UFC 118 Fight Card: Why Randy Couture Will Beat James Toney

Joe Schafer@joeschafer84Correspondent IAugust 25, 2010

PORTLAND, OR - AUGUST 28: UFC heavyweight fighter Randy Couture weighs in at UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira Weigh-In at the Rose Garden Arena on August 28, 2009 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

In what is being billed as “MMA vs. Boxing,” UFC 118’s co-main event, Randy Couture vs. James Toney, hopes to answer questions and quiet critics from both sports.

However, the way the contest is being marketed compared to the reality of the situation, are two highly contrasting pieces to the puzzle that has die-hard MMA fans nervously posturing, praying that the 47-year-old Couture does what he’s supposed to do.

Of course, most sporting pundits—MMA and boxing alike—are predicting Couture will avoid getting hit and spike Toney down to the mat where victory is nearly guaranteed.

With that said, nobody has more of a puncher’s chance than a highly decorated professional boxer.

If Toney is able to shock the world by brutally knocking out one of MMA’s most lovable legends, and that is a big “if,” UFC president Dana White will be forced into a grossly compromising dilemma.

For instance, a win over Couture will be the beginning of Toney’s legitimized MMA career in the UFC, leaving a sour taste not only in White’s mouth but also in all the sport’s purists, who will want White’s head for signing the 42-year-old boxer in the first place.

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In addition to the shame, if Toney’s rambling barks have any bite, White could find himself not only eating his own words at the post-fight press conference, but also a glove.

Luckily for White’s credibility and the sport of mixed martial arts as a whole, Toney’s humorous threat of knocking out the UFC ringleader at the presser has less a chance of happening than Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.

Frankly, signing Toney was a mistake that White wants to rectify by handing the problem over to Couture—an extremely difficult first, and possibly only, opponent—who will have no problem nipping it in the bud.

There is obviously an element of risk and reward by feeding Toney to Couture, but the risk of White’s plan backfiring is so microscopic.

Hell would have to do more than freeze over for Toney to defeat Couture in the octagon.

Anything can and usually does happen in MMA, but the chances for an upset of this magnitude at UFC 118 is almost confined to physics.

Couture’s 13 years of experience plus his technical prowess, plus his wrestling equals a Toney embarrassment.

Furthermore, Couture, an acclaimed strategist in his own right, will always have an easier job narrowing down the right game plan for an opponent that only brings one dynamic to the table.

Building a pyramid with a wide array of tools is easier than attempting the impossible with a single, yet amazing, hammer.

There are too many areas of the fight where Couture outclasses Toney’s rudimentary skills. Four months of training compared to 13 years of experience is too big of a deficit for Toney to overcome.

As long as Couture stays mindful of Toney countering his lead in right, “The Natural” will have no problem ducking under his punches to score numerous take downs.

If Couture keeps the fight standing, he has to find the right distance to land kicks on Toney’s lead leg and avoid his hands.

It will be crucial for Couture to batter Toney’s lead leg, which should be available all day if Toney resorts to the tight boxing stance he’s been used for the last 20 years.

Learning an effective sprawl in four months is hard enough, but to execute one in your first MMA fight against a wrestler of Couture’s caliber on a tenderized leg, will require a miracle.

Taking and keeping Toney down will be no harder than what Couture has already done to stronger, elite wrestlers in his career.

The five-time UFC champion will have to heavily rely on his shot to avoid taking Toney down from the clinch, where he will be in close proximity to a potentially night-ending uppercut.

Once Couture abandons his clinch work and scores take downs from his shot, Toney will spend most of the night on his back gobbling up some world class ground and pound, thinking to himself, “Why did I even open my mouth?”

Overall, the skill sets are far too one-sided in favor of Couture, even at 47 years old.

Toney’s 15 minutes of MMA fame are coming to an abrupt end; White’s nightmare is nearly over.

Let’s just hope White has learned from this mistake to avoid any future headlines of “Holyfield vs. Velasquez” or “Tyson vs. Lesnar.”


*Article originally posted on Sprawl N Brawl MMA

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