UFC 118: Can James Toney Shock Us All and Beat Randy Couture?

Jason SchielkeCorrespondent IAugust 24, 2010

HOLLYWOOD, FL - JANUARY 06: James ' Lights Out' Toney throws a punch during a bout against Samuel 'Nigerian Nightmare' Peter in a WBC heavyweight title eliminator fight at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino January 6, 2007 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

This Saturday at UFC 118, current holder of some boxing alphabet heavyweight belt, James “Lights Out” Toney, will be making his first-ever appearance wearing the four-ounce gloves.  Unfortunately for him, he will be going up against five-time UFC champion, Randy Couture.

Most of the media and bloggers aren’t giving Toney a snowball’s chance in hell of winning this fight.  Most sportsbooks have Toney as a 5-to-1 underdog against “The Natural."  That may be a line that sport bettors won’t want to touch, and for good reason.

Based on those odds, Toney has about a 20 percent chance of winning this.  With that said, he does have a few things going for him in this fight.

First, Toney easily has the most educated hands to ever step inside the Octagon.  There have been more powerful strikers—Chuck Liddell and Mirko Cro Cop come to mind—but their technique is nowhere near the level of Toney’s.

Second, he is facing a 47-year-old, past-his-prime Couture.  Toney is no spring chicken himself at the age of 42.  Even though he has had nearly four times the amount of fights, Toney has less “miles on the tires” than Couture.  Couture has been knocked out three times in his last nine fights, all of the knockouts coming from heavy-handed strikers.

In 81 professional boxing matches, Toney has never been stopped.  When one looks at the caliber of fighters he has faced in his boxing career, the conclusion has to be made that the odds of Couture coming anywhere remotely close to knocking him out are slim to none, and slim is on the bus leaving Boston.

So, to the meat and potatoes: How can Toney beat Couture?

His best chance is going to come when Randy has to close the distance in order to get the takedown. Granted, Couture has really worked on his footwork and head movement.  But there is nothing Couture can do that James hasn’t seen in the boxing ring hundreds of times. 

For that brief moment that Couture gets in Toney’s punching range, he’s going to be walking into the danger zone.  Toney has excellent timing and has a chance of connecting with an uppercut when Randy goes for the shot.

But what if Couture decides to clinch and work a little dirty boxing before he uses his Greco-Roman wrestling to take Toney to the ground?  Should that happen, this would be the perfect opportunity for Toney to push Couture away and land a punch that could put him to sleep.

While common sense says Toney doesn’t stand much of a chance against a high-level MMA fighter, he does have a chance to win.

Is it likely?  No.

Have we seen some crazy stuff happen in MMA?  Yes.

This Saturday, there is a chance we could see one of the craziest things in MMA history ever happen—a fighter with no MMA experience beating a living legend and one of the best MMA fighters in history.

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