What the UFC Fight Night 30 card may lack in star power, it could make up for in hard-hitting action. On Saturday, Oct. 26 in Manchester, England, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida and “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Mark Munoz headline an intriguing card.
Machida and Munoz will do battle at 185 pounds, which represents a step down in weight class for Machida. The Dragon suffered a controversial loss to “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis in his last fight at 205 pounds. Rather than fall back in the rankings at light heavyweight, he chose to pursue a title at middleweight.
Munoz had been on a tear before current middleweight champion Chris Weidman stopped him in July 2012. Still, Munoz has won three of his last four fights over top-notch competition. Most recently, he knocked off Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch at UFC 162 in July.
Which man will take the next step toward a title at 185 pounds? Here’s the information you need to watch the event, as well as predictions for each fight on the card. Deeper analysis is available for the top three bouts.
|UFC Fight Night 30 from Manchester, England - TV Info and Predictions|
|Facebook Preliminaries - Noon ET|
|Bradley Scott vs. Michael Kuiper||Middleweight||Scott by KO|
|Jimmy Hettes vs. Rob Whiteford||Featherweight||Hettes by submission|
|Andy Ogle vs. Cole Miller||Featherweight||Miller by submission|
|Rosi Sexton vs. Jessica Andrade||Women's Bantamweight||Andrade by KO|
|Luke Barnatt vs. Andrew Craig||Middleweight||Barnatt by decision|
|Al Iaquinta vs. Piotr Hallman||Lightweight||Iaquinta by decision|
|Fox Sports 2 Main Card - 3 p.m. ET|
|Phil Harris vs. John Lineker||Flyweight||Lineker by KO|
|Alessio Sakara vs. Nicholas Musoke||Middleweight||Musoke by decision|
|Norman Parke vs. John Tuck||Lightweight||Tuck by KO|
|Jimi Manuwa vs. Ryan Jimmo||Light Heavyweight||Jimmo by KO|
|Ross Pearson vs. Melvin Guillard||Lightweight||Pearson by decision|
|Lyoto Machida vs. Mark Munoz||Middleweight||Machida by decision|
|Card from UFC.com|
Manuwa vs. Jimmo Is an Exciting and Potentially Explosive Light Heavyweight Bout
When Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa and “Big Deal” Ryan Jimmo battle, there could be fireworks. Both men have powerful striking abilities and are looking to make their mark at 205 pounds.
Manuwa is undefeated in his MMA career and has a 2-0 mark in the UFC. Most recently, he stopped Cyrille Diabate in February at UFC on Fuel TV 7. Though he has a Brazilian jiu-jitsu background, Poster Boy likes to stand and trade. He has a nice variety of strikes, and he throws all of them with mean intentions.
Though both are dangerous strikers, Manuwa’s powerful leg kicks balance out his boxing game nicely. His ability to change levels gives him a slight edge offensively. However, Jimmo is the better defensive fighter. Per FightMetric, Manuwa only evades 36 percent of the strikes fired at him.
As you can see in the video here from BAMMA on YouTube, he holds his chin straight up and has a tendency to drop his right hand. His opponent Anthony Rea caught him on a couple of occasions, but to Manuwa’s credit, he absorbed the shots without going down.
That said, Jimmo is likely the most powerful striker Manuwa will have faced. Those lapses in defense will lead to a KO win for The Big Deal.
Guillard vs. Pearson Could Be Another Brawl
Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard doesn’t always fight smart, but he’s always entertaining. Few fighters have more raw talent in regard to speed and power, but he’s underachieved in his career because of poor tactical decisions.
Case in point, he rocked Donald Cerrone at UFC 150 early in the first round but failed to maintain the pressure to finish him. Moments later, Cerrone knocked him out with a head kick once he regained his wherewithal.
If Guillard maintains focus, he can compete with just about any lightweight in the world.
Pearson is on a two-fight win streak after stopping Ryan Couture and George Sotiropoulos in his last two fights. He’s a well-rounded fighter who has had success winning fights standing and on the mat. In his career, his 15 wins are evenly spread across the KO, decision and submission variety.
His wrestling ability gives him an edge over Guillard, whose takedown defense isn’t the sharpest. He only stuffs 65 percent of the takedowns attempted against him. While Pearson seems to enjoy trading with opponents at times, the smartest approach against Guillard is to take him down.
If Pearson does that, he’ll win a unanimous decision.
The Main Event
Machida’s wrestling skills should bring him a win against Munoz. He proved against Dan Henderson that one-dimensional strikers don’t fare well against him.
Munoz’s takedown accuracy is just 27 percent. More importantly, his takedown defense is just 58 percent. If he can’t stop Machida from putting him on his back, The Dragon will dominate from top position.
Will the weight loss hurt Machida? It could, and quite honestly, that is the only way The Dragon should lose this fight. If he doesn’t have the stamina or strength to hold position against Munoz, then the fight may be fought standing. If that happens, Munoz has a shot as an elite striker.
If Machida is in proper form, he wins by unanimous decision.
Follow me for news and musings on MMA, boxing, the WWE, the NBA and sports video games.