Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Matt Juul: Loudmouth lightweight Jacob Volkmann will have a tough time trying to grind away a win against former WEC star Shane Roller this Friday.
Like Volkmann, Roller is a former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler, but has better finishing skills than "Christmas."
Volkmann has pretty much used his superb wrestling skills to dominate opponents at lightweight, except for his last bout when he was submitted by Paul Sass, and will have a difficult time trying to impose his will against Roller. As long as the former WEC standout can keep the fight standing, he should be able to beat Volkmann up with his striking.
If the fight does go to the ground, Roller may have a shot at submitting Christmas—whose last two losses have come via tapout—despite both men owning six sub wins each. Roller, who owns tapout victories over the likes of former WEC champ Jamie Varner, just seems to have a better killer instinct and should be able to put Volkmann away in this fight.
Shane Roller via Round 2 TKO
John Heinis: A lot of fans will probably use this fight as the perfect opportunity for a bathroom break, as it puts two grinding lightweight wrestlers against one another. Neither man has done particularly well against above-average competition, save for Roller's WEC win over former champion Jamie Varner, so the loser here is between a rock and a hard place.
Volkmann's won five of his past six, though he was tapped out in his most recent performance at UFC 146 by submission specialist Paul Sass. While "Christmas" is all about takedowns and top control, believe it or not, he has some pretty submissions to his name. Of course, the same can be said of Roller.
It's tough to call a matchup between these two mirror images, but given that Roller has lost three of his past four, it's hard to believe that Volkmann isn't at a better point in his career than Roller.
Jacob Volkmann via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x 3)
Vince Carey: Two of the most accomplished wrestlers in the UFC’s lightweight division are set to go head to head here, and since both fighters have suffered through some lackluster fights over the course of their UFC careers, the loser could find himself looking for a job.
Volkmann is most famous for his tendency to call out Barack Obama after winning his fights, but the Minnesota-based wrestler is also one of the hardest fighters to beat when he gets his opponents on their back.
That’s likely the game plan against Shane Roller, but Roller is an All-American wrestler in his own right, and that alone should make this interesting
I wouldn’t be surprised if these two ended up in an exhausting battle in the clinch, with neither fighter able to get the takedown they so desperately want, and that could lead to another rough performance for both men.
In the end, I think Volkmann’s wrestling is just a tad bit better, and he should be able to drag Roller to the mat at least a few times during this fight. The trick will be to keep him there, but Volkmann’s top control is usually very good, and I see him earning a clear decision here.
Jacob Volkmann via Unanimous Decision
Dwight Wakabayashi: Volkmann needs to use all his savvy and his skill to get a bounce-back win after his recent loss to Paul Sass. He was on quite a roll before his surprise loss and will be looking to make amends on Roller. Roller is coming off a squeaky win over John Alessio and needs to get some sort of roll going to keep his place. He simply can't do it the way he did in his last one, or the fans will boo him all night.
Jacob Volkmann via Round 3 Knockout