UFC Live: Why Care About Jones vs. Matyushenko?

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UFC Live: Why Care About Jones vs. Matyushenko?

It's back folks, "What's the Deal and Why Care?" so without further ado lets take a look at the great night of UFC action coming up this Sunday. 

This weekend will see the second UFC Fight Night card to be shown on the Versus network. The event will be headlined by the immensely talented Jon Jones vs the veteran Vladimir Matyushenko, and a top middleweight clash between Mark Munoz and Yushin Okami.

So despite the obvious reason of this being free MMA action featuring a top young star, why else should you care about this up coming event. This is why;

 

Preliminary Card

What's the Deal?

The prelim fights will feature a solid mix of fights with hopefully at least one making the main show depending on timing;

Paul Kelly vs Jacob Volkman,

Matt Riddle vs DeMarques Johnson,

James Irvin vs Igor Pokrajac,

Brian Stann vs Mike Massenzio,

Darren Elkins vs Charles Oliveira, 

Rob Kimmons vs Steve Steinbeiss.

Why Care?

Johnson has rattled off two impressive wins since losing the TUF Season 9 Finale and will be looking to continue his rise against Matt Riddle.

James "The Sandman" Irvin will be making his return to light heavyweight after the horror show of his drop to middleweight. Pokrajac has dropped his last two and will be desperate for the win. This is likely a loser leaves town fight.  

Other notable action on the preliminary portion of the card is the debut of 12-0 Charles Oliveira, and the always entertaining Paul Kelly fighting Jacob Volkman.

Verdict: 

No detailed explanation or breakdown here just my picks for the prelims:

Kelly, Johnson, Pokrajac, Stann, Oliveira and Kimmons.

 

Tyson Griffin vs Takanori Gomi

What's the Deal?

Top-ranked Tyson Griffin will be looking to bounce back from his loss at UFC 115 to teammate Evan Dunham. He will be taking on the veteran Takanori Gomi who lost his UFC debut to Kenny Florian. The "Fireball Kid" will be desperate to prove that he belongs in the UFC lightweight shark tank. 

Why Care?

Prior to his long injury layoff and subsequent loss to Dunham, Griffin was considered top five in the division and very close to a title shot. Getting back in the win column will be vital to maintaining his status in the division.

There is no shame in losing to Kenny Florian, but Gomi is in need of a UFC win. Gomi is an MMA legend and getting a win over Griffin would be a big deal for the Japanese star. 

Verdict:  

This is a quick turnaround from UFC 115 for Tyson Griffin.

However I actually think this will be a good thing for him. With ring rust removed and a full 15 minutes inside the cage in July, I'd look for Griffin to get back to his best and get the win in this one. 

 

John Howard vs Jake Ellenberger

What's the Deal?

John Howard is fast rising in the UFC, having gone 4-0 since his debut. He takes on the hugely experienced (for his age) Jake Ellenberger in what should be a good battle of welterweight prospects. 

Why Care?

These are two of the better prospects at 170 lbs and the winner will likely enter the upper end of the division and face a top-tier fighter in his next fight. Both of these fighters are explosive and have knockout power, so with a lot to prove, this could be a good one.

Verdict:

With Howard's record and power I have to go for "Doomsday" in this one.

 

Mark Munoz vs Yushin Okami

What's the Deal?

Two of the best fighters at middleweight who casual fans probably don't know too much about. The winner of this fight is very much a title contender. 

Why Care?

Munoz has won his last three fights, winning the 'Fight of the Night' award at UFC 112. He is a dominant wrestler and a win over Okami places him firmly in the contender mix.

Fans of Okami will feel that the Japanese star has never really gotten the respect he deserves. One of the most deserving fighters never to have received a title shot, Okami has been rebuilding since getting outworked by Chael Sonnen at UFC 104.

Verdict:

Munoz has impressed me a lot with his recent fights. On paper this is a very even fight and could very well come down to a striking battle. Okami will likely be and should be the favorite but I will take Munoz to get the "W."

 

Jon Jones vs Vladimir Matyushenko

What's the Deal?

The hottest prospect in the game today looks to graduate to contender status as he takes on the veteran Matyushenko in the main event of the card. 

Why Care?

As good and impressive as Jones has looked since entering the UFC he has not faced a fighter with the resume of Matyushenko. The veteran has a 24-4 record and has only lost once in five years, to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. 

Jones is a phenomenal talent and looked impressive in defeating Brandon Vera, Stephan Bonnar, and in destroying Matt Hamill. Should Jones win this fight he has to be considered a title contender.

Verdict:

For many this seems like an easy fight to pick. The last time I checked the poll on UFC.com Jones was a 92 percent favorite to win! However, as a Jones fan myself, I do want to give other Jones advocates a cautious word on this fight. 

None of Jones's past opponents have the resume or experience of Matyushenko and the Belarusian will be a tough test for Jones. But I have to go with Jones to continue his rise towards the UFC Light Heavyweight Title. 

 

Greg Parfitt is a Featured MMA writer on Bleacher Report. 

 

Follow him on Facebook and Twitter  

 

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