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411 Fact or Fiction MMA: Has Amanda Nunes Topped Ronda Rousey?

May 17, 2018 | Posted by Lorenzo Vasquez
Amanda Nunes UFC

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 round of Fact or Fiction MMA. The last time around Jeffrey Harris and I dropped bombs on one another. Unfortunately for Jeffrey, I landed more often and left him begging for mercy on the canvas. Thank you, for your comments and votes, it’s always appreciated. And thank you, Jeffrey, for your contribution.

This week, the heavy hitting hammer of doom, Mark Radulich returns to challenge the guy all the girls want, the handsome one, Dan Plunkett. They’ll lock horns over Mackenzie Dern moving up a weight class, Yair Rodriguez getting his walking papers, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s next opponent, and much more! Grab some grub and strap in because it’s time for another round of, 411 Fact or Fiction MMA!

TALE OF THE TAPE
RED CORNER
Mark “Headshrinker” Radulich
Supreme Overlord,
Radulich in Broadcasting Network

6-10-1

VS

BLUE CORNER
“Handsome” Dan Plunkett
Contributor, 411 MMA Zone
7-9-1


MacKenzie Dern doesn’t need to move to the flyweight division; she needs to mature and become dedicated to becoming a top-tier mixed martial artist.

Mark Radulich: FACT The presumption with Dern is that she did not work hard enough to properly make weight. If that is the case and under different circumstances (change in diet, attitude, training, etc) she could have made the weight then she doesn’t need to move to flyweight. The decision to move up in weight should come as a fighter gets older and it becomes difficult if not dangerous to make large weight cuts. At 25 years old, I’m fairly certain she’s not reached that point just yet.

Dan Plunkett: FACT I can’t say for certain that the best weight class for Dern isn’t flyweight, but to this point she hasn’t had the dedication—whether in training, diet, or the weight cutting process—to make a real effort at strawweight. Six of her seven career bouts were scheduled for the strawweight division. Dern missed weight in three of those six fights, and she didn’t even get particularly close to the 116-pound limit in those three misses. That is a horrendous batting average. Dern is obviously bubbling with talent, but her approach probably isn’t going to fly against the best fighters in the division.


Amanda Nunes is on her way to becoming a more dominant champion and better mixed martial artist than Ronda Rousey.

Mark Radulich: FACT She’s got a few more successful title defenses to go before she can claim the mantle of “more dominant champion than Ronda Rousey,” but she’s definitely on her way. I would also argue she’s a better all-around mixed martial artist than Rousey was. She can certainly claim to be the better striker of the two. Rousey has the advantage in grappling I would but it’s about being well-rounded, not superior at only one thing. Rousey was a superior grappler but a terrible striker. Nunes, one could argue, is at least equally competent and competitive at both, therefore making her the more well-rounded fighter. I think when it’s all said and done, Rousey’s legacy was being a trailblazer but Nunes’ legacy will be that of a superior champion.

Dan Plunkett: FACT I don’t think Nunes is ever going to match the expediency with which Rousey dispatched most of her opponents, but she is already a better mixed martial artist than Rousey ever was. Nunes has reached a point where there really aren’t any legitimate, interesting contenders for her at bantamweight. She tore through Miesha Tate to take the belt, obliterated Rousey, narrowly edged past Valentina Shevchenko, and then dominated Raquel Pennington on Saturday. She hasn’t yet equaled Rousey’s long-term dominance over the division, but with Shevchenko down at flyweight, it’s hard to see her not getting to that point at bantamweight. The biggest obstacle that could be in her way is Cris Cyborg and the unknown of what would happen to Nunes after that potential bout.


Raquel Pennington, coming off a layoff extending over a year due to major injuries, needed a warm-up bout before fighting the champ, Amanda Nunes.

Mark Radulich: FACT As much as I understand her decision to take on the champ in her first fight back in over a year, it probably wasn’t the wisest decision to make for her health or her career. After being out of active competition for over a year she absolutely should have had at least one fight to get the ring rust off before going after one the most dangerous female fighters on the planet. Maybe a rematch with Cat Zingano or a match with Juliana Pena, just to throw a name out there, would have made more sense than immediately fighting the champion.

Dan Plunkett: FACT Pennington was always going to be overmatched against Nunes, but her lack of a tune-up fight did her no favors. Dominick Cruz may not believe in ring rust, but UFC fighters this year competing after a year or longer layoff are a dismal 6-18. I don’t think the result is any different one way or the other, but it would have been beneficial for Pennington to get a tune-up fight before jumping back in with the sharks.


SWITCH!

What’s left of the Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix is actually intriguing from a second tier point of view.

Dan Plunkett: FACT I have much more interest in the second round than I did in the first round. It was nice to see Fedor Emelianenko have some vintage moments against Frank Mir, and now he has a strong chance to make the finals. Chael Sonnen, Emelianenko’s second round opponent, is clearly the underdog of the four fighters remaining, and it would be a great feather in his cap to beat Emelianenko. On the opposite side of the bracket are the two tournament favorites going into this thing. Matt Mitrione vs. Ryan Bader is an interesting matchup of a legitimate heavyweight against a top-level light heavyweight, and the winner of that fight will probably take the entire tournament. This is no Pride Grand Prix, but it will be fun for what it is the rest of the way.

Mark Radulich: FICTION What’s intriguing about it? Sonnen is going to tackle Fedor and sit on him for however long it takes to win. Bader vs Mitrione is a battle of two almost-but-not-quite-there former UFC fighters…huzzah. My guess is that Bader gets by Mitrione and starches Sonnen for the win, and the world just keeps on spinning. But, let’s say I’m wrong and Fedor is able to pull out a win over but Sonnen and the winner of Bader/Mitrione, does it matter? Does anyone really care about Fedor at this point? Look, for a cable TV fight this is all fine and dandy but are people by and large going to pay to see Fedor in a PPV fight in 2018? Probably not. There might be some longtime MMA enthusiasts with a desire to see Fedor make a UFC run but that’s not likely to happen, even with the UFC coming to Russia later this year. If he does, great, I’d probably tune in too just out of curiosity. But outside of that (which is not likely to happen) again I ask, does any of this tournament matter? The answer is a resounding “no.”


Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier at UFC on FOX, July 28, means it almost a sure thing the next lightweight title fight will be Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor.

Dan Plunkett: FICTION It’s been relatively quiet on the McGregor return front, so who knows when he’s planning to return, or how easy it will be for UFC to strike a deal with him when he’s ready to return. Unless McGregor is eager to make a fight earlier, I don’t think we’ll see Nurmagomedov compete again until November or December, which allows plenty of time for the winner of Alvarez vs. Poirier to recover and challenge for the title. If McGregor is ready to return, he’s going to get the shot, but the next shot could be the Alvarez-Poirier winner or even Georges St-Pierre.

Mark Radulich: FACT This all depends on Conor McGregor doesn’t it? I mean, the UFC might be intending Nurmagomedov vs McGregor to be the next title fight but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will come to fruition given McGregor’s penchant for going off the rails and doing his own thing. I’d put money on this happening in Moscow if it does actually happen. Right now that event is listed as a Fight Night but it could just as easily become UFC 228 if everything works out the way the UFC is intending. Either way, I’d keep the winner of Alvarez/Poirier on reserve for when one or both of them end up injured and unable to fight.


It’s not too absurd that the UFC cut Yair Rodriguez, a prospect with great potential, if he is turning down fights.

Dan Plunkett: FACT It comes down to a fundamental difference in booking strategy. The UFC is not a believer in the idea that carefully booking prospects against incrementally more challenging opposition will maximize their potential, nor in the concept of tune-up fights. Last year, Yair Rodriguez was pushed up to a match with Frankie Edgar to see if he was ready for the very top of the featherweight division, and he wasn’t close. Rodriguez, who has been on the shelf since that May 2017 fight, could probably use a tune-up fight. The UFC obviously disagrees, judging by their insistence on booking him against Zabit Magomedsharipov. This simply a mismatch of philosophies on how a fighter’s career should be handled. It happens all the time, but many fighters eventually succumb to UFC’s wishes and take the tough fight. Rodriguez very publicly didn’t succumb to UFC’s wishes, and they cut him loose. It sends a message to their roster and is in line with how the promotion has been handled over the past seventeen years.

Mark Radulich: FACT Here’s the quote from Dana White via ESPN, “The guy’s off a year, rejects a fight with Lamas and then doesn’t want to fight a guy [Magomedsharipov] below him in the rankings?” White told the Times. “He can go somewhere else. We have no use for him.” I think that says it all, don’t you? If you are injured or burnt out or whatever, that’s one thing but I’m not quite clear as to why he’s turning fights at this point. The articles on this subject all have him saying he is coming back so…what’s the problem. What exactly is he holding out for? Who does he want to fight instead? Seems odd to me. Either way, I’m OK with the UFC cutting him at this juncture.


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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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