UFC on Fox 6 goes down this Saturday from Chicago, Illinois.
There are some exciting fights going on, culminating in a scrap for the UFC flyweight title. In each one, there is an advantage each fighter can press. It's easier to speculate on and describe it than to do it, but there is a path to victory. A key, you might say.
And if key be your preferred metaphor for this notion, consider this your key chain.
Featherweight Erik Koch can definitely stick and move with any opponent, or blow them up with one punch. If he can ride the standup bull long enough to find or create an opening, you know he'll slam through it with authority.
It will have to be tempered aggression, though. He's solid on the ground but is more of a submission fisherman than a positional grappler. So even as he looks to throw, he'll need to be wary. A 16-month layoff probably won't help him accomplish any of this.
That's a fancy way of saying "use your wrestling."
Since dropping to featherweight, Lamas is a perfect 3-0, and his hands and feet have looked much stronger in the deal. The relatively unheralded Lamas should ignore the little devil on his shoulder spurring him to set off fireworks in the name of notoriety or bonus checks. If he gets this W, there's no way he's not in the title picture, either as an eliminator bout or an actual shot.
If he can fully commit to his takedown shots, control, survive and advance, the fame and fortune will come.
Two fights for the title, two losses. Two title eliminators, a lukewarm 1-1 record.
Don't kid yourself: "Cowboy" Cerrone has a monkey on his back.
It's exponentially easier to type that out than do something about it. But still, there it is. Game-wise, this is entirely winnable for Cerrone. He can definitely submit you, though it is just as definite that Muay Thai and kickboxing are Cerrone's bread and butter, with grappling being more of a cheese course.
He's tough as nails in any phase, though. Seems like with Cerrone, there's nothing to it but to do it.
Back in 2011, Clay Guida welcomed Anthony Pettis to the UFC in much the same fashion as a labrador greets an unfamiliar house guest.
Not much of a chance of that here. Cerrone will embrace a gun fight. Cowboy could potentially take Pettis down, but Pettis has shown a talent for popping back up.
"Showtime" also has a pretty strong chin, so if he can stick to a tactical game, the creative striker might as well do what he's coming there to do and let the chips fall where they may.
I've admitted it before, and I'll admit it again. I have consumed the Glover Teixeira Kool-Aid. I'd love a glass right now, actually. Do you have any? In the fridge, maybe? Mind if I take a look? Give it up, bro.
Everything I'm seeing and sensing about this fight points to Glover wasting Quinton Jackson Saturday night. Rampage, by his own admission, fell in love with the knockout long ago. Teixeira has extremely serious punching power, and has said he is looking for a knockout here.
But as a jiu-jitsu black belt and accomplished ground-and-pound artist, Teixeira also has options. I'm not saying he shouldn't stand with the former champ. But it might be a mistake to recklessly chase a shootout with Rampage.
That's the first and last time I'll ever paraphrase Elton John during an MMA discussion. Or the first of 10,000 times. TUNE IN TO FIND OUT.
This is Quinton "Rampage" Jackson's last fight on his UFC contract, and he's already got one eye on the door. For years now he's been playing the same game of footsie with those other promotions and careers. He mustered up a Rampage Slam against Ryan Bader at UFC 144, but was ultimately outfought.
If he really wants to win Saturday night, he'll come in ready to wrestle and grind, not just howl and throw haymakers. But that seems unlikely. It's more likely he'll play the same trump card he will hold for the rest of his career: his hands.
Can he land one and hurt Teixeira? Anything is possible when you care enough to make it happen.
It's no secret that Demetrious Johnson is the fastest fighter in the UFC. But John Dodson is pretty fast, too. He also brings real knockout power to the flyweight division. Dodson will need to contain Johnson and get hands on him. That means cutting off the cage, keeping Johnson guessing with a diversified attack and getting dirty on the feet.
Keep inside and keep throwing, and with Dodson's power, good things can happen.
Johnson fights with incomparable speed and footwork, and he'll want to use both to dart in and out on Dodson. Though he has a strong grappling game, Johnson may not want to actively seek to get Dodson groundward, as Dodson is a credentialed wrestler who has never been submitted.
It's possible he would hold the advantage in a scramble or ground exchange, but for the most part, Mighty Mouse should be himself and impose death by a thousand cuts. Dodson is a great athlete, but Johnson may not be human.
After going 25 minutes with Joseph Benavidez to capture the strap, Johnson looked ready to run it back. Dodson is 19-5 overall, but only 6-5 when the fight goes the distance. Dodson has gone five rounds one time before—and lost. Johnson should see how Dodson handles the deepest waters under the brightest of lights.
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