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March 6, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Brett Okamoto

Brett Okamoto
  (1:04 PM)

So, who made money on UFC on Fuel last weekend? Okami, Hunt and Wand at plus-money? I know one of you here capitalized, who was it? I'm not going to take credit for calling the Wand upset ... however, I did say not to count him out last week, right? You knew Stann was going to oblige and pursue him around the cage. Wand can still land those counter shots man, he's a pro. Then you back off to clear the cobwebs and all of a sudden the Axe Murderer rushes you. Great fight. He should retire on that but we know he won't and that's alright. Let's get to your questions.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:05 PM)

Annnnd, before we get to your questions, little breaking news for you this morning, Renan Barao vs. Eddie Wineland to headline UFC 161. Just confirmed with Dana. Guess Cruz's recovery isn't coming along as quickly as we hoped.

LarrySandersJoe (Newark-On-Stink, UK)

Hey Brett. Are coaches allowed to take mobile handsets cageside? Wondering if between-round instructions given to a fighter make their way to an opponent's corner?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:07 PM)

I'm honestly not sure if there is a commission ruling on that, I would suspect there is. I've never seen a cornerman wear a headset, I don't think.

Rick (Kansas)

Did you see the story about Fallon Fox? Quick rundown for those not aware, she was male then had gender realignment surgery to become a female. Now she is 5-0 as a amateur mixed martial artist. How crazy is that?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:08 PM)

Crazy. I haven't dove into the story real deep yet but I would imagine there's no way she remains licensed to fight other females.

Cameron (Auckland (NZ))

Hey Brett, Nearly fell asleep on the weekend watching UFC Japan but Mark Hunt and Wanderlai saved the day. I'd like to see Mark fight Roy Nelson but I assume Joel Silva will want someone higher which would probably mean Werdum. Thoughts on that and his chances...I still can't believe Struve let him off the ground.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:10 PM)

I too would love a Hunt, Nelson fight. That's a barnburner, no doubt. If Werdum gets by Nogueira, then Hunt deserves that fight though. HIs chances? Man, I'd say not that great against a veteran like Werdum who knows how dictate range and has an underrated striking game but I've said I haven't liked Mark Hunt's chances in his last four fights. He's the new Frankie Edgar for me. I've never correctly predicted an Edgar fight and now the same thing is happening with Hunt.

Domnick va. [via mobile]

Brett, what fights are you watching to figure out gsp vs diaz?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:12 PM)

I always stay pretty relevant with the fights I watch. Might go back and watch a few for stylistic reasons but for the most part, I like watch each guys last four-five fights. Read up on any info coming from his camp, local news stories. I get into my predictions man, I enjoy trying to break down these fights. The previews for 158 will come out early next week, spoiler alerts, I'm picking Condit over Hendricks and actually feeling pretty confident about it.

Chadkins OH-IO [via mobile]

What are the chances of espn replacing soccer highlights/shows with mma related content? Can't imagine soccer and British accents pull in ratings.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:13 PM)

It's a process. MMA is popping up on ESPN more and more, especially in the last 12 months and I'm optimistic MMA Live will return at some point.

Tim (North Olmsted)

Wouldn't you rather see Mark Hunt get a shot at Cain rather than another Bigfoot beatdown? Not even saying he'd have a better chance at winning but it would be a more interesting fight.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:14 PM)

I would, yeah. If given the choice between the two, I'd take Hunt/Cain.

Mark (Tokyo)

Hey Brett, Enjoy reading these chats' each week. Mark Hunt walking away whilst Studl was trying to get up - he's probably got to change this as I doubt he'll be as fortunate against Nelson, Big Foot, Cain etc. Lucky Herb Dean stopped it. Thoughts?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:14 PM)

I've never knocked a man unconscious, but I feel like when you land a punch like that ... you know he aint getting up.

Nick (Sydney )

How easy would Hector Lombard be able to make WW (all my multi's fell over because of him). He'd be a big WW but possibly lose a lot of power with the muscle loss. Should they cut him? Thoughts?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:15 PM)

I don't necessarily think he'd lose a ton of power. When it comes to knockout power it's not necessarily all muscle mass you know? Technique has a a lot to do with it plus, you hear trainers talk about it, some guys are just naturally blessed with heavy hands. I think Lombard would carry power to 170, I think he could probably make the weight looking at him, but I don't know how much would change. He'd fight faster guys who could stick and move on him better than 185ers.

Matt (NJ)

How can they not strip Cruz of the title at this point? It's getting a bit ridiculous.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:17 PM)

I would actually have to agree. Hasn't fought since October 2011. I think you give a guy a year and if he's still hurt and has nothing booked, you strip him. Give him an immediate title shot when he returns but at this point, Barao deserves to be called a true champion.

Big Mike (Chicago)

Hats off to Wanderlei & Stann for coming out

Brett Okamoto
  (1:17 PM)

Really fun fight.

Stoke (Oregon)

Brett,When I was watching the Struve/Hunt fight I was all like, brah you need to take Hunt down or you're going to get KO'd. Guess what, Struve got KO'd! My question is... will Struve ever be a contender?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:19 PM)

You could argue he kind of already was a contender before that loss. Had he won that fight, we'd be talking about him fighting Werdum/Nog winner then moving to a title shot. Struve has a great natural gift in that he's tall and lanky but he also drew another card in life and that is he's kinda slow. Athletically, he last limitations. I don't think he'll ever hold the belt, if that answers your question.

Sandy (Gainesville)

If the UFC cuts Fitch after one loss, Okami should get cut in his next loss because he's equally if not more boring. Obviously nobody wants to watch him fight for the title again, but his grappling is so good that he can neutralize just about anybody at 185. Who do you think the UFC will give him next?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:21 PM)

If that happens, we're on a slippery slope Sandy! They cut Okami they're sending yet another message that consistently and wins don't really count for much. I agree with you ... "Neutralize" is a great word for what Okami does out there. Next? I'd watch him fight Jacare after Jacare steamrolls Philippou.

Nate (Woburn, MA)

In the vein of "Where in the World is Carmen Santiago?", where is Mark Munoz? I know it is only 9 months since his last fight but it feels like an eternity. Anything coming up for Mark?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:22 PM)

Funny you mention that because I was just thinking this morning I can't wait to get to Montreal and scour that place for Munoz. Gotta think he'll be there to corner Ellenberger. I'm gonna find that guy. Follow me on Twitter if you aren't, I'll have updates on Mark next week.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

Like I was saying last week, once Stann destroys Wandy what's next for both guys. Oops

Brett Okamoto
  (1:23 PM)

Happens to the best of us.

Domnick va. [via mobile]

Brett, who would you like see fight floyd money ?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:24 PM)

I'm a sucker. I still want to see him fight Pacquiao. Probably because I've thought about that fight waaaaay more than basically any other fight in boxing because it's been dangling out there for so long. It would still be a massive event. Guerrero is a great fighter and he's got a shot against Floyd but I'm just not that into that fight ...

Justin (Texas)

Since you are picking Condit over Hendricks, how do you see that fight going? Does it go to decision? How does Condit dictate the fight?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:25 PM)

Yeah, decision. If you look at Johny's record, it's basically early knockouts or razor-thin decisions. Condit doesn't get knocked out. He moves just as well as anybody in the division and he understands range really well. If he circles and counters like he did against Diaz and stays off his back? Condit decision.

Wilkie (Toronto)

This will be the first and only time that Frankie Edgar draws comparisons to Mark Hunt.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:26 PM)

Haha, probably right there.

Stoke (Oregon)

um, sorry to break it to you but if Hunt fights Nelson, Big Country will take him down and hold him there all fight for the win. Just the facts, brah!

Brett Okamoto
  (1:28 PM)

You may be right ... you probably are right actually. But if Roy wants a title shot ... his time is running out probably if you look at his age ... maybe he tries to fast track by knocking Hunt out?

Matty-Ice (Detroit)

Hendricks wrestling is better suited in a defensive nature. Condit dominates Hendricks in the stand up. He can stay away from Hendricks big shots while connecting on his shots. I really don't see why Hendricks offered to take that fight.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:29 PM)

Spot on. As good a wrestler as Hendricks is, he hasn't learned to seamlessly integrate it into his game. His takedowns are mostly when he traps a guy against the fence and single legs him. He doesn't bait a guy, get him to move forward, then power double him. Ellenberger was an easier matchup.

Mark (COS, CO)

Where does Stann go from here? Who do you think the UFC lines him up with next?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:31 PM)

Not sure, he'll go back to 185. A Tim Boetsch fight wouldn't be bad, right? And on that note, what's next for Wanderlei? I heard a lot of suggestions over the weekend ... what about Leben again? I feel like we were robbed of that fight. Leben landed a shot to his temple and he was done. That was supposed to be a war and it lasted 20 seconds. I'd give him a shot at redemption on that and it might wake Leben up.

Nate (Woburn, MA)

With the news of the cut of 16 fighters a few weeks back, aren't we all rushing to judgement that another round of cuts are coming so soon. Wouldnt it make more sense for another round of cuts to come say after the Memorial day weekend show, after another group of fights had occured? It seems now, every post-mortum to a show is "Is ____ going to get cut?" now.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:32 PM)

Yeah, I mean none of us know exactly when the cuts are coming. But it's a natural conversation now just because we know they're coming at some point. These guys who are fighting on the cards, a lot of them probably won't have another opportunity to fight before the next round of cuts.

MJ Hammer (Toronto)

Could Maia beat GSP?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:33 PM)

I'd be interested in the fight, but doubt it. I don't think GSP would allow himself to be taken down like Jon Fitch was. He's much, much better on his feet, he's more athletic.

Miggy (Philly)

Miggy had Wandy +220!!! I'd rather not discuss the rest of the card. Or NCAA hoops for that matter. Looking forward to Hendo/Rashad. Early thoughts? I'd lean towards Hendo....

Brett Okamoto
  (1:34 PM)

Nah, I lean Rashad. I think he got his stinker out of the way. You have that in sports. The "Letdown" game. Evans got it out of his system, hopefully. If both are at their best, I lean Rashad.

LarrySandersJoe (Newark UK)

Yo BO. Might've guessed the judges would be left sharpening their pencils with DYKim (zzz...) + Okami (zzz...) on the same card. Think we'll see either again on PPV?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:36 PM)

Yeah. People have short memories for the most part. It's all about name recognition. "Oh, Yushin Okami is on this card? I've heard of him, sick!" You know what I mean? Same thing happens in any sport. Like there for awhile, the Lakers sucked but I bet people still wanted them on ESPN instead of the Pacers.

Brad (Nova Scotia)

If Condit does beat Hendricks, who?d be the next in line to face the GSP/Diaz winner?? Gotta think things would line up nicely for Demian Maia in that scenario.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:37 PM)

Yeah, that's basically the only thing that would make sense? UNLESS, out of the shadows emerges a true No. 1 contender! The Tristar Gym is split in two!! Rory MacDonald! Master vs. Student! Please let this happen.

John Bauman (Chapel Hill)

What fight do you want to see most right now?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:38 PM)

ESPN just launched a tool for that on the MMA page. Pretty cool, check it out if you haven't. Allows you to rank the fights you most want to see. Anderson/Jones is No. 1 right now and I can't argue that. That's tops for me as well. No. 2, it doesn't have to happen right now but it falls under the category of a fight I want to see before these two guys retire, the one I just mentioned, GSP/Rory. Storylines would be awesome and the fight would deliver.

Frank (Chi)

What did you think of the Diego Sanchez fight?... I thought he should have lost?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:40 PM)

Close fight. Could have gone either way and I wouldn't have called it bad judging. I'm trying to remember exactly how I scored it ... round one was definitely Diego. I think Round 2 was Diego and Round 3 was Gomi? Round 2 and 3 were the closest I thought. I wrote a column about Diego yesterday, it's on the MMA home page now if you want to take a look. (You should take a look).

Matt (NJ)

If Cormier beats Mir, is he going to basically get to choose which title fight he wants?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:41 PM)

Ha, that's a funny way of saying it but yeah. I can't imagine the UFC would pass on a Cormier/Velasquez title fight. I've spoke to both guys and I personally think they would fight each other if it was the only option they had because they both want to be champion, but right now it's not the only option and Cormier will drop.

Adam (Long Beach)

I'm beginning to think Silva is ripe for the picking, too much inactivity and he's only getting older. How can he possibly be as sharp especially when a Gauntlet of Weidman, St. Pierre, Jones awaits him?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:42 PM)

100% agree. He's one of those athletes though, that you've learned never to doubt him. But at the same time, you're right ... he can't be as motivated as he used to be, especially to fight a guy like Weidman. If he slacks off in the gym even slightly, it's going to show up way more now that he's older. I hope he stays young forever and fights til he's 60, but I hear you Adam.

Chip (Springfield. MO)

Struve was exhausted, thats why he lost. the same way Overeem was against Bigfoot. Stuve looked as if he would rather get KO'd than have to fight another 60 seconds. I thought Gomi got robbed, and it looked as if he broke his hand in the second round. Do you agree with the decision, and have you heard if he hurt his hand?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:44 PM)

I read he broke his hand in the first round. Haven't confirmed myself and honestly, didn't notice it happen in the fight. Agree on Struve. You know, he bulked up for this fight. Told me he was eating 7 meals a day to add muscle. Maybe that had a negative effect late in the fight.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

AS vs Weidman UFC 162 July 6th in Vegas

Brett Okamoto
  (1:46 PM)

Upset coming?

Steve (Ottawa)

What's the latest on John Moraga? Does he hang around until DJ is back or does he take another fight?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:47 PM)

I kind of think he takes another fight. He wasn't the type of No. 1 contender people were knocking down the door to see, anyway. Maybe he fights Joe Benavidez in the meantime? That's what I would do.

Domnick va. [via mobile]

Brett, your first car was ?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:47 PM)

Ford F-150. Loved it. Drove it from sophomore year of high school to senior year of college. Still want a truck but ya know, gas prices. These days I'm in a Hyundai.

Robert (Marlborough)

I don't understand Bjorn's reasoning for not going after some of the UFC cast-offs. Bellator has no problem going after War Machine, Paul Daley, Babalu and Ben Saunders... but not Fitch, Volkmann or Sass?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:50 PM)

War Machine, Paul Daley -- somewhat controversial fighters who get into compelling fights. Ben Saunders probably came relatively cheap. Babalu is just a solid guy to throw in your tournament. If Fitch's asking price is high, what benefit is there from a business standpoint to have him roll through your field and beat Ben Askren, a guy you've spent time and energy promoting? From a competitive angle it sucks, but I get why they wouldn't want to drop too much on Fitch.

Steve (Ottawa)

Other than Diaz-GSP, what fight are you most looking fwd to? Personally, I can't wait for Gegard's UFC debut and think he'll suprise a lot of people who think he's overrated because of the Lawal and Jardine fights.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:51 PM)

Obviously answer here but Aldo/Pettis of course. Anderson/Weidman now that it's official, that's a good one too.

Sandy (Sanchez)

You think Weidman will try to exclusively wrestle with Silva? Pretty much employ Chael's strategy in the first fight with better GnP?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:51 PM)

Definitely. He's probably thinking, I can get him to the ground if Chael did and there's no way he's submitting me.

Bobby Digital (Staten Island)

What do you think of this idea: if after 3 rounds, neither fighter has a unanimous decision on the judges' scorecards, they fight a fourth "overtime" winner-take-all round? Fighters would regain stamina while scorecards are checked and there would be utmost urgency to win that fourth round. Would be super exciting...Horrible idea?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:53 PM)

I wouldn't say HORRIBLE idea ... buuuuut it won't happen. You know, it would bring up a weird commission issue where they would have to clear basically every fight on the card for four rounds. Not a huge deal, but it would need to be addressed. Plus, I don't know ... it's just a weird idea. Not horrible Bob, but weird.

Matty-Ice (Detroit)

Why did they pick Faber/Jorgensen as the main event? I feel like Browne/Gonzaga is the bigger (no pun intended) fight.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:53 PM)

I would disagree. I know, I know, you're sick of Faber in title fights but he's closer to one than Browne or Gonzaga is. Plus he has a bigger name.

Tyler (Oklahoma )

Can you clear up the new fox1 deal for me

Brett Okamoto
  (1:54 PM)

What do you want to know?

Captain Howdy (Georgetown)

How does the Ricci-Fletcher fight deserve to be on the main card of UFC 158? I think Cruickshank-Makdessi is a much better option.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:55 PM)

Bingo. I was thinking that today actually. Cruickshank beat Ricci what, a year ago? Ricci is from Montreal, though. Is Makdessi? I know he's a Tristar guy but not sure if he has the Montreal roots. Either way, I still agree with you. That fight means more to the division than Ricci/Fletcher.

Matt (NJ)

Hmmmm...Jones beats Sonnen in April...fights Cormier/Gustaffson in July...fights Anderson in December at MSG?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:55 PM)

November.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

You ever watch the Sopranos?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:55 PM)

Currently on Season 5. Got the box set for Christmas.

Jeremiah (KC)

Assuming Faber can get by his buddy Jorgenson, What's next Title rematch or Frankie Edgar? Which do you prefer? Who do you have in Edgar V Faber?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:57 PM)

Not Edgar, different weight class. If it happened, my guess is it would be at 145. I don't see Frankie dropping to 135 any time soon and Faber, that's a tough cut for him to 135. He can do it obviously, but as time goes on I wouldn't rule out a return to 145. If they fought right now, I'd have to go Frankie but it'd be a compelling fight.

Terry (Pittsburgh)

How is Weidman's health? Hopefully he is the same fighter after the injury?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:58 PM)

I think he'll be good. Was a serious injury but he's young. If I'm not mistaken, his buddy Mike Miller (guard for the Heat) had the exact same injury and surgery, so he's close to a guy who's been through it.

Jonathan (Indiana)

I had thought about the argument that Big Country would take down Hunt in a bout between the two as well, but then I considered BC's recent history. Who's the last guy he did that to? Kimbo on TUF? He's fought Struve, JDS, Mir, Cro Cop, Werdum, Herman, Mitrione. He would have had a definitive advantage on the ground with several of them, but he's spent the majority of those fights striking on the feet. That Hunt fight might be one of the best fights ever, two of the best chins in MMA slugging it out until one falls? I've got images of Cabbage Correira in my head. Of course, ignoring rankings, I'd love to see Hunt fight Levar Johnson!!

Brett Okamoto
  (2:00 PM)

I can't remember exactly, but he did take Cro Cop down in that fight, didn't he? And I think he wanted to take Mir and JDS down but couldn't do it. Nelson would probably have confidence enough to go against Hunt on the feet but he also probably knows he needs a win so if he got in any kind of trouble, I would expect the game plan to head conservative very quickly.

Kevin (Mile High)

now that its official, early line on AS-Weidman? I'm thinking AS -250 or so

Brett Okamoto
  (2:00 PM)

Yeah, that sounds right ... and money would come in on Weidman don't you think?

Brad (Nova Scotia)

I hate to admit it, but the more I see Chael Sonnen coach on TUF this season the more I?m starting to like the guy. This season has been solid so far, and the coaching level has come WAY up!

Brett Okamoto
  (2:01 PM)

Don't feel bad admitting it. Chael is a likeable guy for the most part.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:02 PM)

Alright guys, sorry to cut us off but I've got a few other things to get to today. Thanks as always for hanging out. Big week ahead with UFC 158. Keep an eye out for the fight breakdowns on the MMA page and follow me on Twitter, @bokamotoESPN. See ya later.