The fight report: UFC 159

| April 22, 2013 | 1:56 pm | Reply

UFC 159A fight that we’ve literally been hearing about for eight months, Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen will finally climb into the cage and make it official at this Saturday’s UFC 159.  Whether you like Sonnen or hate him, you have to respect he’s sold a fight that very few think he can win, yet is intriguing enough to want to check out.

That isn’t the only fight on the card that has me curious of the outcome, as talent across nearly every division is represented here.  So, let’s dig in to the incoming PPV and get out blood pumping for the action ahead.

Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen: This is a fight that cost us a PPV back in September, yet created an internet storm about fighter obligations, as well as fuel for a season of TUF.  Now, as the one-sided war of words comes to a close, we’re left with the very real fight ahead of us.

I like Sonnen as a self-promoter and fighter, yet this bout is perhaps the worst match possible for the former Middleweight.  While he’s a powerful wrestler and certainly has the will and endurance to win, Jones has spent his entire career fighting guys of a very similar make-up.  Ryan Bader, Quinton Jackson, Vladimir Matyushenko and many others on the way up fall into the same wrestler template, and Jones was able to dispatch nearly every one before the bell.  This is a lot of hype for very little fight, as Sonnen comes forward but finds himself being choked out within the first round.

Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher: Two fighters that have danced around each other for much of their careers, we’ll finally get to see Bisping and Belcher knock the living shit out of each other.  This is an exciting match-up between two fighters with a great deal of diversity in their games, leaving the battlefields this plays out on as a big question mark.  In a straight striking battle, this one is extremely close due to the high-volume styles of each man, but the clinch and ground phases could factor greatly into this fight.  Overall, Bisping’s superior output and takedown ability make him a slight favorite in my book.  A strong showing by both turns into a route late in the fight, as Belcher grinds down and Bisping gets the finish in the second half of the fight.

Roy Nelson vs. Cheick Kongo: Two aging heavyweights will make a push to get into title contention, as Nelson faces long-time UFC staple, Cheick Kongo.  Nelson is someone who drives me crazy, just because he’s too stubborn to do the right thing, and too quasi-successful to realize it.  With a chin like a bulldozer blade and outrageously heavy hands, Nelson had dispatched the lesser opponents of the division, yet lacks the size, strength and discipline to beat anyone at the top.  Kongo is someone whom many will write off immediately here due to the equation of his weak chin against Nelson’s monster punches, yet this is one I see playing out as a clinch battle.  Kongo has no reason to fight Nelson in a striking battle when his foe is an undersized HW with a weak clinch game.  Don’t expect a fun fight, as Kongo closes distance and works knees against the cage for the full fifteen minutes, drawing the exhausted Nelson to a displeasing decision.

Phil Davis vs. Vinny Magalhaes: An interesting fight for sure, the remarkable Phil Davis will take on one of the best no-gi BJJ guys in the world in Vinny Magalhaes.  Being a no-gi ace and an MMA grappler are two very different things however, and this is something that Magalhaes has never managed to change.  Lacking realistic entry skills, Magalhaes relies on opponents to invite him to a ground fight, but has found few opponents willing to blithely play this game.  Davis is a smart man first and a wrestler second, with a better fleshed-out striking game than Magalhaes and plenty of confidence to use it.  This should play out as a one-sided beating, with Davis counter punching Magalhaes’ predictable kick attacks and avoiding the mat at all costs for the TKO or decision win.

Jim Miller UFC 159

Jim Miller (Picture by Joshua Wood)

Jim Miller vs. Pat Healy: A fight between two of the toughest individuals at Lightweight could easily be a FOTN contender, as Strikeforce transplant Pat Healy faces Jim Miller.  Neither fighter has ever broken into the very top of their division, yet this isn’t for lack of trying; facing all comers with no hesitation.  While both very adept fighters in their own way, these two are quite different as well, with Miller employing a style built on rapid level and distance changes vs. Healy’s straight-forward power game.  The issue for Healy his entire career is his relative lack of speed, which makes it easier for a faster fighter to take away his pacing and force him to play catch-up the entire fight.  Couple this with Miller’s ability to absorb errant shots and work out of submissions, and you have a recipe for a Miller win.  Miller should control this fight in all areas, using superior striking output, takedowns and positioning to snatch a decision win.

Gian Villante vs. Ovince St Preux: Two fighters breaking out of Strikeforce purgatory, Villante and OSP will look to take the other out for that coveted UFC contract.  These two came together in exact opposite directions, as Villante was heralded as the next big that whom never produced like he should, while OSP was a bit of a surprise in terms of how well he actually did.  Villante isn’t a bad fighter, but his game is very much that of a mid-level kickboxer with some wrestling chops and I don’t see him going far at the elite level.  Conversely, OSP is a mid-level wrestler with some punching power, and the same ceiling will be imposed on himself should he make it out of this.  I expect a razor-close fight, but one that OSP wins on the merit of a handful of takedowns in the face of light striking opposition.

Leonard Garcia vs. Cody McKenzie: Love him or hate him, Garcia is back in the cage for another fight, this time taking on the wild man grappler Cody McKenzie.  Garcia is the same fighter every time out and knowing how he rolls; I can’t see him playing into McKenzie’s submission game on the mat.  It could be close, but McKenzie’s lack of striking skill and failable chin make this a fight Garcia can win if he keeps it tight.  Look for McKenzie to try to rapidly close distance, but flying fists keep him at bay and eventually drop him to the canvas within two rounds.

Nick Catone vs. James Head: A loser leave town affair, wrestler Nick Catone and submission stylist James Head will fight to keep their jobs.  Catone has always been a strong wrestler with a hard punch, but serious injuries have kept him from his full potential in his UFC career.  He’ll have his work cut out however against Head, as Head brings a counter-wrestling submission game and long-range striking prowess to the fight, forcing Catone to commit to shots or attempt to box in the pocket.  While Catone can certainly hit, I don’t think he can shut off his wrestling instincts and Head’s bottom game is simply too good to survive long-term.  This one should be over quick, as Catone fires a double in desperation and winds up swept and submitted within the first round.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Featured, MMA, UFC

Mike Hammersmith (Featured Staff Writer)

About the Author ()

I'm a 20+ year veteran of martial arts and a fan of MMA since UFC 1, when my world was thrown on its head by the budding sport. I'm obsessive in the pursuit of martial abilities and have competed across the country in everything from Vale Tudo to archery to Scottish broadsword. Once my body broke down, I picked up a pen and went in the direction of writing. I specialize in betting advice, predictions, and I'm a walking encyclopedia of MMA trivia. I own a cafe in Exeter, NH called Hammersmith Sandwich Company and write out of my office between customers.

Leave a Reply

Refresh Image