The world of mixed martial arts is not for the weak spirited or faint hearted, and the UFC is no place for fighters who demonstrate those qualities. Coming off two losses, both Mitch “Danger Zone” Clarke and John “The One” Maguire will be looking to tear the other’s head off to prove they belong in the Octagon at UFC 161: “Evans vs. Henderson” tonight. With great striking, superior height, and a four-inch reach advantage, Clarke is going to use every edge he has to beat Maguire in his home country of Canada. However, the One has experience and submission expertise on his side, and needs this win just as bad in order to stay in this high-profile league.
Coming from a wrestling background, Clarke held the EFC Welterweight championship, was the TFC Canadian Lightweight champ, and is ranked as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt. With a combination of wrestling and BJJ, Clarke is no slouch on the ground, and prides himself on his striking as well.
In the other corner sits Maguire, who was previously the Cage Gladiators Middleweight champ, Cage Rage UK welterweight champ, and the OMMAC welterweight champ. He boasts impressive victories over The Ultimate Fighter 9 competitors DaMarques Johnson (winning him “submission of the night”) and Dean Amasinger. He won a decision against TUF 13’s Justin Edwards, and fought the well-established Matthew Riddle for a disappointing loss. Out of his 18 wins, ten have come from submission and three from knockout, with only five fights being left up to the judges’ scorecards.
On top of having a more impressive background, the One’s statistics suggest that the odds are stacked in his favor. In Clarke’s last three fights, he has only succeeded in landing 15% of his strikes and following through with 27% of his takedowns. He has managed to avoid 37% of his opponents’ attacks against him while defending 56% of their takedown efforts. In the One’s last five fights, he has landed 43% of his punches and kicks, taken down his opponents 48% of the time, avoids 67% of their strikes, and stuffed 75% of the takedowns. He is also a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which shows that his grappling game is a level higher than that of his opponent.
As is often the case, knowledge, technique, and experience will trump size almost every time, and that couldn’t be truer than in this matchup. I definitely foresee Maguire winning this fight for a lot of reasons. Maguire is better-rounded, which is essential in this sport. He has fought a number of notable opponents on high-stakes stages many times before. His résumé and stats simply show him coming out on top, and I’m inclined to agree. Clarke is going to want to keep this fight standing as long as he can, but inevitably it will end up on the ground, and that is where Maguire’s experience is really going to show. This fight will almost definitely go to the One, and will most likely end with another submission for his highlight reel.