Creating and Predicting a UFC Royal Rumble
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if all of the best fighters in the world were assembled for one night of violence?
Well here, we will take a hypothetical look at a gauntlet of sorts where all of the world's best will assemble for one night to determine the ruler of them all.
Obviously, this will not be your traditional WWE-esque "Royal Rumble" of sorts.
There will be some stipulations involved, but nonetheless, we will weed out the weak until we crown a champion.
Our Coveted Wild Card, Robbie Lawler
The tournament will be comprised of 30 fighters. Three of the best fighters in their respective weight classes are automatically seeded in, while six wild cards will take up the best of the rest:
Flyweight: Demetrious Johnson, Joseph Benavidez and Ian McCall
Bantamweight: Brian Bowles, Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz
Featherweight: Hatsu Hioki, Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo
Lightweight: Gilbert Melendez, Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar
Welterweight: Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit and Georges St-Pierre
Middleweight: Yushin Okami, Chael Sonnen, Anderson Silva
Light Heavyweight: Rashad Evans, Dan Henderson and Jon Jones
Heavyweight: Cain Velasquez, Alistair Overeem and Junior dos Santos
Wild Card: Robbie Lawler, Daniel Cormier, Diego Sanchez, Mauricio Rua, Johny Hendricks and Gray Maynard
Since this is mixed marital arts, fighting multiple guys at once is much more taxing and will likely not find the rightful winner in the end.
So instead, there will be a five-minute minimum for each athlete so that everyone will get somewhat of a fair shake leading into the next round. If the fight goes the distance, ie: five minutes of action, then it will go to the judges' score cards.
There will be no change outs, or time intervals where a new fighter appears mid fight.
No. Once the bout is completed, the next entrant will enter until there is a winner at the end of this tournament, so it's not your traditional Royal Rumble, but more like a botched Grand Prix format, where the winner of each bout moves on to the next fighter on the bracket.
Each fighter will be assigned a number, though like any other Royal Rumble, one fighter will be given an exclusive "bye", where they can determine where they will come out in the bracket.
Needless to say, since Anderson Silva is the pound-for-pound best, he will be the last of the Mohicans to exit. Is it fair? No. But since when do tournaments of this stature ever play by the rules?
I'm making this all up as I go along, so bear with me.
Each slide will include a five-bout spread until we have a final winner.
This whole thing will be decided based on endurance and overall technique. Who will have enough gusto to make it to the end and who will wilt under the daunting amount of pressure?
30. Anderson Silva . 15. Brian Bowles
29. Urijah Faber . 14. Hatsu Hioki
28. Junior dos Santos . 13. Dan Henderson
27. Gray Maynard . 12. Johny Hendricks
26. Chad Mendes . 11. Cain Velasquez
25. Robbie Lawler . 10. Demetrious Johnson
24. Nick Diaz . 9. Diego Sanchez
23. Frankie Edgar . 8. Jon Jones
22. Dominick Cruz . 7. Yushin Okami
21. Rashad Evans . 6. Joseph Benavidez
20. Ian McCall . 5. Alistair Overeem
19. Carlos Condit . 4. Georges St-Pierre
18. Benson Henderson. 3. Chael Sonnen
17. Gilbert Melendez . 2. Daniel Cormier
16. Jose Aldo . 1. Fedor Emelianenko
Alistair Overeem Cruises
1. Fedor Emelianenko vs. 2. Daniel Cormier
Emelianenko will have the power and gusto to give Cormier some hairy moments on the feet, though the former Olympian will use his wrestling pedigree to work the Russian to the mat, cinching the round. Cormier wins by Decision
2. Daniel Cormier vs. 3. Chael Sonnen
Sonnen is arguably the best MMA wrestler there is in the game, but Cormier will be able to use his takedown defense to fend off any offense from the Team Quest fighter, using his hands to threaten him on the feet before taking the round and moving forward. Cormier wins by Decision
2. Daniel Cormier vs. 4. Georges St-Pierre
Could it be that "Rush" gets knocked out of this not-so-prestigious tournament so early? Yes. It's just a matter of size versus technique. St-Pierre is the better of the two as far as technique is concerned, though their physical statures can not go unnoticed. The Canadian stays just out of reach with his speed, though the touted wrestler does enough to secure the round with aggression and whiffing blows and takedowns. Cormier wins by Decision
2. Daniel Cormier vs. 5. Alistair Overeem
By now, Cormier is gassed. He had to face three formidable opponents back after back, earning decision wins in each of his prior bouts. Cormier will sloppily shoot in for a single, where a knee from the former K-1 champion greets him, earning the decisive finish. Overeem wins by Knockout
5. Alistair Overeem vs. 6. Joseph Benavidez
Poor Benavidez. He may be one of the best fighters on the planet, but even he wouldn't be able to mount any offense against this juggernaut heavyweight. Overeem by however way he wants. Maybe he'll get flashy and just do the ol' Undertaker Boot-to-the-face. Overeem wins by Knockout
Jon Jones Starts Strong, but Cain Velasquez Takes the Torch
5. Alistair Overeem vs. 7. Yushin Okami
Okami's best offense will be to bring the big man down to the mat, though he will not have enough strength to clinch with the daunting heavyweight and bring him down. Try as he may, Okami will be greeted by a high knee to the head, which will set up the dramatic finish. Overeem wins by Knockout
5. Alistair Overeem vs. 8. Jon Jones
This is where things start to get interesting. By now, Overeem is just warmed up, having dispatched of three opponents in record time. However, here he finds his match as Jones uses his length to frustrate Overeem from a distance, who will wade in for a hook, though Jones will deftly work the big man to the floor there and grind out the round. Jones wins by Decision
8. Jon Jones vs. 9. Diego Sanchez
Friends and teammates will meet in the cage as the 205-pound kingpin takes on welterweight contender Diego Sanchez. "The Dream's" Achilles Heel has always been his wrestling and unfortunately he's facing one of the stronger wrestlers in the game. Jones will drop Sanchez to the mat easily and put him away with crushing elbows to the face. Jones wins by Knockout
8. Jon Jones vs. 10. Demetrious Johnson
Much respect for Johnson for even walking down to the cage, though "Mighty Mouse" will be in for a rude awakening once he steps into the Octagon, as Jones uses a low knee—you know, since Johnson is small—to end this disparaging bout quick. Jones wins by Knockout
8. Jon Jones vs. 11. Cain Velasquez
Can you say "dream match?" For a long while, people have discussed potential super fights for Jones as he will eventually move into the heavyweight division. What better man to add to your mantle than that of former champion Cain Velasquez.
The AKA fighter will use his relentless pressure and up-and-down movement to confuse Jones, who in a five-round fight can find his bearings, but not in a five-minute bout. Velasquez wins by Decision
Velasquez Breezes Through the "Little Guys"
11. Cain Velasquez vs. 12. Johny Hendricks
Hendricks shocked the world when he knocked out Velasquez's friend and training partner Jon Fitch, however, the proud Mexican-American will avenge the loss by finishing off the heavy-hitting Hendricks with some powerful blows of his own. Velasquez wins by Knockout
11. Cain Velasquez vs. 13. Dan Henderson
Former PRIDE and Strikeforce champion in Henderson will beat most in this field; however, when the 41-year-old is matched up against the relentless and well-versed Velasquez, he will not have enough gusto to dispatch the former heavyweight kingpin, who uses his wrestling to grind out the round. Velasquez wins by Decision
11. Cain Velasquez vs. 14. Hatsu Hioki
Former Sengoku featherweight champion Hatsu Hioki is regarded as a consensus top-3 stud, but a near 100-pound disparity is too much for any man to overcome. Velasquez earns the knockout by overwhelming Hioki early with strikes. Velasquez wins by Knockout
11. Cain Velasquez vs. 15. Brian Bowles
So far, Velasquez has had the luck of the draw, taking on all these little guys. Much like Hioki, Bowles will also succumb to the size and heavy hands of the Californian. Velasquez wins by Knockout
11. Cain Velasquez vs. 16. Jose Aldo
One of the pound-for-pound best, Jose Aldo is by far the greatest in his division and can be competitive, if not equally as dominant, in the lightweight class, should he chose to move there. However, against Velasquez, he's toast. Velasquez wins by Knockout
Velasquez Tires and Rashad Evans Picks Up the Momentum
11. Cain Velasquez vs. 17. Gilbert Melendez
Velasquez has largely benefited by being a lucky draw in this random order of combatants. Couple with his cardio, wrestling and punching power, he may be able to keep this up for a long time. Poor Melendez. Velasquez wins by Knockout
11. Cain Velasquez vs. 18. Benson Henderson
When are things going to begin to get the least bit difficult for this guy? Benson Henderson may be among the elite of the lightweight class, but that nowhere translates to anything as far as heavyweights are concerned. Velasquez wins by Knockout
11. Cain Velasquez vs. 19. Carlos Condit
Okay, even by now Velasquez must be tiring. Luckily enough, he's taking on Condit, a real warrior who has suffered in the past against touted wrestlers. Velasquez will do just enough to close the distance and take Condit to the ground, where he cinches the round. Velasquez wins by Decision
11. Cain Velasquez vs. 20. Ian McCall
Does Velasquez still have enough in the tank, even to take on a man of small stature like McCall? Velasquez wades forward with everything he has left, rocking McCall with a barrage of strikes and cinching the finish. Velasquez wins by Knockout
11. Cain Velasaquez vs. 21. Rashad Evans
Now we will see a turning of the tides. Despite blowing through most of the competition, exerting yourself for the finish time and time again is taxing on the body, even if it's against men half your size.
Evans will use his speed and movement to dip in and out, peppering Velasquez with strikes, who is too sluggish to clinch for a takedown. Evans wins by Decision
Robbie Lawler Upsets Evans and Advances
21. Rashad Evans vs. 22. Dominick Cruz
Evans will now have the benefit of being the bigger man for a change. Despite Cruz's fantastic movement around the cage, he won't be able to circle away from Evans long, as the heavy hitter closes the distance and gets the finish, courtesy of his right hook. Evans wins by Knockout
21. Rashad Evans vs. 23. Frankie Edgar
Again, Evans will enjoy the size and strength advantage over the smaller Edgar, who will circle away from Evans for a while, that is before the New Yorker again finds his range, rocks Edgar with a hook and closes the show with strikes. Evans wins by Knockout
21. Rashad Evans vs. 24. Nick Diaz
The cardio-frantic Diaz will do a good job at keeping Evans at bay with his superior boxing, though the former collegiate wrestler will hunt for the legs of the Stockton native, working him to the canvas where he cinches the round by staying on top. Evans wins by Decision
21. Rashad Evans vs. 25. Robbie Lawler
This is going to be a stretch. Evans has tired in the past against formidable opponents and after having run after both Cruz and Edgar around the cage and then grinding out the takedown deficient Diaz, he will begin to gas.
That's bad news as Evans steps into the cage with one of the most heavy hitters in the game, as Lawler pressures early and scores with a left-right-left combo. Lawler wins by Knockout
25. Robbie Lawler vs. Chad Mendes
It won't be Jose Aldo-flashy, but Lawler's size and crippling power will be enough to wilt the featherweight contender with a devastating barrage of hooks galore. Lawler wins by Knockout
Junior Dos Santos Devastates Lawler, Moves to Finals
25. Robbie Lawler vs. 27. Gray Maynard
Surprisingly enough, these two men aren't all that much different in size. Lawler may be better suited for the welterweight division that Maynard is, as the former collegiate wrestler weighs upwards of 180 pounds when not preparing for a fight.
Maynard can keep things interesting, clinching with Lawler repeatedly, though the difference in strength will be evident as Lawler fends off all grappling exchanges and grinds out the clock. Lawler wins by Decision
25. Robbie Lawler vs. 28. Junior dos Santos
Lawler is feeling fresh and confident as he thinks he may just have a shot at cinching the whole thing. Then walks out current UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos, and all his hopes and aspirations go flying out the window. The big man will stalk Lawler early, measuring him with his jab before he finishes the show with a right hook to the dome. Dos Santos wins by Knockout
28. Junior dos Santos vs. 29. Urijah Faber
Dos Santos is regarded as one of the smaller heavyweights in the division, however, he will find himself to have a decided size advantage of Faber, who fights in the 135-pound class. "The California Kid" can dance around the cage and feint for takedowns all he wants, but that right hand from the Brazilian will find it's home as he earns the decisive finish. Dos Santos wins by Knockout
Dos Santos Wins This Strange Royal Rumble
28. Junior dos Santos vs. 30. Anderson Silva
If it was a five round tilt, even the smaller Silva can make this fight interesting. But because this is a one round affair and both men know that, Dos Santos will do what he must to secure the win.
He knows that the path of least resistance would be bring Silva down to the mat, where Dos Santos can grind out the round from up top. Dos Santos wins by Decision
So in the end, the late entrant Dos Santos wins this strange Royal Rumble-esque affair. The Brazilian benefited from the number he drew, which allowed him to pass by lots of formidable opponents before he met with the pound-for-pound great at the end.
I think a traditional Grand Prix format would be much better suited for these athletes, which could be on the way very soon.