UFC Fight Night 47: Gray Maynard vs. Ross Pearson Full Head-to-Toe Breakdown
The UFC goes to Bangor, Maine, this weekend for UFC Fight Night 47: Bader vs. St. Preux. For a Fight Night card, this one has a lot of notable fighters who are sure to have entertaining fights. The co-main event of the card features a bout between the No. 12 lightweight, Gray Maynard, and the winner of season nine of The Ultimate Fighter, Ross Pearson.
Maynard has been out of action since November 2013, when he was TKO'd by Nate Diaz in the first round. He is just 1-3-1 in his last five fights, with the lone win being a split-decision over Clay Guida in 2012.
Pearson last fought in June, dropping a controversial split decision to Diego Sanchez. Although he lost, Dana White and the UFC decided to treat it as though it was a win, and Pearson received his win bonus and a step up in competition.
There's a lot of factors at play in this fight, so let's see who has the edge in this full head-to-toe breakdown.
Dating back to his title fight against Frankie Edgar at UFC 125, Gray Maynard has proved he's got solid striking and a lot of power in his hands. He rocked Edgar several times in the first round of their fight at UFC 125 as well as their rematch at UFC 136. Maynard also showed off solid striking in his five-round split-decision victory over Clay Guida.
However, only two of Maynard's 11 wins have come by knockout, and all three of his losses have been (T)KOs.
Pearson is known primarily for his striking. He has good boxing as well as a brown belt in taekwondo. He has scored five of his 15 wins by (T)KO, including his last two wins in a row.
Pearson has twice lost by (T)KO, once due to a doctor's stoppage and the second to the No. 2-ranked featherweight, Cub Swanson.
There are a few different factors in play here, with Maynard likely having the power advantage but Pearson having the overall advantage with his striking as well as his chin.
This one shouldn't be much of a surprise. For the majority of Gray Maynard's career, he was considered nothing but a wrestler—albeit a dominant one—and all he seemed to have was his grappling.
He was an NCAA Division I wrestler at Michigan State University, where he was roommates with future UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans. When Maynard made it to the UFC, he earned decision wins over Dennis Siver, Frankie Edgar, Jim Miller, Roger Huerta, Nate Diaz and Kenny Florian, largely utilizing his superior strength and grappling.
Pearson is a brown belt in judo and a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, so he's no slouch when it comes to grappling, but Maynard will likely have his way with Pearson in this respect. British fighters aren't exactly known for their wrestling.
Submissions aren't likely to factor into this fight all that much. Maynard is a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and has a grand total of zero submission wins and losses on his record.
If someone does have an edge, it'd be Pearson. He has five wins by submission—one to strikes—and has been submitted twice. The first one was in his first career fight, and the second came against Cole Miller in 2010.
Although Pearson does have the edge, it is important to note that his last submission victory came back in 2008 in his final fight before joining The Ultimate Fighter.
Maynard has been out for just about nine months. He was out for six months prior to that, and he was out before that for 11. Spending so much time out of the cage lately may impact him. Having lost two straight by TKO in under three minutes each time hasn't been good. His best chance at a win would be to go out, take Pearson down and just control him, but his striking power can't be discounted either.
Pearson will look to go out and fight his fight. He'll try to strike, keep the fight on the feet and pepper Maynard with shots. He's surely aware of Gray's chin as of late and will be looking to take advantage of that. Pearson will have to be sure not to get overzealous lest Maynard grab him and slam him to the canvas. In addition to that, if Pearson was TKO'd by a backing-up Cub Swanson, he definitely has to look out for Maynard's power.
Ross Pearson is primed to take a win in this fight and move into the Top 15 of the division. Gray Maynard is a high-level opponent who has had two title fights. A win over him would be huge for Pearson's resume.
With Maynard having spent a lot of time out of the cage (and having spent only 4:45 in the cage since June 2012), ring rust is likely to be a huge factor.
If Pearson is able to keep the fight on the feet and avoid power shots from Maynard, he should be able to pick Gray apart before finally scoring a TKO.
Prediction: Ross Pearson def. Gray Maynard by second-round TKO.