Opening the night this Saturday at HP Pavillion for UFC on FOX: Henderson vs. Diaz will be a welterweight bout between two fighters on solid winning streaks. Will the bout turn into a showcase fight for the younger Strikeforce import, or will the UFC veteran defeat the betting favorite?
There's often something very mundane, and unoriginal about a fighter's nickname and Matt Brown's is no different. However, what it lacks in flair it makes up for in accuracy. Matt 'the Immortal' is on a four-fight winning streak, despite starting his UFC career with a 4-4 record.
When Brown began his tenure it started in one of the worst TUF seasons in recent memory (season 7). Brown himself failed to distance himself from the pack, losing to Amir Sadollah in a fun scrap, complete with jumping roundhouse kicks, and copious knees. Who knew that after losing on the show that he would still have a UFC career, five years later?
He's coming off a win over Mike Swick on the UFC on FOX: Henderson vs. Diaz card. His opponent, Jordan Mein, is also coming off a somewhat surprising win over Dan Miller at UFC 158. Beating Miller is one thing, but it's the way Mein finished Miller that makes the victory so impressive.
The pressure will be solely on Mein, who many fans who developed a fondness for in the way he uses crisp boxing to neutralize and destroy his opponents.
What both men can do: Brown is the quintessential jack of all trades pugilist. He's not quick, not especially powerful, and doesn't have a special defensive prowess on the ground (most of his UFC losses have been by submission). Durability's one of the most important intangibles in MMA, and that's why Brown has stuck around so long. He can handle an onslaught, and keep his offensive wits about him. It helps that his striking is versatile: decent pop in his right hand and a willingness to mix punches in with knees and elbows make him the kind of journeyman you don't want to encounter if you're having a bad night.
Mein, on the other hand, seems to be amping his game lately. Jordan's strength is his striking. He likes to start out slow, measure his opponent, and counter when needed. From both stances, his strength is his left hand. It's fairly evil. He throws it just as well moving forward as going backward. It's the kind of crisp punch you rarely see from MMA strikers in that it's chambered, with zero wind-up. But perhaps his greatest strength is what he's able to do when he smells blood in the water: pepper his opponent's head with standing elbows that are thrown like crossbows.
What both men can't do: However, Mein's problem is that it can take awhile to get going. He's not gonna force the issue, which means Brown could steal this fight if he Leonard Garcia's his way through the fight.
In addition, Mein can be put on his back. Brown will be looking for the trip takedown all night. I don't expect this to be the case, but Brown, like Miller, is good at capitalizing on mistakes, and it's important to remember that Mein was nearly finished with an armbar early on against Miller.
Course, the flipside is that Brown himself is prone to many more mistakes than Mein. And that will be the story of the fight. Mein stalking early, eventually clipping Brown with a left hand, only to finish him with standing elbows against the cage.
Prediction: Jordan Mein by TKO (hellbows), round 3.