I love to see young, hungry guys tangle in a battle for supremacy. However, when both are on pace to emerge as legit, dangerous, top-10 material in a few years, I think sometimes letting things simmer can be a bit more beneficial.
Michael Johnson is evolving into a complete, competitive fighter who now looks to stand as one of the top talents produced by the 12th season of The Ultimate Fighter. Since his loss to Jonathan Brookins at the season finale back in 2010, he’s put together a solid 4-1 record, including his recent consecutive victories over Shane Roller, Tony Ferguson and Danny Castilloe; he's building himself a future.
Myles Jury, in contrast, has been plagued by the injury bug, but he did earn his first promotional victory at the TUF 15 finale, and he’s still an unbeaten man who has never won by decision. He’s a prospect, plain and simple.
I see this as a fight that should have been shelved and put together in a year or so, after each man has been afforded the chance to pick up a few more wins inside the promotion; a stronger sense of cage comfort would benefit both men.
But I’m not Joe Silva, I don’t assemble matches, I just watch and report. For better or worse, this match goes down at UFC 155.
We just haven’t seen enough from Jury to label him the superior striker. Sure he’s looked fairly solid in exchanges, but the level of opposition he’s beaten thus far is significantly inferior to what he’ll see when he stares across the cage at Johnson.
Johnson, on the other hand, looks to be improving with each fight. The most visible difference in Johnson’s attack these days is his confidence. He’s not concerned with getting hit and he believes in the damage his fists can inflict.
Jury’s defense may very well hold up under fire here, but he’ll take a beating if this one ends up remaining upright for 15 minutes.
This is an interesting category to approach, as both men can be very persistent in their attempts to take the fight to the mat.
Jury is a slick kid who seems to possess the determination to make things happen for himself, but he’s a bit outmatched here. Physically, Johnson is the more imposing of the two, and he’s learning to use MMA wrestling quite efficiently.
Johnson has the takedown defense to keep this fight on the feet, and he’s explosive enough to take it to the mat. M.J. will dictate where this fight unfolds, and he'll do so because of his grappling pedigree.
Being the bull can get you into trouble, and I see Johnson being the bull in this fight. That’s a bad thing when the matador is well-refined in his Jiu Jitsu practice. And believe me, Jury is slick on the mat, from the top or bottom position.
Thus far, Michael Johnson hasn’t looked the world-beater in terms of pure submission wrestling. He’s a control-and-pound kind of fighter, not a hunt-and-submit guy. Of his six defeats, five have come via submission, so there could be a major opening in wait for Jury.
This fight could very well come down to how much work Johnson has done on the mat and whether or not he’s prepared to fend off a skilled grappler.
One of the biggest mysteries here is the level at which Jury is prepared to compete. Johnson already has a sizable advantage in regards to octagon experience, and that could be a huge, huge factor.
Johnson also possesses one-punch power, the kind we haven’t seen from Jury. Can Jury’s chin stand up to Michael’s brute force, and for that matter, could we see Johnson’s chin tested yet again? Danny Castillo had Johnson in serious danger during their battle at UFC on FX 5, so Jury could catch him cold.
Speaking of catching Johnson cold, the man is a bit inconsistent out of the gate. Sometimes he’s a monster on the immediate attack, and sometimes it requires a few minutes to find his range and get comfortable.
Myles Jury, however, is an animal from the jump. This kid aims to end fights quickly. In 10 professional bouts, he’s never once heard the bell signaling the end of the first frame. He’s a killer.
There’s a big part of me that wants to go with the upset here and say Jury snatches a quick guillotine choke and puts a halt to Johnson’s current streak. But Johnson is just too confident to be so easily discredited.
I see this as Jury’s toughest bout to date: Michael Johnson will push the youngster like he’s never been pushed.
Jury’s heart is big, and he appears to be a rugged prospect who can take a punch, but this may be a step slightly too big for him at this point. I don’t anticipate a finish in this fight, but I do expect to see Michael Johnson pick up his fourth straight win inside the Octagon.
Prediction: Michael Johnson unanimous decision.