The Match Up
Lightweight James Krause -150 vs. Shane Campbell +130
3 Things You Should Know
1. Krause scored a solid win in his last outing but he needs to pick up more steam if he wants his name whispered more in Joe Silva's office.
Krause couldn't cut it in the WEC. But excessively strong competition in his first two bouts proved to be prophetic, as his quality of competition was the only thing really keeping him from being a Zuffa independent contractor. He's 3-3 in the UFC thus far, with some decent wins mixed in with some interesting losses. Krause projects to be a long term gatekeeper, but in the lightweight division, all it takes is two losses in a row to end up with a pink slip in the editing room. His competition this weekend isn't great, but worth more than his respect.
2. Campbell got back in the win column after losing to John Makdessi. His kickboxing career, despite its longevity, isn't what will keep him afloat.
Campbell, like Krause, can't call himself a prospect at this point. But his career has taken an interesting trajectory. Most of his pugilism career has been bled over on a Muay Thai mat where he amassed a 62-9 record. His style in the kickboxing ring hasn't really suited the UFC experience, but that's not to say he isn't suited.
3. Krause will have more difficulty early on than he'd like but his best opportunities will be in the place Campbell has made most of his career in.
From a distance, watching Campbell doesn't exactly scream to the viewer "K-1 level!". His strikes are plodding, and even his rhythm feels disjointed for a fighter with so many bouts in the strictly bipedal ring. But you see his experience emphasized in close quarters where he's adept at landing in close elbows. His knees to the body are brilliant, showcasing great economic movement, and never sacrificing position.
On the ground, he's fluid at chaining together submission attempts. In his fight with Jerrid Burke, he made good use of an attempted Peruvian necktie. However, Muay Thai works best in MMA for fighters with good core strength. If you can maximize close quarter striking by making a duel threat via wrestling, you're that much more effective. Campbell lacks this gear. He's not good at making multi-use of activity in the clinch despite his gifts in close.
Krause has somewhat of an edge. Krause is kind of lumbering like Campbell, but his movement isn't as disjointed. His jab is pawed, but also prodding. And he makes good use of his reach at range. His grappling game is above average. He shines at snaking opportunities in amidst transitions and scrambles.
Krause has the ability to stiffen Campbell up from afar. It's not that I think Krause is the better striker per se. I just think he'll be able to better utilize it in key moments. James Krause by Guillotine, Round 2.