5 Questions: UFC 103 Edition

By Jake Rossen Sep 19, 2009
Will Vitor Belfort shrink?

Even if you excuse his dynamic debut performance at UFC 13 -- all hands, no effort -- as the product of subpar opposition, Vitor Belfort is still a sharp, tight stand-up artist who can end fights faster than IV sedation.

The ticks of the clock are Belfort’s biggest issues: as the fight wears, he fades mentally, and instructs his body to do the same physically. Whether that’s been corrected at Xtreme Couture hasn’t been discovered. Rich Franklin will prompt him for an answer.

Does the old guard have anything left?

Frank Trigg, Vladimir Matyushenko, and -- to some extent -- Mirko Filipovic all bounced out of the UFC after a series of poor performances, only to return based on either A). strong performances in other promotions, or B). the UFC’s desire to deplete the open talent pool for rivals. Is that employment based on genuine curiosity over their chances, or a business strategy? (Trigg, Filipovic, or Matyushenko getting chewed up in the UFC makes them far less attractive to other networks.)

Can Tyson Griffin break through?

It’s hard to process that Tyson Griffin loses fights: he’s a steam ship in the diminutive lightweight division, with fantastic cardio, a solid punch, and the ability to control. 6-2 in the UFC may not look great compared to Gray Maynard’s 6-0, 1 NC, but he’s been fighting nothing but tough competition. With a win over Hermes Franca, should Griffin and Maynard decide 155’s next contender?

Can effort trump results?

UFC brokers are fond of saying that they want fighters who come to fight -- but when does that begin to steamroll mixed results? Drew McFedries has never been in a boring contest, but he’s 4-4 heading into Saturday. At what point do you acknowledge that gamesmanship runs second to getting your arm held up?

Can Rich Franklin bank some money?

As a company man who fights when, whom, and where he’s asked, Franklin deserves a financial mattress as his career winds down. But if his salary is business-incentive-based, he’s got issues: buy rates for Franklin-headlining cards are usually on the lower end of the scale. Whether a card airing live from the states changes that -- fans usually balk at delayed UK cards, where Franklin took up temporary residence -- or not, the loyalty is admirable. And should be rewarded.
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