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PRIDE 33: Bad MatchMaking

Looking at the next PRIDE 33 lineup and the next few UFCs it seems like the fighting gods are frowning on making the best matchups. Which is teh suck since it's great matchups that make the sport.

In PRIDE 33 (Feb 24) we've got numerous mismatches -- Stephen Quadros has a great rundown on Budovideo:

Title fights by nature are supposed to represent the best that combat sports have to offer, top contenders vying for the top position...in their division. And both champion Wanderlei Silva and challenger "Dangerous" Dan Henderson are surely two of the best fighters...in their two separate weight categories. Yeah, Dan finally moved down to 183 pounds a few years back and (as expected) won the Pride belt there on New Years Ever (2005) after a grueling tournament that saw him best Murilo Bustamante (a second time) by decision in the finals.

...

The `other' Nogueira, Rogerio, has also earned his chance at the Pride belt by a unanimous decision over Kazushi Sakuraba, two wins over Kazuhiro Nakamura (one by submission, one by split decision), two victories against Alistair Overeem (one unanimous decision and one TKO) and of course his armbar submission against...Dan Henderson.

So WHY is Rogerio Nogueira not fighting Wanderlei in this title fight? It's anyone's guess. We'll just have to chalk up another championship match seemingly staged for marketing purposes first and sportive semblance second. "Oh, no one knows Rogerio Nogueira in the states and Dan Henderson is an American, so everybody here will automatically know him" might be the range of "thinking" behind this. Oh, OK...I guess.

Henderson and Silva met previously on December 9, 2000 in a fight that saw Dan rock and lump up Wanderlei early only to be beaten, stomped and barely escape on the wrong side of a decision.

It's actually `possible' for Dan to pull off a victory in this rematch®, mainly because Silva has been at the top for so long (27 appearances in Pride, 38 fights total) that he theoretically may be teetering on that mountain and about to fall off. I say possible, because I feel it is also unlikely. Silva is probably more motivated than ever, mainly because he was knocked out in his last fight! He must protect his legacy now. He MUST beat Dan Henderson!

Dan is one of those fighters who, like Sakuraba, should have never had to compete in the upper division (205) in my opinion. Yet he did quite well considering, even though he had to bulk up to fight the naturally larger men. But no matter how many protein shakes he drank and how much food he consumed, he never exceeded the maximum weight of 205 pounds, when most of his opponents were cutting down to make that weight.

This drives me crazy. In my ideal world, Dan Henderson would be defending his Pride 185lb belt against Paulo Filho or Dennis Kang  or the guy who beat Henderson in April 2006 Kazuo Misaki. And naturally the one who came out of that tangle on top should fight Anderson Silva or  Matt Lindland. Instead Henderson is being fed to Wanderlei, Lindland is being fed to the best HEAVYWEIGHT in the world, Fedor Emelianenko in Bodog, and it looks like Silva will be defending his UFC 185lb belt against the able but underpromoted Nathan Marquardt.

Meanwhile, Antonio Rogerio "Minotoro" Nogueira (aka Little Nog) the man who has earned a shot at Wanderlei Silva's title is fighting way down on the undercard.

Lame!