Originally Posted by M2
And, just for fun, here's some random fantasy bookings:
Heavyweight - Brock Lesnar (if he beats Frank Mir convincingly) vs. Andre Arlovski
Supposedly Arlovski has one fight left on his deal with the UFC and then he's off to fight Emilianenko. If Lesnar looks like the real thing, then feed him the former champ.
Light Heavyweight - Rashad Evans vs. Chuck Liddell
Winner gets a title crack at the Rampage-Forrest victor.
Middleweight - Mike Bisping vs. Martin Kampmann
This division needs a great fight and these two could provide it.
Welterweight - Josh Koscheck vs. Matt Hughes
As close as you can get to a true professional wrestling match.
Lightweight - B.J. Penn vs. Floyd Mayweather
Mark Cuban says Mayweather would try MMA for a mega payday, well Penn's just the guy to give it to him. Boxer vs. jiu jitsu freakazoid with the unofficial title of "best fighter in the world" up for grabs. Cuban would surely want to own the action on the fight, but he's got no opponents for Mayweather in that weight class. The UFC owns the lightweight division. If Mayweather isn't just goofing around, and he probably is, then this is the fight and the UFC is the only body that can stage it properly (venue, promotion, legitimacy of sanctioning body). In fact, this could be the bout that puts MMA inside Madison Square Garden, cracking it open to an even wider audience. Cuban's promotion can try to make money on the ensuing windfall in the sport.
Some nice ideas. My take:
Heavyweight: Ordinarily, you have the green guy to MMA facing the former champion, the once-thought indestructible monster, so naturally Arlovski by destruction, right? But you know what? According to our discussion about the wrestlers dominating right now, although Arlovski is an experienced UFC fighter with a good sambo background, I could totally see Lesnar taking him down and holding him to a three-round decision win. Provided he doesn't get tagged in the chin with a knee or punch and KO'ed before scoring a takedown.
Light Heavyweight: Liddell takes this. Evans is a good, young wrestler, but I don't see him being able to take Liddell down, and Evans has been stung by punches by far lesser strikers, although to his credit, hasn't been stopped by one yet. For my money, Evans is still a ways from facing the upper-tier fighters of the division, though he certainly has fantastic upside, possibly more than any other up-and-coming 205er in the UFC. I would prefer to see Evans take on another guy taking off in Thiago Silva, whereas Liddell should face Machida in a top contender's (or at least #2 contender's) bout. Perhaps Evans facing a rising striker such as Sokoudjou or Houston Alexander would be the way to go if you wanted to test him for a future fight with Liddell. There's so much going on in this division. If, in my booking, Liddell-Machida and Evans-Thiago, I'd also like Wanderlei to fight Houston Alexander. Shogun Rua and Tito Ortiz seem to be having a war of words, and a nice chance for one of the big names to get a major win and back on track. That would leave Keith Jardine and Thierry Sokoudjou to be perhaps an interesting matchup to occupy all the top 10 light heavyweights in the UFC.
Middleweight: I like this fight a lot and think Kampmann's kickboxing skills would be too much for Bisping, who should fit in much better in this weight class; unfortunately, Kampmann will be sidelined for a while yet with a pretty severe knee injury, so it may be a while yet. I know he was right in the thick of the middleweight title picture (originally slated to face Rich Franklin in a top contender's bout earlier in the year before getting injured; that was the fight Yushin Okami instead took with Franklin). Speaking of Okami, rumors suggest he will be facing the returning Evan Tanner at UFC 82 in Columbus on March 1st. That should be a heck of a bout, and the winner of that will be the only viable top contender to the Silva-Henderson winner, at this time.
(For the record, I agree that Silva will put away Hendo. Henderson is a phenomenal wrestler, which could work strongly to his advantage against Anderson, yet he tends to ALWAYS stand and trade these days, as he's fallen in love with his overhand right.)
Welterweight: Very interesting fight. To me, Koscheck is the best pure wrestler on the UFC roster and I think he can control Hughes unlike anyone else in the division - with the obvious exception of Georges St. Pierre. Wouldn't be shocked to see Koscheck get the hallmark win of his career here should this fight happen. I think they will still get a payday out of Hughes-Serra before all is said and done, so there may be time for Hughes to have one more fight before that one, since Serra will likely be out till April before unifying the 170 belts with GSP.
Lightweight: I don't buy that this is anything more than a publicity stunt by Floyd Mayweather, seeing that he is a shameless self-promoter, and is very good friends with Mark Cuban and told him he'd help him get the word out about HDNet Fights - well, I'd say this is a good way. In the unlikely event that something does come out of it, maybe he wants a more competitive challenge, I think BJ handles him with ease. Agreed though that HDNet Fights should NOT be the avenue to showcase Mayweather should this actually happen.