After a 3 week hiatus the UFC returns in a big way in August, three events in four weeks including title bouts in the middleweight and lightweight divisions. This weekend though we’ll get to see the biggest up and comer in MMA today, Jon “Bones” Jones, when he takes on Vladimir Matyushenko.
Jon Jones vs. Vladimir Matyushenko.
Creative striking, great wrestling, scary elbows, insane athleticism, I could spend all day waxing poetic about Jones’ abilities, a total package and all only at the age of 23, he could very well be the next big thing in MMA. Then again praise has been heaped onto fighter before, just ask Jones’ last opponent Brandon Vera, and only time will tell. Enter Matyushenko, a veteran who is 11-1 in his last 12 fights. Matyushenko possesses the wrestling and strength to put Jones on his back and make it an ugly fight.
Predicition: Jones is a -600 favorite for a reason, nothing against Matyushenko but I think Jones is going to be too much for the veteran. Look for Jones to pick apart Matyushenko on the feet early, then take the fight to the ground and finish off the Russian with GnP: Jones by TKO RD 2.
Mark Munoz vs. Yushin Okami
Okami is perhaps the most underrated fighter in the UFC today. Okami is 8-2 in the promotion with his only 2 losses coming to Rich Franklin and Chael Sonnen. Relegated mostly to prelims Okami is going to get his chance on a televised card finally. On the other hand Munoz is a serious up and comer in the middleweight division. Munoz has proven he can withstand a beating, then take his opponent to the ground and pound them out.
Predicition: Munoz hasn’t fought anyone quite like Okami yet, but he’s coming in with a lot to prove. That having been said I think Okami will be able to keep the fight on the feet and pick apart Munoz for 3 rounds: Okami by dec.
Jake Ellenberger vs. John Howard
Expect this one to win fight of the night; both fighters will be looking to break into the top ten of the welterweight division. Ellenberger has a win over Mike Pyle and lost a razor close decision to Carlos Condit in his UFC debut. Howard has knockout power in both hands and has knocked out his last two opponents.
Prediction: Ellenberger will get the fight to the ground at some point, but Howard is just too strong, and his striking keeps getting better: Howard by KO RD 2.
Takinori Gomi vs. Tyson Griffin
To be blunt, both fighters looked just plain bad in their last fights. Gomi got completely picked apart by a clearly superior Kenny Florian, Griffin got outwrestled and outclassed by Evan Dunham. Gomi is a shell of the fighter he used to be in Japan where he scored victories over “Mach” Sakurai, Jens Pulver, and Tetsuya Kawajiri. Griffin was on track to a title shot before being derailed by Dunham. Both fighters very much need a victory.
Prediciton: Griffin has seemed to shy away from his wrestling in his past few fights, odd considering it’s his biggest strength. While Gomi appears to be fading, he showed against Florian that he can still throw the big shots, it’s just a matter of if they can connect. I’m taking the upset on this one, assuming Griffin wants to keep it on the feet: Gomi by TKO RD 1.
Paul Kelly vs. Jacob Volkmann: Kelly by TKO
DaMarques Johnson vs. Matt Riddle: Riddle by Sub
James Irvin vs. Igor Pokrajac: Irvin by TKO
Brian Stann vs. Mike Massenzio: Stann by dec.
Darren Elkins vs. Charles Oliveira: Oliveria by Sub
Rob Kimmons vs. Steve Steinbeiss: Kimmons by Sub.