Ian McCall

Uncle Creepy’s Tough Test at UFC 208 Prelims

Ian McCall

Randy Brown vs. Belal Muhammad

Randy Brown is a big ‘hype-guy’ in the UFC right now – running behind an entrance into the UFC from reality show ‘Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight’ and some impressive victories inside the octagon for a 3-1 record.

Brown is a tall fighter who uses his length to his advantage, unlike many we’ve seen inside the cage (Stefan Struve is a classic example). He works off his jab and sets up punches as he makes his opponent miss and then comes forward again with all kinds of strikes to impose pressure on his opponent. His punches have the kind of accuracy that Cody Garbrandt has shown in the UFC, homing in on his opponent’s chin with relative ease.

Belal Muhammad’s nickname ‘Remember The Name’ is strangely one of my favourite in the UFC, just because it serves as intended – it is quite memorable. Funnily enough, the memory that exists in my mind for Muhammad, though, is the knockout loss he suffered at the hands of Vicente Luque at UFC 205. This is Belal’s fourth fight in six months as he strives to become victorious for the second time in the UFC.

The Breakdown

Call it recency bias, but it’s hard to look past the way in which Belal Muhammad was floored against Vicente Luque with a crisp left hook. Belal moved in with empty punches that Vicente blocked before he unloaded with a punch that moved Belal’s eyes to the back of his head.

What set up this combination, though, was the constant pressure that Vicente had imposed from the very first second. It influenced Belal’s decision making and forced him to rush towards him to try and land his strikes, opening him up for counter punches.

Randy Brown is a pressure fighter with accurate punches, and this serves as a complete disaster for Belal Muhammad.

Tip: Randy Brown to Win

 

Wilson Reis vs. Ulka Sasaki

Wilson Reis entered the UFC to try and show the effectiveness of Jiu-Jitsu in mixed martial arts to the world. It’s been productive for him inside the cage as all ten of his finishes have been choke submissions – seven rear naked chokes and three arm-triangle chokes. Reis says of his opponent Ulka Sasaki, “He seems well-rounded in his fighting game, but not particularly great in any area.”

Ulka Sasaki is, like Reis called out, a fighter with a good all-around game, but is most renowned for his grappling abilities. Sasaki is a ‘sticky’ fighter who clings to opponents and makes it tough for them to work from a distance on the feet, instead, he takes them down and grinds them out while looking for submission attempts.

The Breakdown

Wilson Reis should be much better on the ground in this contest, and this is precisely where I see this fight ending up. His takedowns, transitions and submissions are eventually what will get him past his opponent’s in the UFC, and he has the advantage in each of these areas against Sasaki.

Tips: Total Rounds – Under 2.5

 

Nik Lentz vs. Islam Makhachev

Nik Lentz has looked impressive after moving up to lightweight in December 2015, putting together two wins. Lentz’s last fight against Michael McBride was an excellent test for him in the UFC. McBride was riding a four-fight win streak, all via submission stoppage, and Lentz dragged him around the cage and controlled the taller fighter. Lentz made sure McBride felt his body weight as he pushed down on him and landed some massive strikes from top position on the back of McBride. The ground and pound was key to victory as the referee jumped in to stop the fight with a minute left in the second round.

Islam Makhachev is a super tough sambo fighter from where else but Russia. He’s been the favourite in each of his fights in the UFC, and this one is no exception. As you can expect from a sambo fighter, Makhachev has excellent control, trips/takedowns, and striking ability from all aspects of the grappling and the clinch. Makhachev is now 2-1 in the UFC and 13-1 as a professional. Makhachev’s style reminds me of Khabib Nurmagomedov, in particular through his striking and sambo abilities.

The Breakdown

This style doesn’t suit Nik Lentz in any way. While he has looked impressive with his grappling of late, it’s going to be difficult to defend the constant pressure of Makhachev in grappling exchanges. Much like Khabib, one of the stand-out methods to victory would be trying to catch him with a lightning strike to the chin – something that both Khabib and Makhachev leave high in the air while throwing wild strikes. I can’t see Lentz landing these punches, and instead, I see this one going straight to the ground as both guys test each other.

Tips:

Makhachev by Decision

Makhavchev wins in Round 3

 

Ian McCall vs. Jarred Brooks

Ian McCall is touted as the ‘unluckiest guy in the UFC’ by fans worldwide. He’s had eight scheduled fights cancelled in the UFC since joining in 2012. Every time he is scheduled to fight, something seemingly goes wrong. He’s one of the best personalities in the sport which is also a sad moment because he could potentially have been an absolute star in mixed martial arts by now, without all the setbacks.

McCall’s originally scheduled opponent, Neil Seery, had to pull out due to personal circumstances, so Jarred Brooks has stepped in on late notice to face ‘Uncle Creepy’. Jarred Brooks is no slouch and enters the UFC with a very impressive 12-0 record with wins at Pancrase and WSOF. Watch an interview with Jarred Brooks, and you’ll be mightily surprised by this guys attitude and how confident he is, he has the attitude of a future champion in the UFC. He’s also borderline crazy – just check out this video of what happened after his last win at Pancrase.

The Breakdown

Despite McCall’s relative bad luck in the UFC, he’s still the #6 ranked flyweight – which is a testament to just how good he is. When looking at this fight, I would have expected McCall to be at least a moderate favourite, or even a heavy favourite just because of his recognition and abilities, but the odds were set very tight and represent an even matchup. There’s plenty of value on McCall here if he can hold his own, mentally and physically after a layoff like this.

Tips:

Ian McCall to Win


 

Tips Summary

Randy Brown vs. Belal Muhammad
Randy Brown to Win
Sunday 12th February, 02:30 GMT
Odds: -125  –  Bet365

Wilson Reis v Ulka Sasaki
Total Rounds – Under 2.5
Sunday 12th February, 02:00 GMT
Odds: +120  –  888 Sport

Nik Lentz vs. Islam Makhachev
Makhachev by Decision
Sunday 12th February, 01:30 GMT
Odds: +125  –  BetVictor

Nik Lentz vs. Islam Makhachev
Makhachev to Win in Round 3 – (Half-Unit)
Sunday 12th February, 01:30 GMT
Odds: +1600  –  BetVictor

Ian McCall vs. Jarred Brooks
Ian McCall to Win
Sunday 12th February, 01:00 GMT
Odds: -110  –  Ladbrokes

Share this article: