Tyson Griffin vs. Bart Palaszewski is the second match slated for Spike TV's UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz preliminary card on Saturday night. The action begins at 8 p.m. ET and will be featured alongside the Dennis Siver vs. Donald Cerrone lightweight bout, which was covered in an analysis earlier today.
It's great to see a multi-talented scrapper like "Bartimus" in the Octagon. He flaunts a substantial twenty-seven stoppages (16 TKOs, 11 subs) on a record littered with names like Ivan Menjivar, Karen Darabedyan, Anthony Pettis (wins), Gesias Cavalcante, Clay Guida and Jim Miller (losses).
Palaszewski returns to action with his coach and mentor, Jeff Curran, who faces Scott Jorgensen in a bantamweight fight on the main. His twelve-piece stint in the IFL saw him run through everyone but the creme of the crop (Miller, Deividas Taurosevicius and Horodecki twice), which was not unlike his following performances in the WEC.
There, the adept striker and BJJ black belt won five of his eight fights (handing Anthony Pettis his first loss, which is worth repeating) but fell short against Anthony Njokuani, Ricardo Lamas, and a split decision to Kamal Shalorus.
Tyson Griffin's name first resonated when he finished eventual poster boy Urijah Faber in 2005, which was only Griffin's third fight. After a first round crunching of Duane Ludwig in Strikeforce, Griffin set up shop with the UFC and launched a stellar sequence. In nine showings, he vaulted up the ladder with seven monumental wins over reputable names like Clay Guida, Thiago Tavares, Gleison Tibau and Rafael dos Anjos with stalwart wrestlers Frankie Edgar and Sean Sherk being the two that out-worked him.
Three consecutive defeats would result in Griffin dropping down to featherweight: Evan Dunham by split decision, eating Takanori Gomi's infamous Hadouken Punch and a razor-thin split decision to Nik Lentz.
Griffin has only finished two of his eight UFC wins -- Hermes Franca by TKO and David Lee by sub -- which is typically the kiss of death for a fighter's reputation. However, despite his propensity for decisions, Griffin's been bestowed with "Fight of the Night" honors no less than five times and always maintains a frenetic and aggressive pace.
Gifs and analysis in the full entry.
Palaszewski's preference is to handle things on his feet.
He throws a high number of kicks; most low, some to the body with a head-level attempt mixed in occasionally.
He's good with his hands but definitely should be categorized as more of a wide ranging kickboxer than a traditional boxer.
His experience shines through in his overall grasp of fundamentals and his steely composure.
Palaszewski mixes up his kicks well, as seen to the right with one to the body and the next sent low.
Kamal Shalorus was able to find the mark with his lead low kicks, which is a trusted weapon for Griffin and a critical factor for Palaszewski to address.
Griffin keys nicely off his low kicks, especially when countering with his hands. Palaszewski will have to stay out of no-man's land and avoid just checking them on the edge of range, making the choice to step back and disengage or time his straight right to land first.
The clip to the right is a fitting example of the basic but effective range of skill Palaszewski can offer up.
He opens the combination going to the body with a left hook and trails it with a stiff right hand.
Taking a bit of a risk and leading the next exchange with a straight knee that Shalorus catches, he keeps good balance and digs an underhook while dipping his hips back to negate the takedown attempt.
He greets Shalorus with the pressure of another knee and incoming punch after the sprawl.
Griffin won't throw much at Palaszewski that he hasn't seen before, but his explosive quickness matched with his wrestling prowess might be a problem.
Bart has excellent grappling, yet only the very elite can hope to win or even hold their own from the guard in modern day MMA.
While functional, I don't think Palaszewski has the takedown defense to unfailingly repel Griffin, who is also clever in stuffing submissions and sweeps from the top and shooting takedowns to gain momentum.
I really enjoy a lot of the under-appreciated things that Tyson Griffin does.
For starters, he's amazingly consistent. Remove the puzzling strategy against Gomi -- which was the only time he's ever been finished or made such a grievous error -- and what's left is Griffin steadily plugging away with a ridiculously high pace and work-rate for all three rounds in every UFC performance ... win or lose.
Not only is he a tenacious workhorse who never lets up, he's become very technically complete, such as the feint, angle and footwork in the low kick to the right.
Griffin has a sweet straight right and it's the perfect companion for his low kicks.
The clip to the left is the same manner in which he knocked Hermes Franca out, which is by setting up his cross with the low kick or his left hand.
He pounces quickly but Manny Gamburyan recovers well, though Griffin sneaks in a nice punch at the end of the scramble.
This is also a nice example of how he climbs ahead on the score cards with constant activity and smart bursts.
Again we see the looming threat of Griffin's cracking low kick to the right.
You can see Gamburyan struggling with what I mentioned that Palaszewski would have to devise a solid plan for.
To deal with the endless barrage of low kicks, Gamburyan tries to back off and then re-engage (but Griffin is already out of range), and twice attempts to land first by moving in with punches: he whiffs on the first and Griffin keeps his chin tucked and defends well on the second.
Griffin also does a good job of changing up from his sweeping strikes (left hook, low kick) to his straight attacks (lead uppercut, right cross, straight knee, takedown attempt) to keep his opponent guessing and and to dictate the pace.
Griffin's fight with Frankie Edgar was extremely impressive, especially in retrospect.
He scored a monster slam, hung well on the feet and ended the fight wrenching a deep kneebar for forty seconds.
I think Griffin should aspire to replicate the same elusive style of Frankie Edgar. He has the in-and-out footwork, head movement, explosive quickness and lightning-fast double legs to do it, and I see that as the strategy he'll overwhelm Palaszewski with.
Griffin can alternate from a wide variety of offense at a furious pace, never letting his opponent do much more than defend. I'm interested in how well his speed translates in this second featherweight fight, as Palaszewski should be able to match that aspect better than Gamburyan, but Griffin should be too diverse, explosive and tenacious.
My Prediction: Tyson Griffin by decision
All gifs via Zombie Prophet of IronForgesIron.com