been even more dominant in the flyweight division, as there hasn’t been a competitor who was able to dominate him for even a single round the way that both Dan Henderson (one round) and Chael Sonnen (six rounds or one round, depending on how you feel about their first encounter) did with Silva. That’s not to say that Reis isn’t a worthy challenger for Johnson’s title, just that, at this point, Johnson is so much better than everyone else in the division that I’m not sure Reis is really going to put up much of a fight.

I’d might be a little more confident if Reis actually held a win over someone currently ranked in the UFC’s official top five, but I can at least understand how he got the title shot without a significant win like that on his resume (a combination of the other guys in the top five either having already lost to Johnson – Joseph Benavidez and Henry Cejudo – or having sustained a loss in the past couple of fights – Jussier Formiga). Reis is a talented grappler and there’s always the potential that if he can get Mighty Mouse to the ground, he will be able to score the huge upset victory, but I think the more likely outcome is that Johnson ties Silva’s record for consecutive title defenses.


So who won? Did Wyatt crack back into the winning column or was Alex able to slip through and grab the nod? You’ve got until midnight eastern on Saturday to vote, so make sure you make your voice heard!


And that’s it for today but, as always, we’ll be back next week with another contest! And please, be sure to vote!

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