Thursday, 19 January 2012

UFC On FX 1 - Guillard vs Miller

This weekend sees the first "UFC on FX" of the UFC's new deal with Fox.  It will be headlined by Melvin Guillard and Jim Miller, with some other fun fights featured on a main card of 4 bouts, including a Pat Barry fight.  I only mention Barry because while Guillard vs Miller is a very deserving main event and a big draw in itself, I am always curiously excited to see the little big man fight, in spite of his decidedly mixed performances.  Below are write ups of the fights with my picks.


Guillard vs Millar via mmaconvert
Guillard vs Miller








Recent History

  • Had things gone differently in the second half of 2011, this could have been for the number one contendership for the UFC Lightweight title.  As it is, both fighters are coming off a loss with Guillard having lost to in an upset to Joe Lauzon and Miller having lost to Ben Henderson.
  • Prior to that Guillard had been on a five fight win streak including viscious knockouts of Evan Durham and Shane Roller.
  • Jim Miller was on a streak of 7 wins with 4 finishes and a shed load of momentum towards a title shot before losing to Henderson.
Styles

Melvin Guillard is an accomplished wrestler but he does not fit the mould of the plethora of 'wrestler boxers' in the lightweight division.  He likes to come out with all guns blazing and brash, if not relatively sloppy stand up game.  For fans of Guillard his style can be frustrating.  It often seems like he has all the tools to do well but that he lacked the discipline to really put together and stick to a game plan that plays exclusively to his strengths.  Perhaps his move from the noted tacticians of Team Jackson in Alberquerque to the Blackzillians in Florida reflects some discomfort with with that approach.

Dan Miller is another accomplished wrestler and crucially, holds a black belt in Brazilian Ju Jutsu.  His style is focused more on using his wrestling to dominate and oppress opponents, secure takedowns and finish fights primarily through submissions.  Indeed, he has 11 of his 20 career wins from submission.  While he demonstrated some brutality with his stand up against Kamal Shalorus at UFC 128, his striking game remains his weakest area.

Head to Head

Both men come into this fight knowing that a win will help them pick up some of the momentum they had before their respective losses.  Equally they should be aware that in a hellishly stacked lightweight division, another loss will mean they fall some way down the ladder.  Given the characters and styles of the two fighters,  think that will lead them to take very different courses of action.  Miller will approach the fight more cautiously, looking to keep Guillard on his back and finish by submission if the opportunity presents itself.  Melvin though, will come in fired up and looking to take Jim's head off with power punches, and to to fold him over with gut munching knees.

Prediction

In the end it comes down to whether you think Guillard can land the big shots necessary to hurt Miller and whether Miller can take Guillard down and keep him there.  I'd put my money on the latter, with Miller taking a slightly ugly decision.

Why watch it?

This fight could propel one guy back into the big leagues of the lightweights.


Duane Ludwig vs Josh Neer

Recent History

  • After a 4 fight win streak on the amateur circuit Neer earned a come back to the UFC Keith Wisniewski upon his return.
  • Since returning to welterweight Ludwig is 2-0 and looked impressive in his last outing against Amir Sadallah.
Styles

Ludwig is a kickboxer who holds (finally) the record for the fastest knockout in UFC history.  That probably gives away his gameplan going into a fight as much as anything.  Having said that, alot of the aggression that marked his regional and Strikeforce career seems to have been lost and Ludwig has become more tentative of late.

Neer is a solid veteran of 43 fights with a well rounded game based on wrestling and striking, with the offensive emphasis on striking.

Head to head

I expect this fight to stay standing for the most part with each fighter looking to knock the other out big punches.  I do not expect the greatest technical display of striking we have ever seen in a cage, but it will probably be pretty fun.

Prediction

Neer is on a good run, but Ludwig is a step up from the fighters he has been facing.  Ludwig by TKO in round 2.

Why watch it?

Could be fireworks.


Pat Barry vs Christian Morecraft


Recent History

  • Morecraft has struggled in his 3 UFC fights, going 1-2, most recently being knocked out by Matt Mitrione 6 months ago.
  • That night Barry was knocked out by a semi conscious Chiek Kongo and more recently was submitted by the giant Stefan Struve.
Styles

Barry makes no bones about his style.  From the video below:
My gameplan all the time is to try and punch and kick you, don't worry about me shooting in on you or submitting you, you don't have to worry about that.  That's not a secret.

Don't be fooled though.  In the same clip, Barry talks about sparring with guys who are bigger and stronger than him in BJJ and wrestling.  Sure, Barry is not going to be shooting any double legs or catching Morecraft in any triangles, but he believes he will at least be a bit more savvy going into this fight.  Other than than, heavy hands, big kicks and brutal chopping leg kicks, if he can get them off safely.

Morecraft is more well rounded on paper, a decent striker with a solid ground game.  Were I a cynical person (and I am) I would suspect that Morecraft had been fed to Barry as someone who will struggle to take him down and struggle to stand with him, in order to give Barry a decent chance of a win and justification for his position in the UFC.  After all, Barry is a really popular fighter, because he is so darn lovable.

Head to Head


I might have just covered this above.  Morecraft's best chance of a win is to take Barry down and stifle him, looking for a possible submission.  If not he had better keep Barry with his back to the fence.  In reality though, I see Barry overwhelming him with power and proving tough to topple.

Prediction


Barry by TKO round 1.

Why should I watch it


Pat Barry is a funny guy and it will be heart warming to watch someone really nice knock someone out.


There you have it then.  Don't forget that also this weekend there is a Pro Elite card for your delectation, headlining Kendall "The Spider" Grove vs Minowaman, two fighters who I really like.  If they weren't enough, it's on HDNet, which means we get the commentary of Micheal Schiavello.  Too bad I'm English and will have to wait until someone uploads it for download or HDNet started allowing their fights to be streamed over he net.  Anyway, a preview for that will be here by tomorrow.

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