When we last left our heroes...Cole Miller is what every division needs- a go for broke specialist who doesn't always fight to his strengths, but who fans love to watch. While he's not a lights out lunatic like Diego Sanchez, he highlights the virtue of entertainment; sometimes we just want to see wanton violence.
That said, he's 1-3 in his last four. While I don't think a pink slip is on the horizon, it's a real possibility nonetheless. For a mainstay in the division (and beyond), it would be a real shame.
Andy Ogle is a lot like Dan Hardy. He's a little brazen, but he knows how to entertain, and he's technically sound. He's coming off a win over Josh Grispi; a win that gave Grispi a pink slip no one ever would have imagined after his WEC run.
What both men can do: Miller does a lot well, though he's best on the ground. You've heard it all before. ‘He's got solid power in his hands, an iron will, and world class jiu jitsu!' ala the Joe Rogan speaker. And it's mostly correct.
He's always been adept at finding back control, or shifting his legs for a triangle. He's an excellent in the guard, which is something even Gurgel had to worry about.
Ogle, meanwhile, relies more on his striking. He's got a solid left jab, left hook that he pumps from the traditional stance. He's fast and throws compact strikes. In addition, he transitions well into takedowns when he needs to; a betrayal of most British fighter stereotypes. He'll use his legs for trips as well, so Miller, despite being the pseudo-favorite, will have his hands full.
What both men can't do: Ogle will have a hard time with Miller's reach. Because he throws his strikes in tight, he'll have a harder time landing as much as he'd like. However, Ogle shouldn't be discouraged since Miller doesn't really have great defense on the feet. His hands are constantly too low, and despite being tough, has shown to have a crackable chin.
That doesn't translate to having a ‘weak chin', but if Ogle can land enough, he should be able to give himself a decent chance. I still prefer Cole in this one. The reach advantage means he'll land strikes often enough, and when Ogle shoots for the takedown, Miller's movement from his back will take control of the fight.
X-Factor: How well can Ogle defend? I like Ogle's transition game enough that I can see him landing one-twos and hitting takedowns with regularity. It's not his fight to lose, but if he defends Miller's submissions well, he could potentially steal one.
Prediction: Cole Miller by submission, round 2.
Jimy Hettes (10-1) vs. Robert Whiteford (10-1) Featherweight
When we last left our heroes...Hettes came out of nowhere. He beat Alex Caceres at a time when no one took Caceres seriously, and he was still just a goofy smile and an afro. Then he dummied Nam Phan by taking him to Judo school, and fans fell in love with him.
Then he lost to Marcus Brimage.
It's hard to say where Hettes' career is headed. Brimage is not a bad fighter, but it's hard not to think of him as the guy foolishly having a backflip contest with Maximo Blanco after they stunk up the joint for fifteen minutes. Opposite Hettes will be Whiteford, coming in on short notice, and perhaps noticed by the UFC compliments of his youtube petition.
Who exactly is Robert Whiteford though?
What both men can do: Nothing special it turns out. I'm not saying he can't win this fight. But he kind of reminds me of Ryan Jimmo in terms of style (thankfully for Whiteford, not in terms of personality). He's a strong FW who clinches his way to victory while threatening with a very powerful and quick right hand from a southpaw stance. He's got decent dirty boxing, but critics argue he plays it too safe.
For Hettes it's all about his Judo. He executed some real picture perfect throws against Phan, and he'll look to do it again. However, that's not the only part of his game. He had to land punches on Phan to get the clinch, and has a decent set of hands that have clearly improved even as far back as his UFC debut (when he looked kind of lazy and uncoordinated).
What both men can't do: Hettes is still a little raw on his feet. He can still get outworked by the more athletic fighter. If his opponent as the speed or size advantage, I feel like this is where Hettes seems to stumble. I don't think Whiteford really fits that bill though.
In fact, Whiteford could easily lose this one by clinching too much, giving Hettes more opportunities to trip him to the ground. Whiteford is a massive, bulky FW, so there's a question as to just how successful Hettes can be as the fight drags on. I expect this to be a very ugly affair. Lots of clinching, and dirty boxing. But I still like Hettes to get an early trip takedown for sustained top control. This should weaken Whiteford's cardio enough to earn him a decision.
X-Factor: Are really bad judges ever not a x-factor?
Prediction: Jimy Hettes by Decision.
When we last left our heroes...Brad Scott has been making a name for himself on the UK circuit. He's not some blue chip prospect so we won't pretend he is. But he's got chops for a journeyman and deserves a second shot.
As for Kuiper we know a little more. We know that he can beat Jared Haman in a slugfest for example. I feel like Kuiper's slightly better than a journeyman, but tough losses to Rafael Natal and Tom Lawlor say otherwise.
What both men can do: Scott is a jack of all trades type, but unlike most jack of all trade type fighters, he's finished each one of his wins by submission or KO/TKO. The thing about Scott's game is that he really sticks to his jab. A great way to separate yourself from the average boxer is illustrating a good, persistent jab. Scott is definitely capable in that respect.
Kuiper's got solid enough striking, good leg kicks, but also a solid grappling base that starts with some decent Judo, which is of course, if I had to take an educated guess, is where his nickname comes from.
What both men can't do: Kuiper's a solid fighter, but he hasn't yet put all of his talents together. Despite this, he should be fine against Scott, who despite showing a good jab, looks uncomfortable throwing it.
In his fight against Gareth Williams he was forever throwing his jab with his head looking directly at the floor. History is not kind to such habits. Just ask Fabricio Werdum.
Prediction: Michael Kuiper by TKO, round 2.