“The Dragon” Lyoto Machida, once a title holder in the 205lbs division, will take a step down in weight to face long-time middleweight contender, Mark Munoz, in the headliner of this Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 30. Also on the main card is a feature between Melvin Guillard and England’s own, Ross Pearson, in what should be an explosive co-main event. This card has the potential to be a real fire work show, so let’s take a look at this main card and see what we’ll expect.
Phil Harris vs. John Lineker
Starting off the 6-fight long main card is a flyweight bout between rising forces in Phil Harris and John Lineker. Coming off of a decision victory earlier this year against Ulysses Gomez, Phil Harris will be stepping up against a man many are slating as a future champion. John Lineker is a ruthless slugger with heavy hands and a tendency to get the knockout. Harris will be in a world of trouble standing with Harris, unless he can force a takedown.
Standing as the taller man, Phil Harris will actually be at a reach disadvantage against Lineker, which is actually a pretty substantial aspect. Lineker will have the lower center of gravity, which will make it easier to stop takedowns, and his reach advantage will give him the needed edge on the feet. This all spells out a TKO victory for Lineker, the question is when. I believe Harris to be a solid fighter, capable of making it outside of the first round; however, round two will be when Lineker is his most confident and ready to finish the fight.
John Lineker via 2nd Rd TKO
Alessio Sakara vs. Nicholas Musoke
The UFC newcomer, Nicholas Musoke, will find himself in strange territory as he battles the UFC-vet Alessio Sakara in the main card. Sakara hasn’t quite forged himself as being a top-level threat, but when you compare experience, Sakara has quite a bit of fighting experience and definitely some talented skills. Musoke, a well-rounded Swedish fighter, will look to upset Sakara the easiest way possible – hitting him in the chin. Sakara is known for his tendency of getting caught, even though he is a very technical and talented striker. Unfortunately, Musoke’s stand-up arsenal isn’t quite at the level that Sakara has faced.
As if Musoke can’t get any more disadvantages, he’ll also be fighting out of his weight class. Musoke is primarily a welterweight, and will struggle trying to take Sakara to the mat being the smaller man. If Sakara can keep his hands up, and stay sharp, expect a faster and more precise Sakara to cruise to a decision as he out-moves and out-strikes Musoke on the feet while avoiding the ground.
Alessio Sakara via Unanimous Decision
Jon Tuck vs. Norman Parke
Lightweights Normal Parke and Jon Tuck will meet in a rescheduled affair. Originally slated for UFC on FOX 7, an injured Tuck would ruin those plans. Both Tuck and Parke are primarily grapplers who strive on the ground. Tuck was victorious in UFC debut against China’s Tiequan Zhang, and showcased an aggressive ground game. Parke on the other hand is 2-0 in the UFC as he won the TUF: Smashes Finale, and also scored a dominant decision against Kazuki Tokedome. Both Tuck and Parke usually have the same gameplans going into fights, so this will be interesting to see who can pull out the unexpected.
Parke is a very large lightweight, which will spill trouble for Tuck. In the clinch and on the ground Parke will be the bigger, stronger man and should be able to defend against nearly all of Tuck’s attempts. Ontop of that, Parke has shown more striking than Tuck. That’s not to say Tuck is at a disadvantage on the feet, but we’ve definitely seen more from Parke which usually means he’ll be the more comfortable of the two. Ultimately, Parke just has Tuck out-gunned. The Irishman should be able to pick up a decision as he stays one step ahead of Tuck everywhere the fight goes.
Norman Parke via Unanimous Decision
Jimi Manuwa vs. Ryan Jimmo
An exciting light-heavyweight bout between England’s Jimi Manuwa and Ryan Jimmo will take the stage. An explosive striker, Jimi Manuwa showcased his power by stopping both Kyle Kingsbury and Cyrille Diabate. Manuwa was able to show off his powerful kicking game, and his explosive combinations. Ontop of his striking, Manuwa’s natural athleticism allows his takedown game to be at a high level as well. The only glaring blemish in Manuwa’s skill set is his cardio, which began to falter in the later part of the Diabate fight. His opponent, Ryan Jimmo, is the right man to expose such a fault.
Jimmo is a true veteran of MMA and only recently began fighting in the UFC. Scoring one of the fastest knockouts in the UFC, Ryan Jimmo instantly became a force. However, recently, Jimmo’s stock has dropped since he has resorted to more passive and conservative measures to winning fights. Jimmo’s technical and precise striking still remains deadly however.
There is no doubt that Jimmo will want to out-technique the explosive knock-out artist who has the power to end this fight in one shot. I trust in Jimmo’s defense as he should be able to keep distance and range with his kicks in attempts to picking Manuwa apart. Given that Jimmo doesn’t over-extend into Manuwa’s range, he should be able to stay at a safe distance and not get knocked out. In the later half of the fight, when Jimi begins to slow, look for Jimmo to start taking this fight to the ground. It’ll be Manuwa’s powerful striking in the beginning, but Jimmo’s late game that will make this fight interesting. While my brain tells me to side with Jimmo, thinking that he should be able to out-move Manuwa, my gut tells me to pick Manuwa in a close decision. I believe Manuwa has the power to win rounds in a single flurry, despite any statistical edging Jimmo can impose with his precision and volume.
Jimi Manuwa via Split Decision
Ross Pearson vs. Melvin Guillard
Set as the co-main event of the evening, lightweights Ross Pearson and Melvin Guillard will goe toe-to-toe for what should be an explosive cataclysm of events. The ultra-dangerous Melving Guillard against the tight and crisp Ross Pearson is a very worthy candidate for a predicted fight of the night performance.
Both Pearson and Guillard prefer to fight their fights on the feet, and both of these guys are absolute stellar. Pearson fights with a traditional boxing style, keeping his hands up and throws clean combinations while Guillard is a bit more unorthodox. Guillard uses his natural speed and athleticism to dodge his opponents attacks, and uncork some monstrous strikes with absurd amounts of velocity. Guillard is the slicker fighter, which leads me to believe he’ll have the advantages on the feet. Pearson’s defensive strategy is to simply put his hands up and protect his head, but that wont stop Guillard from either attacking the body, landing knees, or just teeing off against a defensive Pearson and overwhelming him.
Pearson’s key to success in this fight is to take Guillard to the ground, unfortunately, Pearson isn’t really known for being a wrestler. He’s shown some solid takedowns, but Guillard is a phenomenal wrestler as well. Guillard is simply too strong and athletic for Pearson’s crisper technique which will lead to his demise in the second round.
Melvin Guillard via 2nd Rd TKO
Lyoto Machida vs. Mark Munoz
The main event of the evening will feature the former UFC light-heavyweight champion. Lyoto Machida, make his 185lb debut against the worthy Mark Munoz. Munoz has rebounded from his detrimental loss to Chris Weidman victoriously when he battered Tim Boetsch. Munoz showcased his new and improved strength and conditioning program, which he used to drastically improve his strength and his cardio, making Munoz a much more dangerous wrestler. He’ll need that speed and explosiveness if he wants to even have a chance against the elusive Karate master in Lyoto Machida. Machida is best known for his evasive maneuvers which he uses to completely shut down his opponents’ offense, and then countering with precision and power.
At middleweight, Machida will no longer be at a size disadvantage against opponents and, if anything, could be the bigger man this Saturday. That should nullify Munoz’s improvements in his strength and conditioning, which makes this a much more lopsided match-up. But, the fight comes down to style. Yes, Munoz has the strong wrestling base needed to shut down a crafty and elusive striker like Machida, but unfortunately too many have tried before him. Machida knows how to handle aggressive wrestlers, and knows how to beat them. Munoz is no Phil Davis, and does not simply have the size or explosiveness. On the feet, Munoz will need to wing big haymakers and hopefully catch Machida with something, or else Machida will pick him apart like everyone else. Expect Machida’s elusiveness to open up blemishes in Mark’s striking, and exploit them in a 3rd round finish.
Lyoto Machida via 3rd Rd TKO
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