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August 1, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Brett Okamoto

Brett Okamoto
  (1:03 PM)

Another Wednesday, another chat to be had. Real quick, I want to point you all to "Red Ink," our gambling preview ESPN posts prior to every major card. You get a full breakdown, a prediction from me based on the betting line in Las Vegas, plus picks from the rest of the staff. It's up right now for this weekend's Fox card, give it a look. http://goo.gl/kY22r. Alright, that's it for the pitch, let's get to your questions ...

Brett Okamoto
  (1:04 PM)

Also, I want to get better at posting your comments, not just questions. I think it fosters a better chat atmosphere if you will. So feel free to just comment on what I say or others, we'll make this thing as interactive as possible.

Tyler (Oklahoma)

Is the winner of Rua vs Vera really being considered as a possible contender for Jones with a win? I read that and thought that was crazy. Either way, UFC 150! Thats whats up!

Brett Okamoto
  (1:06 PM)

The winner is really being considered, yes. Dana backtracked a little, saying okay, the winner of the Bader/Machida fight could take the title shot as well, but really did that make anyone feel THAT much better? The only thing I will say though is, so we're all not that excited about this, but what's the answer then? Alexander Gustafsson? I'm actually cool with letting him get more experience. Yeah, a rematch of Bones and any one of those four isn't tantalizing, but .... what is at 205 right now?

Nick (Perth )

Hi Brett, Shogun / Vera for the Number 1 contender. Is that one of those "definite Dana decisions" or something that's likely to change if we get a repeat of Lombard / Bosch where Plan B or C or Y will come into effect? Off all the guys Jones has fought, probably the only one I'd like to see a rematch with (apart from Hamill whose retired) is Shogun as I believe he's probably the one most likely to have learnt from his mistakes and make adjustments to (hopefully) get a better result. In saying that I dont think any of Bader, Machida, Vera or Shogun could defeat Jones.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:09 PM)

Along the same lines as the last question but ... I guess I'd actually give Lyoto the best shot at winning a rematch against Jon. Not just because he had the most success in the first fight, but simply because he is very different, it was more the elbow that cut him deeply in the forehead that started off the loss, even more so than the guillotine. Maybe if he doesn't get cut that bad again, it's a little different. Shogun isn't a bad rematch option, but I don't think his style works well with Jon. You can't get Jones down, it just can't be done, and Shogun kind of stands in front of guys. He doesn't really move around the cage. If you stand in front of Jones ... you're gonna have a bad time.

SlayKatz (LA)

Being the fanatical MMA fan that I am and given that I live 1-minute from the Staples Center, I took the plunge and bought tickets to UFC on FOX. I want to ensure I get the full experience - is it worth attending the pre-fight press conference tomorrow if I have never been? Anything else worth stopping by for in advance of the fights?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:10 PM)

Yeah, if you're able I would go to everything. Watching the press conference, it just gives you a better idea of what each guy's mindset is going into the fight, you feel like you get to know them better. Weigh-ins are a very brief affair, but if you've got nothing else going on, it can be fun. You'll be in attendance for every right I'm assuming, as a fanatical fan?

Jonathan (Mass)

Got Vera at +310 and I'm happy about it. I think he gets the win using his length.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:11 PM)

Well, if he gets the win you're right that he does it by using his length. You confident he can do it for five rounds though? Because I have a hard time seeing him knock out a guy as tough as Shogun.

Matt (Nashville)

Of the 4 LHW's fighting Saturday, who earns the next shot at the strap?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:12 PM)

Front runner is undoubtedly Shogun.

Trevor (Minneapolis)

Hey Brett, I'm pumped there is a show in Mpls. Not a huge show, but pumped nonetheless...bring me down cageside and I'll take you out and show you all Mple has to offer!!!

Brett Okamoto
  (1:13 PM)

Congrats on getting a show and absolutely hit me up on twitter if I make the trip and you can show me around. Too bad the Twins don't end the season on a home stand. I'm a huge baseball fan and I'd like to see that stadium.

Cameron (Sydney (Australia). )

Are any of the Zuffa people going to the Olympics and if so, who would Joe Silva be likely to sign up (looking to convert?)

Brett Okamoto
  (1:14 PM)

Zuffa peeps are usually pretty busy, so I would guess no on any of them really attending the Olympics in terms of scouting talent. I'm not a huge wrestling fan, but I've got to believe if they could sign anyone, freestyle wrestlers Jordan Burroughs and Jake Herbert would be near the top of the list.

Michael (Liverpool)

What kind of prospect is Wagner Prado? -Should Phil Davis get some consideration for the next title shot if he beats him?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:16 PM)

Not an extremely touted one. I think most are expecting Phil Davis to cruise right through this one. Stylistically, I don't think Prado can come close to handling the wrestling pedigree of Davis. Think it will really wear him out early. Davis won't get title consideration, they need to "rebuild" this guy. It's not like he's down in the dumps, but we learned in the Rashad fight he's still pretty raw and just needs Octagon time right now.

Ryan D (Utah)

How in the world is Vera in a number one contender fight? I'm not sure how he is still in the ufc. Please quit making cards like the Calgary event.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:17 PM)

Well, like the Calgary card this one has been through its share of injuries. Was supposed to be Lombard/Stann, which I guess looking back on Hector's performance maybe that's a good thing that fell through. Then it was Shogun/Thiago Silva and I've got to believe the UFC would not have announced that as a No. 1 contender's fight, with Silva coming right off a loss and a suspension. This card has got some great undercard fights, enjoy those and of course this one is free whereas 149 was not.

ryan (wi)

Do you think giving the co-headliners the knowledge that the winner with the most devastating and decisive finish is somewhat of a ploy to ensure that these guys "bring it" in front of the FOX cameras?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:19 PM)

Yeah no doubt and obviously a big part of ALL of this, the announcement of a No. 1 contender, Dana's statement which came out on numerous press releases to media that "winning is not enough!" ... that it has to be decisive ... this is all a "ploy" to attract a greater audience. Which is a good thing, the UFC is in the business of attracting an audience. But all of it is a little bit of smoke and mirrors. At the end of the day, four guys who were brutally beaten by Jon Jones are fighting for the opportunity to fight him again? You've got to come up with some creative marketing to cover that up.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

True or False...this free FOX card is better on paper than UFC 149?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:20 PM)

True statement.

Matty-Ice (Detroit)

Who is more likely to pull off the upset: Bader or Vera?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:21 PM)

Dang, I go back and forth on that one. I think the stylistic matchup is terrible for Bader ... but he's got more knockout power than Vera. Eh, I'm going to stick with Vera as more likely to get the upset but that's a 50/50 call if there ever was one.

Austin (Detroit)

Rumor is that Bones will be headed towards a fight with Silva or heavyweight if he wins, since the UFC is so adamant that one of his former victims is the next #1 contender. Where does Jones go if he wins?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:22 PM)

I think that's a rumor because that's what makes sense in most people's minds, but I did not get that vibe from Dana. I asked him personally, is Jon motivated to fight these guys again? Is he just going to run back through them all? And Dana basically said, that's what happens when you've been as dominant as he has been. I haven't talked to him about it but that's what's gonna happen.

Matty-Ice (Detroit)

Gustafsson vs the less impressive winner for the next #1 contender?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:22 PM)

Seems right. Co-main on a PPV in December?

Matty-Ice (Detroit)

I'm praying injuries don't affect 153. I absolutely love that card so far.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:23 PM)

Me too. Trying to talk my way there ... like my chances if the card stays as it is.

Matt (San Diego)

Brett, If ESPN really wants to embrace the gambling side of MMA, why not break down the entire card? A lot of the value is actually on the preliminary cards because bookmakers aren't as familiar with the fighters. They should at least have you guys make picks for all the fights. Thoughts?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:24 PM)

Good point, Matt. I'll bring it up. And you're right, a lot of the fights you'd actually want to bet on can often be found on the undercard.

Ed (Work)

You have to think Fox had something to do with the ridiculous title shot guarantees/opportunities.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:26 PM)

Fox obviously wants the UFC to put on a show that will get a rating, but they don't have the authority to tell the UFC who to make a title contender. That said, Dana also all but confirmed on Monday that every fight on Fox from here on out will be a title contender, which has basically held true thus far anyway right? Diaz ... Rashad ... now presumably Shogun.

Terry (Pittsburgh)

We have not seen Jon Jones take a flush hard punch to the chin. I give Dan the best chance to land his right hand in the first round- I feel good about a major upset (especially with Jones legal troubles on his mind). Thoughts?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:27 PM)

I've got to disagree. He took a hard straight right from Lyoto in the first round of that fight, then a hard overhand right (if I'm remembering it correctly) from Rashad in I believe the second (possibly third). Both of those hit flush, go back and watch them. Jones reacted very well to both. I do believe Dan's overhand right is a bigger weapon than both of those I just mentioned, but to say Jon hasn't ever taken a shot isn't right.

Andy (Chicago)

It's funny how everyone is talking about a contender for JJ but he still needs to beat Hendo. And while looking at all possible match ups the best one IMO is Hendo/Rua II. Worst fight is Vera anyone.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:28 PM)

Yeah, in his video blog this week, Dana even said the winner will get a shot at "Jon Bones Jones." He didn't even mention Dan. In regards to Hendo/Rua II, I think we'll see that happen regardless, depending on how much longer Dan is around.

Michael (Liverpool)

I thought Machida's gas tank led him on the path to defeat against Bones: The Dragon looked significantly less spry to me in the second round.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:29 PM)

Nah, I don't think it was the gas tank. Jones got him down in that round and then opened him up with the elbow. The doctor even had to come in and check it, was very deep. He was pretty much done after that.

rick,tx [via mobile]

Read about diaz wanting silva upon return....what happend to gsp...id rather see the urban ninja beat gsp even a loss to silva wouldnt b all that bad considering the up side

Brett Okamoto
  (1:30 PM)

That was just strange. He lost his last fight. He's serving a suspension. Now he's asking for Anderson Silva? Read that, have a good laugh, then forget about it because it's not happening. The UFC would like Diaz's focus to be on getting back in the cage, attending press conferences and setting up a big time fight against GSP.

John (Jamaica)

Which of these fights happens first:Edgar v. Aldo, Diaz vs. GSP, AS vs. GSP, AS vs Jones, AS vs Diaz, Jones vs. JDS.Good luck

Brett Okamoto
  (1:32 PM)

In order of likelihood/first to happen: Diaz/GSP, Edgar/Aldo, Jones/JDS, AS/GSP, AS/Jones, AS/Diaz.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:32 PM)

Side note on that one, I absolutely 100 percent see the first three happening at some point.

Frank (Chi)

The only people Jones should be fighting if he beats Hendo are Gustafsson, Anderson Silva, or a HW dropping down a class.... I would love to see Jones vs Kongo

Brett Okamoto
  (1:33 PM)

Hmmm, I was with you until the Kongo bit ... I'm kind of Kongo'ed out lately.

Ty (Wilmington)

Hey Brett, with Weidman calling out Anderson Silva, how dare he! He is way to young and new to the sport to have any reason to call out Silva. Anderson Silva should get very high marketable fights and am I the only one that is excited to hear Nick Diaz wants to fight him????

Brett Okamoto
  (1:34 PM)

You're not the only one to get excited about Diaz I'm sure, but like I said man I just don't see that happening ... ever. In regards to Weidman, he's undefeated, he's looked great and good things come to those who call people out in the world of the UFC. Can't blame him for wanting a title shot and a chance to win everything that comes with it, which includes things like pay increases, sponsorships, etc.

John (Jersey)

Whats going on with this Silva/gsp/diaz situation? First I hear Silva say he wants GSP at a catch weight, then Rogan says that will happen if GSP beats condit. Then i hear Diaz say he is coming back, says that Silva won't drop weight to fight GSP, and that he is calling silva out himself. What do you make of this whole thing?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:36 PM)

I think Silva needs a big fight and he's confident (as he should be) that he can beat GSP. If you're Silva, you'd muuuuch rather fight GSP than Jon Jones. That's a given. GSP has a fight lined up, so even if he were to come out and talk about this subject himself, it all depends on how he looks in that fight and then his mind could really change after. He might say, eh I wasn't happy with my performance, I don't feel I'm in a good spot to add weight right now, I want to keep defending my belt. So basically, it's too early to figure this thing out yet, at least that's how I see it.

Alex (Concord)

If your Shannon Knapp do you try to recruit the Marti Malloy's and other Medalists to go into MMA. And do you see that working?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:38 PM)

I don't think Shannon Knapp (President of Invicta) needs to necessarily go out and recruit anyone specific. She needs to build a league where it's lucrative for women to fight. In the end, if she creates that, the talent will start to come. An Olympian who runs her Judo career to the finish will ultimately need to find something else, if she can go make a living in Invicta, that's how Knapp will build her roster.

jag (az)

If Henderson just looks to land the "H-Bomb", he's going to lose. He needs to look for takedown, just like he mentioned.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:39 PM)

I'm sure he will. Even if he gets it though, it's gonna be real hard to keep an athlete like Jones on the ground.

Andy (Chicago)

Dana must really like Jones selling a card because the rest on 151 isn't that good.

Trevor (Minneapolis)

As a fan, is it better to have an amazing, dominant champ with no real rivals (Spider, GSP, Bones, etc) or a champ who is not so head and shoulders above the competition (Edgar, Lesnar, Penn, etc) which helps foster rivalries because they might actually lose and provide rematches?Same questions if you are the UFC?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:40 PM)

For the UFC, dominant champs are better because casual fans who may not tune in as much will gravitate towards buying a PPV where they can see a guy who hasn't lost in 20 fights or whatever. For a hardcore fan, you want the Edgar's of the world, who will get in a brawl out there but usually come out on top.

Randy (Seattle, WA)

Agree with Matt completely. Prelim fights offer way better value

Brett Okamoto
  (1:40 PM)

Seeing a lot of love for prelim breakdowns, we'll make it happen.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

Who do you have in Vitor vs Belcher and where does each guy go after that?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:42 PM)

What a great fight, first off. I hope Vitor stays healthy. Training hard is commendable but from what I've heard this guy tends to be riskier than most when he has a fight coming up. I'm leaning Vitor but it's a very small lean. As far as where they go, the winner will be in serious, serious title contention coming off a win on a PPV card. Especially if it's spectacular and they can't nail down a superfight for Anderson.

Rob J (Central Ohio)

How do you see the Machida-Bader fight playing out? I see this as an easy win and a showcase for Lyoto.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:44 PM)

I agree Rob. Bader likes to come forward, which is a good thing but not so much in this matchup. You need to be patient against a guy like Lyoto and I don't know if Bader is experienced enough to be that yet. He's athletic but not great (at least at this point in his career, he'll improve on this) at cutting off the cage. Only question is how conservative will Machida be coming off that loss? Last time he came off a loss like that, against Shogun, he backpedaled for the first 10 minutes against Rampage and it cost him.

JD (VA)

Why are more people open to Evans getting a shot at Silva than they are for Diaz?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:45 PM)

Diaz is pretty small to be fighting Anderson Silva. He's also not an explosive wrestler, which we all tend to believe is the prototype to beat Anderson. Rashad is fast, has great wrestling and mixes it well with his striking. The Diaz boxing model is awesome, efficient and fun to watch, but it wouldn't hold up against Anderson.

John (Jamaica)

Now I just hope Vera knocks out Shogun first round just to see how comical it would be promoting Jones/Vera

Brett Okamoto
  (1:47 PM)

It would be comical ... the only positive I can say is that Vera can talk. It's underrated how well he can talk. He's the guy you want to sit at a bar and have a beer with. He'll say things like, I didn't take him serious, I thought he was a punk, now I'm taking my career to new heights, etc. The promotions would be alright for it, but fans who have been watching this thing unfold would be like ... Mmmmhmmmm.

Thad (Arizona)

Brett - Who do you see as the P4P best in the world right now? I've got Jones ahead of Silva by a small margin.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:47 PM)

Very tough to unseat Anderson. He's done it for so long. I've still got him No. 1, Jones No. 2, but I won't argue too hard with you.

Matt (San Diego)

Brett, What are your thoughts on the Erik Silva/Jon Fitch match up? Contrast of styles, should be interesting. Sign me up anytime Erik Silva is fighting

Brett Okamoto
  (1:49 PM)

Me too. Not the matchup I was hoping for quite honestly, but it's a great test for both guys. It will certainly elevate the winner. Not sure who I'm picking yet on that one.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

Wouldnt Weidman be a slight favorite over Anderson Silva if they booked that fight today? I know it sounds insane but people who actually bet MMA think he would win.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:50 PM)

I'm not an oddsmakers, I've been wrong on this stuff before, but I can't believe at all Weidman would be the favorite. I'm thinking Silva -170 range. Nothing lower than -140.

David [via mobile]

A great deal of talk about UFC holding too many events. What say you?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:51 PM)

Lots of guys on the roster that want 3-4 fights per year. The UFC is making money on these events, even when the PPV numbers aren't off the charts. Fans have the right to buy whichever ones they want and you can't complain about free cards. They're free. I'm pro-busy schedule.

CJ (NY)

While it's likely that Silva / Diaz won't happen for the reasons you stated, how do you see that fight playing out if it did?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:52 PM)

Diaz getting his leg blown up with leg kicks, getting countered by straight punches, getting knocked down but getting back up only to get knocked down again, first or second round finish for Anderson. It wouldn't be close.

Andy (Chicago)

IF Hendo wins do you see him fight Silva again?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:52 PM)

Nah, cutting to 185 at this point in his career is too much. If he had the belt, why not defend it.

Austin (Cheeseburger West Side)

Varner-Lauzon Fight of the Night?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:52 PM)

Very well could be. They'll get after it early.

James (CT)

It's funny, BJ used to belong to the class with no real rivals. He dominated Diego and Kenny and was a 5 to 1 favorite in the first fight with Edgar.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:54 PM)

Yeah and what's even funnier is hindsight is so 20/20. Because looking back now I think to myself, of course Frankie had a leg up on BJ. BJ's style was bound to struggle against a tough, in-and-out, constant movement type of guy. Didn't think it at the time though.

Ken (ca.)

If A.Silva wants to be thought of as an all time great, he should have no issue whatsoever welcoming a match with Weidman.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:55 PM)

I'll go one step further in saying if he wants to be an all time great lets see him move up permanently in weight. That's what sets guys apart even more so than long winning streaks. He'll go down as the best in my book either way, but if you really want to build a legacy that may never fall, take that challenge.

JD (VA)

How backed up will the LW division be if Bendo ends up losing a close one to Frankie and a rubber match is made?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:56 PM)

Dude, disgustingly backed up. That can't happen. This is LSU-Alabama, last year BCS style. Winner take all in the rematch, no third fight awarded. Sorry.

Trevor (Minneapolis)

Over/under? Amount of time you lasting in the Octagon with Ronda Rousey: 20 seconds. No running around either! I'd go with under...

Brett Okamoto
  (1:57 PM)

I'm not too slow and I think I could disguise "running around" with a few well timed feints and lots of circling. Put the number at 37 seconds.

RyanW (SLC,UT)

Johnson vs Swick or Varner vs Lauzon for Fight Of The Night? Im going with Varner vs Lauzon but wont be surprised if it's Johnson vs Swick

Brett Okamoto
  (1:58 PM)

Always tough to predict something like FOTN, but on this card I would say Varner/Lauzon is definitely a favorite.

Bob (IN)

I think Weidman might wrestle him down too, but if Anderson is -170 against anyone except Bones I'm throwing a lot of coin down.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:59 PM)

I love this chat has so much gambling talk in it. You can set a line on virtually anything in this life.

John (Jamaica)

Speaking of Erik Silva, I would love to see the UFC match him up against Rory MacDonald. Boy would that be fireworks.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:59 PM)

With both being such young, bright prospects I don't think you have to worry. Pencil that in your calendar possibly as early as next year.

jeff (MI)

why do u seem to write GSP off as an easy defeat for AS....i think it would be a rather easy 50-45 win for GSP myself...he would do what chael did the 1st time and take him down and not get triangled...i would feel more confident in that outcome than any other outcome of any super fight...

Brett Okamoto
  (2:02 PM)

I'm not necessarily writing GSP off when I assume Silva would much rather fight Jones than him. That just is what it is. I agree with you that after watching what Chael did, GSP has a better shot than I thought a few years ago. It would all depend on how GSP looked after adding the weight. Would the muscle take away from his flexibility, speed. Also, the concerns on his chin have gone down from what they were after the Matt Serra loss but I think it's safe to say Chael's durability is probably higher than GSP's.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

Who would you bet on if that was the line? AS at -140 CW at +120? Major $ on it

Brett Okamoto
  (2:02 PM)

Bob and I would be in the same boat. If I can get AS at -140 I'm taking it.

John (Jersey)

forrest vs. jimo. who says no? who else is left in that division for forrest anyway? bonnar?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:04 PM)

Yeah, Bonnar. I'm expecting a trilogy announcement within two months. They might be able to talk Forrest into Jimmo, but ... I don't know it would take some persuading. I think Forrest and his team are pretty realistic that he's slowed down. No shame in that, people slow down. He doesn't really need to be stepping into the cage against a guy like Jimmo at this point in his career.

Todd (Las Vegas)

Brett, I wish you were a bookmaker. -170 is laughable for Silva, more like -275 at best.

Darryl (Texas)

Brett, Lay off the sauce bro! -170 for Silva? No chance, Silva opens up atleast -300 against everybody except GSP and Jones.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:05 PM)

So, I was off on this one?

Paul (Vegas)

Brett, Think you're way off on the Silva/Weidman odds. Silva was a 3-1 favorite against Sonnen, lowest I could see would be -250 vs Weidman

Mike (Las Vegas)

This -140 talk is crazy, Silva will be at minimum -275.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:07 PM)

Alright, alright. For the record my guess was actually 170, not 140.

Ken (ca.)

Machida may not win a rematch with Bones, but I would love to see what he does with the opportunity.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:07 PM)

Yeah I don't mind seeing that fight again either, but it's a tough sell since it just happened in December.

Marc T (Phx)

How about have Jones (assuming he wins) fight a low level HW (Cheick, P Barry, etc) to get his feet wet and let the LHW play out a little more?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:08 PM)

I don't think he would put on a lot of weight to move up to heavyweight so that actually is an option. He could go back and forth a bit like Anderson Silva did, the problem is you don't really want your champion doing that. You want to have title fights on a regular basis if you're the UFC, especially with all the shows they plan.

Dan Hardy's Mohawk (Vegas, Baby, VEGAS!)

Saw Rory MacDonald next to Bisping at the presser ... dude's a MONSTER. I keep thinking BJ gets mauled.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:10 PM)

That's why of all the options BJ had, this one made the last amount of sense as far as a winnable fight. BJ is in a spot right now where he's got to win man. People love this guy but if you're losing all your fights, it's tough to keep throwing you out there in big money matchups. I understand he wants to go against a Tristar guy, but you're a 155er competing against one of the biggest 170ers out there. BJ's got a tough hill to climb in this one.

JP (Columbus, OH)

Brett - I will have JBJ as my p4p #1 until he shows a vulnerability. Anderson may be the all-time great, but despite beating Sonnen twice, Chael showed the blueprint for beating Anderson Silva. Using that logic, I can't place the Spider ahead of the #2 spot. Fair?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:10 PM)

Yep, I can't argue. Not enough to get me to change mine, but definitely fair.

Marc T (Phx)

Thooughts on Mir/Cormier? I thought they should have given Cormier a Werdum/Reem/someone along those lines as a #1 contenders match?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:12 PM)

I like the matchup. Mir was in a spot where it makes sense for him to take a fight in Strikeforce. Makes no sense for an Overeem or Werdum to do it right now. I think Zuffa wants to see what the outcome is of putting a big name like Mir into a Strikeforce main event ... what's it do to the ratings? This is a fight that makes sense/opportunity to experiment with some things. Maybe if the show does very well, we'll see a lightweight come over for Gil to fight.

Tommy (Miami)

Jones vulnerability will be fighting guys his own size. I know technically he weight the same as his opponents but that's why he can't go up the P4P list. A Silva and GSP have more skill than him.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:13 PM)

Also a great argument and a big reason I've still got Anderson at No. 1. And why I still have a guy like Franke Edgar ranked as high as I do, because I think he's fighting out of his optimum weight class.

John (Austin, TX)

What is the key to UFC/MMA's continued growth? More TV exposure, Recruitment of more top-flight athletes, etc.?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:15 PM)

I think it's the athletes. Jon Jones has been a shot in the arm for this sport and it's because he's an incredible, incredible athlete. You get another few of him running around and it's going to be a difference maker. Global expansion is big, and clearly a goal of theirs. I do agree with Dana in the sense that time itself will help. Younger generations growing up with the UFC will embrace it more than the older generations right now in the US that hold a lot of money. When these younger people grow up and have more money to spend, we should see PPV's go up.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:16 PM)

Alright guys, great discussion today. I love the lines talk, we should do more of that. Set our own lines and see if we're close. Give me a follow on twitter @bokamotoESPN if you haven't already, enjoy the free fights this weekend and check back into ESPN for full coverage. I'll be driving out from Las Vegas to LA for the event, looking forward to it. And of course, same place same time 7 days from now.