Lesnar doesn't deserve title fight

NEIL SPRINGER -- SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 10:02 PM ET

Randy Couture returns to the octagon after a year-long contract dispute with UFC to defend his title against over-hyped former WWE wrestler Brock Lesnar.

It's a sad state of affairs when someone this inexperienced is considered one of the top contenders in the UFC heavyweight division. Especially when the sole reason that person is getting pushed in MMA is their name value from a previous career in fake fighting.

To make matters worse, Lesnar is only 1-1 in the UFC. Not only was he unable to finish off Heath Herring in his lone victory with the organization, he never strayed from his amateur wrestling base. Multiple times he had Herring's back and not once did he attempt a submission.

And finally, to slap some icing on this cake of criticism, he was submitted in the first round by Frank Mir.

Any semblance of real competition has been thrown out the window for pay-per-view revenue.

Lesnar has lots of potential, but that alone can't be justification for a title shot. He could be a champion one day -- after all, he's one of the best pure athletes in MMA history -- but until he realizes his potential and becomes a well-rounded fighter, he doesn't deserve this opportunity.

His size and power may be enough for him to walk out with the gold tonight. However, if that does indeed happen, he'll simply get submitted by Nogueira in his next fight.

Despite these criticisms, I still want to see this match. It will be interesting to see how Couture vs. Lesnar plays out.

Also on the card, top lightweights Kenny Florian and Joe Stevenson throw down.

Fight card and predictions

Dustin Hazelett (11-4-0) vs. Tamdan McCrory (9-1-0)

Originally, Amir Sadollah vs. Nick Catone was scheduled to be a part of the PPV broadcast, but Sadollah was forced to pull out due to a leg infection.

His loss is our gain as Dustin Hazelett is now on the main card -- the way it should have been in the first place.

If this stays standing, it benefits McCrory more, though Hazelett is no slouch on his feet. However, expect Hazelett to take it to the ground where he should be able to get a submission.

Prediction: Hazelett by second-round submission

Nate Quarry (10-2-0) vs. Demian Maia (8-0-0)

To win Maia's going to have to avoid eating any of Quarry's powerful punches. Conversely, Quarry can't afford to get taken to the ground.

Maia's a craftier competitor though, so expect him to secure the takedown and finish Quarry with a submission.

Prediction: Maia by second-round submission

Gabriel Gonzaga (9-3-0) vs. Josh Hendricks (15-4-0)

This battle of the ground fighters will be pretty one-sided. Hendricks is a good wrestler and well-versed in submissions, but he's dealing with a very dangerous Brazilian Jiu Jitsu blackbelt.

Once this hits the mat, Gonzaga will take it.

Prediction: Gonzaga by first-round submission

Kenny Florian (10-3-0) vs. Joe Stevenson (29-8-0)

So close and yet so far, Florian has been on the cusp of a title shot for some time now. Ever since his decision loss to Sean Sherk in 2006, he's plowed through every one of his opponents. In his last bout, he even handed Roger Huerta his first loss in the UFC.

Stevenson is no pushover and the former title challenger wants another shot at the gold. However, Florian is better standing, as well as on the ground, and his elbows are deadly. But there's no stopping the heart of Joe Stevenson.

Expect this to go the distance.

Prediction: Florian by decision

Randy Couture (16-8-0) vs. Brock Lesnar (2-1-0)

Wrestler vs. wrestler. Age vs. youth. Experience vs. athleticism. Brains vs. brawn. There are many ways to look at this fight.

When Couture dropped down to light-heavyweight in 2003, it was because he was having difficulty handling larger wrestlers -- namely Josh Barnett and Ricco Rodriguez. Not to take anything away from those competitors, but neither has the wrestling pedigree of Lesnar.

It's no secret Brock will look for the takedown so he can stay on top of Couture and work his ground-and-pound.

If 'The Natural' can stay on his feet, he can use his superior boxing and head movement to wear the big man down. Who knows? Maybe he'll even put Brock flat on his back. If Couture is taken down, however, he'll have to look for a submission. Easier said than done for him.

In the end, I expect Couture to weather the early storm and wear Lesnar down.

Join me Sat., Nov. 15 at 10 p.m. EST for live coverage of UFC 91.

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