A bout between Danny Mitchell and Li Jingliang has been scratched for UFC 173. Mitchell had to be removed from the card for undisclosed reasons (most likely an injury), but never fear for Li, the UFC has found a replacement to face the former Legend FC welterweight champion. Former Ultimate Fighter season 16 cast member David Michaud is stepping up on three week's notice to fill in for "The Cheesecake Assassin". MMA Junkie made the announcement on Thursday.
Who is David Michaud?
Eliminated in the opening round of TUF 16, by Eddy Ellis, 25 year old David Michaud will enter the UFC with an unbeaten (officially) record of 7-0. He's gone on a three fight win streak since his time on TUF with two wins coming by way of submission. He has yet to face any real strong opposition, with his record built against a series of underwhelming regional vets and too-green newcomers. He trains out of Next Edge Academy which has yet to produce much in the way of notable fighters.
What you should expect:
As his nickname suggests Michaud is a bit of a "Bulldawg" (sic) in the ring. He's a bit small for a welterweight, at 5'9" but has a fairly stocky frame to back it up. I wouldn't be surprised if Michaud immediately drops to lightweight after this bout, as his last fight was at 160 lbs. On the outside, his striking lacks. He tends to sit and wait for opportunities to drive inside and trade, and while waiting he can get touched up a bit, both with kicks and long straight punches. He's a much more competitive striker on the inside however, and uses looping hooks and uppercuts to come up from underneath taller fighters and work around their guard.
From the inside he looks to work toward a pretty decent wrestling game, using his aggression and lower stature to get in on double legs and drag his opponents down. He's got some very strong top control, but can get overly aggressive searching for striking and submission opportunities. His lack of technical polish could definitely get him in trouble against fighters who scramble well and have an active guard.
What this means for his debut:
This is really a big question mark fight for Li Jingliang. We know that he could do really well on the Chinese regional circuit, but it's very difficult to see exactly how that might translate against more polished competition, especially outside of his home country. Li is enormously strong and has a very solid, clingy grappling and wrestling game. Like Michaud he's fairly inactive from the outside, but rather than brawling into the clinch he tends to just rush in looking for the body lock where he can use his superior strength to his advantage. If he's too predictable in that, Michaud could certainly catch him and make this a dog fight. I'd probably give Michaud the edge, because he does have some decent pop in his hands, but it'll really be about who can control the clinch.
To get us better acquainted, here's Michaud's bout against Carey Varnier at DFC 17. The fight starts at about 2:00:00.