Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 158: The Canadian Prelims
The UFC returns to the Bell Center in Montreal, Quebec on March 16th. The preliminary card will include the Welterweight debut of UFC veteran Patrick Cote and the much anticipated debut of Jordan Mein. All four Canadians on the preliminary card will be live on Sportsnet in Canada and FX in the US. Three other preliminary bouts will air live on Facebook.
Patrick Cote (18-8) vs. Bobby Voelker (24-8)
It has been an interesting return to the UFC for Patrick Cote. After getting out struck in a fairly one sided decision loss to Cung Le, Cote looked as though he was knocked out by Alessio Sakara until the replay showed that Sakara used the back of his head like a drum, giving Cote the very strange disqualification victory. He welcomes Strikeforce import Bobby Voelker to the UFC in what will be his Welterweight debut.
Voelker has not fought since 2011 and will likely enter this bout with a bit of ring rust. It doesn’t help that he will be making his UFC debut in front of thousands of Canadians that will surely be going crazy for the hometown favourite in Cote. Both guys prefer to keep it standing. They also both prefer to push the pace and aren’t shy about engaging in a slugfest. There will likely be little effort to maintain their distance so expect a barn burner.
Voelker is likely the more accurate striker but it is doubtful he has the power to match that of Cote. The size difference may be significant as well, considering Cote just dropped down from Middleweight. Voelker’s best chance at succeeding in his UFC debut will be to land on Cote and circle away. Odds are that Cote will continue pushing forward and use the cage to his advantag. Cote should be able to hurt the Strikeforce veteran and get the finish in an exciting fight while it lasts.
Prediction: Cote via TKO Round 2
Antonio Carvalho (15-5) vs. Darren Elkins (15-2)
Looking for his third straight win, Antonio Carvalho will be going up against the red hot Darren Elkins who has been absolutely dominant in his past few wins. Carvalho was far from impressive in his last win over Rodrigo Damm and can’t risk performing like that against an aggressor like Elkins. Eventually, Elkins will look to get the fight to the ground so Carvalho should hopefully have prepared his Brazilian jiu-jitsu to use against the American wrestler.
Carvalho is the better striker of the two and in all honestly, it isn’t even close. If he can find a way to keep his distance and keep his use of kicks to a minimum, he could hurt Elkins and give him a very tough time. Carvalho can be a very exciting fighter that gives his opponents trouble anytime they enter the cage with him but Elkins’ one-dimensional style has been extremely effective against guys who struggle with takedown defense. If Carvalho is unable to get anything going off of his back, he might be in for a rough night.
Prediction: Elkins via Unanimous Decision
Jordan Mein (26-8) vs. Dan Miller (14-6)
It should be extremely satisfying for Canadian fans knowing Jordan Mein has finally made it into the UFC. It should be even more satisfying that he isn’t being given some joke of an opponent in Dan Miller. Mein has matured so amazingly recently, winning eight of his last nine and several against legitimate competition. He will get one of the tougher fights of his career in Miller, who is tough as nails and very well-rounded.
Mein has the boxing to give anybody a tough time. His body and head combinations are quick and relentless and he keeps guys back pedalling. Miller is pretty good on the feet but he will definitely need to get the fight to the ground. The former Middleweight needs to be able to control Mein but if he is unable to get the fight to go at his pace, Mein will likely punish him with his boxing.
Prediction: Mein via Unanimous Decision
John Makdessi (10-2) vs. Daron Cruickshank (12-2)
After a couple of rough outings, John Makdessi finally looked like himself against fellow Canadian striker, Sam Stout. He better prepare for war against Detroit, Michigan native, Daron Cruickshank. Simply put, there should be no ground game in this fight. Cruickshank had a spectacular knockout in his last bout against Henry Martinez. It will be tough to do that against an equally versatile striker.
These two have frighteningly similar styles. They both throw a variety of kicks. It is likely that fans will have the chance to see the whole repertoire. Where they may differ is Makdessi’s effective use of his jab. Few fighters throw an effective jab off their back foot like Makdessi and it could be the difference in this fight. Cruickshank is an exciting fighter but he seemed a bit too comfortable against Martinez. It is doubtful that we will see the same thing from him against Makdessi.
Prediction: Makdessi via Unanimous Decision