UFC on Fox 5: Matt Brown vs. Mike Swick Dissection

Dallas Winston weaves through the match-up specs in the Brown vs. Swick bout on Saturday's UFC on Fox 5 card.

A pair of gun-slinging welterweights will christen the UFC on Fox 5 main card with fireworks, as gritty brawler Matt Brown meets resurrected slugger Mike Swick. The sure-fire dog-fight is the first of 4 total fights set for the Fox broadcast, which is captained by the lightweight title affair between Ben Henderson and Nate Diaz and airs at 8:00 p.m. ET on the heels of the FX preliminary card at 5:00 p.m.

No one believes that Matt Brown (15-11) will become the UFC welterweight champion one day, or even make a charge for the #1 contender spot. His record is one of the most lackluster you'll find for a top-level fighter nowadays. His personality isn't overly brash, humble, or memorable, and he's not the type to attract legions of new fans with a silver-tongued promo. He doesn't even have a mohawk or pink hair.

But that's exactly what makes him a special fighter.

A resonating aspect of the Pride Fighting Championships organization was the manner in which a competitor was gauged more by his fortitude and courageousness than whether his hand was raised at the end; "budo" and spirit over black-and-white results. And that appreciative perspective is where Brown shines.

It wasn't too long ago that Brown suffered 3-straight losses in the UFC, all by submission, then scored a momentum-building win ... only to succumb to a guillotine choke from Seth Baczynski. For those who, at the time, were questioning why he wasn't released, the answer can be found in the scintillating 3-fight win streak that Brown responded with. On the verge of extinction after dropping 4 of his 5 fights in 2010-2011, "The Immortal" has taken 2012 by storm with a pair of highlight-reel TKOs (Chris Cope, Luis Ramos) and one of the gutsiest comebacks of the year (unanimous decision over Stephen Thompson).

But standing before him on Saturday is Mike Swick (15-4), a cast member on the inaugural series of The Ultimate Fighter who will gladly oblige Brown in a rugged slug-fest. Swick ignited his UFC career with 2 devastating 20-second knockouts followed by 2 submissions inside the 3-minute mark, earning the nickname "Quick" in the process. In addition to sharing Brown's affinity for trading leather, Swick is a lengthily proportioned welterweight as well, edging out Brown (6'0", 76") by an inch in both height and reach.

They differ in that Swick was once a legitimate, rising contender at middleweight and, after being out-muscled by Yushin Okami, did the same at welterweight by piecing together a 3-fight roll before Dan Hardy won their #1 contender bout circa 2009. When Paulo Thiago convincingly handled him for back-to-back defeats, Swick disappeared while battling an unusual digestive issue from February of 2010 until this August, where he re-emerged victoriously with a 2nd-round TKO of DaMarques Johnson.

While both competitors are pretty solid all the way around -- with Brown's submission defense (not offense) being the only glaring flaw on the table -- it's hard to imagine this unfolding as anything other than a good ol' fashioned slobber-knocker. Brown might have a slight edge in the wrestling department while Swick brings the superior submission (or at least "guillotine") skills, but the likely turnout is that these gentlemen will let their hands dictate their destinies.

If we categorize the stand-up portion of combat into fringe striking, typical in-the-pocket distance, phone-booth range and clinch-work, I think each candidate has a claim to being favored in 2 apiece.

With a fairly even outlook throughout the various ranges of striking, the swaying factor is Brown's invincible chin. He's never lost by TKO and the only instance I can recall of him being flustered by strikes was against Thompson, a karate phenom. Swick can take a punch as well -- Chris Leben is the only fighter who owns a TKO victory over him, though he's been rocked on the feet and much more attentive to his offense than his defense.

Brown has a specific Achilles Heel with submission defense. His submission offense and grappling overall are actually quote sound, as evinced by the slick scissors sweep he hit on Baczynski and his armbar over Ryan Thomas. He'll have to be particularly cautious of Swick's guillotine, though that really only applies when Brown lowers his posture in the clinch or shoots takedowns; neither of which are integral to his arsenal.

Swick comes in as a slight favorite on the betting lines, but I think Brown's gritty toughness and kitchen sink for a chin for carry him to a finish or a decision.

My Prediction: Matt Brown by TKO.


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