Even on a card that features many of the mid-to-low level talents in the UFC, the imported featherweight division isn't getting a lot of love. In the lone featherweight contest on the main card, Canadian striker Mark Hominick (19-8, 5-2 WEC/UFC) hopes to prove he belongs in title contention as he battles The Ultimate Fighter season eight alumnus George Roop (11-6-1, 2-3-1 WEC/UFC). Roop aims to play the role of spoiler, along with starting a winning streak after an impressive knockout win over Chan Sung Jung at WEC 51.
Hominick tore through the competition in 2010, picking up three straight wins using exceptional striking technique and speedy footwork. Bryan Caraway, Yves Jabouin, and Leonard Garcia all succumbed to Hominick's superior kickboxing and Muay Thai skills. Despite the split decision judgment at WEC 51, the fight was far from a close affair. Good footwork, constant circling, and wicked counter punching created an insurmountable gap on most fan's scorecards, but poor judging deemed it a razor-thin decision.
Roop's WEC career has been a bit more tumultuous. In three appearances, Roop has gone 1-1-1 with two stints at 145 pounds against Leonard Garcia and Chan Sung Jung, and a debut loss at 135 pounds against Eddie Wineland. His most recent battle against Jung was his most impressive, especially considering the hype that surrounded Jung due to his exciting performance against Garcia at WEC 48. Roop ended Jung's night spectacularly by using quick footwork, a distance striking game, and a steady diet of kicks that eventually paid off in the second round.
Stylistically, Roop and Hominick bring similar gameplans to the table. Both men have decent submission games, but their stand-up tactics are going to be the focal point of this showdown. Hominick's technique has proven time and time again that he's one of the better strikers in the division, both offensively and defensively. His footwork, especially in the way he circles away from attacks and counters quickly, is the foundation for his success, but Roop did show improvement against Jung.
Roop's battle with Eddie Wineland at WEC 46 should give us a good idea of how this fight will go down. Jung's "zombie" staring, reminiscent of the Roger Hollett vs. Emanuel Newton debacle, isn't something that's synonymous with Hominick. Wineland's lead right hand landed consistently over the course of their three-round affair, and his head movement and footwork left Roop without any damage to show for against Wineland. Hominick, in my opinion, is a better technical striker than Wineland, leading me to believe he'll finish off the former TUF'er inside the three round limit.