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Fightweets: Oh, Canada

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

You always know it's coming.

The UFC visits Canada. The UFC starts a press conference.

That means it's a mere matter of moments until someone grabs the mic and asks some version of the following questions:

"Hi, I'm from the Moose Jaw Gazette and I have a question: Can you please tell me how astounding it is to be in Canada? Can you talk a little bit about how the most amazing fans in the history of the universe live here? Have you had a chance to eat our delicious poutine? OK, I'm done now, please tell us how awesome we are."

Now, don't get me wrong. Canada is, in fact, pretty awesome. I've been to, off the top of my head, Montreal, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Calgary, Jasper, Banff, Edmonton, Kamloops, Vancouver, and Whistler. I've enjoyed every stop along the way (except maybe Edmonton, where I seemed to spend the entire time stuck in construction-related traffic delays). There's nowhere where I'd rather spend a sunny summer afternoon than Vancouver and nowhere I'd rather go out for a night of fun than Montreal.

But man, do you guys need constant positive reinforcement. So with UFC 152 on deck for Toronto, here it is, once and for all. This applies to every MMA fan from Newfoundland to Nanaimo: You guys rock. You're huge MMA fans. Your passion for the sport is fantastic.

Now, can we forever retire the How fantastic is Canada? questions from UFC press conferences? Thanks.

On to the latest edition of Fightweets, where we disccuss who is in for the worst whuppin' at UFC 152 and 153 and a whole lot more.

To contribute a question for a future edition of Fightweets, go to my Twitter page.

DestroyKillBurn (@DestroyKillBurn): Who's going to get destroyed quicker? Belfort or Bonnar?

Belfort. The last time Silva came straight out of the gate and flat-out blitzed someone was against James Irvin in 2009. Since then, Silva has developed this habit of picking his spots and waiting for his big opening (or, in the case of Chael Sonnen, getting taken down repeatedly before finding his path to victory, but you get the point). Fans have slowly learned to stay patient during Silva fights, since chances are pretty good the payoff will be something like a knockout jab or a face-kick KO. So between the combination of Silva's patience and Bonnar's ability to absorb punishment, this one could go awhile before Silva goes in for the kill.

Of course, Jones isn't exactly in a rush when he enters the Octagon, either. Three of his past four fights have gone into at least the third round. But given that Silva's fastest fight over the past three years was his KO of Belfort, can you really see Belfort lasting long against Jones? The only way Belfort lasts longer against Jones than Bonnar does against Silva is if Jones lets it happen.

Best UFC 152 fight?

Ryan (@RuckerYeah): Jones-Belfort is getting the hype in my hometown of Toronto, but I think flyweight fight's best. Your thoughts?

I concur, good sir. Jones vs. Belfort will be an intriguing spectacle right up until the moment Jones either a. is pulled off Belfort while raining down elbows or b. dumps Belfort to the mat after a standing submission. As for the flyweights, I've been singing their praises all year. The addition of the 125-pound weight class has been the best in-the-cage storyline in the UFC in 2012. Not only have the flyweight tournament bouts all delivered, but flyweight fights have had a knack for stealing the show all year long. Like at UFC on Fox 3, when Louis Gaudinot and John Lineker took home Fight of the Night honors (Yeah, comment troll guy, I know, it was technically a 127-pound catchweight bout. Calm down). So I'll be stunned if Benavidez and Johnson don't cap off a stellar year in the division with a fight to remember.

What if Bonnar wins?

Abdul Paniagua (@KingAbdul): Let's say Bonnar pulls off a win. You think that he could/should get a LHW title shot after that? I say why not?

If he pulls off the upset, Las Vegas hotel mogul Steve Wynn should build a new luxury tower called "Bonnar" next to "Wynn" and "Encore" in his honor. But as for your question, sure, why not? If Bonnar somehow hands the world's No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter his first legitimate loss since 2004, the UFC will have their next monster pay-per-view fight handed to them. You can hear the PPV ad now: "Stephan Bonnar knocked off the world's top pound-for-pound fighter. Now he looks to make it two in a row against Jon Jones." That sure beats trying to sell "Lyoto Machida was already crushed by Jon Jones. Dana White said wanted a rematch like no one else, but Machida passed up the opportunity when he had the chance. Now they're finally fight because there's no one else left for Jones."

Interim title talk

Michael Foggie (@thelowlyingmist): Should there be an interim middleweight title with Silvia's next fight at 205 followed by the super fight with GSP?

You know, that's an interesting question. This is assuming, of course, that everything goes to plan, which this year's events have repeatedly demonstrated is something you should never count on. Let's say Silva gets past Bonnar without much trouble (highly likely) and GSP gets past Condit (likely, but less so). St-Pierre has made no bones about the fact he's going to need extra time to put on extra weight, so if everything goes perfectly, we're probably looking at a bare minimum of early spring before the bout goes off, and possibly later.

So, if Silva beats Bonnar, then fights GSP in a reasonable time frame -- and assuming he doesn't retire, take time off, vacate his title, etc., after a GSP fight -- you're looking at several more months before Silva is ready to defend his title again. Which would mean, when all was said and done, very likely at least a year would have passed between middleweight title defenses.

Now that I've gone through all that conjecture, though, I'm still going to say no, even if all this goes down, the UFC won't create an interim champ. Is it fair to the rest of the division to have to wait? No. But the company has reserved interim titles for injuries and legal situations, and haven't handed them out when the champ is still actively fighting in the company. So I'd be very surprised if they set such a precedent now.

Terence (@ELCujorino): Why wasn't Korean Zombie VS Edgar for interim title booked? The divisions get stagnant quick w/no title fights.

Well, Chan Sung Jung is only two months removed from shoulder surgery, so he couldn't take a fight now even if he wanted to. Either way, Edgar did the UFC a favor by stepping up and taking the UFC 153 fight with Jose Aldo Jr. on the champion's home turf when the company needed someone after Eric Koch dropped out with an injury. So now, with Aldo out, they're going to let Edgar wait on Aldo and rebook the bout at the earliest possible opportunity. Strictly speaking, I think Jung deserves the first shot. But, you know, if we get to see a potential classic fight between Aldo and Edgar first and then let "The Korean Zombie" face the winner in yet another potential barnburner, I'm not going to quibble.

Francisco (@Frankreyesciv): No! get some new blood in there. I can't stand to watch that fight again.

Unfortunately, at Tuesday's Strikeforce teleconference hyping the Sept. 29 bout between Melendez and Pat Healy, Melendez sounded like a fighter who's resigned to his fate. He went on at length about how his motivation now is to make as much money as possible and take care of his family, while also saying he doesn't care as much about his place in the rankings as he once did. Of course, providing for family should be the number-one priority of every fighter with a wife and kids to support. But Melendez used to speak with such passion about how he wanted to be the best fighter in the world. So it's a shame that, unless something changes soon in Zuffa's relationship with Showtime, we're likely to never find out just how good Melendez could have been in his prime. His recent words seem to indicate that he's come to that conclusion as well. And with the lack of fresh opponents in the company, there's a chance we'll get Melendez-Thomson IV, whether or not you want to see it.

UFC 155 looks stacked

Michael Evans (@MikeEvansMMA): UFC 155 is starting to look like UFC 92? If the injury bug takes a break could this be a UFC 92 caliber event?

I agree, Michael/Mike. If this fight card goes off as planned, then there's a strong chance we'll end the year with a fight card we'll discuss for a long time to come and for all the right reasons. You've got the Junior dos Santos-Cain Velasquez rematch; Chael Sonnen's return to light heavyweight against Forrest Griffin, two huge middleweight matchups in Chris Weidman vs. Tim Boetsch and Alan Belcher vs. Yushin Okami, and what looks like one hell of a lightweight bout between Joe Lauzon and Gray Maynard.

I'm not going to beat the "injury bug" thing to death, because you know the deal already. Suffice to say that when UFC 148 was first announced, it also looked like one of the most stacked cards ever, and by the time July 7 rolled around, we ended up Siva vs. Sonnen and Griffin vs. Ortiz. In other words, memorable double bill, but no UFC 92.

So yeah, your premise is correct, Michael. If those goes off as planned, we'll finish a tough 2012 on a high note. The good news is that even if the injury bug does bite and we only get, say, three of these five fights, it still should be a strong night of fights.

Bad news for Hendo

Shayne (@ShAYnE625): So if Dan Henderson fights Machida and loses he probably won't ever fight Jon Jones?

Seems that way. One of the more interesting developments over the past month is how Dana White went from praising Dan Henderson for trying to stick things out to slowly incorporating the fact Hendo kept his knee injury secret into the storyline as part of the reason why UFC 151 was canceled. It happened so gradually that no one really noticed, but now it's an official part of the story. You may as well consider Henderson vs. Machida, if and when it gets formally announced, to be the battle to get out of Dana's doghouse. The winner will likely get a light heavyweight title shot after all and the loser, well, good luck to him.

Take it to the floor

Zack (@Zack263): Why aren't the Ground Fighters not taking it straight to the floor (like R. Gracie) avoiding striking. Example Brock vs Overeem

Ummm ... you know the game has progressed just a bit since 1993, right? Hell, Royce Gracie himself vanished from the old-school UFC once brother Rorion no longer had the ability to book the tournaments in a way that favored Royce; time limits were instituted; and higher-quality athletes started to realize that this no-holds-barred thing was a way to earn a decent paycheck. And that was in, what, 1995, maybe 1996? Anyway, to take your question at face value, check out the abomination that unfolded when Fabricio Werdum tried to spent the bulk of 15 minutes getting Alistair Overeem to go to the floor with him, and you've got your answer.