Creature Vs. Creature: Tyson Griffin Will Extinguish "The Fireball Kid"
Tomorrow night, Jon "Bones" Jones headlines another UFC Fight Night on Versus when he faces former UFC Light Heavyweight title contender Vladimir Matyushenko, with a middleweight bout featuring Mark Munoz and Yushin Okami as the night's co-headliner.
Kicking off the night is a lightweight bout between "The Fireball Kid" Takanori Gomi and Tyson Griffin.
Which brings me to your favorite B/R column and (one of) mine, the spirited debate of MMA fights that we call Creature Vs. Creature !
On paper, you'd think that both men are equal in the wrestling game and both men are tough guys that can take a punch as if they were sitting atop the UFC's 155-lb throne, right?
All well and good and respectable in every sense of the word, except MMA fights never happen "on paper".
Look at the fine print and you should see the disadvantages that Gomi has against Griffin.
First off, the pressure is unquestionably on Gomi to at least look impressive against Tyson Griffin because of what transpired against Kenny Florian at the UFC's last Fight Night on Spike.
It just seems like Gomi didn't live up to all the hype that surrounded him.
What will happen to Tyson Griffin when he faces Takanori Gomi?
He absorbed some shots from Florian, didn't really show too much indication of takedown defense against Ken-Flo and didn't try to fight off the attempt at a rear naked choke.
Had he done that, he could have at least given people motive to say "Kenny won, but he didn't finish Gomi", thus fueling the talks among the MMA community that Gomi was a tough lightweight who could have a future in the top 5 at the UFC's 155-lb weight class.
Not to say that Florian left too many openings for Gomi to finish him, because Gomi never really had the opportunity to finish Florian, so even though it was his debut, the fact remains that Gomi never made too much effort to finish Florian in the first two rounds.
Tyson Griffin, on the other hand, has finished people in the Octagon — though this is probably because Griffin's been in the Octagon longer than Gomi has been.
He hasn't submitted anyone since his UFC debut at UFC 63. Since then, he hasn't been finished either.
The three times that Griffin has lost, he ran out of time and been outdone in fifteen minutes. Being a standout wrestler in high school and junior college will give you that unrelenting stamina and conditioning.
As for Gomi's own wrestling, I will admit it's good despite the fact that none of us really saw it against Florian.
To the man's credit, he has neutralized fifteen opponents with it en route to victory, and he's only been outdone twice.
That being said, how is he going to do that against a guy like Griffin, who's scrambled his way out of equally-tough situations like the one that Gomi would present to him?
Really simply, I don't think he will.
For every question that Gomi presents, Griffin has an answer.
For the question of Gomi's striking, which has won him eleven fights in a 38-fight career, Griffin not only has deadly striking but a solid chin that has yet to be proven "glassy" by anyone in the UFC.
For the question of submissions, which Gomi has presented to ten opponents, six of which were unable to provide an answer, to think Griffin makes seven would be an astronomical jumping of the gun.
Griffin has yet to tap or be knocked out in his career and with the grit that Griffin never walks into the cage without, it's tough to think of much reasoning as to why Gomi won't make Griffin the seventh person to leave the question of submission.
Does Griffin need the win? Absolutely. He's coming off of a loss to Evan Dunham by split decision at the UFC 115 prelims on Spike.
The thing is, with the type of performances Griffin gives off in each fight, there's little motivation solid enough to say that Griffin needs to look like a #1 contender in order to stay with the super-titan of Mixed Martial Arts.
The way I see this fight going down starts off with a feeling out process just so both men can each see what the other has in the tank before they really get the fight going.
Should this fight be this year's lightweight successor to Sanchez-Guida in terms of stand-up skill, I will be impressed.
I won't rule out a submission attempt here and there from either man, but I would look for takedowns —lots of them— and for some ground-and-pound action from Griffin.
I look at this fight as a test of Gomi's ability to take a shot and handle himself on the ground against a skilled wrestler like Griffin.
In the end he passes the "tough chin test" again, but he falls to Griffin in three rounds. I will admit a good performance in defeat could save Gomi's career.
It'll be tough to pull that off with a hungry young fighter like Tyson Griffin though.
Good luck, Gomi.
You're going to need it.
Prediction: Tyson Griffin by Unanimous Decision
For those who truly believe that believe that The Fireball Kid has more than a prayer to incinerate Tyson Griffin, You can check out Colton Whittemore's take on the fight .
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