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October 9, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Brett Okamoto

Brett Okamoto
  (1:05 PM)

What's up friends? Thanks for joining the chat. UFC fights tonight ... although, I have to be honest, I don't see Maia/Shields being a terrific fight. Maybe it turns into a riveting grappling match ... but I'm seeing stalemates, stalling tactics, conservative wrestling by Shields, awkward striking ... hopefully not. On top of that, Bellator Friday nights continue and then Timothy Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez for the WBO welterweight title ... which should probably already belong to Marquez, but whatever ... that should be a good fight.

Cameron (Auckland (NZ) )

Hi Brett, any idea who will now be headlining Superbowl weekend now that Jones is'nt fighting Tex?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:06 PM)

I have heard no rumors at this time. That news was strange. The UFC PR team fell on the grenade, but my take on it was the UFC as a whole expected that fight in NJ and were treating it as a done deal. Not sure what threw it off, but either way ... no main event for that one yet. It's still a ways away, when you think about it.

timon (berlin)

hey brett whats updo u think we are ever gonna see silva gsp? kinda think it will happen like liddell vs wanderlei happened...great fight but at a time when both were already kind of irrelevant...actually pretty sad since it could have been a legit super fight

Brett Okamoto
  (1:08 PM)

Sitting here today, I don't think we'll ever see it. It's hard to predict because both of them have real tough fights scheduled. If one or both lose, that fight really makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. If both win, Silva/Jones still has more legs than a Silva/GSP fight. The Liddell/Wanderlei one was more tragic for not happening sooner than Silva/GSP in my eyes ... but fair comparison.

Shaun (Tokyo (JPN))

Your thoughts on the cutting of Yushin Okami? I thought it was a bit premature and wonder whether he was given the opportunity to become a "gatekeper" as I thought he could do well in this role.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:10 PM)

Well, if you're against cutting Yushin Okami I won't really argue with you, but you can't say it's because you feel like it was "premature" or he "wasn't given an opportunity." He was with the UFC for 7 years. That's not premature. In reality, we knew what Okami was probably 2 or 3 years ago. We know exactly who he is. He's a Top 10 middleweight with a grinding style who most likely won't win a UFC title. Personally, I think the UFC should employ a Top 10 middleweight over cutting him, but from a strictly business standpoint I think it makes a ton of sense to cut Okami after 7 years.

Nick (Melbourne (Australia)

Hi Brett, Looking forward to the fights tomorrow morning (we get them live from 8am) especially Silva / Kim and Assuncao / Dillshaw. How far off is TJ from a fight with a top 10'r?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:12 PM)

About 12 hours. Assuncao is a Top 10 bantamweight. The real question is how far off is T.J. from a title shot? If Cruz, God forbid, can't come back in early 2014, Barao needs to fight somebody. He already beat Faber and McDonald, who fight later this year, could they jump the winner of tonight into that spot? Wouldn't draw many eyeballs from a rankings standpoint, it's one of a very few options.

James (Albany )

Hi Brett. Maia said he wants a title shot if he beats Shields which is a bit premature I think. Do you see Mai reverting back to "old ways' and going to points decision?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:14 PM)

"Premature" our word of the day. I'm with you, Maia doesn't quite deserve a title shot yet with a win here, even if it's an impressive one. Reverting back to old ways ... I mean ... I think Maia has made it pretty clear so far what he wants to do at 170 pounds. He wants to shoot a single leg and take you down immediately. If he can submit you from there, fine, but he's trying to make it a ground fight 100 percent and that's good. At middleweight, it's like he wanted to be a striker 50 percent of the time ... and what did that give him? A highlight knockout loss to Nate Marquardt and an awkward, terrible, horrific 15 minute fight with Chris Weidman.

chris ceres ca [via mobile]

Hello moto. How does it look for bellator when kongo becomes thier heavyweight champ? I would bet my house it happens in his next 2 fights.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:16 PM)

For the record, I would never advise betting a house on Pay-Cheick Kongo. He looked good last week because he was fighting a dude named Mark Godbeer. He's still very capable of getting in the cage and just sort of hanging out and not doing anything. You can't trust money, let alone your house, on a fighter like that. How does it look for Bellator? Maybe bad because of course, people will say, wow, Cheick just breezed to the title but couldn't hack it in the UFC ... but on the other hand, if you're Bellator, would you rather have a heavyweight champion that people know in Cheick Kongo or have it owned by some faceless Russian who nobody knows? I would say Cheick.

Jeffrey Custer (Knoxville TN) [via mobile]

You said in a previous chat that you think a prime Iceman vs Glover would be a fun fight. I agree, but I wonder what your favorite "in their prime" fight would be.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:18 PM)

Interesting question Jeff ... that's a thinker. I'm admittedly a new school guy, so my answers are gong to gravitate towards the later generation fighters anyway. I will say, actually the first thing that comes to mind is Miguel Torres when he was considered maybe the best fighter in the world against Urijah Faber. For greatest WEC fighter of all time. That would have been awesome, we missed out on that.

Marc Iveson (UK)

Sup Brett. You watched any of the Prime Time for Cain vs JDS? After the 1st fight I thought JDS ran through him, after the second I thought that only happened due to Cain's knee injury and that the first would have been like the second if he'd been healthy. After watching the Prime Time I realised that my thoughts were not my own! Basically the Prime Time and Mr Rogan are very good at steering us like sheep when it comes to their production and hype!!

Brett Okamoto
  (1:20 PM)

Haha, that's funny. The UFC hype machine works! It works in all sports though ... look at Dana and the Canelo/Mayweather fight. Dana was adamant Mayweather was going to handle Canelo easily, wanted to bet it, then said he chickened out because he watched the Showtime preview shows that hyped up Canelo. I watched the first Primetime ... thought it was okay ... that fight speaks for itself though. I don't need to be hyped to want to watch it.

Alex Peer Des Moines IA [via mobile]

I'm tired of the talk about taking Cruz's title as long as he wants to fight who ever the intrim champ is then he should keep his title I mean what's the point of a intrim champ if he doesn't defend it

Brett Okamoto
  (1:21 PM)

I'm pretty sick of it too, quite honestly. Even if they stripped Cruz and made Barao the champ, you'd just have another portion of fans saying, "He's still not the real champ in my eyes." Who cares? When Cruz comes back, they'll fight. End of story.

Solomon (Carter)

what can we expect to see in anderson silva vs wiedman 2, who do you got winning this fight

Brett Okamoto
  (1:23 PM)

That's kind of what makes it so awesome is we don't really know what to expect ... I mean, I expect Anderson to not goof off as much, I expect Chris to really try to take it to the ground ... You just never know with Anderson though, what he's going to do. I don't think he'll abandon his tendency to lower his hands and stick his chin out. I think you'll still see that .... I'm leaning Anderson but seriously, it's a hard fight to predict because Anderson can get weird in the cage at any moment.

chris ceres CA [via mobile]

Very intrigued with the mcdonald/faber fight. Being from modesto i almost cried when mcdonald was submitted by barao. Who do you thibk has the edge in this fight, and why?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:24 PM)

McDonald ... boxing. I don't think Urijah can just take him down and work him over on the ground. He might have success here and there grappling with him and he's great at feinting, closing distance, avoiding big punches ... but McDonald's boxing skills are on another level lately and he's a good defensive wrestler. I'd take McDonald.

Marc Iveson (UK)

JDS said something that resonated with me this week. Cain "destroyed" him in the 2nd fight. JDS got lucky in the 1st. This isn't how I view it but its general consensus. But then JDS said something. He said he tried to finish the fight and did it in a minute. Cain tried for 25 minutes and couldnt. Not sure where i'm going with this but its an interesting take...

Brett Okamoto
  (1:24 PM)

Not sure where you're going either ...

Brett Okamoto
  (1:25 PM)

But yeah, I had thought about that before watching the preview. JDS was basically a zombie punching bag for the last three, four rounds of that fight and Cain couldn't finish him. There is a major difference in power between these two and for all the talk about Cain's cardio, we now know without question Junior can go 5 rounds too.

Rick (Kansas)

Do you know much about Mamed Khalidov? I enjoyed his fights in Sengoku when they were shown on HDNET. Any chance he'll ever be UFC bound?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:27 PM)

I never reported much on this story but apparently he was offered a contract last year but said it wasn't for enough money. Sounds like the organization he fights for overseas pays him. Can't really blame the guy for wanting to get paid. As good as he seems to be, there's not a high demand for him here in the States so that's going to stop the UFC from really offering him a huge deal.

Alex Peer Des Moines IA [via mobile]

Do you really think Mia and Shields will go to the ground? And if they do who do you think wins there? If they go to the ground I would favor who ever is on top by decision. Standing will be pretty even and pretty boring.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:27 PM)

Pretty much. Sounds like a great fight, right!? I'm not hating on these guys, they are obviously skilled martial artists, but this main event sort of has "awful to watch" written all over it.

@matthewconnery (Boston)

If JDS beats Cain, any concern that it would be trotting out JDS/Werdum2? If people didn't like Cain/Bigfoot2, this one would be worse. Or is Werdum too much of a 'new man' after dethroning Fedor? I don't know if the UFC would want to remind us that they fought before by calling it JDS/Werdum2...

Brett Okamoto
  (1:29 PM)

I would waaay rather see that than Cain/Bigfoot 2. Cain/Bigfoot 2 was leading a lamb to the slaughter. He had no chance. Werdum is at least athletic enough to maybe land a big shot on JDS or maaaaaaybe surprise him with a submission, although you know JDS will do what Overeem did and just not go to the ground with him. Neither are great fights but yeah, they can do JDS/Werdum 2.

Parolee Proud (Rochester) [via mobile]

Why is it that so many people are quick to slander fighters for not finishing fights but then a fight like Cain/JDS 2 happens and people consider Cain's win more impressive than Junior's??

Brett Okamoto
  (1:31 PM)

Generally speaking, I will say that a win like Cain/JDS 2 is more impressive than a one-minute knockout ... but, this is just my personal take here, I almost look at both the first matchups as one-minute knockouts. JDS survived five rounds, but was he really JDS after he took that first barrage of punches? He was in auto pilot from the second round on.

Steve (Philly)

I know Shields is talking a big game...I'd be stunned if he can hang with Maia on the ground. If Maia gets him down I'm expecting it to look like the Fitch fight.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:32 PM)

I would disagree for two reasons ... Shields' BJJ is far better than Fitch. Fitch might be the better American wrestler, but people forget, Shields has competed in submission wrestling tournaments, that's his bread and butter really. Also, Shields is bigger than Fitch. Maia is using his size to his advantage at 170, but in this fight, I actually think Shields is the bigger man and that will play into this one.

Matt (NJ)

Why would Edgar agree to fight a guy that he already beat twice, and does nothing in regards to a title even if he wins? Do these guys get paid that much for doing TUF?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:33 PM)

They get paid, yeah. And for Frankie, you've got to be pretty sure you can beat BJ a third time. You have him figured out by now and BJ is still BJ. He's a name. If you were offered a truck bed of cash and an easy win in a division where you're already widely considered the No. 4 or No. 5 guy, wouldn't you take it?

paul [via mobile]

I always thought healthy Carwin would ko no chin Cain. Do you agree

Brett Okamoto
  (1:35 PM)

Not after seeing Carwin fight into the second round against Brock. Then JDS just annihilated him with speed combos from the outside. No, I gotta disagree. I think Cain owns Carwin. Exhausts him, avoids that right hand, presses him to the fence. He'd be done cardio wise after 2 minutes with Cain.

David (Saint Louis)

if you were cruz wouldnt you almost want to be stripped of the title? I would want a warm up fighting before taking on Barao.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:36 PM)

You have to place yourself in their shoes and to do that, you need to try and think the way they think. If you're a champion, and even if you're not in this sport, you believe you're the best. When oddsmakers have you at -600 to win a fight, you still believe you know something they don't. You see what I'm saying? So no, if you were a fighter and you had the belt, I think you'd think differently, that make sense?

CB (WA)

JMM or Bradley?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:37 PM)

Bradley by decision.

Renteria (USA)

Do you think it is beyond strange, no coincidence that Charles Olivera pulled out of his Prelim Facebook bout at UFC 166 due to a "strained thigh muscle", as in he's hoping he gets rescheduled for a Main card?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:38 PM)

Well, if Dana were here, he'd say. "You can't fake an injury! We make these guys fly to Vegas and get tested." Buuuuuut, in this particular case, I wouldn't be surprised if there was some Tomfoolery going on with Olivera's thigh. "Oh, you're putting me on the prelims after I almost beat Frankie Edgar? Mmmk ... I just got injured."

Roger (OH)

What's up Brett? Did you happen to see the LA Times article where Tim Bradley actually had the audacity to defend CJ Ross? He claims that she's a good judge who was "railroaded" and "forced out." My question is, what the heck is wrong with this guy? Is he just trying to be loyal since her ineptitude (or corruption? Not making accusations; just throwing it out there) resulted in an undeserved "win" over Pacquiao, or is the guy legitimately that delusional?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:40 PM)

I think he truly believes he beat Pacquiao in that fight ... I can't really hate on the guy for that because like I just said with fighters, they are looking at things through different lenses than the rest of us. I refuse to believe he actually thinks Ross' scorecard in the Mayweather/Canelo fight wasn't pure crap. He probably just shouldn't talk about it because no matter what he says, people are going to hate on him for it.

Miggy (Philly)

What does the Overeem beat-down do to Lesnar's legacy considering what has happened since?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:41 PM)

Nothing. I think Lesnar's legacy will forever be a WWE guy who came in and lit up the PPV numbers while somehow managing to be legit and win the title at the same time. He'll be remembered far more for that than how he went out.

Luis (AZ) [via mobile]

If Dana tried and do silva-machida, do you think Silva would really not do it or would he eventually agree?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:41 PM)

I don't think he'd do it.

Marc T (Sherman Oaks)

Man, I say this every week, Cain seems to get no respect! I dont get it. Guy has DESTROYED everyone besides an odd flash KO when he was injured to JDS. And why does he not have a chin??? Cuz JDS KO'd him?? Cant wait for Cain to crush JDS again.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:42 PM)

Who said he doesn't have a chin?

Adam (Albuquerque)

Brett, you taking or giving the -28 line in Denver this weekend?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:43 PM)

Neither. I'm just hoping Julius Thomas gets a few TDs for the fantasy team.

Adam (Albuquerque)

Which division should the UFC be trying to build depth in more quickly -- heavyweight or flyweight?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:44 PM)

I don't think they can really "try" to build depth in any division. They go out and sign talent, regardless of weight class. Which division would they rather see big names emerge in? Heavyweight obviously for marketing purposes. Flyweight has added a few names. Darrell Montague makes his debut this month and Sergio Pettis obviously has some hype around him.

Matt (DC)

Do you think its time for Benson Henderson to move up to 170? A third fight with Pettis seems far fetched and he has trouble making 155 already. I can see Benson, Rory and Erik Silva as the future of 170..

Brett Okamoto
  (1:46 PM)

Not a bad idea ... the only problem I see with it is Ben's game sort of revolves around being the bigger guy. That's not to say Ben isn't a great, technical martial artist, but it favors him to be the bigger guy. He's not a Frankie Edgar type, where he'll be able to beat welterweights using speed, footwork and boxing. He needs to wrestle, wear guys out, be the harder puncher hopefully ... his game is more geared towards staying at lightweight.

@PappaFeez (PHX)

Seems like Brazilian fighters have a sense of superiority and arrogance when they fight Americans. I know I'm not imagining this.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:47 PM)

I honestly haven't ever really noticed it ... if you say it's there though.

Mike (Chicago) [via mobile]

Any word on alexander gustafsson's next fight?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:48 PM)

The UFC announced some of its plans for international cards this week, starting with a London event in March. Which will be "significant" I think is the word Lorenzo Fertitta used. My guess is Gus fights there ... not sure about opponent. I'd be down with Mousasi ... I'd be down with winner of Hendo/Vitor.

Scott (Raleigh)

Brett, ever considered who would be the best cross-over fighters? Either MMA guys that would do well in boxing, or boxers that would do well in MMA. I know training would take time; but just from the skill set you've seen.... Roy Jones Jr. comes to mind.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:50 PM)

To me, if you're going to give them time to train and adapt, it all comes down to natural athleticism and work ethic. So, yeah, a guy like Floyd would probably do fine because his work ethic is out of this world. Roy Jones Jr. -- same thing, plus he was an amazing athlete.

Ken (ca.)

Any insiders leaning Glover over Jones like so many who were picking Weidman over Silva early on?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:50 PM)

Nope. I would say pretty much all insiders still leaning Jones on that one.

Steve (Philly)

Maia also, sub or not, dominated everyone he went to the ground with at 185. He doesn't rely on being bigger or stronger. His technique and transitions are ridiculous. Not saying he dominates Shields to the point of submitting him, just don't think Shields is on the same level of technique or athleticism.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:52 PM)

He doesn't "rely" on being bigger and stronger per se. Of course, just because you can be a big guy at 170 pounds doesn't mean you can win fights in the UFC. But if you think the fact it's not an advantage that he's big for 170, whereas he was smaller for 185, isn't an advantage ... you're wrong.

Marc T (Sherman Oaks)

Why is a 3rd Pettis/Benson fight 'far fetched'? The 1st one was great, the second one was too quick, Benson can easily win a couple in a row to get back there and they have history to market.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:53 PM)

It's only "far fetched" right now. The division is so loaded with talent and Ben was barely winning his title fights, then lost to Pettis convincingly, that there's no way they do it any time soon. But can Henderson get on a winning streak and force it at some point? Of course.

Tim (Brighton, MA)

Brett,Thinking of a Assuncao/Cardinals parlay tonight. Thoughts?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:54 PM)

I think T.J. wins ... but you're getting good value at +190. I don't hate it, Tim. I don't hate it.

Mike K (Chicago by way of EL)

If Hammer Hamill can win tonight, how many fights away is he from the rematch with Jones for the belt?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:55 PM)

Is this a real question?

Jr (Arizona)

Can we forget about a 4th possible Cain vs. JDS fight if JDS loses at UFC 166?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:55 PM)

Not completely, just because those two are way better than every other heavyweight at this moment. But yeah, regardless of who wins, they would obviously put off a 4th fight as long as possible.

Ken (ca. )

I know how high you are on Pettis and it's a tough fight for Josh T. , but with his experience, athleticism and conditioning, I give him a good shot, any early thoughts?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:56 PM)

Yeah, I give him a shot. He moves well. He understands range real well. I can see him getting Pettis to reach more than he typically does, hitting him with counters, timing a takedown well and putting him on the ground. Thomson has a shot for sure.

@PappaFeez (PHX)

Ben Henderson barely beat Frankie in the 1st fight, lost to Frankie in the 2nd fight and lost Gilbert. I don't want to see him fight for the title for a long time.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:57 PM)

There you go. I think that's a stance shared by many. Is it necessarily fair? Probably not, he wasn't a judge for any of those fights. But then again, it's not really fair Frankie didn't get the belt back when he outfought Ben in Denver.

Keith Cardoza [via mobile]

Given his Improved stand up do you think Chad Mendes will eventually defeat Jose Aldo? I am a huge Aldo fan but it seems like he cannot make it through an entire fight without sustaining some type of injury and a new and improved Mendes could be the guy to make him pay for it. Keep in mind without a few instances of cage grabbing by Aldo he would have been taken down their last fight and maybe not reviewed that devastating knockout. Especially with a gassed Aldo who has been ground and pounded.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:01 PM)

Couple thoughts ... I think the cage grab gets overblown. Aldo had definitely won the first round up until that point, it was late in the round, it was blatant and yes, it would have meant that Chad wouldn't have been knocked out moments later, but I didn't think it was a round where Chad had really forced Aldo to work and spend energy, you know? As far as a rematch goes, I love Mendes, I think he's dangerous as hell right now, but you have to at least acknowledge there is a difference between knocking out Clay Guida and knocking out Jose Aldo. I still think he's at a disadvantage on the feet, obviously. The game plan has to be move, get in with punches and move again, level change, takedowns to control, etc. Chad could win a fight like that but it would have to be one of those nights where he does everything perfect.

Dan (Atlanta)

I worry Grant will never be the same if he suffered such a terrible concussion. I would pick him, before the concussion to beat Pettis.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:03 PM)

Good comment, Dan. I mean, fighters are going to suffer concussions. It's not like head injuries are rare in this sport so Grant isn't on an island by himself here ... others have come back from concussion and still won fights. But man, this one seems so serious. When I spoke to him in Toronto he was still having good and bad days and migraines would pop up out of nowhere. It's a shame because there is no question he earned that spot. I think he'll come back and be the same guy, but we'll have to see.

Ken (ca. )

Wouldn't mind seeing Frankie and Bendo go again someday!!

Brett Okamoto
  (2:03 PM)

Meh.

Matt (NJ)

I think it's safe to say Aldo and Pettis are going to fight at some point...what weight will it be at?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:03 PM)

155.

Kevin(Chicago) [via mobile]

Do you give Travis Browne a chance against Barnett?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:03 PM)

Yeah, pretty good chance actually. I don't think he'll be that heavy of an underdog ...

Scott S (O Town)

You can only choose one fight to see before the world ends. Rousey vs Tate or Hendricks vs GSP?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:04 PM)

Hendricks vs. GSP, not even close.

Kenneth (Marietta)

To the guy asking about Brock's legacy, in the Overeem fight, Brock came back from a career ending injury/condition with his intestine. That changed every complexion of his training, gameplan, fighting style, and ability to absorb. His legacy is that he was a WWE guy who came into the UFC and proved he was a real BA and could take it and dish it in the real sport.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:06 PM)

Exactly. Years from now, I think some people will remember the intestinal condition, but seriously, I think he'll be solely remembered as just a shot of adrenaline to the UFC's arm during a time where they were blowing up. The perfect guy to come along and win the heavyweight belt. He was so intriguing inside the cage and out. People doubted him. He came back and won that Carwin fight. Learned from the Mir submission loss, then dominated him. Fought a guy (Cain) who might eventually become the greatest heavyweight champ of all time. Great story.

Matt (NJ)

Over/Under - Number of times Frankie fights for a UFC belt again - 1.5

Brett Okamoto
  (2:06 PM)

Over.

paul [via mobile]

What do you think about benson vs ellengerger at 170

Brett Okamoto
  (2:07 PM)

Not bad, but still think Ben should stay at 155.

Marc (Brooklyn, NY)

Machida vs. Munoz isn't too appealing to me. Probably a rehash of Machida's previous fight with Davis. Given that, what's your take? I'm thinking Machida gets by with a ho-hum decision.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:08 PM)

Couldn't you really say that about any Machida fight right now? Machida by ho-hum? I agree, not all that intriguing of a fight. I think Machida wins.

Marc T (Sherman Oaks)

Has Dana ever commented on the atrocious Page/Tito fight? Would love to hear his take

Brett Okamoto
  (2:08 PM)

"They're both broke cry babies." I think that would basically sum it up.

@PAPPAFEEZ (PHX)

Reem was roided/hgh'd out of his mind against Lesnar.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:08 PM)

There's also that.

@matthewconnery (boston)

Over/Under - Number of times Faber fights for the belt again - .5

Brett Okamoto
  (2:09 PM)

Under.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:10 PM)

Cool, let's wrap it there. Good stuff. Hit me on Twitter with anything I missed @bokamotoESPN. Chat with me again this weekend during Bradley/Marquez. I'll be running the live blog from the Thomas & Mack Center. Peace!