Great Sherdog Debate: UFC 73

By: Mike Fridley and Mike Sloan
Jul 6, 2007
After a relatively lengthy hiatus, the Great Sherdog Debate has returned with full force and this one promises to be a foul-infested slugfest.

Mike Fridley has scored two consecutive wins against the once white hot Mike Sloan and now the Chicago native promises to avenge what he calls fluke losses.

Sloan's Gators have been whipping on Fridley's Buckeyes recently but that hasn't translated into MMA success for the more handsome Mike.

Sloan: Man, kid, you are one lucky SOB, that's for sure. You actually made Great Sherdog Debate history with your win over me in the Liddell-Jackson II debate as you became the first debater ever to start off a career 2-0. But enough with the inflating of your head and on to the debate, a discussion that I promise to prevail in.

We have the intriguing showdown between Anderson Silva and Nathan Marquardt (Pictures) and I must say: Silva has been very good to me in these debates. He allowed me to tear apart Greg Savage three times during his pitiful losing streak but this time, I am switching gears and picking the challenger Marquardt to walk away with the title.

However, I am afraid that this here debate with you will be much more exciting than the fight itself. I predict one hell of a snoozer on July 7 and I highly doubt you'll disagree with me. The only way this fight is a barn-burner is if "Spider" happens to catch a sleeping Marquardt on the chin and executes him within the first few minutes. Now don't get me wrong; I wouldn't be all that shocked if that happened. I'm just of the notion that Marquardt will dodge whatever the Brazilian Bomber launches his way and makes it a classic Marquardt fight.

You know the drill: wait patiently, defend strikes while throwing some decent punches, score a textbook takedown and assume the position of holding his foe down at the same trying to pass guard. There will be plenty of stalemates and every time the two middleweights are stood up, my boy Nate will score another takedown.

Here is the exact blueprint to this fight, which will leave the arena filled with jeers for the duration of the contest until Marquardt is awarded the title: 1) Stalk each other. 2) Marquardt scores takedown. 3) Marquardt keeps Silva on his back. 4) Marquardt tries to pass guard but Silva stops him. 5) Referee stands them up. 6) Repeat for five rounds.

Fridley: Back for more, eh? What can I say … some people just never learn. Let me get this straight: I'm lucky? You should feel fortunate that our tireless leader Josh Gross didn't match me up with some stronger opposition for this edition of the Great Sherdog Debate.

Kudos for pulling the Florida-Ohio State card for the third consecutive duel as well. Sounds like a solid plan to me. Let's take a closer look.

1) Avoid making any sincere attempt to confront with logic and insight.

2) Repeat angles that got you owned the first time you used them.

3) Watch Nathan Marquardt (Pictures) get destroyed by Anderson Silva.

4) Write extremely embarrassing post-UFC 73 Monday Morning Reverie.

But enough of reducing you to the status of Sherdog debate jobber extraordinaire. Let's move on to the "stacked" Sacramento card.

By most accounts, Anderson Silva will have his hands full with Nathan Marquardt (Pictures) on July 7 at UFC 73. The 28-year-old American has a dynamic skill set that boasts some underrated wrestling and what might be the straightest punches the middleweight division has to offer. This being said, as well-rounded as the Denver native is, he lacks the counter-striking prowess to deal with the onslaught that Silva imposes with his long-limbed attacks and ferocious mental makeup.

I know what you're thinking Sloan. If Ryo Chonan (Pictures) and Daiju Takase (Pictures) were able to cheat sure defeat by pulling submissions out of their rear ends, Marquardt's got a legit shot, right?

Not so fast, chump.

Enter mainstream mixed martial arts, circa 2006. With the chance of a lifetime on the table, Anderson Silva left behind the sour taste of disappointment and established himself as one of MMA's most dangerous athletes.

Silva's debut in the Ultimate Fighting Championship sees him clean Chris Leben's (Pictures) clock live on Spike TV. Less than four months later, Anderson proceeds to perform the first pay-per-view televised octagon rhinoplasty on Rich Franklin (Pictures) to claim the UFC middleweight crown. For good measure, the former Chute Boxer displayed his vastly improved BJJ skills with a hard-fought victory over Travis Lutter (Pictures).

Gone are the days of Silva stalling on the ground to force referee intervention. In his aforementioned bout with Lutter, Anderson showed an offensive guard mixed in with some incredible striking from his back that solicited a tapout from the slick Texan.

I see more of the same from Silva in this contest. When the fight is standing, the Brazilian will pick apart Marquardt with a wide array of kicks, knees, elbows and punches from all angles. If Nathan can get the action to the floor, Anderson will pepper his head with accurate and sharp strikes from the bottom. Word to the wise: watch out for the up-kick.

Marquardt may hang tough in the opening period, but before the second period expires, Anderson Silva will have cemented his status as the best 185-pound fighter in the UFC.

Sloan: Listen, I understand it still eats at you about the Florida-Ohio State situation, but you need to move on. I keep grilling you about that because you are a typical Buckeye fan: myopic, sensitive, thick skulled and, well, moronic. It is not my fault that your sorry team from Columbus twice choked, but then again that is a character trait you'll surely display in this debate. It's as simple as that.

But moving on, I think you are giving Silva just a little bit too much credit with his wins inside the UFC. It's typical of someone from your neck of the woods to be floored with awe after Silva destroyed the oafish Leben. I saw that outcome coming a mile away because let's face it, Leben is hands down the sloppiest of the popular fighters in the sport and overall one of the sloppiest to ever step foot into the cage. Sure he's a decent brawler and punches harder than 99 percent of the fighters out there, but to think Silva's knockout over Leben was amazing makes you and others sound like a bunch of chimps.

And Lutter? Sure, he's a good fighter but only a fool would have predicted a Lutter victory that night (see: Savage). I saw that fight a few times and unlike you, I don't remember seeing any "incredible striking" from Silva while he was on his back. Incredible? Come on, Fridley, I think you are smarter than that, but then again, you do try to speak like some hip-hop gangsta on the phone.

I'll give you the Franklin fight, even though I called that one dead on as well. Franklin has always been an overrated fighter in my opinion, but he at least was dominant. Oh, and one more thing: Franklin didn't suffer the first ever pay-per-view televised UFC octagon rhinoplasty, Nathan Quarry (Pictures) did. Do you even watch these fights or do you just sit back in your over-stuffed bean bag chair and eat Krispy Kremes? You do kinda resemble a porpoise on land.

It's funny reading your little written diatribe about Marquardt's talents. It seems to me like you are trying to display an escape hatch. I believe you are realizing what a mistake it was to choose the streaky Silva over the technician from Denver, but it's OK.

The other Sherdog staffers who dared debate me tried the same thing but at least you make it interesting for a while. So sit back and watch Marquardt lull Silva to sleep and dull out a decision that will give him the middleweight title. Say goodbye to Anderson Silva as the champion (for now) and to your perfect debate record. Remember: Nobody has won more debates than me. I'm like Cy Young.

Fridley: No fallback plan is needed for my prediction Sloan. Write it down, sucka. Anderson Silva will reign victorious in the second round.

You weren't impressed with Silva's striking from the bottom back in February against Travis Lutter (Pictures)? Do you honestly think that Lutter tapped to that poorly executed triangle? I suggest you go back and watch Silva put dents -- much like the exterior of your ‘88 Buick -- on the top of his dome in the closing seconds of the bout. Not to mention the up-kick that placed the stunned Texan into the bad position to begin with.

Cy Young? The only correlation I see here is that you both stuck around a few years after your prime. If it's a witty sports reference you're aiming for, may I suggest Terrell Owens? That's right. You and "TO" both frequently drop the ball, through lack of effort let your teammates down, and never miss the opportunity to put your foot in your mouth.

This is too easy Sloan. I may pass on the next debate and let you and Greg Savage battle it out in the minor leagues for a shot to get back into the bigs. My unflattering opinions and 3-0 record will be waiting.

The rest of the card:
Tito Ortiz (Pictures) vs. Rashad Evans (Pictures)
Sloan: Fridley, I don't know about you but I think this is going to be Rashad's coming out party and Tito's going away party. Ortiz is no longer that terrifying beast that had many an opponent beaten before the fight even began, and I truly believe Evans has the passion and talent to be an all-time great. I see this one as an embarrassing loss for Tito. I firmly believe Rashad is going to whip his ass and probably force Ortiz into a long hiatus. What do you think?
Fridley: Without a doubt the hardest fight to call on the card. Which Evans will show up? Will it be the Rashad who mopped the floor with Stephan Bonnar (Pictures) and Jason Lambert (Pictures) or will it be the more open-striking Evans who was taken to the canvas several times by future journeyman Sean Salmon (Pictures)? Yeah, I know -- the TUF 2 winner scored 2007's most replayed knockout in that fight -- but escaping bad positions versus Salmon and being on your back against the cage with Ortiz teeing off on your cranium are two completely different experiences. Going with the conservative approach, I expect Evans to score an early double-leg and establish a rhythm of control that carries him to a dominating, yet uneventful unanimous decision victory.

Sean Sherk (Pictures) vs. Hermes Franca (Pictures)
Sloan: I am more pumped about this fight than any other on the card. Franca is a somewhat crude fighter who has telegraphed, loopy punches. He also has a strong jiu-jitsu game and a great chin. Sherk, though, has 10 times the strength and stamina. I see this one being an entertaining war for as long as it lasts, which will be the distance. Sherk wins a decision and keeps his title.
Fridley: I disagree in regards to Franca's striking. Loopy? Yes. Telegraphed? No way, Sloan. The Brazilian has a unique, powerful delivery that keeps his opponents off balance. Mix in the threat of a takedown with the quirky angles he fires his strikes from, and you have a serious problem. Sherk, who lacks legit KO power in his fists, makes efficient use of his short arms with quick, straight punches. But most of the time his hands are just a setup for a shot attempt, which plays into the BJJ ace's strength. Franca will let his meat hooks fly and be satisfied to work from his guard early on. As the championship bout pushes forward, Franca will begin to benefit from cumulative punishment dished out on the feet en route to claiming the UFC lightweight title via TKO (strikes) in the fourth round.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (Pictures) vs. Heath Herring (Pictures)
The first two fights between these heavyweights were two of the greatest fights I've watched, period. Sadly this third match is A) not a rubber match and B) going to be a one-sided, far less competitive battle than Minotauro-Crazy Horse I and II. Ol' Nog will administer and old-fashioned beatdown and submit Herring sometime in the second, probably via Anaconda choke again. This fight would have been a thriller had it occurred about three months after their rematch.
Fridley: Their first encounter at PRIDE 17 was epic, I'll give you that. The second contest between these two did nothing for me, as Heath Herring (Pictures) offered little defense in the course of getting wrapped up in a slick Anaconda choke offered up by the Brazilian back in 2004. Herring, the not so proud owner of the most feminine looking striking in all of combat sports, will truly have his hands full in the third go with "Minotauro." Big Nog will cruise before making the Texan pass out with a kata-gatame in the final round.

Kenny Florian (Pictures) vs. Alvin Robinson (Pictures)
I seem to be the only Sherdog staff member who is a fan of Florian, even though he has one of the lamest nicknames in the history of nicknames. I've honestly never seen any of Alvin's fights before so I am not totally certain what to expect. He has a nice record but hasn't fought any upper tier fighters until now. My pick is Florian by decision.
Fridley: Can anyone tell me why Florian, who last year challenged for the 155-pound title, was pitted against an octagon newcomer? Robinson is a tough cat but the Boston native will hand him a one-sided thrashing, much like Sloan has absorbed throughout the duration of this debate. Florian will catch the "Kid" in a fight-ending triangle choke in the opening frame.

Mike Nickels vs. Stephan Bonnar (Pictures)
Ah, my good friend Stephan Bonnar (Pictures) finally returns to action since he was suspended for testing positive for illegal steroids. What I am positive about, aside from the fact that Nickels has way too many tattoos for his own good, is that Bonnar will return with a win. It might even be an entertaining fight, too. But Bonnar will triumph regardless.
Fridley: While the steroid consuming Bonnar won't score any brownie points from me, the boldenone-aided bulk he added to his frame last year is believed to be sustainable in the short term. I predict the (alleged) Barry Bonds carryover effect to be in full force here when Bonnar picks up a much-needed win via TKO from strikes in the second round.

Diego Saraiva (Pictures) vs. Jorge Gurgel (Pictures)
I've never been sold on Saraiva but I have been in regards to Gurgel. This one will wind up being the submission of the night in favor of the slick tapout artist Gurgel. No disrespect to Saraiva, but Gurgel will choke him out in the first.
Fridley: Gurgel, a Marcus Aurelio black belt, has had some terrible luck in his brief UFC career. From the knee injury he suffered in his bout with Jason Von Flue (Pictures) to being matched up with Donovan Bailey-esque cage fighting track champion Mark Hominick (Pictures), a simple break of fortune has been hard to come by for the physically gifted Brazilian. Gurgel will buck the recent trend and score a tapout inducing armbar in the third period.

Chris Lytle (Pictures) vs. Jason Gilliam (Pictures)
Lytle should have been awarded the crown as champion of TUF 4 but oh well, he wasn't. He came back and fought Matt Hughes (Pictures) very well, but once again came up short. Gilliam is a very good fighter with well-rounded skills but is coming off a loss just like Lytle. To me this fight is one I could do without, as I am far from interested. Either way, I see Lytle winning a decision in an affair that won't be televised.
Fridley: I agree. In the battle of Indiana natives, I'll get behind the more experienced Hoosier. Despite dropping his big show debut via submission to Jamie Varner (Pictures) in Columbus, Gilliam has a promising future in mixed martial arts. But with eight bouts in the UFC and a grueling season spent training on The Ultimate Fighter, it would be ridiculous to suggest any outcome other than Lytle being victorious. Chris will improve his record to 23-14-5 when he catches his opponent in a guillotine choke during the second stanza.

Mark Bocek vs. Frank Edgar (Pictures)
Undefeated young submission guy Bocek is hoping to make his UFC debut a memorable one against Edgar, who is also undefeated. Edgar already has been in the UFC and from what I've seen of both fighters, Edgar is the better of the two. My pick is Edgar winning in the second via solid ground-and-pound.
Fridley: Octagon debut jitters, anyone? Bocek has made it look easy in his four professional bouts, finishing each opponent in the opening round. While it's hard to predict the outcome between two young and hungry upstarts, I'll go with Edgar, who impressed me with the heart and athleticism he displayed against Tyson Griffin (Pictures) back in February. Frankie will get the nod by unanimous decision after three frames.

GSD Career Totals:
Sloan: 13-10
Savage: 8-11
Fridley: 2-0
Sherwood: 0-1
Gross (ret): 0-1

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