Get the lowdown on the early contests this Sunday from Oklahoma City, including a lightweight contest between Johnny Case and Tony Martin.
Kudos to anyone who will be watching these prelims. Not only has it been a long stretch of UFC events week after week, but you’ve got the Bellator NYC show this weekend too. And yet, it you’re reading this, you’re showing an interest in the least important contests in this week’s UFC offering. Hell, even I have trouble doing that sometimes and this is my job…
If you’re looking for a hint of which contest to keep an eye on, I’d pick the lightweight contest with Tony Martin and Johnny Case. Neither appears likely to rocket up the standings, but they have flashed just enough to keep me from saying that would be an impossibility for either one. They’re usually pretty damn entertaining too.
The Fight Pass prelims begin at 5:30 PM ET/2:30 PM PT on Sunday.
Jared Gordon (12-1) vs. Michel Quinones (8-1), Featherweight
Wait a minute…didn’t I just write up on this contest last month? While I did, the contest didn’t take place as Gordon was medically advised to withdraw after suffering from food poisoning, canceling the debuts in the world’s premier MMA organization for both fighters. Here’s hoping nothing unseen happens this time around to cancel it out again.
Found off of Lookin’ for a Fight, Gordon is the younger prospect. Owning a standard boxing approach, Gordon does his best work once he gets the fight to the floor where he can utilize his strong ground-and-pound game to his advantage. He has quite a few avenues to get the fight to the ground such as knee taps and trips. On the feet, there is nothing special about Gordon’s standup, though his hands are heavy enough that he can finish an opponent with his basic boxing combinations.
Quinones is a bit more unorthodox, with a deep arsenal of powerful kicks being the highlight of his attack. His boxing is anchored by a steady jab exacerbated by his long reach of 73″. With over half of his wins coming by way of KO/TKO, Quinones’ power shouldn’t be underestimated. However, his wrestling is largely untested.
Though I can’t say for sure that Quinones is a poor wrestler – there is very little footage of him wrestling – I didn’t particularly like what little I did see. Gordon isn’t a force of nature, but I do think he has enough strength and toughness to take Quinones best shots and successfully get him to the ground for just enough control to take a decision. Gordon via decision
Tony Martin (11-3) vs. Johnny Case (22-5), Lightweight
Entering 2016, Case had won his first four UFC contests and was viewed as one of the rising prospects at 155. One loss to Jake Matthews and a series of injuries later and he’s become a largely forgotten man. Last time we saw Case, the book on him was that of a well-rounded fighter who pushes a fast pace. If he is still that fighter, look for him to use his jab and kicks to the mid and lower levels of Martin in hopes of keeping the massive Martin at a distance.
That’s because Martin may have a lot of raw power, but has never developed a consistent striking game. He has made up for that with his overpowering grappling, dragging opponents to the ground while aggressively pursuing a submission…at least early in the contests. Martin’s weight cut has typically taken a huge toll on his gas tank, typically fading after the first round. He has looked better late in recent contests, but it would be a stretch to say his stamina is anything better than adequate at this point.
An underrated scrap at 155, Case’s 16-month absence raises many questions about what type of fighter he’ll be when he steps into the cage. If he is the same fighter – not any worse, not any better – his fast pace will wear down Martin, provided he survives Martin’s early attack. Case either finds a late submission or a decision after Martin jumps out to an early lead. Case via decision
Josh Stansbury (8-3) vs. Jeremy Kimball (14-6), Light Heavyweight
At first glance, this is a contest between space fillers at 205. Given the lack of depth at light heavyweight, that’s a more valuable role than it would be in any other division. Stansbury is the prototype space filler that you’d think of when you hear that description: tough, durable, and slow. He does have some power in his fists, meat and potatoes ground-and-pound, and an underrated array of power submissions.
Kimball is younger and more reckless, which is both a positive and a negative. Throwing fists at a furious pace, Kimball’s defensive holes are big enough for a Mack truck to drive through as the damage accumulates at a rapid pace on both sides. Kimball surprises with his power, though it’s more likely that he’ll overwhelm with volume than a single shot putting his opponent down and out.
Stansbury is the better all-around fighter, owning a sound wrestling background. That in combination with Kimball’s weak takedown defense gives Stansbury an obvious course to victory. However, while Kimball isn’t a great athlete, he is a deceptive athlete. Kimball will run circles around the glacial Stansbury before landing a kill shot and keep his job in the process. Kimball via TKO, RD1