Josh Gross
Wednesday August 13th, 2008

With WEC 35 and UFC 87, the past two weeks have brought a couple of surprises and a number of top-notch battles. Here's what some SI.com readers had to say about the fights and other incidents in MMA recently.

What were your thoughts on Brock Lesnar last Saturday? What do you think is next for him? -- Eric Menk, Mich.

Lesnar credits his physical attributes for his collegiate wrestling success. In MMA, that won't be enough. He'll have to learn submission defenses, and he'll need to figure out which ones best suit his offensive game. I'd concentrate on the keylock and Kimura for now. Otherwise, he can forget about beating someone like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira -- not that that's guaranteed if he figures out how to defend a kneebar.

Also, if Lesnar can't put his hooks in for back-control, he should skip the mount in favor of knee-on-belly position. With his size, balance and agility, he could be devastating there.

While we now know Lesnar can go a full 15 minutes when he's not pressured or put in a bad spot, it's very difficult to gauge any fighter's performance when he goes up against Heath Herring, a mediocre wrestler with a deserved reputation as a survivor.

What's next for Lesnar? Well, it looks like Cheick Kongo. But Lesnar should impress again by putting the Frenchman on his back whenever he wants.

Shifting gears, let's hope the former pro wrestler's sophomoric actions were a one-time showing. Shoving Herring in the back at the end of the first round was bush league, as were his taunts. And laughing at his beaten opponent, with time remaining on the clock no less, was nothing but disrespectful.

Showmanship is one thing. Showing someone up is simply embarrassing to the sport.

What did you make of Rampage at the pre-fight press conference in Minnesota? He and Dana White seemed pretty glib about the whole thing. -- Alex, Mass.

At a time when Jackson should be contrite we get him goofing around with the UFC president. It's nice to see he's doing better, but lives were threatened in his accident and neither of them seem the least bit remorseful about any of it. And I'm not buying the "energy drink" defense.

I think [Demian Maia's] B.J.J. might be some of the best in the UFC, and he displayed impressive Muay Thai. It looks to me like the middleweight division might have a legitimate contender if he can put together one or two more impressive wins. What are your opinions of the guy? -- Jon Ash

You could be right about his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. For a work-in-progress, I like what I've seen. Maia utilizes the best kind of jiu-jitsu game for MMA: aggressive and tight. The problems I see -- and they're more short-term issues -- center on his cardio and striking. Against a good wrestler who can punch, I'm not sure Maia will hold up. He's not ready for the likes of Nathan Marquardt or Dan Henderson, but he's off to a good start.

So who are the WEC fighters you think could be successful in the UFC? -- Dustin Ruta, Philadelphia

Well, Carlos Condit for sure. Urijah Faber and Miguel Torres are in divisions the UFC doesn't promote. It would seem the two WEC champs are too small to fight at 155, though Urijah could make it if he pounds protein shakes.

Paulo Filho would make an excellent addition to the UFC's middleweight class. If he impresses against Chael Sonnen on Sept. 10, I hope Filho makes the transition. But it seems a lot would depend on whether Anderson Silva -- a teammate of Filho's who shares the same management group -- moves up in weight again.

In response to Carlos not being a top welterweight article: [Frank] Mir is one of the best announcers in MMA. As one of the top heavyweights in the world, he knows what he is talking about. Carlos has a great record of 23-4. He beat Frank Trigg, who is a top 10 middleweight, in less than half the time it took [Georges] St. Pierre to beat him. Carlos beat [Brock] Larson in the first round; it went to unanimous decision when No. 2-ranked Jon Fitch fought Larson.

And don't forget UFC veteran John Alessio. Top 10 welterweight Diego Sanchez barely beat him in a decision, while the "Natural Born Killer" beat Alessio at the end of the second round. Carlos also beat B.J. Penn's grappling coach "Charuto" Verissimo in 17 seconds.

And Hiromitsu Miura is no slouch. He has a 9-5 pro MMA record but he is champ in Japan in judo and sambo competitions. He is black belt in judo, and he obviously trained balls to the wall for this fight, which was the most important for his career. He has fought some amazing fighters -- Jason Miller for example.

Carlos is barely 24 years old. I train with him and he trains his [butt] off and is getting constantly better. I would be surprised if he can't annihilate Fitch or St. Pierre in a year or two. -- Asher, Albuquerque

Condit is tremendous. He's just not the second-best welterweight in MMA right now. That's not a slam on him; it's a reality check for guys like Mir, who are too quick to anoint fighters to greatness when they haven't earned it.

Carlos should fight the best. He needs to fight the best. The problem is he can't fight the best if he remains in the WEC because the UFC has a virtual lock on the division outside of Jake Shields. And there's no way you can rank Condit among the top two when that loss to Shields still hangs over his head. (Not that falling to Shields is something to be ashamed of.)

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