James ‘Lights Out’ Toney is a
veteran of 81 fights, some of which he has been a considerable underdog in. Yet
he’s won 72 times including 44 knockouts but when he fights tomorrow night,
Toney will have the slimmest chance of victory.
That’s because he is making his
mixed martial arts debut on UFC 118 and sharing the octagon with the legendary
former wrestler Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture. Toney is 42 and bulky whereas
Couture is five years older and in excellent physical shape. Consensus is that
if Couture tries to stand toe to toe Toney will spark him but when – and not if
– it goes to ground, it’s only a matter of time before Lights Out gets his own
lights put out.
Top of the bill is BJ Penn trying
to regain his UFC lightweight title after surprising losing it on a unanimous
points decision to Frankie Edgar in April which promises to be another close
and hard fought affair.
Two of Cayman’s keenest martial
arts enthusiasts will be watching at the Boston Garden; karate instructor Bob
Daigle and karate black belt David Reid.
Reid said: “Unless Toney catches
Randy coming in he doesn’t have much of a chance. Toney will win every boxing
match between them, so giving him 10-1 odds in an MMA match against Randy
Couture is generous for Toney I believe.
And that’s not really being critical of boxing which is an awesome
martial art, but MMA involves so much more.
“Remember that Randy beat Vitor
Belfort both times they fought and those fights did not end quickly. Vitor has extremely fast hands and has power,
but Randy was able to neutralise his striking consistently and take him to the
ground. That’s where the fight will go and Randy will probably rough him up
with some ‘dirty’ boxing on the fence just to prove a point. Now if a boxer
brings up their other MMA skills to their opponent’s level for an MMA match,
then I would put my money on the boxer every time.
“To get past the first round,
Toney’s endurance will have to be very good. I predict Couture will win by TKO
within three minutes. Randy could submit
Toney if he wants to, but I think he would rather win by TKO from ground and
Daigle said: “Randy Couture has
decent stand up skills but would be crazy to try to stand toe to toe with
Toney. The keys for Randy to win will be take James down and ground and pound
or submit him.”
Daigle brought over UFC lightweight
contender Kenny Florian to Cayman in June along with top UFC boxing coach Peter
Welch who includes heavy champ Brock Lesnar as one of his fighters for a couple
of clinics and to meet fans at the Aqua Beach Bar on West Bay Road.
Florian has a tough fight on UFC
118 against Gray Maynard, but Daigle believes his fellow Bostonian will win. In
my opinion Maynard is mostly known as a world class wrestler. Kenny is a black
belt in Brazilian jiujitsu and continues to improve his wrestling skills by
training with Georges St Pierre in Canada on a regular basis.”
Master Steve Graham is president of
the Cayman Islands Taekwondo Federation and a Pan American Taekwondo Union Executive
Council member. “I’m going for Couture,” he said. “Toney is a great boxer but
can he handle grappling and kicking? I hope Florian does well, It’s a tough
fight and if he gets through he could get another shot at the lightweight world
title. Kenny’s a nice guy, intelligent and dedicated.”
Cayman’s head boxing coach Nayon
‘Donie’ Anglin is going against public opinion and picks Toney. “I always
favour the boxers in these matches,” he said. “Toney in particular is always in
shape. He’s a smart individual and won’t want to be embarrassed. He will back
up his talk.”
Troy O’Neil, former novice
Caribbean light-heavyweight champion, said: “Toney has to avoid ground fighting
because he’ll get beat. If he knows how to fall that might help but I feel he
has been too inactive and left it too late to go into MMA to stand a chance.”
Charles ‘The Killa’ Whitttaker
said: “Couture should win and I think Toney is out of his element, but I would
like to see him knock Couture into 2015. I’ve seen UFC fighters punch before
and they don’t know how to punch correctly. If Toney is on top and hands free,
he could batter Couture.”
Killa’s trainer Norman Wilson
echoed what everyone thinks. “Toney has a chance when still on his feet but
he’s not standing he don’t stand a chance.”
* A video will be shown at the Aqua
Beach Bar after UFC 118 introducing the next huge UFC star who is coming to
Cayman in October.