Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 140: The Canadian Prelims
The UFC is back in Toronto for the second time in 2011 as they make their way to the Air Canada Center on December 10th. The undercard includes seven bouts, four of which are live on Ion Television (three of those including Canadians) and the final three bouts airing live on Facebook (two of those including Canadians).
Now for the breakdown:
Krzysztof Soszynski (26-11-1) vs. Igor Pokrajac (23-8)
Polish-Canadian, Krzysztof Soszynski, is ready to potentially go on a run in the UFC. He has had a decent amount of success against the lower level fighters in the organization and that is just about where Igor Pokrajac would be considered. “The Polish Experiment” moves forward constantly and carries power in both hands which he is always ready to use as he stands and bangs. He also has a pretty strong ground game and has a very dangerous kimura that he will always look to work for from top position. Pokrajac, however, possesses a more well-rounded ground game that he will likely look to use against Soszynski. Pokrajac has never really been able to impress against some of the better Light Heavyweights in the UFC and throughout his career, has been unable to get a big win when he needs it most. He did show good grappling ability against James Irvin and has also showed that he does have pretty decent striking, especially considering he is a long time training partner of MMA legend and fellow Croatian, Mirko ‘Cro Cop’. Unfortunately, Soszynski is far too experienced against better competition and has a better overall game. He is a pretty underrated fighter that should likely have a home in the UFC for a while because of his fighting style. Expect him to move forward at a high pace throwing bombs any chance he has. He should be able to finish this off while avoiding any of the strengths of Pokrajac.
Prediction: Soszynski via TKO Round 2
John Makdessi (9-0) vs. Dennis Hallman (50-14-2)
One of Canada’s most exciting young prospects, John Makdessi is looking to make his mark in the UFC against a true veteran of the sport, Dennis Hallman. Makdessi has looked outstanding in his first two fights in the UFC with some of the most unique striking style anyone has seen. If anyone wants to see an example of how unique and technically sound his striking really is, his knockout over Kyle Watson is a must see. Dennis Hallman has outstanding grappling and has proven his ability against bigger grapplers, as he most recently displayed against Ben Saunders and Karo Parisyan. He proved how good of a grappler he is with two submission victories over Matt Hughes early in his long career. Makdessi must be prepared to fight anywhere but it is evident where he wants to keep it. He will have to play it safe and not throw anything too wild unless he wants to be taken down. Hallman is the bigger fighter and has been fighting at Welterweight far more than Lightweight, so the smaller Makdessi must keep his distance and not allow Hallman to pressure him. This should be a fun back and forth as Hallman constantly tries to take it to the ground while Makdessi uses strong angles to keep damaging Hallman from all over, eventually dropping Hallman and finishing the fight for another impressive victory. Hopefully this time around, there will be no need to award anyone with the “getting those horrifying shorts off TV as soon as possible” bonus.
Predicition: Makdessi via TKO Round 3
Yves Jabouin (16-7) vs. Walel Watson (9-2)
WEC and UFC veteran, Yves Jabouin was victorious in his Bantamweight debut in Brazil. Walel Watson won his UFC debut in early October in impressive fashion. Though Jabouin looked much more comfortable in the 135 pound division, he is not fighting the average Bantamweight. Watson, at 5’11, is the tallest in the division and definitely has the advantage against the 5’6 Canadian. Jabouin is the more versatile striker of the two as he has shown throughout his career. His biggest issue is winning fights when he needs them most. This is his opportunity to get a nice win but he must get inside the length of Watson. Watson carries an advantage on the ground and he can submit anyone considering how long he is. If this fight gets to the ground, Jabouin has to play it as safe as possible or else he will likely get caught. On the feet, Watson has solid Muay Thai as he proved against Joseph Sandoval. If he allows Jabouin to get inside and use his excellent kickboxing, there is a good chance he goes to sleep. Odds are, he is able to keep his distance as the fight eventually hits the ground where Watson will be able to finish the fight.
Prediction: Watson via Triangle Choke Round 2
Mark Bocek (9-4) vs. Nik Lentz (21-3-2)
Canadian submission specialist, Mark Bocek, is looking to rebound from a loss against Ben Henderson and he gets Nik Lentz, who has yet to lose in the UFC. Bocek has looked pretty good in the UFC but has just been outclassed by some of the best in the division. His submission win over Dustin Hazelett truly showed how talented of a grappler he is. Nik Lentz is a great wrestler but was completely out classed by Charles Olivera in his last fight. Fortunately for him, after getting dominated in both the stand up and on the ground, Olivera threw an accidental knee to the head of Lentz while his knee was on the ground. For the most part, he has looked impressive in the Octagon but he is being given another tough test against another great grappler. It is tough to say how fast this fight will get to the ground, but both guys want it there unless they feel their mediocre striking will win it for them. If the fight does go to the ground, Bocek will likely get straight to work, trying to go for his strong repertoire of submissions to try to finish the fight. Lentz most likely will not have much of an answer, especially after being exposed in his last fight.
Prediction: Bocek via Armbar Round 2
Mitch Clarke (9-0) vs. John Cholish (7-1)
Two newcomers in the UFC are looking to make their mark as they go at it in the opening bout of the night. Any hardcore MMA fan knows that this is a fight of two prospects with bright careers in the UFC. Cholish could be considered the more experienced fighter after he recently fought in Strikeforce, winning by submission against Ultimate Fighter veteran Marc Stevens with an outstanding kneebar. Training at Renzo Gracie’s camp means he is grappling with some of the better MMA BJJ practitioners. His resume is the stronger of the two but Clarke is fighting in front of thousands of Canadians. The undefeated Clarke will have to utilize his better striking and his more well-rounded game. Cholish will throw leg kicks to keep his distance but Clarke will keep a good pace to maintain his game plan. Expect Cholish to try to work for takedowns as he attempts to use his very slippery ground game. Overall, the grappling aspect should cancel as Clarke has the ability to avoid anything he does not want to get into. He should eventually find top position after taking advantage of a mistake by Cholish in a great back and forth between two young guys that want to prove their worth.
Prediction: Clarke via TKO Round 2