Don't look at me. I'm not sure what this fight is during here on the main card either.
The Match Up
Middleweight Dan Kelly +160 vs. Patrick Walsh -185
3 Things You Should Know
1. Kelly is 37, but not all that distanced from competing in the Summer Games in 2000 with a 9th place finish, a 7th place finish in 2004, and a 21st place finish 2012.
Whatever it is that genetics decided to slot into a judoka's DNA, it appears to be a key bit of information critical to developing a potential cure for aging. Kelly is like a lot of his brethren; spry no matter what age. Just look at guys like Akiyama (39), Yoshida, and Lombard. Kelly is a lot like that; still an athlete who has yet to undergo facepunching senescence.
He didn't really impress all that much on TUF, where he lost to Sheldon Westcott. Nor did he impress all that much against Zachrich, who I admittedly picked to win at the time for reasons unknown and uncared. Kelly is a feel good story at the end of the day, so perhaps there's value in that.
2. Patrick Walsh has impressive enough wrestling. As he displayed on the show. That's umm, all I got.
Walsh is pretty non descript; he's a fighter who wants to be in top control, and fights like he can only be in top control. His strength at MW should be another factor in his favor, as he's a guy who has fought all the way up from Heavyweight. With only 6 pro fights, and 26 years of age, there's definitely room for improvement. So for all of the bashing directed at this bout, it's nonetheless worth keeping in mind. Don't expect Walsh to turn into a MW Cormier or anything, but if he can work a more effective and imposing striking game, he can at least avoid a pink slip for awhile.
3. This could end up being one of the ugliest fights in UFC history.
When you think about what makes a truly ugly fight, you've got a few specific ingredients; fighters with limited striking ability, neutralization of ground exchanges, lack of athleticism, and lack of finishing skills.
These guys have most of those covered. Both are better athletes than many critics are giving them credit for, but they're not fluid athletes. Luckily for the prospect of this being a solid fight, they do have finishing skills, Not a whole lot should happen on the feet unless both are afraid of exchanging on the ground. Kelly just sort of bulls his way through the China shop. It's weird to watch him fight because for a judoka, he doesn't seem interested in finessing a violent throw. Instead he relies on forward momentum to get the job done.
He's, as you might expect, strong in the clinch where he can do more things from in close than Walsh, who is just looking for a slam or a takedown. Despite Walsh's youth, I expect Kelly to use his wider skillset to put Walsh on his back. Walsh might be a better scrambler, but I see Kelly winning an ugly, scrambly, but usually inert ground war that only involves exchanges in the clinch every now and then.
Kelly by Decision.