MMA Roundtable: 8/23

Eddie Alvarez

Welcome to the MMA Roundtable, where we break down the weeks MMA news, this week we talk Eddie Alvarez, Donald Cerrone , Bellator, Bader vs OSP and this weekends Fight Night. This week we have Brian, Roni, Collin and David.
1. Eddie Alvarez is in the UFC! Is Cerrone a good opening matchup for him at UFC 178?

Brian: I think it’s a great matchup.  Cerrone is a dangerous guy for anyone and he’s in a position where he isn’t necessarily in title contention but if you can beat Cerrone, you prove that you belong in the title discussion.  Plus Cerrone always comes to fight so the fans win.  When was the last time you saw Cerrone or Alvarez in a bad fight for that matter? At this point I’m more excited for this fight than the actual main event of Demetrious Johnson vs Chris Cariaso.

Roni: I think so. Cerrone is a good gatekeeper.
If you are able to beat him you do belong on top 5.
This will make or break Eddie in the UFC.

Collin: I think Donald Cerrone is an excellent first match to welcome Eddie Alvarez into the UFC.  For a long time there was talk of bringing him in for an immediate title shot, but this pairing with Cerrone makes more sense to my mind.  Cerrone is right on the verge of a title shot, having rattled off 4 straight stoppage victories.  Eddie is coming off of two fight of the year candidate battles with Michael Chandler, and is the current champion of Bellator.  Not only does it make sense ranking-wise, but the stylistic matchup of two explosive strikers will make for a fun fight to watch for the fans.  Add in to that the fact that the winner produces the next clear title contender, and I think this was probably the best thing the UFC could have done with Eddie.

David: I don’t like it. If Eddie looks like Hector Lombard- and make no mistake, the Cowboy can make anyone look like a piker, then Eddie’s whole UFC Career will look like . . .Hector Lombard. I would rather see Dos Anjos or even bringing back Melvin Guillard for this fight.

2. Does letting Eddie go mean Bellator is changing the way they treat contracts?Bellator

Brian: I certainly hope so.  The way that Bjorn Rebney and Bellator treated Alvarez through that whole legal process was pretty disappointing.  Now that there is a new man in charge in Scott Coker, I hope more respect is paid to the fighters, and the way Coker and Alvarez parted ways I think left a better taste in Alvarez’s mouth when he looks back on his Bellator stint.  I was happy both sides could come to a respectable decision.

Roni: I don’t know.
To me, the whole Comcussion that took him out of the PPV for the  rubber match with Chandler a week before their fight was just odd.
I obviously do not know what happens behind the scenes, but not fighting Chandler was the perfect payback for his contract issues with Bellator. Add then how they released him and how fast he signed with the UFC, I can only add 1+1 and say there’s more to this than we know.

Collin: Probably.  They probably wanted to wash away that odd deal where Alvarez/Chandler was guarenteed to be a trilogy if Eddie won, and the weirdness that ensued when Chandler lost to Will Brooks for the interim strap.  Now they would have had a guy who lost his last fight contending for the title whilst an interim champion sat back and watched.  Eddie probably cost more than he was worth to Coker so they parted ways.

David: Finally. I know fighters who would not sign with Bellator because of the way they treated thier fighters and how restrictive the contracts were. Letting unhappy fighters go is a major step into allowing Bellator to thrive as the number 2. You can make a TON of money as the number 2 in the TV business.

3.Impressed with Bader or disappointed with OSP?FN Bader vs OSP

Brian: I’m not disappointed in OSP at all.  People always tend to sleep on Bader, but he is always a challenge for anyone he faces.  People are so quick to label Bader a gatekeeper but I don’t think that’s fair.  He has come up short with big title ramifications on the line, but beyond that, it’s not like he’s a pushover.  Now that he’s on a 3-fight win streak, he may now just be hitting his stride.

Roni: Not one nor another. I fully expected this fight to go that way.
I hoped for Bader to stand & Bang; but he couldn’t find his groove, so he went back to what works for him.
It was a snooze fest, but Bader showed he can beat good guys with wrestling. Btu he also showed he needs to improve on his standup.

Collin: I didn’t see the fight, but this is what I fully expected when OSP fought a seasoned fighter who was a decent athlete.  St. Preux has gotten as far as he has purely on athleticism, his level of technique has just never had to develop yet.  I don’t think that unless he changes drastically we will ever see him crack the top ten.

David: OSP had his chance to step into the mix for a shot at a mix for a title shot. He blew it. Period. All his talk and all his press, and he got shutdown like he doesn’t belong in the top 15. I’m sure he rebuild, but he missed a MAJOR chance at the brass ring.

4. Is Keeping Benson Henderson on Free TV the right move?Benson Henderson

Brian: I think it is.  The bottom line is, the UFC roster is so deep that not everyone is going to be a star on PPV.  Henderson has shown to be pretty reliable draw on TV and he’s a great role model for the sport, which is the kind of fighter you want on TV when different eyes are on the product.

Roni: I think so. Despite being a champ, he is not (IMO) very exciting nor he has a lot of followers.
So he is a name people recognize, and that adds value to a free card. But not one Zuffa would cry over the money they could have made by Having him on a PPV card (in other words, it makes business sense).

Collin: I think it is the right move.  The UFC is finally starting to get really good at creating stars using the new deal with Fox, and an action fighter like Benson is tailor made for this role.  HE is a likable personality, says all the right things, and has a really fluid style that looks good to both hardcore fans and casuals.  I like the idea of creating a big name through Fox, and then keeping the fighter there to capitalize on his popularity with that broad audience.

David: Benson simply doesn’t draw on PPV. Some fighters do and some fighters don’t. Its a wise move to not try and get people to move to PPV. I think you would do well to have Mighty Mouse and Benson headline every Free TV and let guys that can sell be on PPV. I can buy my tickets for guys that excite me, and fighters that- lets just say you can fast forward through rounds 2-3- you can go grab another slice of pizza during thier fights and back up the DVR if Rogan starts yelling.

5. Scale of 1-10, how excited are you for FN:Tulsa?FN Benson Dos Anjos

Brian: I would say about a 5.  Beyond the main event, what is really must see TV on this card?  No disrespect to Mike Pyle and Jordan Mein, but that’s a pretty weak co-main event.  I also get the feeling the UFC in general isn’t too excited about this card.  It seems like they are putting more stock in the Bisping vs Le card which personally looks like a more exciting card.

Roni: 5 or 6.
I don’t feel over-excited for any fights in this card, but it is free, so no complains here!

Collin:  I would say on a scale of 1-10 I would be a 6 on this card.  I like Dos Anjos as a stern test for Bendo; Rafael can crack hard standing and is underrated on the ground (remember that wicked awesome calf crusher he locked on Tyson Griffin?).  Will be interesting to see how the matching of crafty mullet-ed veteran Mike Pyle vs clean-cut up and comer Jordan Mein will play out.  Mein didn’t necessarily look like himself in his first fight back from his KO loss to Matt Brown, and though Pyle has looked awesome in the last 3 years with a big career resurgence, at 38 he has officially reached that point where we have to wonder always “will this be the fight where he looks old?”    And speaking of resurgences, it will be fun to see if Leites can keep up his steamrolling comeback and crush Carmont.  Other than that, the card is a throwaway affair, with perhaps the exception of the always fun to watch Wilson Reis.

David: I really don’t have a single fight on this card I’m excited about. Mike Pyle and Jordan Mein? Really? Maia being gone took one of the two guys on this fight I cared about off the card.

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