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Matt Juul: Kicking off the FX-televised portion of the card will be an exciting lightweight battle between Sam Stout and John Makdessi, both of whom should feel at home fighting in their native Canada.
Both men are solid strikers and will likely look to stand-and-trade—at least at the beginning of the bout.
Stout, who's coming off a solid win against Spencer Fisher, has never really faced a striker as unique and diverse as Makdessi, so he may switch to his wrestling if he gets roughed up a bit standing up. The ground has been a notable weakness for the TriStar lightweight, so Stout would be wise to exploit this area of Makdessi's game.
In the end, however, I think that Makdessi will surprise fans Saturday night and edge out a close win in what's sure to be a barnburner.
John Makdessi via split decision
John Heinis: After starting off his tenure in the Octagon at 2-0, John Makdessi has since lost back-to-back fights to Dennis Hallman and Anthony Njokuani. He faces a stiff test in the form of Sam Stout Saturday night.
Stout has won three of his last four, including winning his trilogy bout with Spencer Fisher at UFC on FX 4 in June, with his only loss being a fairly close decision to Thiago Tavares. Despite his "Hands of Stone" nickname, Stout actually has only nine wins via knockout in 18 career victories (just one of which occurred in the UFC).
Nevertheless, the Ontario native is a solid kickboxer with decent takedown defense and the uncanny ability to scramble back to his feet. Makdessi, a black belt in Shotokan Karate, has heavier hands (seven KOs in nine wins) but is basically a fish out of water on the ground.
Stout showed greatly improved wrestling skills in his latest fight with Fisher, so if he loses the stand-up battle, I don't see him hesitating to shoot the takedown.
Sam Stout via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Dwight Wakabayashi: It's Canuck vs. Canuck in this one, and Makdessi is taking a step up to Stoutin this one.
Both of these men love to stand and strike, and this is a clear "Fight of the Night" candidate. Stout's experience, well-rounded game and new confidence in his corner will outdo an inexperienced Makdessi.
Sam Stout via unanimous decision