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UFC 113 Preview: Jeremy Stephens, Sam Stout Collide for Potentially Explosive Fisticuffs

Stout_vs_stephens_medium In the lone lightweight match-up on the entire UFC 113 fight card, Ontario-born Canadian striker Sam Stout (15-5-1, 4-4 UFC) will aim to continue his winning ways as he battles heavy-handed knockout artist Jeremy Stephens (17-5, 4-4 UFC) in a showdown between two seemingly one-dimensional fighters who love to "stand and bang". Stephens recently defeated Justin Buchholz at UFN 19 in a "Knockout of the Night" performance while Stout impressively defeated Joe Lauzon in a "Fight of the Night" performance at UFC 108.

It's pretty apparent what we're getting in this match-up. Stout is well-known for his abilities as a puncher, and while he hasn't shown devastating knockout power in the latter years of his career due to the increased level of competition -- he still remains a very tough fighter for those in the weight class that are more comfortable with striking rather than dabbling in the ground game.

Stephens is a little less polished of a striker than Stout, but he makes up for that lack of technical prowess with immense power. I'd liken him to a smaller version of Scott Smith in that he really doesn't have great ground skills, but his "knack" for punching a man out is undeniable. He isn't completely deficient in his ground tactics however, and he's been able to hold his own against high-level grapplers. While I wouldn't mark him down for an inverted heel hook or slick armbar transition from the back, he is, at the very least, good enough to know when he's in danger on the ground and how to reverse his luck.

But what are we even talking about? Ground game? Like this fight's going to go the ground, am I right? Both men are probably looking for a massive bonus, and the UFC is obviously positioning this fight on the main card for the possibility of a real slugfest between these two competitors. And I'm pretty sure it's going to be delivered, whether it be over three rounds or someone gets downed in one.

Stout should have the advantage in this fight. He's far more of a technical striker than Stephens, and his footwork should be the major difference. Moving in and out of range and avoiding Stephens' powerful haymakers shouldn't be an overly tough task, but Stout has shown a solid chin throughout his career. If he happens to get clipped, I think he has the ability to recover quickly and re-acquaint Stephens with his jab.

Of course, the unpredictability factor applies simply because Stephens has immense power. But I'm willing to take Stout over Stephens nine times out of ten. He's proven to be a tough cookie to crack in the cage, and Stephens doesn't have a significant advantage in any of the other areas in which this fight can take place. For that reason, I'll take Stout via decision.


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