Randy Couture (left) file photo: Sherdog.com
Brian Warren: Randy is going to smash James. But I heard Toney has been in the lab working on some training nobody’s ever seen before. I’ll give you a hint -- has to do with swimming pool devices and never-before-witnessed pad holding. Toney could never get to hit them because they were held so bad. There is a science behind this kind of training that people are going to start paying big money for if James pulls off this win. I’ve never seen the kind of training Toney has done for this fight in my life. There is no way Couture can be faster then a pool floatie device. That training James did in his video getting ready for this fight was pure science. Randy should have his hardest 30-second fight of his life. Randy by anything he wants.
Apollo Sebastian: For sure, hands down, Randy will put a beatdown via ground-n-pound and submission on James Toney like there’s no tomorrow. He’ll never fight an MMA fight ever again.
Bobby Southworth: Couture takes this easy. I’ve been a boxing and James Toney fan for a long time, but c’mon, Randy’s been living in Vegas, the fight capital of the world. He can bring in a ton of pro boxers to practice closing the distance, clinching and getting the takedown. The majority of them are younger, quicker and stronger than Toney. Does he have a chance to land that one-punch KO? He’ll be on his back and getting tapped.
Matt Pena: I’ve got to stick with Couture. I’m gonna say by decision. I’m sure Randy is gone back to his roots, practicing an array of takedowns. I’m sure Toney trained hard and will pose a threat in several areas, like the clinch, especially as the fight goes on. But if Randy is taking him down as he should and the referee is gonna allow the fight to stay there, this should be a pretty simple choice. But if Randy tries to trade punches, especially from the inside where Randy usually likes to dirty box, we could have an upset.
Jeff Joslin: I really don’t think James Toney’s style matches up well against any type of wrestler. His inside fighting in boxing is fantastic with great head movement, killer counter punching, all executed while staying super relaxed and composed. Unfortunately for him, fighting on the inside in MMA requires solid wrestling skill to prevent getting dumped to the mat in the midst of it all. I see Randy avoiding a punching exchange early, working his way into the clinch, pressing Toney against the cage, throwing him on his back and forcing a submission via ground-and-pound.
Roy Arriola: This fight does not make sense. Both fighters are over the hill. Both fighters are excellent at their respective sport. Stop, hold the presses. My point exactly. Randy Couture is a high-level wrestler at any age, and James Toney is a high-level boxer. Putting this fight together does not prove a single thing. Who wants to watch a wrestler take down a boxer and ground-and-pound him? Not even MMA fans want to see this. Now, put Randy in Toney’s world and it may be a little more interesting, because Randy has prove he knows how to dirty box. At that point and that point only will this be an exciting fight. I once again will be playing Monopoly with the kids on this night and will be looking forward to watching it for free on Spike TV in about six months.
Dewey Cooper: I think James Toney is going to win by knockout. I think Randy is the perfect type of style for Toney: no leg kicks and no shooting for the leg takedown techniques. James Toney is an accurate puncher and mentally has the gangster attitude to not be afraid of getting taken down by Randy. Also, he has the proper footwork to not be taken down by Randy. I think most MMA guys would beat James Toney, if they were good at shooting in low and taking his legs out or if they had hard leg kicks. I just don’t think Randy is the guy for this fight. James Toney wins by KO.
Casey Oxendine: I’m picking Couture by a margin of 85 percent of the time, with him winning by clinch/ground control and finishing by sub or ref stoppage at the end of round one or early round two. I give Toney the puncher’s chance 15 percent of the time, winning by knockout if Couture is either caught with a shot while working for the clinch or is somehow unable to adjust to the unique head movement of Toney. Although some can argue that Couture’s chin has become suspect in recent years, I feel he still possesses too many tools in the box to be ousted consistently by a singular-style opponent. This presents a unique matchup, as this is the first time a truly great boxing veteran has stepped into the Octagon against a truly great MMA legend. While both are considered past their primes, both the boxing and MMA communities will be closely watching this grudge match of styles. If Couture wins, this will help stake the UFC’s claim that MMA guys are the world’s most elite fighters. If Toney wins, it will be very interesting to see how the following months unfold. It could finally open up the floodgates for boxers looking to cross over into mixed martial arts, which could be a good thing for the boxing/MMA relationship, especially for MMA promotions in states that are still governed by the boxing commission.
Chance Farrar: I’ll take Randy in round two via ref stoppage due to ground strikes. I’m picking round two because I’m giving Toney credit for strength, toughness and unorthodox ground skill that will get him through round one. His arms will be too tired to prevent Randy from pounding him out in the second.
Pros who picked Couture: 50
Pros who picked Toney: 3
Pros who couldn’t decide: 1
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