UFC 158: FX Preliminary Card Preview

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

A look at UFC 158's Preliminary card on FX featuring former title contender Patrick Cote.

UFC 158: St. Pierre vs. Diaz at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada will begin a solid night of fights on the Facebook preliminary card and after follows a by a mixed bag of matches on FX.

Patrick Cote (18-8) vs Bobby Voelker (24-8) [Welterweight]

Who are these guys?

Patrick Cote fought Anderson Silva for the UFC Middleweight title at UFC 90, and blew his knee out in the middle of the fight. Cote lost his next two fights and was cut from the UFC, went 4-0 in regional shows and returned to the UFC. He is coming off a very tepid "win" where Alessio Sakara was DQed for strikes to the back of the head and is making his Welterwegiht debut.

Bobby Voelker is crossing over from the Strikeforce Challengers series and is a long time veteran of the sport. This is his first fight in the UFC.

What can they do?

Both fighters are fairly limited, but Cote is the more well-rounded of the two. Cote's base skill is his boxing, but he has been expanding his skill set to include some strong kicks, clinch fighting and passable grappling. Voelker is primary a grappler who looks to drag fighters to the mat and then punish them with strikes.

How do they match up?

Not very well from an entertainment stand point. Cote has looked very tepid since his return to the UFC and has been very reluctant to engage. Voelker is not very good on the feet and Cote should be able to beat him up on the feet. Cote is not a great grappler and Voelker might be able to control him if it gets to the ground. So I expect a lot cage clinching in this one, with bouts of ugly striking and grappling. I'll pick Voeker based purely on how uninspired Cote has looked in his last two runs in the Octagon.

Fight Prediction: Bobby Voelker by Decision

Darren Elkins (15-2) vs Antonio Carvalho (15-5) [Featherweight]

Who are these guys?

Darren Elkins was a wrestling stand out in high school in Indiana; he has been fighting since his early twenties, and has faced some tough competition already in his career. He has been in the UFC since 2010 and is 5-1 inside the Octagon.

Antonio Carvalho is a BJJ black belt, a karate black belt, and is working on his judo. He has also gotten into the cage with some top talent in Featherweight but has been less successful. He is 2-1 since joining the UFC at Aldo vs Mendes.

What can they do?

Elkins is a punishing wrestler, who gets on top and goes to work with striking. He is very difficult to move when on top and he lands very heavy strikes if he is able to posture. Carvalho is an able striker, but his best work comes from getting on top and working a submission game.

How do they match up?

This one is less than thrilling match. Carvalho will not be able to get Elkins down, and won't be able to stop Elkins from taking him down. Once on the ground Elkins likely won't be able to finish the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt. Short of a miracle strike or submission, I don't really see Carvalho winning.

Fight Prediction: Darren Elkins by Decision

Jordan Mein (26 - 8) vs Dan Miller (14 - 6 1 NC) [Welterweight]

Who are these guys?

Dan Miller is a name that should be a familiar to all UFC fans as he as fought on the main card of several large UFC Pay-Per-Views. The older and larger brother of Jim Miller, Dan fights out of the AMA Fight Club, holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, was the last IFL Middleweight champion, and is 6-5 in his UFC run reaching back to 2008. Dan just recently dropped to Welterweight, getting his first win the division in his last fight. Dan's personal life has also been in the news as he and his wife lost their first child in 2009 and their second child, Dan Miller Jr, has struggled with health issues.

Jordan Mein was a Welterweight prospect who spend some time with Strikeforce and lost to Tyron Woodley in a one-off fight to challenge for the 170 lb belt. The son of a fight promoter, Mein has been training and fighting his entire life, competing in kickboxing and grappling from a very young age. He actually made his pro debut in 2006 against Rory MacDonald at the age of 17. Mein was not brought over from Strikeforce and has logged a fight on the local circuit before getting the UFC offer.

What can they do?

Miller's skill set is similar to his brother's Jim but dramatically less dynamic. He has decent striking, mostly boxing based, but his strength is based in his grappling. He has a very strong Guillotine choke and a good top game. On top Miller can work a good top game, but nothing spectacular.

Mein is a very skilled striker, he uses very nimble footwork to angle off of strikes and then land hard counters. He mixes strikes together extremely well and will throw kicks, punches, knees, and standing elbows with intent to finish the fight. Mein also has fairly good wrestling, it took quite an effort from Tyron Woodley to get Mein down and once there Mein is very aggressive off his back.

How do they match up?

Really doesn't seem like Miller will be able to get Mein to the mat and on the feet Mein has a strong advantage. Mein has a real killer's instinct once he has fighters hurt and has already beaten some talented Welterweights. I think the prospect gets by the gatekeeper in this one.

Fight Prediction: Jordan Mein by TKO, Round 2

Daron Cruickshank (12-2) vs John Makdessi (10-2) [Lightweight]

Who are these guys?

Daron Cruickshank was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter: Live and has since gone 2-0 inside the UFC. A lifelong martial artist, Cruickshank is the son of two fighters, has wrestled at the DIII level, holds a black belt in Taekwondo and has a great deal of striking experience.

John Makdessi fights out of Tristar Gym, and has been a regular on under-cards when the UFC travels to Canada since 2010. A black belt in Taekwondo and Shotokan karate Makdessi is an exciting striker who has some highlight reel knockouts.

What can they do?

Cruickshank is a wrestling-in-reverse kind of fighter, who uses his grappling background to stay on his feet mostly and then work his striking. But he will mix in level changes and takedowns to keep opponents honest, and to enhance his striking. He favors kicking offense, but mixes in punches when the distance is right. Cruickshank is prone to unpredictable offense that catches fighter off guard.

Makdessi likewise favors kicking offense and likes to use the Taekwondo side kick to keep distance. He doesn't have the grappling background to mix things up with, but he does punch with a little bit more power and has shown off some good ground-and-pound.

How do they match up?

This has the makings of a fun striking match. Cruickshank could very well take Makdessi down, as the Canadian is not a good grappler, but Cruickshank also seems like he would like the challenge of a fellow striker. Makdessi had a great deal of hype coming off that spinning backfist KO of Kyle Watson, but it does look like he is anything overly special on the feet, he just makes good use of kicks not often seen in MMA. Cruickshank is a fantastic athlete and could develop into a pretty solid lightweight, so I expect Cruickshank to have the edge anywhere this fight takes place.

Fight Prediction: Daron Cruickshank by decision.

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