Propagandists will tell you Shamrock’s submission acumen will be a good test for Slice, that his years of experience will threaten to topple the barely professional status of the reformed backyard brawler.
Reality check: Shamrock has one submission win in 12 years -- over a man who currently has 20 losses against 7 wins on record. The vast majority of his ligament attacks came in Pancrase, where opponents wore massive leather boots that kept limbs free of sweat. Observers cannot recall the last time he even tried tackling an opponent, a probable result of decaying agility and stilted muscle activation.
If we establish that Shamrock cannot tackle Slice, and if we also accept that submission defense is a relatively substantial part of Slice’s tutelage under Bas Rutten, then we’re left with a stand-up fight -- one in which Slice will swing ferociously, backed by 240 pounds of muscle to Shamrock’s (estimated) 215.
Considering that a 185-pound Kazushi Sakuraba knocked Shamrock into the ropes, this is not exactly a bid for suspense on the level of Hitchcock.
But by and large, MMA has avoided this kind of lopsided violence. For all its perceived faults, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has made a habit of booking competitive and evenly matched fights. (Anderson Silva might be better than everyone he’s faced, but you can’t say slotting in Dan Henderson or Rich Franklin was premeditated cruelty.)
Bereft of substantial talent pools or matchmaking acumen, it’s the peripheral organizations that are beginning to trot out these kinds of depressing spectacles. Slice himself already had a turn against David "Tank" Abbott, who is as relevant to modern MMA as Jalopies are to Detroit, and Dream’s insistence on having Kazushi Sakuraba face Melvin Manhoef should’ve been criminally investigated.
This strikes me as a tad mean and dismissive of "the best laid plans of mice and men" axiom that creates so many unforseen MMA upsets. Still, though, the larger point about the heavy-handed engineered matchmaking is indisputable. And regrettable.