UFC 156 Preview: Keys to Victory for Jon Fitch
This Saturday, UFC 156 goes down from a sleepy desert town called Las Vegas, which is in the state of Nevada. The main card will only be available, as Mean Gene used to say, ON A PAY-PER-VIEW BASIS.
During that pay-per-viewing, fans will watch two of the UFC's best welterweights do battle. Both men are accomplished, but also may be at their absolute peaks.
This is going to be a great fight. What can Jon Fitch do to win? Here are three keys to victory.
Roll out the Barrel
The barrel of sludge, that is.
Demian Maia is a better striker than he once was. Just like Pat Barry is a better grappler these days.
Fitch is no Sugar Ray Leonard, but given his opponent's unparalleled ground skills and clear deficiencies on the feet—not to mention a clear desire from brass and fans to see him do something exciting—he may be tempted to try to exchange with Maia.
He shouldn't. He should press for takedowns and initiate the ground battle. That helps ensure he'll have top control. Once he has it, he's loathe to give it up.
Add in the fact that Jon Fitch peels away nefarious limbs the way a master thief pries open a tricky safe, and the path to a grapplefest seems wide and clear.
Pick Your Spots
Top control isn't going to deter Demian Maia. He's extremely comfortable from the back, whether going for a submission or a sweep.
Fitch knows that, of course, though knowing and executing are two different things. If Fitch wants to score by passing guard or landing some of that rugged ground-and-pound, he'll need to first make sure he doesn't expose himself to danger.
Ignore the Boo Birds
Plenty of people get frustrated by Fitch's soul-killing style. It's entirely possible this could give them even more fodder for complaining. However, Fitch should pay them no mind. There will be other chances to wow the crowd (and, to be honest, he should have bought himself some leeway after that win over Erick Silva).
Fitch will need to be conservative to avoid Maia's attack, and probably won't mind seeing this end later rather than sooner, given his tremendous gas tank.
In other words, if this one is boring, that's probably good news for Jon Fitch fans.