With the announcement earlier this week that StrikeForce had purchased the assets of the EliteXC, some have thrown Scott Coker’s west coast promotion into the mix of “competitions” to the UFC, alongside the upstart Affliction.
The difference between Strikeforce and Affliction would be Coker’s company has consistently made money year over year by hosting smaller shows with a select few big names to draw the fans in and filling the undercard with worthy yet unrefined talent, that simply work cheap.
Affliction has countered with the opposite business model. Fill your card with as many superstars as possible and hope that the fans will bite. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t but the next Affliction show will go a long way in determining their MMA future. If I was given the honor to put together their next card, it would look something like this.
Chris Horodecki vs. Dan Lauzon
This fight was supposed to happen in January, but a late injury forced the Polish hammer off the card. This would be the best fight between any two guys under 21 in the world today. Lauzon brings charisma and grit to each and every fight and Horodecki should be the next MMA super star. The fans want to see this, so put them in there and finally see who’s the better young gun.
Vitor Belfort vs. Gegard Mousasi
Belfort is known by fans all over the world for his championship days from the early UFC’s. On the other hand Mousssi is pound for pound the best fighter in the world that no one knows. The way Belfort has looked in his last two, we may be seeing the old Belfort again. Mousasi is an incredible 24-2, has won his last 11 and has only 2 decisions in those 11. This would be an incredible fight. It would show if the old Vitor really is back and should prove if Mousasi is one of the top 5 in the world at 185.
Mark Hominick vs. LC Davis
Hominick’s new years resolution was to move into the top 10 in the world. He has been knocking on the door for the last year and a late case of pneumonia forced him off the January card to watch from the sidelines with teammate Horodecki. Davis beat his replacement rather handily and he took is very close to being in the top 10. A win for either of these guys would put them into the top 10, moving them closer to their goal – to be the best in the world.
Tito Ortiz vs. Babalu Sobral
Ortiz draws a crowd wherever he goes. He hasn’t been the same fighter lately, (even though he has wins over Forest Griffin and a questionable draw against the UFC lightweight champ Rashad Evans), but you could line up a washed up Ken Shamrock for a 4th Tito beating and people will pay top dollar to watch. It doesn’t matter who he fights, people come out in droves. Babalu would be a great test for Tito and has a loyal following. Babalu has improved dramatically since he was kindly asked to leave the UFC and a fight with the Huntington Beach Bay is just what his fans would want to see. Love Tito or hate him, he draws a crowd. A fight with Babalu would be no different. More importantly it gets him out of the announcing chair for good. And I mean for good.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett
This is the fight that true hardcore fans are dying to see. Barnett’s ground game is on par if not better than the best heavyweights in the world and (I know we say this every time) this would be Fedor’s biggest challenge to date. He looked sluggish in his win over Andrei Arlovski at Affliction 2, but he won and remains to this day, technically undefeated. The pair are close friends, but know they need to fight for themselves and for the fans to know if the Baby Faced Assassin really can beat the man they say is invincible.
The most interesting part of an undefeated athlete’s career is always when they lose. Everyone remembers Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson 19 years ago to this day Feb 11, 1990. No one will forget the New York Giants knocking off the undefeated New England Patriots in one of the greatest super bowls ever, just last year. And no one will forget the day Fedor takes his first loss.
It will happen eventually. Which is the reason most of us will never miss another Fedor fight, as long as he remains so perfect.