The Great Sherdog Debate triumphantly returns for Saturday's intriguing rematch between Matt Serra (Pictures) and Georges St. Pierre (Pictures). Columnist Mike Sloan, trying to snap a dreadful three-debate losing streak, will go head to head against Sherdog's Long Island reporter Steven Curtis, the man responsible for starting Sloan's recent slide.
Mike Sloan: Well, my good friend, if I had to start yet another losing streak, I guess it's OK that it comes at your hands. But friendships will be cast aside yet again during our keyboard-fueled sparring match, and I'll be damned if I'm going to lose to you again.
Enter the rematch between Serra and St. Pierre. I fondly remember their initial encounter back at UFC 69 just more than a year ago. Serra was such a prohibitive underdog that virtually nobody predicted him to be competitive against then-champion GSP, let alone score a first-round TKO win. In fact, that fight was going to be such a mismatch that I opted to ignore the entire fight card debate-wise and never bothered trying to locate some helpless prey to sucker into a debate with me. That's how badly I knew the Canuck was going to trounce the pasta-eating New Yawkah.
But we all know what happened: Serra walked out of that Octagon with the belt.
I never thought that TKO was a fluke, though I was picking GSP to avenge his loss this Saturday. St. Pierre is a better striker, better athlete, is stronger and is just an all-around better fighter. I had thought Serra's reign as UFC welterweight champion was going to end in Montreal … until now.
Here's my rationale: Just like in the first duel, nobody is giving Serra a chance. Morons claim he's too rusty due to his one-year absence from combat, his win was a fluke and now GSP is fully motivated.
Please, Steven, I know you are not going to fill my inbox with those same "arguments." Those points of view are full of as many holes as those moth-eaten trousers you wear when you water your front lawn. Don't bother writing anything to this debate because unlike my main guy Matty, you are not going to come close to winning.
Serra won't be rusty, which is something I never bought in the fight game. If you train and spar properly, you won't have ring rust. If that ring rust was real, how come so many fighters (especially in boxing) come back from long layoffs and fight blowout no-hopers and typically score early knockouts? Is that enough time to shake off the rust? Exactly. I know Serra, and he's been training like a maniac -- no rust for him.
Furthermore, I'm tired of hearing people make excuses for GSP, like he wasn't focused then. I heard that same excuse when he lost to Matt Hughes (Pictures) and when he looked awful against B.J. Penn (Pictures). If he wasn't focused for those fights, exactly when is he going to be focused? Come on.
Also, Serra loves to prove everybody wrong, just like when he shocked the world last April. Not one person that I know thinks he'll win, and when I look back at sports history, the underdogs who are fed bulletin board material for months almost always triumph.
Matt Serra (Pictures) will beat up Georges St. Pierre (Pictures) and prove to the world he is no fluke, and he'll do it by stopping the Canadian in the third.
Steven Curtis: I want to thank you for setting me up for the three-peat, Mike. And just for the record, the word "trousers" was officially retired back in the 1940s.
You have no argument from me that Matt Serra (Pictures) is a great guy and the consummate professional. His win over GSP is one of the greatest upsets in the history of the sport. On that basis alone, he's earned legendary status.
Even if he had lost that fight, you have to admire his determination and fortitude. Overcoming some tough losses and personal challenges, he stayed positive, kept his focus and climbed back up to the top of the mountain.
While nothing can take those accomplishments away from him, on Saturday night GSP will prove that "The Terror's" win last year was a fluke. Yes, a fluke. As Mirko Filipovic (Pictures) once said in his K-1 heyday, "Everybody goes down."
Last year, GSP took the fall. He got caught and paid the price. But just as GSP avenged his loss to Hughes, so too will he dominate Serra Saturday. Think Mirko-Randleman II.
Simply put, GSP is one of the top fighters in the world and probably the best all-around athlete in MMA. He has a reach advantage and height advantage over Serra, better kicks, strong takedown defense and a ground game that continues to improve. Oh, and he's also got some pretty heavy hands.
He's carrying the hopes of "America Lite" on his shoulders Saturday, and he will not disappoint. GSP by second-round TKO. Oh, Canada! The Molson will be flowin' on Saturday night!
The rest of the card:
Rich Franklin (Pictures) vs. Travis Lutter (Pictures)
Sloan: Anderson Silva bludgeoned both men, so this is a huge crossroads type of fight. My bet is Franklin will struggle early but eventually figure out Lutter and blast him out of the cage "Ring King" style. And he'll do it with a smile in the third.
Curtis: How soon we forget that before getting caught in the Spider's web Franklin was considered by many to be the king of the world at 185. He's a far better fighter than Lutter and he'll prove it Saturday with a KO in the second.
Nate Quarry vs. Kalib Starnes (Pictures)
Sloan: Two classy guys, two tough dudes. Starnes is still a bit crude, and Quarry feels as though he deserves another title shot soon. I like Quarry by second-round stoppage.
Curtis: I'm with you on this one 100 percent, Mike. Starnes has been dropped by guys with much less punching power than Nate. Kalib won't see the third round.
Michael Bisping (Pictures) vs. Charles McCarthy (Pictures)
Sloan: Hmmm. I used to be pretty high on Bisping's style but not so much right now. Still, he's a bit better than McCarthy skill-wise and he should score a pretty impressive stoppage late in the second.
Curtis: Mike, you've been drinking too much of that Strange Brew. Bisping's not going to knock out McCarthy. Sir Charles has shown that he can take a shot, his lone knockout loss coming via a freak spinning back kick by David Loiseau (Pictures) three years ago. Unless he's been secretly training with Cung Le (Pictures), Bisping certainly won't be throwing any of those Saturday. Bisping by decision.
Mac Danzig (Pictures) vs. Mark Bocek (Pictures)
Sloan: Forget that loss to Sakurai and remember how he steamrolled the housemates in TUF 6 -- Danzig's the real deal. He'll roll Bocek into a slick armbar late in the first.
Curtis: Mac is as hungry and focused as they come. But he's looking for the knockout and he is going to get it in round two.
Joe Doerksen (Pictures) vs. Jason MacDonald (Pictures)
Sloan: Could be the fight of the night, trust me. I like Doerksen by unanimous decision.
Curtis: MacDonald is not going to lose Saturday. Not with the psychological edge of having beaten Doerksen already. Look for a submission win in the third round for "Mac Daddy."
Alan Belcher (Pictures) vs. Jason Day (Pictures)
Sloan: Belcher is one of those guys that just can't seem to get over that hump and into title contention. A win will do the trick, and it'll be a bad day for Jason. Belcher by guillotine in the first.
Curtis: Let's not overlook the fact that Day's been on a nice roll lately, with four wins in a row since last June. I don't think he's the guy to put the first KO on Belcher's record, but I do think he can outlast him. "Doom" by decision.
Ed Herman (Pictures) vs. Demian Maia (Pictures)
Sloan: It's tough to predict which Herman will show up and it's hard to gauge exactly how good the undefeated Maia really is. My guess is Herman via decision.
Curtis: Judging by the fact that Ed has won three in a row, it is safe to say he will bring his "A" game against Maia. I'm looking for a knockout by "Short Fuse" in the second.
Sam Stout (Pictures) vs. Rich Clementi (Pictures)
Sloan: Clementi by rear-naked choke in the second. No need to elaborate any deeper.
Curtis: Call it a hunch, but I'm guessing Sam just might be expecting Clementi to attempt a choke. Expect Stout to be prepared to handle Clementi's attack. He's going to take this fight to the judges and win.
Cain Velasquez (Pictures) vs. Brad Morris
Sloan: Morris has five times as many pro fights as Cain. With that said, Velasquez will score an awesome first-round stoppage due to strikes.
Curtis: Both of Morris' losses have been by knockout. Cain throws bombs. Can you say, "Nighty night, Brad"? I'm with you Sloan -- round-one stoppage.
Jonathan Goulet (Pictures) vs. Kuniyoshi Hironaka (Pictures)
Sloan: Easy win for the Japanese tough guy. Words of wisdom: Pick Hironaka because Goulet spends way too much time on his hair. (I'll elaborate more on that in the Reverie on Monday.)
Curtis: "The Japanese Emperor" is going to be a proud guy Saturday. Hironaka by submission in the second.
GSD Career Totals:
Gross (ret): 0-1
De Santis: 0-3