On Wednesday the UFC will host UFC Fight Night 27, which will go down in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and it will air on Fox’s new channel, Fox Sports One. The UFC is stacking these cards full of great matchups, and it will be the third card out of four that will air this month! Let’s take a look at one of the prelim matches that is on our radar.
Darren Elkins vs Hatsu Hioki
Darren Elkins is coming off of a loss. He last fought Chad Mendes in an obvious mismatch. Mendes was able to stop him in just over a minute for a TKO victory. This matchup made little sense, as Elkins is not ranked in the top ten in his division and Mendes somehow solidified his #1 contender status with the victory. Moving on – Previous to the Mendes matchup Elkins was riding a five fight win streak over some noteworthy opponents including Steven Siler and Diego Brandao. Elkins has a successful amateur wrestling career to show, and he utilizes a takedown-heavy attack in order to control his opponents and look for openings to strike from the top. He will occasionally look for a submission if it is there, but for the most part he prefers to control the position he is in.
Hatsu Hioki is also coming off a loss, but his was a controversial one. He welcomed Clay Guida to featherweight back in January, and Guida was able to use his newly found technique of lay-and-pray in order to somehow secure a split-decision victory. Hardly anyone agreed with the outcome, because Hioki’s striking output nearly doubled Guida’s. He also stayed active and crafty from his back, attempting sweeps and submissions constantly, while the ref was forced to stand the fight up due to Guida’s inactivity twice in the three round fight. On a positive note, this is what Hioki is known for. He stays busy from any position, and uses a wide array of strikes to keep his opponent guessing. He has experience on his side as well, being that he fought in many Shooto tournaments early in his career. His is one of the foremost Japanese fighters attempting to make his way in the UFC.
Prediction: Elkins’ strength is his wrestling, and Hioki’s weakness is his wrestling defense. This will make for a like night for Hioki, and unfortunately I see this fight looking much like the Hioki/Guida fight. All six of Hioki’s losses have come by decision, and four of them were split decisions. I see one more split decision loss on Hioki’s record come Wednesday, and yet another debate on the judging criteria of MMA will inevitably follow.