When we last left our heroes...It's odd to think we're still talking about "stylistic matchups" like Royce Gracie is slated to face Roy Jones Jr. but here we are....striker vs. grappler.
Though this bout is an anachronism of styles, it's still an interesting one.
As for Cody, the TUF character has picked up two wins out of his last three (making him 3-3 in the UFC). His last win was over Leonard Garcia in a fight that I'm at loss to describe. The only thing I remember was Cody sticking his tongue out and Leonard doing his usual windmill schtick.
What both men can do: Stout has always gotten by on his ability to take a punch, and land combinations in return. In addition, he combines his in tight boxing with a moderately well rounded game. This is the simple course to victory for him against Cody who has a nasty guillotine, and a...
What both men can't do: ...nasty guillotine. You can make the argument that Cody has improved his striking, but I'm not sure a few exchanges and some tongue taunting against Leonard Garcia really qualifies such proclamations.
Stout should be able to control the bout on the feet with ease. Stout's problem is that he's still fairly liable on the ground, and on the feet, even with his pace and activity, can still be prone to losing ground in the eyes of the judges. I remember thinking how bizarre it was to watch Thiago Tavares win exchanges. Thiago isn't a bad striker, but it just goes to show you how even with Stout's superior technique, he can still lose these battles.
X-Factor: Stout's body shots. He throws good kicks to the body as well, and even though he doesn't have Mendes' raw power, I like Stout to inch his way to TKO victory over time with just good ole' fashioned body work.
Prediction: Sam Stout by TKO, round 3.
When we last left our heroes...They were engaged in a solid scrap until Trujillo landed in illegal knee which led to Bowling unable to continue.
This put both fighters in the winless column in their last two. Needless to say, it's a pink slip bout for both men despite being fairly talented.
What both men can do: The best way to judge this fight is to simply watch the first one. Bowling has always been a solid one two puncher, with a very good double leg to match, but against Abel he was content to just slug it out and paid the price for it. Though he didn't lose, Trujillo landed a plethora of left hooks that sometimes dazed the once-welterweight.
Trujillo will need to match Bowling's intensity just like last time. His knees feature some of his more violent attacks, and he it showed in their first bout, as he ruined a completely good knee to the body with a followup that ended up landing to the head.
The ground will be a factor inasmuch as both guys will use takedowns, like they're prone to do, in order to score points.
What both men can't do: Bowling still has the same problem that lost him the Bobby Voelker trilogy. His chin is always in the air, leaving him wide open for all kinds of trouble. Trujillo isn't a real power puncher though he makes certain strikes count, and was able to punish Bowling. Of course, I think Abel could be controlled for three rounds if Bowling was committed to wrestling. He has very underrated, and quick takedowns, and it would behoove to implement a strategy fans might hate. Even with his faulty 'strategery', I still like Bowling to land big shots, keep his opponent honest, and get takedowns.
Plus I don't have positive experiences with Trujillo's fans on Twitter, so I'm obligated not to pick him.
X-Factor: Not much to mention here. Though I'd just like to point out that Trujillo's knee to Bowling's head was about as blatant as it gets. Blatant doesn't mean "deliberately malicious" (like Michael Bisping vs. Jorge Rivera), but it does mean "avoidable". Just saying.
Prediction: Roger Bowling by Decision.
When we last left our heroes...Darren didn't figure into MMA fans' radar until Dream 4 when he took on the high octane grappling of fan favorite Hideo Tokoro. It was in defeat, but he displayed real guts in exchanging with Tokoro on the ground (even though Tokoro is a terrible finisher despite being so adept in general). Since then he's been a quiet and steady presence in the division, racking up more wins than losses.
He was 2-0 in the UFC until being TKO'ed by Joseph Benavidez. Opposite Darren is the unkown Turkish prospect, Alp Ozkilic, who boasts an 8-1 record, replacing the injured John Moraga. Will the newcomer spoil Uyenoyama's momentum (a word I only feel barely guilty for using to apply to a guy who lost his last fight)?
What both men can do: Ozkilic boasts some wrestling street cred as a two time NJCAA All-American, and Turkish Greco-Roman Champion. Nothing extraordinary, but you see his credentials put to good use in the cage. When he shoots in for a takedown, it's got sizzle. He has especially strong trip takedowns, and is very good in the clinch where he likes to lean into his opponent and makes good use of the cage in getting opponent's to the ground.
His striking is decent enough. He flickers his kicks from his traditional stance, and loves the left hook. He can jab and even throws to the body. He's no phenom, but he knows how striking connects him to his ground game.
As for Darren, the black belt from San Franciso has made a name for himself as someone who moves fluidly on the ground. Though Kid Yamamoto was a shell of his former self, it was still impressive to watch Darren dominate him on the ground in the fashion he did. He has a strong right hand that he uses sparingly enough to keep his opponent honest though...
What both men can't do:...it's hardly enough to qualify as 'elite'. His defense is relatively porous. Luckily for him Alp doesn't have much power. This is a fascinating fight (in my not sarcastic opinion) if it hits the ground. Alp's top control is very good, and he moves well in transition, but Darren is slicker, but not stronger.
I feel like Ozkilic will take this one because I think his top control will be enough to ride out a decision. Darren is active enough from his back to avoid a boring fight, but I like the newcomer in this one.
Prediction: Alp Ozkilic by Decision.