Chat with Brett Okamoto
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com mixed martial arts writer Brett Okamoto stops by to chat about the news from the octagon.
Okamoto joined ESPN.com in December 2010. Previously, he was the boxing/MMA writer for the Las Vegas Sun newspaper and has also worked with Sports Illustrated magazine and CNN.com.
Send your questions now and join Okamoto Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Brett Okamoto (1:04 PM)
I really don't know what to say about the Mark Hunt, Antonio Silva fight other than "watch it." If you didn't catch it, figure out some way to see it. I still think Fight of the Year as of right now is Jones/Gus, but as far as "this is unbelievable, I can't believe what I'm seeing" fight of the year? That was Hunt, Silva. Alright, fire away.
Do you want to see a rematch of Bigfoot vs Hunt? The fight itself--rather than the winner/loser--seems more important here. It's almost as if we don't need to sort it out any further by having a rematch...
Brett Okamoto (1:06 PM)
I agree. I'm not necessarily opposed to a rematch if the UFC wants to do that, but I don't think they have to do one in this situation at all. Nobody was expecting that type of fight. I would have laid down my bank account on the odds of that fight going a full five rounds, yet another friendly reminder that I shouldn't gamble. It was an awesome, unexpected result that had a good ending. I'd leave it at that and move on, personally.
While I absolutely loved the Big Foot/Hunt fight, am I the only one who isn't clamoring for a rematch? It was a great fight, one that will be hard to top. So why are so many people asking them to do that?
Brett Okamoto (1:07 PM)
I know it's kind of what I just said but wanted to ask, are there a lot of people clamoring for a rematch? I saw some people out there asking for it ... but actually I felt like the majority actually didn't want to see it again ...
Broto, do you remember how you scored DJ vs. Joseph I? I am surprised to see Mighty Mouse is only a slight favorite, seems low...
Brett Okamoto (1:11 PM)
Yeah it does. I'm actually picking Joe (more of a gut feeling than anything, did you guys see the video though where Joe says Duane Ludwig has basically been coaching him for the Johnson rematch since he joined the team three fights ago?), but I thought the line would be closer to Johnson -160. First fight, I think it was around Benavidez -225. Big swing. I think I scored the first fight 48-47 for Johnson, maybe 49-46.
Dale ( ROLL on the TIDE ) [via mobile]
Rhonda's critics can say what they want, but there is not another woman's mma fighter with as much star power as her, not to many men have it either!! Special Lady!!! Any word on The Spiders camp?
Brett Okamoto (1:12 PM)
No, but I'm supposed to talk to Anderson next week, which I'm looking forward to, even though he rarely answers any question with any level of seriousness. I rewatched the first fight yesterday, honestly looking forward to that fight more than Christmas.
Marc Iveson (UK)
Hey man. Loved the article on flyweights for two reasons. 1. Flyweights are some of the most technical fighters on the planet. 2. You agreed with what I've been saying about Bigfoot vs Hunt. Sure it was fun but as a MMA contest technically it sucked! I also like what Benavidez said, " a big guy that fights like a little guy whoops everyone" sooooooooo true - see Mr Velazquez!!!!
Brett Okamoto (1:14 PM)
Yeah, it was fun talking to DJ and Joe about that topic. I get it, flyweights aren't for everyone, but I think if people were sort of told what they needed to look for, many of them would like it better. When I was in high school and didn't follow combat sports religiously, I thought Floyd Mayweather was terrible to watch, now he's probably my favorite. You have to know what you're looking at. It's similar in other sports.
I had Hunt winning 48-47, but am fine with a draw. However, how did two judges score round 5 a 10-8??
Brett Okamoto (1:15 PM)
I honestly think they wanted it to be a draw. That's not how you're supposed to score a fight, but it was one of those weird situations where the end sort of justified the means. Still though, not how you're supposed to score a fight. I thought if there was a 10-8 round in the fight, it was Silva in the fourth.
Keith Cardoza [via mobile]
Looking at the heavyweight division who has the chops to dethrone Cain anytime soon. I realize it only takes one strike but it seems like Cain might be at the top for a long time. I love Jone Jones but Cains motor, power, and wrestling will make it a difficult mountain to climb unless he is submitted.
Brett Okamoto (1:17 PM)
I would definitely give Jones a shot at beating Cain ... would be a tough fight though for his first in the division. You have to, have to remember though that I really do think Jones has only reached about 65% of his potential. If he fought Cain right now, I would favor Cain. If he fights him 1-2 years from now, which is more likely, who knows what that guy will add to his arsenal? He's gotten by on good technique so far, but also freak athleticism. When his technique truly catches up to his physical talents, he could be a heavyweight champion for sure.
4 part questions (1) do you think misha tate got on ronda s skin so much that she will fight overly emotional (2) if misha wins then ronda is screwed in the movie business don't you think she's not likeable enough because she's too Diaz brother like (3) he's gone out here three cheers and I can drink to that all night by kubiak (4) when does cure get his rematch sense there 1 1 too
Brett Okamoto (1:19 PM)
1. Maybe? Ronda seems to fight with emotion regardless of who she's facing. I honestly don't think it will play into the fight. 2. It depends if Ronda can act? I haven't seen her act yet. 3. The Texans have been God awful this year, but I like Kubiak. He's a Colorado guy, I actually knew his son. Played at Colorado State at the same time I was studying there. 4. Who is cure?
Any update on the Dan Henderson contract talks ?
Brett Okamoto (1:21 PM)
Not that I've heard of. I texted Dana White regarding it this week, I'm curious to know as well. I believe they will resign him. He hasn't looked particularly bad in the losses, really. Will be interesting to see what kind of deal he's signed to though on a 3-fight losing streak.
What do you do with Faber if he gets the win, knowing that Cruz/Barao are sorting things out finally? Will we see Faber/Cruz 3 if they win their respective fights?
Brett Okamoto (1:21 PM)
Nick (Ft. Myers)
Do you think Askren chose to go to One FC instead of going back to Bellator to give him a better shot of going to the UFC in 2 years?
Brett Okamoto (1:23 PM)
Anything can happen in this sport, but I don't see anyone at ONE FC who is going to beat Ben Askren. MMA media outlets will cover his fights with that promotion. He's dominated the headlines this month with his situation. If he's still unbeaten when that contract expires, who knows the bargaining power he'll have?
Is Bader always going to be one of those guys that dominates guys outside the top 10, than comes up woefully short against higher competition?
Brett Okamoto (1:24 PM)
I would say probably ... he almost beat Glover Teixeira. I wouldn't give up on him fighting for a title completely ... but I admit I don't like his chances. I'd watch him fight Rashad Evans, I think if Rashad wasn't fighting Cormier that would actually be a winnable fight for Bader.
Brett, your thoughts on the lack of Chris Wiedman promotion going into UFC 168? It seems that UFC 168 is about Rousey/Tate and Anderson.
Brett Okamoto (1:25 PM)
How so? The two trailers they've been showing in arenas and on television pretty much feature him as much as they do Anderson ... at least I thought they did.
Zjoin85 (St. Louis )
Little boxing talk. Hopefully Marcos maidana can KO adrien broner this weekend but I'll be watching UFC of course.
Brett Okamoto (1:26 PM)
Love Marcos Maidana fights. That'll be on the DVR when I get home from Sacramento.
Agree with you about the wisdom of not gambling on fighting, but you have to be a little tempted when you see that Weidman is +120 don't you?
Brett Okamoto (1:27 PM)
No. I'm more tempted to take Anderson at -140. Anything can happen in that fight though. If Weidman takes him down and submits him, I won't be shocked. If Anderson knocks him out, I won't be shocked. If Anderson clowns and it's just a weird fight, whatever, yeah. I think I'm ready for anything.
Marc T (Sherman Oaks)
Can we slow down with the 'Rua's back!!' talk. 1, we dont know if Te Huna is any better than avg, 2, he caught him with a punch...it happens....its not like Rua just dominated him and looked incredible.
Brett Okamoto (1:28 PM)
Shogun is not back, but he might not be completely gone either. That's how I would put it.
What do you think of the GSP press conference Friday? It seems a little foreboding to me...
Brett Okamoto (1:29 PM)
My guess is absolutely nothing will happen. That's just a guess. The appearance was already scheduled. When I first read about it, people made it sound like he had called a press conference together out of nowhere to make an announcement on his career. No, it sounds like he's showing up at a skating rink and signing some stuff. If any major, major news comes out if, I will honestly be surprised.
LSJ (Robin Hood country)
Pat Barry must be done at HW, surely?
Brett Okamoto (1:31 PM)
Let the man go kickbox and see if he can drop a little weight too. Pat has been fun to cover, I can remember his UFC debut pretty vividly actually, but he has two disadvantages here. He can't fight on the ground and he's just smaller than nearly everyone else in the division.
Bader beat Lil Nog pretty easily. He had Glover seriously hurt. He's a damn good fighter. Having him outside the top 10 is ridiculous.
Brett Okamoto (1:31 PM)
He is for sure Top 10.
Hey Brett whats your take on the Shields/Lombard fight ?
Brett Okamoto (1:33 PM)
Looks like a terrible fight for Jake Shields. Let's be honest. Lombard is nearly impossible to take down. Shields' striking is awkward and pretty slow. It looks like a sure-fire first round KO to me. But I would never doubt Shields. If you've watched this guy's career, you know not to. I'll be interested to see what he tries to do, though. It's a nightmare matchup for him on paper. About as bad as you can get.
Brett, I think we all have to consider Bader no more than 3 fights away from a title shot. Agree?
Brett Okamoto (1:34 PM)
Three fights? Yeah, in that division three fights is actually a pretty long path. If he were to get two knockouts I would say he could probably fight for the title. Marketable, former TUF winner? UFC would give him that shot no problem.
Pics for the weekend?
Brett Okamoto (1:36 PM)
Parlay: McDonald +130, Lauzon -175, LaFlare 110, Stout -260, Trujillo -145. $20 wins $335.
Andre Gonzalez (long beach ,California [via mobile]
Brett I just wanna say shogun ain't done man I know he hasn't had a last great couple of fight but he will prove all the people who doubt him wrong he change team got his old manager back he is going to make a run what do u think
Brett Okamoto (1:38 PM)
I said right off the bat when I saw him walk to the cage he looked physically better than he has in awhile. It's tough to say he'll make a run though, this guy has had three knee surgeries and he took beatings from Jones and Gustafsson. I think he can make a run back into the Top 10 and in that division, possibly back up to Top 3-5, but that's being optimistic.
Keith Cardoza [via mobile]
Hope all is well Brett. Evans vs. Cormier has my attention. They both have great wrestling as well as stand up. I realize it is early but who would you give the early edge to? I think the weight cut is the x factor here.
Brett Okamoto (1:40 PM)
Yeah, weight cut is a big question mark. Cormier and his trainer Javier Mendez don't think he'll have trouble at this point, now that he's been slowly shedding weight over the course of the last year or so. Style-wise, I do like Cormier. I think he can actually outwrestle Rashad, which no one has ever really been able to say in that division. On the feet, Rashad seems to have more power but Cormier is getting more and more versatile with his striking every time he fights. I like Cormier. I think the oddsmakers will, too.
I like what Lombard says, either Shields makes it boring or I knock him out. How do you see it playing out? Lombard has a had a little trouble with grapplers but at 170 he's massive. I hope he gets a KO and moves closer to the belt.
Brett Okamoto (1:41 PM)
He's massive but more importantly he moves better. Dropping that weight, he looked far less stiff and bulky.
Kevin (Mile High)
Tate +600, you almost have to take a shot at that, right?
Brett Okamoto (1:42 PM)
100 percent. I'm not picking her to win the fight but if you took a shot and put $50 on her, I would say good bet.
Do you think Faber is close to retiring if he losses easily?
Brett Okamoto (1:42 PM)
Not at all. Any time retirement even gets halfway mentioned around Urijah he kind of gets angry actually. He's said he doesn't necessarily want to be fighting into his 40s, but he's lived a clean lifestyle, he's still beating everybody except the champion, he's not close to retiring.
Didnt see a lot of fights, but it's a shame about Del Rosario. I realize what happened (probably) had nothing to do with his career choice, but are we going to get to a point 20 years from now where guys have a ton of health issues?
Brett Okamoto (1:44 PM)
I honestly don't think so. Guys will be banged up to a certain extent of course, this is fighting, and there will be certain cases of guys who have issues, but in general, I don't think they'll be worse for wear than pro athletes in plenty of other sports. There is a level of sacrifice you make to fight for a living obviously, but I don't think we'll see any sort of health epidemic.
Do you think the winner of Faber-Mcdonald will get a title shot?
Brett Okamoto (1:44 PM)
Yes, unless maybe McDonald wins and Barao wins. I'm not sure the UFC would run that one back quite yet.
Marc T (Sherman Oaks)
Surprised by your take on the Shields fight! I actually thought the opposite....that Shields would take Lombard down and take a boring decision.
Brett Okamoto (1:46 PM)
Always possible with Shields, you realize how much faster Lombard is than Shields though? To move in and get underneath that guys center of gravity (especially when he knows it's coming) ... that's gonna be tough man. Real tough.
I no more fight for the belt after December 28?
Brett Okamoto (1:49 PM)
Over/under on Anderson Silva title fights rest of his career ... I would set it at 3.5. I can't believe we're still talking about Roy Jones Jr. and Anderson Silva in a boxing ring, too, by the way. Why?
UFC 168, will it be Chris Leben's last UFC fight or Uriah 'no heart' Hall's last one?
Brett Okamoto (1:50 PM)
Unfortunately, I would guess Leben's. That's another fight though where I'm pretty much ready for anything to happen.
Loved the Inivcta PPV but am terrified that they will get swallowed up by the UFC or fold. What are the chances that Showtime or someone else does a TV deal with Shannon Knapp?
Brett Okamoto (1:51 PM)
If the UFC brings in a 115-pound division and eats up all of Invicta's top talent, I have to believe it would be a hard sell to a major network.
So what was M. Brown's injury, sad to see that one cancelled. Will they just fight at a later date or do they go in different directions now?
Brett Okamoto (1:51 PM)
Herniated disks. I think they'll reschedule it, as long as Brown isn't out for a long period of time.
Parolee Proud (Rochester NY) [via mobile]
A few months ago I stated Barao would be a 2 to 1 favorite if he faced Cruz. You said I was exaggerating, I saw the early line. Barao -200, tell me I was right.
Brett Okamoto (1:52 PM)
I honestly don't remember that conversation, but I will take your word for it. You were right. I'd bet Cruz at those odds though.
Brett Okamoto (1:54 PM)
Alright guys, I gotta cut this one off a little early today. Watch the flyweight fight!! I swear, it's two of the most talented fighters in the entire UFC roster. If you really study it and it's still not for you, I won't hate, but give it a solid shot if you haven't before. Follow me on Twitter @bokamotoESPN for updates from Sacramento. See you back here next week.
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