Luke: Unless he develops a ground game over night, the days of one dimensional fighters ended years ago. My feeling on Houston is that the UFC brought him in to prop up Jardine and he KO'd the guy so he had to get another short and when he blasted Alessio Sakara, he became a nice sideshow. Unfortunately, after three straight losses it is pretty apparent that he can't fight off his back and he hasn't done anything to show improvement in that respect. Secondly, he lost to a guy who probably doesn't deserve to be in the UFC either, because Eric Schafer is just as one dimensional only he can't fight standing up. Houston we enjoyed the KO's but your time on the big show is over.
Butch: Alexander's ground defense and BJJ is terrible. He needs to get a notable BJJ coach and hit the gym. He was clearly uncomfortable on the ground during the fight and Schafer easily mounted him before finishing him. I think the best thing for his career would be for the UFC to drop him and have him fight in some smaller shows. That way he can improve his ground game and become more well rounded. Highlight reel knockouts will get you fans, but being one dimensional will lead to many loses. Everyone knows Alexander's game plan and his greatest weakness.
Was the Nate Diaz fight as close as the Judges called it?
Luke: I was shocked that Neer actually took one judge for 29-28. I don't know what fight he was watching, but Diaz could do pretty much anything he wanted and went for a number of submissions. Was it a pretty fight? No, but I am pretty sure it was one that should have been scored 29-28 all around.
Butch: I have to agree with Luke on this one completely. I thought Neer had no business winning a round. Diaz showed that his BJJ is top quality even though he is a brown belt. I thought the fight would be a unanimous decision and think Neer agrees with me from his reaction when the score cards were announced.
TUF 9 "USA vs. England" good idea or bad idea?
Luke: It definitely has some potential, but I probably would have gone with a USA versus Japan or Brazil. I understand that are really trying to dominate the UK market, but I am not sure how good the fighters are going to be and you never want the show to be too lopsided. However, I reserve my judgment for later.
Butch:Dana White needs more fighters from the UK to expand their impact and make that market profitable. This is a great way to acquire new talent on the cheap and their hope is to find some characters in the process.
What would you change about the current TUF format?
Luke: I like that the fighters have to fight their way on, because the fights tend to be much more exiting. I wish that they could take the match up decisions out of the coaches hands and give Joe Silva a say in the matter, because I think it would make for better matches at the end of the show. Also, I like the tournament format better and I think if guys didn't know when they were fighting it would cut out the idiocy in the house, which I think takes away from the quality of the show at this point. Educate the audience on the MMA lifestyle and entertain with good fights, leave the drunks at home.
Butch: I think bringing back Willa Ford is great idea. I see enough of Dana White's mug and would like some eye candy. Another idea that I know Luke will disagree with is bringing back some challenges. I think the challenges add another element to fill the gap of the drinking shenanigans they are trying to eradicate from the show.
Brock Lesnar vs. The Natural and Big Nog vs. Mir, who you picking?
Luke: Brock is definitely a powerful dude, but a focused Couture is sure to beat is inexperience. Mir is a strong fighter, but if the division wasn't so weak I doubt he would be a coach this season. I see Couture vs. Big Nog for the title, winner gets Fedor.
Butch: This isn't as easy of a decision as one might think. Who knows what Randy will look like after a year of not fighting? Where is his head at and will he overlook Brock? I think Randy has always performed well as an underdog and many will predict Brock will overwhelm Randy. I however, think Randy will submit Brock and show his inexperience in the ring. In the other fight, Nog has the best BJJ in the heavyweight division and will be able to neutralize Mir's skills. I think Nog's size advantage will take him to victory.
Is Chuck Liddell done?
Luke: Physically he is there, but I really question his mental focus and attitude. His game plan and execution over his last four fights has been poor. If he shows up and executes a solid game plan like he did versus Wanderlei, he can beat anyone, so no I think he can still fight.
Butch: Chuck is at an interesting point in his career. He has had a couple of devastating knockouts and is looking more and more like a one dimensional fighter. Chuck needs to focus on utilizing his wrestling and kickboxing skills that he featured early in his career. He has lost focus recently by looking for highlight reel knockouts that the fans expect. I think Chuck has a couple of more fights in him, but a loss in his next fight will surely mean retirement. He needs to put together a string of a couple of victories to become relevant again.