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This weekend is one of the biggest of the year. Friday night is one of the few nights out of the year where it is socially acceptable to get publicly shitfaced and wake up in a pile of your own diarrhea/excrement. Saturday is a day for sleeping away your hangover and later prying yourself off the couch to watch the UFC’s New Year’s weekend offering.

While the card isn’t as strong on paper as some of the UFC’s recent New Year’s events (79 and 92, featuring fights like Liddell v. Wand, Forrest v. Rashad, Wand v. Rampage, and GSP v. Hughes), it still features a championship fight between the number one and number two lightweights in the world. This weekend’s card also features potentially exciting bouts like Gomi v. Guida and Leben v. Stann that will produce legitimate contenders. In the interest of making a list, here are five questions that will be answered this Saturday night.

1. Is Frankie Edgar the heir apparent to the lightweight throne?

Even before he had the UFC lightweight belt strapped around his waist, BJ Penn was considered the best lightweight in the sport. Early victories at 155 pounds over fighters like Matt Serra, Caol Uno, and Takanori Gomi coupled with successful trips at higher weights against men like Matt Hughes and Renzo Gracie established BJ as one of the pound-for-pound best in the sport. His recent run with the belt and victories over tough guys like Kenny Florian, Sean Sherk, and Diego Sanchez only confirmed what everyone had previously assumed — that Penn was unstoppable at lightweight. Then came a kid from Jersey named Frankie Edgar. 

Even with his two wins over Penn in mind, Edgar still enters his fight with Gray Maynard this weekend as an underdog mostly because he’s already lost to the Xtreme Couture fighter, and also because many still believe his wins over Penn were due in large part to a favorable stylistic match-up and not the fact that he is in fact the best fighter in the world at 155. If Edgar can pull out the win, and especially if he can do so in impressive fashion, there will be no doubt that he is the best 155 pounder in the world.

2. Is Chris Leben ready to break through to the next level?

Chris Leben’s recent win streak has many observers, including UFC president Dana White, calling him the fighter of the year for 2010. Praise is mot definitely warranted for his accomplishments, which include winning two bouts in two weeks while simultaneously earning two fight night bonuses and finishing a fighter who was ranked in the top 10 at the time. At the same time, questions remain whether Leben was lucky or whether he is truly ready to become one of the elite fighters at 185 pounds. His fight with the unheralded Jay Silva went the distance, his stoppage over mid-level fighter Aaron Simpson occured after a fairly close contest, and he was thoroughly dominated by Yoshiro Akiyama for three rounds before sinking in a triangle with 20 seconds left.

With all of this in mind, a dominant victory on Saturday night over Brian Stann will silence the doubters and set Leben up for a very big fight with one of the top middleweights in the world, possibly with a title shot on the line.

More questions after the jump.

3. Can Clay Guida finally win the big one?

Despite his status as one of the UFC’s most popular and consistently exciting fighters, Clay Guida can never seem to win the fights that truly matter.

After earning a split decision over then-relevant Marcus Aurelio, Guida was awarded with a fight in a Spike main event against Roger Huerta that would produce a lightweight contender. After dominating Huerta for the majority of the bout, Guida succumbed to a rear naked choke. Then, after putting together a three-fight win streak and besting TUF winners Mac Danzig and Nate Diaz, Guida dropped two in a row to top contenders Diego Sanchez and Kenny Florian.  

“The Carpenter” is once again in a fight with one of the best at 155 that could send him to the next level. History has shown that Guida can’t seem to get it done when he scraps against the division’s best, but Saturday is his night to finally break that streak. The question is whether he can do so against a man once considered the very best in the world.

4. Does Phil Baroni have any gas left in the tank?

Phil Baroni was knocking people around the Octagon out back before the UFC was getting clips shown on ESPN and selling 1 million plus buys on pay-per-view. After an up-and-down yet exciting career outside of the company, Baroni returned only to drop a decision to welterweight prospect Amir Sadollah. Now fighting at middleweight once again, Baroni faces a simple yet high pressure situation: win and continue fighting on the world’s biggest stage, lose and find a new place to punch people in the face for money. Can he pull out the win with everything on the line?

5. Is Josh Grispi ready for Jose Aldo?

Josh Grispi was all set to challenge featherweight champion Jose Aldo on this card, but an injury to the champ scratched that bout and likely impacted Grispi’s bank account. Dana White has come out and said that a victory on Saturday against prospect Dustin Poirier does not necessary mean Grispi will challenge for the belt in his next outing. But if he is able to finosh Poirier in the first round the same way he has 13 of his 15 previous oponents, there will be no doubt that Grispi is the most worthy challenger to Aldo’s belt currently under the Zuffa umbrella.


  • FiveBoltMain

    I feel bad for Grispi if he wins. He’s going to need a life insurance policy when he fights Aldo.

  • shawn

    FiveBolt: I dunno. At this point, I think Grispi and Hioki are the two best featherweights in the world who haven’t been previously beaten by Aldo. With Hioki locked down in Japan for the foreseeable future, Grispi is the UFC fighter with the best shot at beating Aldo.

  • P W

    “Is Chris Leben ready to break through to the next level?”

    As far as the UFC is concerned, Chris Leben is a main event caliber fighter. I don’t know if there actually is a “next level” above that. Champion, perhaps.

  • FiveBoltMain

    If Grispi wipes the floor with his opponent, then I’ll give him a 25/75 chance of beating Aldo. But if he looks like crap or struggles, then FORGET ABOUT IT!!

  • iamphoenix

    i fucking hate guida. he is not exciting! can people stop saying that he is? What’s so exciting about him bouncing up and down, hair glued to his face and little armed jabs. it’s stupid. he sucks hard. he didn’t beat nate diaz homie, judges were too stupid to see anything. ALL HE DOES IS BOUNCE UP AND DOWN AND HOLD PEOPLE AND DOESN’T DO ANYTHING!

    fuck guida. for realz. guy is a jizz filled condom that should be thrown out.

  • shawn

    iamphoenix: thats the criticism all of guidas critics make. but the reason his “proponents” think hes exciting is because of his pace.

    sure, he has obvious holes in his stand-up, but the pressure he brings is something to watch. there’s a reason he has 3 fight of the nights to his name ( not counting his back-and-forth brawl with huerta) including a fight many considered to be the fight of the year with diego sanchez.

  • FiveBoltMain

    How dare you insult the caveman. DIE!!!

  • iamphoenix

    then why am i always bored watching him?

    his pace consists of bouncing up and down. that’s it! he gets punched in the face all the time but whatever he’s still bouncing! LOOK AT HIM GO OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE HE CAN HOP FOREVER SPLOOGE!!!

  • shawn

    phonex: why are you always bored watching him? because things like “excitement” are inherently subjective. its your opinion, and its the opinion of others that hes fun to watch, and its the opinion of others that there is a bearded man in the clouds watching down on all of us.

    your criticism of guida is in line with others who feel the same way, so youre not alone. but you have to realize that what you find boring, many other people find to be high energy, high pace, and exciting. “excitement” is not objective.

  • Futanari Cum Dumpster

    guida is dogshit i hope gomi rapes him and his family

  • GoldenArms

    I have five questions for ufc 125:

    1- are people going to pay to watch this shit card?
    2- what will dana have to do for fans after the world’s most boring title fight?
    3- are people still obsessed with guida’s hair?
    4- will leben show up looking like carrot top and fail the drug test?
    5- how sweet will nate diaz’s sub of the night be?

  • DJ ThunderElbows

    3. Guida does more nothing in one round than I did all year – and I’m a spectacular loser.

    I still like the guy, but I didn’t enjoy his performances till he learned an actual tool to tack on to the end of all that shuffling an wrasslin’.

    Nowadays, I look forward to seeing what he does with it.

    1. Frankie won’t get respect because he did not beat one of the most dominant looking champs in the UFC’s short history. Frankie was merely awarded the belt by three people.

    He needs to Joe Daddy or Brock/Mir2 someone to ever get as over with the fans as BJ was.

    GSP had the BJ decision, spinning kicks and the utter smashing of Her Majesty Hughes to make him a star.

    A-bomb stepped on the scene and KO’d a man possessing a head made out of dinosaur bones and filled with Pabst empties.

    Frankie needs his first big win. This fight – against a guy bigger and stronger, and someone the fans see as boring – perfect set up to make Frankie a star.

  • subo

    1. Frankie’s sitting on the throne until defeated.
    2. Can’t write it off. He was on his way to losing to Akiyama and won. Losing to Bisping doesn’t mean you’re terrible, and Leben seems to be improving. He’s already a rockheaded bastard with a puncher’s chance, so if he gets smart…
    3. Very possible. And I don’t think Guida is boring at all. There’s another guy with a seemingly infinite chin, and he never gets tired.
    4. No. But I’m pulling for him,
    5. This fight will tell me the answer to that question. He HAS to know he’s got to MURDER this guy to get his title shot back.

  • Shibo

    I think Guida is boring as hell, but his between rounds belching is hilarious when combined with some alcohol. *YARL*

  • shawn

    subo: i know hes “sitting on the throne” in the sense that hes the champ and the rightful number one in the world right now. but by “heir apparent to the lightweight thrown” im talking about whether he can be a dominant champ who at least defends the belt once, as opposed to a one-and-done guy like what we’ve seen at LHW.

    and as for leben, i dont necessarily agree with those arguments as i think the guy should have been awarded a fight with wand already as a co-main. im just putting those arguments out there as the counter arguments to the ZOMG LEBEN WON TWO FIGHTS IN TWO WEEKS.

  • iamphoenix

    shawn i already answered it>>>> his pace consists of bouncing up and down. that’s it! he gets punched in the face all the time but whatever he’s still bouncing! LOOK AT HIM GO OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE HE CAN HOP FOREVER SPLOOGE!!!

    i’m just sayin. i just don’t get why people like to see him fight. (other than to watch him lose)

  • subo

    shawn: I love you, but he already defended the belt against the best LW ever. He’s legit, whether or not Gray turns out to be his Kryptonite.

  • frickshun

    Not sure how to feel about this sober Shawn post :(

    1) I love Frankie. The 1st BJ win gave him crazy confidence & it showed in the rematch. Give him his due you FAGGOTS.
    2) Leben hit a major wall in his career development several years ago. So I jumped off the bandwagon. He’s brought me back after he stopped talking about his training & lifestyle discipline, shut his hole ……then finally started showing it in the cage. He should outclass Sargeant Slaughter but I expect Stann to keep it close.
    3) Guida is mediocre. Fun, but mediocre. Gomi is a dinosaur who needs to drop to 145 for a chance @ relevance. Either guy could win but we all know Guida will smother & outwork him for 15 ugly minutes.
    4) Baroni let the sport pass him by many, many years ago……like when he was originally in the UFC. Personally, I like his silly alter-ego & I do root for him. But from an objective fan perspective, I don’t think he should have a job w/the UFC.
    5) Grispi is a great young prospect. He has a lot of holes in his game. I’d rather not feed our young to Aldo……YET.

  • Reverend Clint

    i will always root for leben

  • FiveBoltMain

    ^ You drunks stick together, eh :P

  • Symbul

    Edgar’s a good fighter but his style still bores me a bit. Still, if I’m picking my poison I’ll take Edgar’s shadowboxing over Maynard’s repeated atrocities in the cage. The fight with Florian (which Florian threw away) was fucking awful.

    Guida will probably hump Gomi to a decision but that’s what we thought about Tyson Griffin too. Hoping Gomi lamps him too. Gomi might be a natural 145er but so is Guida probably.

  • Rodriguez

    Maybe some of you guys haven’t read this before:

  • Rodriguez

    Or this one, where I predicted on January 1st 2010 that Gomi will royally fuck up Clay Guida:

  • iamphoenix

    why have you stopped writing???!!!! these new posts are distractingly unfunny now!!! i think FL lost their edge.

  • Rodriguez

    Fingers crossed I’ll start again on Saturday.

  • iamphoenix

    i’m very proud of you riguez.

  • P W

    Clay Guida is still considered exciting in the same way Jacob Ortiz is still considered a major draw.

  • Blackula Jonez

    Why do people see Guida as a hyyper active decision machine when he has finished his last two opponents, the last guy he fought ate a 6 punch combo that broke his fucking jaw.

    Mma fans have shitty memories, all clay has to do is shut down gomis haymaker laden style with jabs like florian did, tenderize him for a round or two, then take him down and sub him like he did his last two opponents.

    Cuz we all know how gomi handles an active top position grappler.

    That being said there is a major upside to a guida loss in that he can drop to featherweight and bring some much needed star power to the weightclass.

  • DJ ThunderElbows

    I would love to see Guida at FW. That would be fun.

  • Rodriguez

    Blackula, please erase everything in your last post. I’ll pretend like I didn’t see it, too.

  • Blackula Jonez

    First things first.

    Nice as fuck to see you again Rod, happy holidays. Why are you dicking around with getting a degree in journalism when it seems all you really need is a informant in the military with a decent level of clearance to scare the shit out of most of the industrialized 1st world.

    I am sorry guys I got into this sport in 08 so I am oblivious to most pride fanboy bandwagons. I stop talking shit on the guys when they perform well in the octagon. I was one of the few guys who thought the Machida/Shogun 1 performance was a sign of Shogun solving the Machida riddle as opposed to the “Machida will win again by UD” safebet all the pundits were parroting.

    Gomi has if not the heaviest hands at 155 he has to be one of the top 5 heavy hitters at lightweight. But one win over a desperate for victory Tyson Griffin doesn’t inspire confidence. If Clay goes out into the center of the cage and gets into a shootout with Gomi I will gladly eat crow, but I don’t think Guida fights that way anymore. The Carpenter has been showing a more focused style in recent fights and I’m just not read to throw him under the bus because his opponent showed a flash of brilliance in his last fight.

  • Blackula Jonez

    “A-bomb stepped on the scene and KO’d a man possessing a head made out of dinosaur bones and filled with Pabst empties.”

    That was some pretty funny shit good sir, and I agree Frankie needs a finish over a high level fighter and I think he will get it via sub on new years day.

  • G Funk

    Rod only comes out to “play” when co-writers post…sigh

    Frick<—– I don’t think Baroni has an alter ego!

  • frickshun

    G–>Do you still think he’s the New Yawk Badass?

  • DJ ThunderElbows


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