Everything from cross-promotional title fights to Steven Seagal's baffling influence on Brazilian fighters is on the docket today. If you've got a question of your own, hit me up on Twitter at @BenFowlkesMMA. Now then, who's up first?
@steampunk22 Will Nick Diaz's next fight be in SF or UFC? If UFC, will they have him sign a new UFC deal and walk from SF? #businessasusual
After UFC 129, Diaz-St. Pierre is the fight that makes the most sense at welterweight. I know Diaz is talking about boxing, but if his management is smart that's just a ploy to leverage the UFC into getting him out of Strikeforce so he doesn't have to fight someone like Tyron Woodley in a title bout that almost no one is really fired up about seeing.
Can the UFC shuttle him into a champion-versus-champion fight with GSP while he's still technically Strikeforce's champ? Sure. Scott Coker said there was no contractual barrier to making those fights. It's where you have to make them and where you have to show them that could be stickier. But if the UFC wants this fight badly enough, it can make it happen.
Will it? I sure hope so. If Diaz isn't next for St. Pierre, we'll have to wait as he packs on the pounds to face Anderson Silva, which doesn't seem like a great idea for GSP or the UFC, beyond that one fight. GSP-Diaz is the fight to make now, even if the UFC has to move some chess pieces and get out the checkbook to do it.
@J4vv4d mailbag q: does a poor main event leave fans disappointed despite a brilliant undercard & co-main event?
Yes, in much the same way that a bad ending leaves you disappointed in a movie even if you enjoyed the first 80 minutes of it. People place more importance on what they see last, which is why we save the main event for the end to begin with. Without a great finale, it's hard to have a great show. Just ask the people who left UFC 129 early. Or the people who saw 'The Village.'
@sthakali12 who do you got for Edgar vs Maynard? N what do u think is next for him if pettis and miller both loss in their next fight?
Before their last fight, I thought Maynard's strength and commitment to wrestling everything he sees into a motionless pile of flesh would rule the day. But Edgar held his own in those departments, and also made what I consider to be one of the quickest and most improbable recoveries from a near knockout early on. That performance left me with a whole new level of respect for Edgar's abilities, so I'm picking him to win the third meeting.
As for who he defends his title against next, sorry, but what are the chances that Anthony Pettis and Jim Miller both suffer losses before then? Not bloody likely, my friend. Though, if Clay Guida were to beat Pettis for his fourth straight victory (and especially if he did it without going to the judges), I don't see why he couldn't get that unlikely stray title shot.
@LoganasaurusRex He consults on two fights and produces two front kick knockouts. What does Steven Seagal know that we don't?
I have no idea, but my best guess is that his greatest talent is knowing how to attach himself to the right people at the right time.
@Cjohnson1515 twitter mailbag- should shields be suspended or punished for his obvious eye poke? My opinion is yes. Very harsh.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's slow down a minute to make a very important distinction. Did Shields poke GSP in the eye? From the replay, it sure looks like it. But the crucial question is, did he mean to?
Look, with open-fingered gloves, eye pokes are going to happen from time to time. I don't know what Shields was trying to do at that exact moment – reach out to grab GSP's head in a Thai clinch, maybe? – but you need a little more than that to accuse him of intentionally fouling his opponent. Shields has never come off as that kind of fighter or that kind of person. Unless you can unearth some pre-fight interview where he talks about the importance of taking out GSP's retina, let's give him the benefit of the doubt.
@Daoud_S #ufc129 was a sold out show. You think they do smaller shows in Toronto or will they always sell 55k seats?
A lot will depend on the fight card, but I definitely don't think the UFC can count on selling 55,000 tickets every time it shows up in Toronto. That was a momentous occasion with great build-up and some excellent fights, though it probably doesn't help that so many people seemed dissatisfied with the main event (see previous question above). I think Toronto will remain a popular destination for the UFC, but it won't be a blowout stadium show kind of deal every time.
@Ballentine Should the UFC have a more active role in the punishment of fighters who are caught using steroids?
Only if it really wants to do something about the problem, and only if it thinks it can do so better than the athletic commissions. I think it can, if only because fighters are more afraid of the UFC than they are of the commissions. The problem is, once the UFC starts taking independent action on it, then it becomes the UFC's issue and people will expect aggressive action on it. My sense is that the powers that be in the Zuffa offices would rather not invite more headaches into their lives. The way things are now they can throw up their hands and drop the problem in the commissions' laps whenever they need to, which is probably how it will stay.
@richardelopez DW just announced 5 rnd non title fights. Which fights will get this treatment? How does this affect fans, fighters, cards?
Early indicators from the UFC suggest that this will likely be reserved for number one contender bouts – those fights that are important enough for us to spend a little extra time and get a clear winner. After seeing the result of the Jon Fitch-B.J. Penn bout, I can't say I disagree with the need for a few extra rounds in some cases.
Fans get a more decisive ending (in theory, anyway), fighters might be a little more compelled to try and finish when they can't just win the first two rounds and then cruise, and fight cards, well, they get longer. There might be one or two fights where we regret the extra two rounds, but if it gives us a better chance to separate contenders from pretenders in big fights, I'm all for it.
@mmaduder Should Evans lose to Davis, who do you think would be the next best contender?
First of all, I don't see Phil Davis beating Rashad Evans. Nothing against "Mr. Wonderful," who is an outstanding talent, but I think he's still too young in the game and too dependent on his wrestling skills to beat Evans, at least right now. But okay, I'll humor you. Say Davis does pull out a win. What then?
For starters, it depends how he wins. If he runs right through Evans, who was slated for the next title shot before Jon Jones pulled back to deal with a lingering hand injury, then you could make a case for giving that shot to Davis. If he eeks out a decision? Maybe not.
In that case, I think you're looking at either "Rampage" Jackson (if he gets past Matt Hamill, which I think he will) or Forrest Griffin (if he can put a convincing hurting on Rua, which I think he...might). Jackson would make for better pre-fight sound bytes and probably better ticket/pay-per-view sales, and he at least has the siren's song of the puncher's chance on his side.
Regardless of how it shakes out, I'm not sure I see any current UFC 205-er beating Jones. The biggest threats to his title at the moment are the dueling devils of fame and success. Neither is an opponent to take lightly, I might add.
@VonMalcolm What's the logic behind @ShaneCarwin fighting Jon Olav Einemo?
Who would you have him fight instead? He's already fought Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar. Roy Nelson and Junior dos Santos are both spoken for, and Brendan Schaub is his teammate/best buddy. The heavyweight division is the thinnest class in the UFC, so it could use new blood like Einemo.
His name may not ring out among casual fans, but you're talking about a 6'6" Abu Dhabi grappling champ who trains with Golden Glory, where they know a thing or two about kickboxing. He's been out of action in MMA for a minute (okay, five years), but he's still a dangerous guy and an intriguing style match-up for Carwin, who's been on the shelf himself lately. Like you, I scratched my head over this one at first. But the more I think about it, the more I'm interested in how it will go down.
@tpears86 who's most likely to be UFC champ first: Nick Diaz or Gilbert Melendez
Melendez. Style-wise, he matches up better with either Frankie Edgar or Gray Maynard than Diaz does with St. Pierre. I think Diaz, both because of his own impatience and the lack of challengers for GSP, will get a UFC title shot first. But Melendez, who is a little more easy-going and willing to wait his turn if need be, has the capacity to make more of his shot when it does come.
@MaxFlabber With GSP and even Aldo decisioning, maybe infinitely, is that what modern MMA will move towards if everybody is that good?
I know it's always tempting to look at what happened last weekend and use it to extrapolate on what the future of the entire world will look like, but it is an urge we must resist.
Okay, so there were two decisions in the two title fights on the card at UFC 129. But how about UFC 128, when Jon Jones demolished "Shogun" Rua? Or UFC 126, when Anderson Silva introduced MMA to the front kick KO (and, regrettably, started Steven Seagal's reign of boorishness)? And don't even start talking about the big men. The last time a UFC heavyweight title fight went the distance was in 2007.
But if you still want to use the old short-term memory to predict the future, consider that of the 12 bouts at UFC 129, only five ended in decisions. Another five ended in knockouts, and two ended in submissions (both of which happened to come via triangle chokes). It's inevitable that from time to time certain styles and/or match-ups will result in decisions, but I don't think it qualifies as a trend just yet, so let's all take a minute to calm down and breathe. There now, don't you feel better?