Couture-Lesnar has plenty of intrigue
We are days away from UFC 91, which is poised to be one of the biggest shows in the history of MMA. Its place in history will be secured by the record pay-per-view buys the UFC can expect thanks to the main event heavyweight title fight between Randy Couture and Brock Lesnar. This might be the most perplexing fight of the entire year.
There have been better fights, to be sure. Lesnar isn’t in the top 5 in his weight class and Couture has to be considered a question mark after another year off. But as far as intrigue and sizzle, there are few fights that will be able to match this one. It’s almost impossible to predict how this bout will play out as both fighters come into the match with huge question marks.
Couture comes into Saturday night fighting for the first time in more than a year. We will see if that has any effect on him. During Couture’s "retirement," all the talk was about Couture and Fedor Emelianenko squaring off in a showdown of the top two heavyweights in the world (and possibly, the top two pound-for-pound fighters in the eyes of some), so after this event we’ll have a better understanding of where Couture really is as a fighter. That’s a long layoff for any fighter, especially one in his mid-40s.
On the other hand, Lesnar is fighting for the heavyweight title in his third UFC fight. He’s been pushed to the front of the line after demolishing Heath Herring but has a lot on the line. A win over Couture would be the ultimate stamp of legitimacy and would signal the true arrival of Lesnar on the MMA scene. He looked intimidating against Frank Mir but made a mistake that cost him the fight. He dominated Herring. A win against Couture would have to silence some of Lesnar’s critics.
At the same time, Couture seems to be a better version of Herring in that his strengths don’t really play to Lesnar’s weaknesses. Couture isn’t going to submit Lesnar and that might be the best way to defeat him, especially since Couture will be giving up a lot of weight in this fight.
What’s most surprising to me is that Lesnar is favored in this fight. Granted, it’s not a great matchup physically for Couture, but he’s faced long odds before. It’s a given that Couture will have a superb gameplan and has the experience factor. His resume is a "who’s who" of MMA legends.
I’m not sure yet who to pick in this fight (I’m leaning toward Lesnar but it’s so hard to pick against Couture) but there’s no question it will be an exciting one.