The UFC 161 main card bout between Ryan “Big Deal” Jimmo and Igor “The Duke” Pokrajac should prove to be a test for both fighters to see if one of them is ready to go up against more high-profile opponents. Jimmo, a former karate champion in Canada, boasts powerful kicks, superior height, and decent submissions. Pokrajac on the other hand has a two-inch reach advantage, great striking and takedowns, and more MMA experience. With a record of 25 wins and 9 losses, Pokrajac has a lot more cage capability than 17-2 Jimmo. Also, with 13 of his wins coming from knockouts, and eight by submission, Pokrajac knows how to end a fight without any help from the refs or judges.
Statistically speaking, Pokrajac has a far superior takedown, as Big Deal is currently 0-2 for attempted takedowns in the UFC. Pokrajac’s ground-and-pound style may also prove to be a problem for the karate champ, as he has only been able to avoid 39% of strikes thrown at him, and his ground game leaves a little to be desired. Pokrajac is known for being the protégé of Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, and has beaten The Ultimate Fighter contender Krzysztof Soszynski via first-round knockout. The Duke has also gone up against such veteran fighters as Vinny Magalhaes and Stephan Bonnar, while Jimmo hasn’t really fought anyone noteworthy. That being said, it would be unfair to count Jimmo out completely, as he was the light-heavyweight champion of the Maximum Fighting Championship, as well as four-time karate champion in his home country of Canada, and 14-time Provincial karate champion.
Jimmo also has a great mental attitude, and as an avid chess player, is honing his mind with the game about three to four hours a day. Many famous fighters have compared combat to this classic game of cerebral fortitude, and Jimmo quotes President Abraham Lincoln, saying “give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” He should probably take an extra hour to sharpen his memory however, as he accidently attributes the quote to George Washington. Perhaps his misquotation is a metaphor for the one mistake that will leave him looking foolish in the ring, just as it did on Inside MMA when he misspoke.
While Jimmo is a great martial artist, Pokrajac may be the better MMA fighter, and his ground game could definitely win him this fight. Jimmo has a 60% takedown defense percentage in his last three fights, and if he can keep this fight standing up he certainly has a chance to grind out a victory. However, Pokrajac has great takedowns and better submissions, while Jimmo’s jiu-jitsu skills are still at the fledgling level. If the Duke is able to put Jimmo on his back, Pokrajac’s ruthless ground and pound may lead to an embarrassing defeat for Big Deal.
I predict this UFC fight going to Pokrajac by way of decision. Jimmo is tough and can definitely take a beating, but Pokrajac can score points throughout all three rounds with takedowns. That being said, if Jimmo can keep the fight standing, he certainly has a chance to prove that lucky shots hurt, and one good strike can put a man down for the night.