A couple of semi seasoned strikers defend their honor at catchweight this April 25, 2015 at the Venue Bell Centre in City Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The Match Up
Catchweight (160 lbs) John Makdessi 12-3 vs. Shane Campbell 11-2
Catchweight (160 lbs) John Makdessi -170 vs. Shane Campbell +155
3 Things You Should Know
1. By most accounts, Makdessi should be on a 4 fight non losing streak. As karmic dictum, he gets a fun stylistic matchup against a really good North American kickboxer.
No matter what happens to Makdessi's career, he will be remembered for that brutal but graceful spinning backfist knockout of Kyle Watson at UFC 129. I don't think a cleaner, better set up such strike exists in all of combat sports. His hype train got immediately derailed after losing to Dennis Hallman. He'd lose his next to Anthony Njokuani but has looked back on track in recent years. For as easy as it is to assess his value on the feet, it's still difficult to predict where he's headed in the LW division.
2. Shane Campbell is not the second coming of a prime Mirko Filipovic, but he's not exactly Duane Ludwig either. Wait...or is he?
To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what to expect from Campbell. Especially in this fight. When you watch some of his kickboxing footage you don't get the impression that this is some sort of Alistair Overeem like figure who can impose his will with his pedigree. He's not plodding, but being a technician does't guarantee efficiency in the chaotic world of mixed martial arts. He's on a 3 fight winning streak over a collective string of solid fighters. Needless to say, this bout should be "interesting"...
3. The odds reveal nothing about this fight. It will be a little like the Cruickshank bout in that this won't be the flashy action film bout people are hoping for.
Makdessi does one thing you don't expect from the traditionalists these days; he jabs like a regular boxer. That's not to say his jab is the greatest, but it is his secret weapon. Makdessi loves to pull people in with this low risk strike, and he'll even punctuate his combinations with it. Because he's committed to it, he doesn't hit with the kind of power you hope. While his array of push kicks, side kicks, axe kicks, Van Damme kicks, and spinning back fists complete his arsenal, something about his in cage behavior doesn't seem like enough.
I think part of my issue with Makdessi's game is that he's too conservative with his overhand right. He's not a power puncher, but the core to become a little more effective at putting an actual hurt on guys seems to be there. He'd just rather jib jab and kung fu his way to victory. Which is fine. It makes for entertaining MMA, but I don't know if it's good for him long term. For example, I don't see Campbell becoming elite in the UFC. But he could potentially win this match. His clinch fighting is brutal, and he will be comfortable fighting Makdessi on the feet at range should that be the case. Campbell doesn't really chamber his right hand, but he does unleash a rangy nasty strike with said appendage when moving forward. And he has a very strong, chopping right kick to the body and elsewhere.
I still feel like Campbell's lack of athleticism will be his undoing here. It's possible Campbell wins. Hell it's possible he makes it look flat out easy, and I just continue to undersell his excellent timing and cunning. But I think Makdessi's ability to potshot the jab and stay comfortably out of close quarter combat will earn him a close, possibly controversial decision. John Makdessi by Decision.