Another Colorado native is set to do battle in the fourth installment of the UFC On Versus 1 Preview series.
Duane "Bang" Ludwig's original opponent was Spencer Fisher, but an injury forced him from the card. UFC newcomer Darren Elkins is now scheduled to fill the void.
Elkins made a name for himself fighting with smaller promotions in the Midwest—primarily in his home state of Indiana.
When the call came from the UFC, Elkins immediately accepted, knowing that he has the style to defeat Ludwig—that is, if he can get past his opponent's most dangerous weapon.
Every fight starts on the feet—and it just so happens that Ludwig is a very dangerous striker. His fast combinations and knockout power are daunting for anybody in the 155-pound division.
On the flip side, Elkins often uses his striking to distract opponents long enough for a takedown attempt. Considering that these shots are usually telegraphed, Elkins may be in for a world of hurt from one of Ludwig's many counters.
However, if Elkins is able to close the distance, he needs to stay there. Whether he has Ludwig back-pedaling along the cage or if they're in the clinch, Elkins needs to avoid his opponent's strong suit.
Unfortunately for him, Ludwig is fierce in the clinch. "Bang" has a very tight muay thai plum clinch and can deliver punishing knees. If the opponent can escape the clinch, Ludwig usually follows up with a hook on the exit.
There's very little doubt that Ludwig holds the superior striking, so Elkins is going to need to get this fight to the mat at all costs. If he works hard enough—and picks the correct opening—Elkins can get the takedown. If he is successful in his attempt, Elkins could have Ludwig in danger.
In past fights, Elkins has shown very solid control when he's fighting from the top. His striking on the ground isn't as powerful as Ludwig's, but his control mixed in with it is enough to make him dangerous.
This style forces opponents to move, usually opening up a choke in the process. Elkins isn't quite the jiu jitsu expert, but he knows enough to latch onto the neck long enough to tap somebody out.
However, those somebodies were fighters at amateur organizations—with all due respect, of course.
Ludwig's experience against some of the best lightweights in the world gives him enough knowledge to avoid a choke by Elkins. It's likely that submissions will be missing from this fight.
Ludwig is also quite used to this style of attack. As a great striker, many opponents have employed the same strategy—so Ludwig is capable of getting the fight back on the feet should he be taken down.
If the fight goes into the later rounds, Ludwig should have the advantage in conditioning. Look for him to stuff the telegraphed takedowns and outpoint Elkins until he lands that big punch.
Bang! Ludwig wins by knockout.
Range striking: Ludwig
Clinch striking: Ludwig
Ground striking: Ludwig
Submission defense: Draw
Takedown defense: Ludwig
UFC On Versus 1 Official Picks
Ludwig over Elkins
Keep an eye out for coverage on John Howard vs. Daniel Roberts in the next couple of days.