411 Fact or Fiction MMA: Will McGregor vs. Mayweather Humiliate Boxing?
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 another contest whereby the contestants try to separate the realms of fact and fiction within the growing niche of professional Mixed Martial Arts. But, before we move onto this week’s contest, I want to send out a big thank you to everyone who voted and left comments last week. It is appreciated and I encourage to do the same this week. Last week, “Handsome” Dan Plunkett square off with the “Toddfather” Todd Vote over whether or not Edson Barboza deserves a rematch with Tony Ferguson, the UFC creating 165-pound division, and Georges St-Pierre avoiding top middleweight contenders should he beat Michael Bisping in addition to other subjects. Both contestants came forward with tremendous pressure. Dan landed heavy combinations, but Todd fired back with hard combinations of his own in what turned out to be a back and forth affair. The win could have gone either way but Todd was able to edge out a 14-to-13 victory. Congratulations, Todd, and thank you, both for your effort and contributions. We appreciate it!
This week’s contestant shouldn’t lack fireworks as Dino Zee takes on the heavy-hitting Robert Winfree. Robert will look to hand Dino his first loss as they tackle Jimi Manuwa’s merit for a title shot, Bellator’s Welterweight Division, Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. humiliating boxing, and much more! It’s that time of the week again. Grab some grub and have a seat because it’s time for another round of, 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! Shall we…
TALE OF THE TAPE
Dino “Salad Bar” Zee
Contributor, 411 Wrestling Zone
Robert “The Last Rider” Winfree
Contributor/Live Coverage Guru/Host, 411 MMA Zone/411 Ground and Pound Radio Show
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) March 18, 2017
Although impressive, Jimi Manuwa’s stoppage victory over Corey Anderson did little to earn him a light heavyweight title shot.
Dino Zee: FICTION I can definitely see either side of the argument on this one, but ultimately I’m going “Fiction” here. Sure, on the surface, we definitely do not live in the universe where beating Corey Anderson gets anybody a title shot. However, this fight ultimately amounted to a “Stay Busy” fight for Manuwa, while representing a huge opportunity for the man formerly known as “Beastin 25/8.” And, when it was all said and done, Manuwa stayed busy and kept his momentum, while Anderson realized there’s still a lot of ground for him to make up between his current level, and being a contender.
That said, Manuwa is the #4 ranked Light Heavyweight, with his only two losses coming to top contenders in Alexander Gustafsson and Rumble Johnson. Gus has had his title shots, while Rumble is currently in line for his rematch with Cormier. Should Rumble lose again, I’d say that Manuwa is in great shape to get the next title shot. If Rumble wins, it might be slightly more difficult to get that fight. And, of course, if Jon Jones is ready to go, then he cuts the line and gets the next crack at the champion.
Still, this fight kept his high ranking, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s earned him the next shot (unless Jon Jones is ready to go).
Robert Winfree: FACT Though I wouldn’t be surprised if this winds up going the other way. The reality is that there exists a massive gap in talent in the UFC’s light heavyweight division, you have the top four guys in Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, Anthony Johnson, and Alexander Gustafsson, then there’s Glover Teixeira, then the rest of the division. The UFC has jettisoned the two fighters who fell between those two ranks, Phil Davis and Ryan Bader, so in terms of rankings Manuwa could get a shot. Manuwa has already lost to Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson, but there’s only so many permutations of the top four guys that we can get before a new challenger is needed just to avoid too many rematches. The biggest knock on Manuwa’s title aspirations right now is that his biggest win is either over OSP, a fighter who never got over the proverbial hump, or an unproven prospect like Corey Anderson. I’d like to see Manuwa take one more fight against say, Glover Teixeira or the loser of DC vs. Rumble, or even just a resume builder like an aging Shogun Rua, and then get the title shot. There’s also a lot of uncertainty right now at the top of the division, Jon Jones is returning but no one knows exactly what’s going to happen, and DC vs. Rumble could have some disputed finish or injury/foul related stoppage that necessitates an immediate rematch. Manuwa is near the top of the list for a title shot, but I’m just not sure he’ll get one for his next fight.
SBG coach John Kavanagh wants to see Gunnar Nelson vs Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson next pic.twitter.com/wmWFBRask2
— UFC Insiders (@UFCInsiders) March 19, 2017
After bouncing back from the Demian Maia loss with two straight submission wins, it’s time Gunnar Nelson tests himself again against a top five welterweight.
Dino Zee: FACT This one seems pretty cut and dry to me. I’m a fan of “Gunni,” and was impressed with his win over another favorite of mine in Alan Jouban this past weekend. That win, plus his win over another hyped-prospect in Albert Tumenov, show me that he’s definitely ready for the next level of competition. Sure, he had to deal with a tough storm in that Maia fight, but after the rain washes away the tears and all the pain, you have to come back stronger, and Gunnar Nelson has absolutely done that.
Fights with Carlos Condit or Robbie Lawler could be fun, or maybe he could be Wonderboy’s “bounce back” fight, to see where Nelson stands in the division. There’s also Neil Magny sitting at #6 (which, yes, isn’t Top 5) that could be entertaining. Only time will tell if Gunnar will get any of these fights, but I think that he’s more than earned them, and hopefully his international popularity forces UFC to continue to bring him up the ladder.
Robert Winfree: FACT Look, Demian Maia is really really good. He could easily be the next welterweight champion, there’s no shame in that loss and Nelson acquitted himself well both before that fight, during it in many ways, and after. There are some troubling issues with Nelson’s overall game, but at this point he’s earned another shot at the top of the division. I’d love to see him take on Robbie Lawler assuming Lawler returns to fighting.
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) March 20, 2017
With the addition of Lorenz Larkin, Bellator’s welterweight division is not only its best division but the best division we’ve seen outside of the UFC in a while.
Dino Zee: FACT Really tough to decide on, but I’m leaning Fact on this. Make no mistake, Bellator’s Welterweight division isn’t about to be confused for Stirkeforce’s Heavyweight division, but it’s definitely among the more impressive non-UFC divisions we’ve seen “in a while.” Champion Douglas Lima, former champ Andrey Koreshkov, MVP, Paul Daley, and now Lorenz Larkin form what I’d consider to be the nucleus of this division, and that’s hardly some easy lineup. In fact, MVP might be the “worst” of that lineup, and he’s yet to taste defeat. Throw in up and comers like Chris Honeycutt or Adam McDonough, and yes, I think it’s fair to give Bellator’s welterweight division some props.
And let me just say, I’m really looking forward to seeing what Larkin does once he’s active in Bellator. Should be some incredible fireworks headed our way.
Robert Winfree: FACT Yeah I’ll buy this one. The UFC parted ways with a few top shelf welterweights recently, Larkin, Rick Story, and Albert Tumenov to name a few. Let’s take a look at the list of Bellator welterweight’s shall we? Douglas Lima, Andrey Koreshkov, Rory MacDonald, Paul Daley, Lorenz Larkin, Michael Page, all of those men could compete in the UFC and have in several cases. MacDonald holds a win over current UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, Larkin just blasted Neil Magny who has beaten both Johny Hendricks and Kelvin Gastelum, Daley has some of the scariest finishing ability in the division. The most recent division that could challenge the UFC’s in terms of best division was also from Bellator, three or four years ago they had a really cracking featherweight roster that, while not objectively better than the UFC’s, featured a lot of very talented fighters. Bellator’s 170 division could actually provide some debate as to who is the best welterweight in the world.
Francis Ngannou shifts focus to Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum: I want 'access to the title shot' https://t.co/jKyYDTUUyA
— MMAjunkie (@MMAjunkie) March 21, 2017
Francis Ngannou vs. Alistair Overeem makes perfect sense at this moment.
Robert Winfree: FICTION Not that I’d complain about that fight, but that’s not what I’d like to see at the moment. Francis Ngannou is the best prospect heavyweight has seen in a while, but there are some serious questions about his game that still need addressing. Ngannou’s best win is, depending on your perspective, either an over the hill Andrei Arlovski or sub .500 Anthony Hamilton. That’s a far cry from a proven top shelf heavyweight like Overeem. Personally, I’d rather see Ngannou brought along more slowly against a heavyweight who will maybe push a tougher pace or won’t crumble under a stiff breeze. Again, I wouldn’t complain about Overeem vs. Ngannou but it feels like a big jump in competition for a guy who could be the future of that division going forward.
Dino Zee: FACT Any fight that is set up with the (seemingly) explicit purpose of getting Overeem KO’d is, for me, the right fight to make. That said, Overeem is still a force in this division (as shown by his crushing KO of Mark Hunt March 4th), and if we really want to see where Ngannou stands in this division, this would be the fight to make. Especially, when one considers that the other fighters in the rankings between Ngannou and Reem – Dos Santos and Lewis – are both booked for other fights, this has to be considered the absolute correct fight to make for Ngannou. With the win, he’s now defeated a man only two fights removed from fighting for the UFC title. If he loses, hey, it’s Alistair Overeem, and these things happen.
Should Overeem win, I don’t think Ngannou’s stock takes too drastic a hit, and he’ll still be able to become the contender many have him pegged to be; it’ll just take a little bit longer than initially expected.
— UFC MMA Chat/Tweet (@capebreton1973) March 21, 2017
Chael Sonnen has a point, if Floyd Marweather Jr. is unable to take out Conor McGregor early, boxing will be humiliated; and, with that, it is easy to see Boxing has more to lose than Mixed Martial Arts, should this fight come to fruition.
Robert Winfree: FICTION Chael Sonnen is between 75% and 85% full of crap at any given point in time, and he’s very wrong here. No one with a functional brain, the ability to process data and arrive at reasonable conclusions, or who has just seen more than two full Mayweather fights, would believe that Mayweather would finish a fight quickly. Hell I could step into a ring with Mayweather and it would probably go into the fifth before Mayweather cleaned my clock, because Mayweather is such a defensive and risk averse fighter. I don’t mean that as an insult either, his defensive abilities might be the best in the history of boxing and he has no reason to fight in a way that isn’t completely advantageous to him.
Mayweather isn’t a big puncher or an early finisher, he is a nearly unparalleled technician who methodically breaks you down and renders all of your offense completely impotent. Should this fight happen Mayweather won’t finish McGregor quickly, and no rational person should expect such given Mayweather’s history and style. Mayweather would fight smart, make McGregor miss, wear him out with body work and exploit McGregor’s somewhat suspect cardio, then if he finishes him it’ll be around round 10. That said the second part of this statement is absolutely true, Mayweather is the best boxer of his generation if not ever and if he’s bested by a man who has 0 amateur, four round, ten round, or twelve round boxing experience it would cast an incredible pall over his career. But if he wins a decision or via stoppage late in the fight, that’s hardly humiliating and actually completely in line with his career and style to this point.
Dino Zee: FICTION It’s usually a bad idea to give credence to a Chael Sonnen hyperbole rant, and this is definitely one of those cases. In the name of transparency: I’m a fan of boxing, but I’d hardly call myself anything more than a slightly above casual fan. I order random PPVs, I’ll watch HBO and Showtime boxing. I’m hardly a historian, though. That said, Sonnen’s take makes me wonder if he’s ever watched a Floyd Mayweather fight.
In Floyd’s entire career of 49 professional fights, he has 4 fights that ended in the first round. He has 5 that ended in the second round. He has 2 that ended in the third round. Floyd’s game was always built on boxing over brawling. He takes his time; he fights defensively, looking for opportunities to counter. He doesn’t come charging like Mike Tyson with a barrage of hooks and uppercuts that will leave you incapacitated before you even know what hit you. Floyd is a great boxer, but he’s not some slugger.
That we’d expect Floyd’s entire gameplan to change, and that he’d suddenly have the punching power to take Conor out, seems silly. At its heart, I get what Chael was trying to say, and there’s a bit of truth to it – you expect an all time great in his field to destroy a novice if they meet – but you have to consider the actual tools and skillset of the master when you make such claims. I can see Floyd avoid getting hit by Conor for 12 rounds. I can see Floyd make Conor chase him for every second of every round, befuddling him with movement, and of course connecting with some great combinations along the way.
In no way can I picture this fight ending “early,” unless it’s through total shenanigans. Floyd will dominate Conor in a boxing match, but that doesn’t mean it’d be fast, or that it has to be to save boxing’s rep.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) March 16, 2017
Even if his next fight isn’t against Floyd Mayweather Jr., Conor McGregor has ruffled enough feathers and brought enough attention that regardless who his opponent is and what arena it takes place in, his next fight will be the biggest selling of his career, thus far.
Robert Winfree: FICTION I can’t say this is true with any degree of confidence. To be clear that’s mostly because UFC 205 did a reported 2.4 million buyrate, take that number with as much salt as you deem necessary of course. If McGregor fights Mayweather then yeah, they should do more than that but beyond that I’m not sold. If McGregor were to defend the lightweight title against say Tony Ferguson on a card that had a less than compelling co-main or under card, I’m not sure he’d do over 2 million buys. Around 1 million without question, but 205 was a perfect storm that had a strong card to go along with McGregor. Don’t get me wrong, McGregor was the biggest single factor in that card selling as well as it did, but he wasn’t the only factor and I’m unsure if that same level of success could be replicated under less than ideal circumstances. 2.4 million is a very high bar to try and clear, and I’m just a little unsure if McGregor could do so completely regardless of other circumstances.
Dino Zee: FACT Yeah, just going off historical precedent, this is probably correct. Fighters from Featherweight to freaking Middleweight have his name on their brains, and they all see him as the golden ticket to a fantastic payday. If/when this Floyd stuff falls through, Conor will have his pick of the litter: defend the 155 title, try another superfight at welterweight, or anything else his heart desires. And, of course, when that fight is announced, we will all begin making our plans for that weekend, and deciding which of our friends will be ordering the show. Because, as annoying as Conor can be with some of his antics, the fact is, the man demands our attention when he’s fighting because he’s earned our attention. He’s a freaking wizard in the cage. Well, as long as he isn’t fighting Nate Diaz.
So who won? Did Robert hand Dino his first defeat or is Dino on another level? 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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