With his decision win over Leonard Garcia, Nam Phan reminded us about the reason(s) he's so much fun to watch, win or lose. He's always slugging and forcing exchanges, willing to stick his nose in there and take risks.
Jim Hettes, meanwhile, looked excellent in his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut, submitting Alex Caceres with an imposing, relentless attacking, showing impressive composure for a first-timer.
Phan and Hettes are set to collide in a featherweight fight tonight (Dec. 30, 2011) at UFC 141, which will kick-off the pay-per-view (PPV) portion of the promotion's annual year-end mixed martial arts (MMA) extravaganza.
Follow me after the jump for a complete breakdown of the UFC 141 fight between Nam Phan vs. Jim Hettes:
Phan's stand up is exciting, but it's also technically sound. He'll throw big shots to the body and is comfortable in the pocket, daring opponents to trade. While his defensive wrestling isn't great, he consistently works himself out of bad positions, contesting every attempt at takedowns, positional improvements and whatever else you're trying to do.
Hettes has a disadvantage standing, but he doesn't seem entirely out of sorts on the feet. He had enough to deal with the speedy-if-inconsistent Caceres, ultimately submitting him. And his ability to wrest submissions is impressive, taking all nine of his fights that way.
Something has got to give.
Phan's a good test for the unbeaten Hettes, who has some excellent ground skills along with good takedowns.
Hettes' ability to dictate when the fight goes to the mat should be enough to survive Phan's stand up, which will be especially dangerous when it's early and Hettes can be caught cold.
Hettes will survive it and turn up the pressure, scoring takedowns en route to a third-round submission win.
Jim Hettes via submission
Be sure to join MMAmania.com this evening for LIVE, detailed UFC 141 results of all the "Lesnar vs. Overeem" PPV action. It will include blow-by-blow coverage of the Facebook video stream, Spike TV "Prelims" bouts, and of course, the PPV broadcast. We'll start RIGHT HERE at around 7 p.m. ET and carry straight on through early Saturday morning.
See you then!