The sixth fight of the UFC On Versus preliminaries has the aging veteran, Vladimir "The Janitor" Matyushenko, stepping into the cage against another Colorado fighter in Eliot "The Fire" Marshall.
This fight offers a very intriguing match up of styles, pitting a ground-and-pound specialist against a Jiu-Jitsu black belt. But, as per usual, every fight starts with the fighters separated on their feet.
The Colorado native will have a seven inch reach advantage on Matyushenko. If Marshall can utilize his monstrous reach, he could pick apart his opponent in a similar fashion as his last two fights.
Matyushenko has come along way with his own striking, but Marshall's reach and fluid foot work will likely frustrate "The Janitor" should the two stand for too long. However, if Marshall gets too comfortable, as he's done in the past, Matyushenko could easily land a big punch and string together a combination.
After a feeling-out process, both fighters will likely up their aggression. It's here where Matyushenko usually finds his rhythm and gets to work.
His 13 years of experience should help Matyushenko find his way past Marshall's reach into a position where a takedown is possible. It's going to be very tough for him to achieve though, as Marshall has an excellent sprawl.
If these two clinch, it's possible that it will be a back-and-forth battle for positioning along the cage, as both fighters are very difficult to take down.
While Marshall is good in the clinch with his lanky knees and snappy punches, Matyushenko is probably better in this area.
"The Janitor" keeps people off guard, while mixing up shots to the legs, body, and head. Despite this, Marshall's sprawl is very effective—especially with his conditioned set of Colorado lungs.
Whoever can wear down their opponent more will likely score the first takedown. That may be a very difficult task though, as both fighters are well-conditioned; Matyushenko with his wrestling background, and Marshall with his high altitude training.
If Matyushenko is going to get the takedown, it will be primarily through brute force. Luckily for him, brute force is one of Matyushenko's strongest assets.
On the ground, the methodical attack of Matyushenko may bore some, but the strength he brings into his ground-and-pound can finish anybody once the opening presents itself.
Besides, a slow, methodical attack is needed against Marshall's escape ability. But then again, Matyushenko's experience and wrestling strength has made him quite good at controlling his foes on their back.
The escape ability of Marshall isn't the only thing that Matyushenko needs to worry about. If he gets too aggressive or too relaxed, Matyushenko could find himself stuck in a tricky situation.
Although Matyushenko has never been submitted, he is out-matched in the Jiu-Jitsu world. "The Fire" Marshall has the credentials to be the first one to make "The Janitor" tap out, plus he should have answers for any submission that Matyushenko might have.
Whoever is battling from their back has the ability to escape and get the fight back to a neutral position. It's because of this that the fight will most likely last all three rounds with both fighters finding themselves in a number of advantageous positions.
It is in this writer's opinion that experience will be a major factor in this fight.
Matyushenko has battled former UFC heavyweights, as well as a number of outstanding fighters in their prime, including the likes of Tito Ortiz, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and Andrei Arlovski.
Marshall, on the other hand, is on the typical rise of a fighter against weaker competition. His only noteworthy fight was an unofficial loss to TUF 8 light-heavyweight winner Ryan Bader.
Matyushenko's experience should be enough to earn him a decision in a close fight, despite his 39 years of age.
Range striking: Marshall
Takedown defense: Matyushenko
Clinch striking: Matyushenko
Ground striking: Matyushenko
Submission defense: Marshall
UFC On Versus 1 Official Picks
Matyushenko over Marshall
Keep an eye out for coverage on Clay Guida vs. Shannon Gugerty in the next couple of days.