Great Sherdog Debate: Faber vs. Pulver

By Mike Sloan and TJ De Santis May 30, 2008
The Great Sherdog Debate returns with another edition of hard-nosed, pull-no-punches nonsense between columnist Mike Sloan and on-air personality TJ De Santis. The two Titans of Tom Foolery will try to prove who has more insight on the fight game and which of the two will walk away with dignity intact. For this debate, De Santis and Sloan discuss Urijah Faber (Pictures) versus Jens Pulver (Pictures) for the WEC featherweight title on Sunday, June 1.

Sloan: After taking a shellacking by web guru Mike Fridley yet again last week, I'm pleasantly ready to attack you again, TJ. Heck; I need another win just to get back above .500. And what better way than to pick on you, the most winning-less debater in GSD history? It's usually always a good time ripping you into smithereens, my fearless talk show co-host.

Let's chew some fat and get down to the nitty gritty, shall we? I'm one of the few people on this planet who actually believes Jens Pulver (Pictures) will not only trump Urijah Faber (Pictures)'s 12 fight winning streak, he'll do it by sending the shorter "California Kid" to the woodshed. Pulver has been here so many times. He should sleepwalk past Faber and capture the long-haired, butt-chinned champion's belt.

Faber has youth on his side and he's the more dynamic, explosive wrestler of the two. He seems to be stronger and his relentless pressure is a thing of beauty. Let's not forget his stamina, either. However, all these subtle attributes will be a moot point as Pulver's massive standup advantage is the only intangible he'll need.

Pulver won't be taken down easily and if he does, he'll just scramble back up to his feet and let his hands go. He's been in the situation of being the massive underdog too many times and just when you think he's hit rock bottom, he bounces up like Jeff Sherwood's blood pressure.

Aside from the few early losses in Pulver's career and his submission at the hands of the great BJ Penn, he's only been beaten by guys who knew how to strike, or at least tagged him at the right time. Duane Ludwig (Pictures)? Premiere striker. Takanori Gomi (Pictures)? One of the better boxers/strikers in MMA. Hayato Sakurai (Pictures)? An explosive knockout artist who prefers to remove people from their consciousness. Joe Lauzon (Pictures)? One great, perfectly-timed punch and that was it. The same goes for Jason Maxwell (Pictures).

Where am I going with all this? Easy; Faber is not known as a striker.When it comes to Faber, he either submits a guy or wins a decision, so the likelihood of him knocking out Pulver is slim to none. And with that said, Pulver is too experienced to get submitted by someone not nicknamed "The Prodigy" and Pulver has never lost a decision.

Trust me, TJ, Pulver will shock the world again like when he first toppled then-unbeaten Penn. He's got much more to lose than does Faber and once he stops the champ via left hook in the second, you'll like an even bigger tool than Mike Goldberg.

De Santis: I get it. You lose to Mike Fridley for an unprecedented seventh time and you're looking for an easy win. It's promoter's logic. A fighter loses and then you give him a can to build him back up. Chuck Liddell (Pictures) lost to Quinton Jackson (Pictures) last year at UFC 71. A quick fix to Liddell's loss was a win over Keith Jardine (Pictures) at UFC 76. Jardine pulled the upset and cost Liddell to suffer back to back losses for the first time in his career. That upset even cost me my first loss in The Great Sherdog Debate. Well this time I am your Keith Jardine (Pictures). I won't win because I have a better game plan or that I will frustrate you for 15 minutes. I will this debate because you're a bone head!

Jens Pulver (Pictures) was great. He dominated a division that was inferior. Most of Jens' wins are against lesser opponents. He has come up short against some of the very best, and beat fighters that just weren't on his level. His most impressive win was over UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn (Pictures). "The Prodigy" was 23-years-old, and was literally a baby in the sport. And if you recall, BJ had a fully extended armbar in the bout and Jens was saved by the end of the round.

Don't get me wrong, "Little Evil" is a stud, and has shined in this sport. But he is in the twilight of his career. Urijah Faber (Pictures) is the here and now. He has the belt and all of the skills necessary to beat Pulver. Incredible cardio, a dominant wrestling base, and a champion's desire gets Faber through this fight with ease. When you look at it on paper, it is obvious that Pulver has a puncher's chance at best. For 25 minutes, Faber will pick up the Miletich fighter and slam him on his head over and over again. Jens has the edge on the feet, but he will only be on his feet at the beginning of every round. The way I see it, Jens has maybe three chances on his feet, because the Iowa import will not make it to the championship rounds.

Let me map this out for you real quick. Make sure you compare this to the play-by-play at Sherdog.com after the bout. You will be asking me if I am psychic.

Round 1:
Faber will come out hard and take the center of the cage. Jens will look to work a jab early but never gets a chance to throw anything meaningful. The Sacramento native will excite his hometown crowd with a big double leg takedown at the one minute mark. From there Faber will pass from guard, to half, to side control. Peppering shots to Pulver's head and body, the round will expire. 10-9 Faber.

Round 2:
This frame will be very similar to the first. Except this time around, Jens will go back to his corner bloody, frustrated, and tired. Barely making out of the round fighting the judges will score it 10-9 Faber, but will contemplate a 10-8 round.

Round 3 will be the end. Jens will come out with whatever he has left. He might even land a last ditch effort punch. But after an over-extended left that doesn't even come close to hitting its target, Pulver will be scooped and slammed for the final time in the fight. Faber stops him at roughly the two minute mark.

Another win for Urijah Faber (Pictures), and my first here in The Great Sherdog Debate!

The Rest of the Card:
Miguel Torres (Pictures) vs. Yoshiro Maeda (Pictures)
Sloan: Torres is one of those guys who, when you watch him, you just know he's going to be great. Aside from his mullet-in-training, the dude is just fun to watch. Maeda's a tough guy, but Torres will show him the exit in the second thanks to a guillotine.
De Santis: Just like Miguel said on "Beatdown" after his win over Chase Beebe (Pictures), "Wolfcuts for life!" Torres is the best at 135 pounds and is a pound-for-pound great. I like Miguel to score a submission late in the first.

Chuck Grigsby vs. Mark Munoz (Pictures)
Sloan: Grigsby's MMA experience dwarfs Munoz' but he hasn't fought anybody who is near the upper echelon of fighters. Still, I think his many months on the job will prevail; he'll score a late stoppage in the third round.
De Santis: "Rev" is a guy I have seen a few times here in the mid-west. He has been dominant in most of his fights compiling a record 13-3. He hasn't fought the toughest of competitors but his experience should be enough to get him past Munoz.

Rob McCullough (Pictures) vs. Kenneth Alexander (Pictures)
Sloan: McCullough is desperate to prove his loss to Jamie Varner (Pictures) was a fluke. If Alexander can't bring "Razor" to the canvas, it'll be a torturous evening for him. Oh, and if you don't think McCullough wants to avenge that loss from a few years back, you'd be dead wrong. McCullough late in the first via hellacious strikes.
De Santis: Couldn't agree more. McCullough will have a chip on his shoulder in this fight. He means business and it will be quick. "Razor" by TKO at the midway point of the opening stanza.

Alexandre Nogueira vs. Jose Aldo
Sloan: Is it me or is the WEC stuffing "Pequeno" down toward the bottom of this card? He's one of the greatest little guys in the history of the sport, yet there tends to be no marketing of him whatsoever. His U.S. debut will be sensational as he'll score a slick armbar late in the first.
De Santis: He might be low on the totem pole of a stacked card. But he will get recognition for submission of the night. Look for a sweet triangle CHOKE!

Charlie Valencia (Pictures) vs. Dominick Cruz
Sloan: Faber is the only man to topple Cruz as a pro. Valencia also lost to Faber but he's dropped four out of his last six bouts. It might be an easy one for Cruz, though Valencia is no slouch. Cruz by guillotine in the first.
De Santis: I like Valencia by dominance. He will pressure Cruz for 15 minutes and win a unanimous decision.

Tim McKenzie (Pictures) vs. Jeremy Lang
Sloan: This one's easy. McKenzie will enter the cage with wild, tripped out hair. Lang is unbeaten and looks like a future star each time he fights. You know my motto: bet against the guy who has wacky hair. He's probably spent more time planning his do than his gameplan. Lang will stop him with strikes late in the first.
De Santis: Not familiar with Lang all that well. But I am not impressed with McKenzie from what I have seen of him. I like Lang to win this.

Alex Serdyukov (Pictures) vs. Luis Sapo
Sloan: Serdyukov is on a roll, winning two in a row. His last win was a thrilling triangle over the tough Ryan Stonitsch (Pictures). Still, it won't be enough to carry him through against the promising Sapo, who will win a controversial decision.
De Santis: Sapo is promising and I like him to impress with a stoppage in the third.

Chase Beebe (Pictures) vs. Will Ribeiro (Pictures)
Sloan: How angry is Beebe since he was submitted by Miguel Torres (Pictures)? So angry that he'll catch the aggressive Ribeiro in a rear naked choke late in the first.
De Santis: Beebe kicks off an impressive win streak on his way back to the top with a TKO in round two.

Jeff Curran (Pictures) vs. Mike Brown
Sloan: "The Big Frog" is fresh off a loss to Faber (I see a trend here) and is hoping to somehow squeeze his way back into title contention. However, Curran has a tough test ahead of him Brown, who could hand Curran his second straight loss. Brown by decision.
De Santis: This is going to be a great fight! Too bad we won't see it on TV. I like the "Big Frog" by decision. Brown is tough, but Curran is slick.

Donald Cerrone (Pictures) vs. Danny Castillo (Pictures)
Sloan: Both men are undefeated, so we'll easily hear the tired cliché: "Somebody's O must go!" from ring announcer Joe Martin (Pictures)ez come fight time. My guess is that Cerrone's "O" will stay put. He'll submit him by his favorite choke: the triangle. He'll do it in the second and won't fail a post fight urinalysis for Hydrochlorothiazide this time around, either.
De Santis: Cerrone is the one that goes. Castillo walks away battered but victorious.

GSD Career Totals:
Fridley: 7-0
Sloan: 18-18
Savage: 8-11
Curtis: 3-2
Sherwood: 0-1
Gross (ret): 0-1
De Santis: 0-3
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