Coming off of an incredible underdog victory over Jordan Mein, Matt “the Immortal” Brown (17-11 MMA, 10-5 UFC) finds himself in a very familiar position where he is looking to break into the top 10 and get himself a high-ranked opponent. Mike Pyle (25-8-1 MMA, 8-3 UFC), a replacement for injured Thiago Alves, is coming off of a split decision victory over Rick Story and is looking to prove that he deserves to be on the main card as a representative of England. Both fighters are very experienced, entering the Octagon at UFC Fight Night 26 with a combined 62 fights, and this bout has all the makings of a fight of the night.
In 2011, Brown dropped four out of five fights in the UFC but managed to keep his spot on roster. Deservedly so as he went on to win his next 5, including wins over Mike Swick and Jordan Mein. Brown excels in fights where he is able to get into his opponents face and draw them into a brawl. “The Immortal” has no problem standing in the pocket and trading with his opponents, something he finds almost necessary in fights where he is technically out matched. It is going to take a lot to put away a fighter like Mike Pyle, so expect a high volume high power striking approach from Brown.
Much like Brown, Pyle is capable of bringing a pace that not many fighters are able to bring into the octagon. No stranger to a brawl, Pyle will happily oblige if Brown is able to close the distance on him to stand and trade. Pyle’s best chance at winning this fight would not be to try to beat Brown at his own game, but rather get the fight to an area that he is much more familiar with – on the ground. 16 of Pyle’s wins have come by way of submission and 9 of Brown’s 11 losses have come by way of submission. If Brown is pressuring Pyle too much in this fight, expect Pyle to look to get the fight to the ground where he is the far superior grappler
Prediction: Mike Pyle via submission (guillotine) in round 2
I feel as though Matt Brown and Mike Pyle will slug it out in a very exciting first round, but I feel that eventually the fighters will feel fatigued resulting in sloppy submission and striking from both fighters. The submission game of Pyle is very dangerous, and one thing to take note of is that most of Matt Brown’s submission losses have come in the second round. This, I believe, is because of the pace he comes out of the gate with. If Brown isn’t able to finish Pyle early with his punches, something only top fighters Rory MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger have been able to do lately, then Brown will leave himself open for a submission that Pyle will capitalize on late in the second round.