UFC 128 fight card: Jim Miller vs Kamal Shalorus preview


UFC 128: "Shogun vs. Jones" takes place this Saturday night (March 19, 2011) live on pay-per-view from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Fan favorite and New Jersey native Jim Miller will meet WEC veteran Kamal Shalorus to see who climbs up another step up in the UFC lightweight rankings.

Shalorus will make his long awaited debut in the Octagon with an unblemished record and a background in freestyle wrestling in the Olympics. Riding high off his split decision victory over the durable Bart Palaszewski, the Iranian born Brit will look to keep his unbeaten streak intact.

As for Miller, it will be business as usual, as the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt will try to solidify his spot as the promotion's third best lightweight behind Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar.

Many oddsmakers are booking Miller as the favorite as he's amassed an incredible 8-1 record in the UFC and is coming off a spectacular submission victory over Charles Oliveira.

Does Shalorus have what it takes to succeed in his UFC debut? Or will Miller add the first blemish to his mixed martial arts resume and further solidify himself among the lightweight elite.

Our complete breakdown of this fight after the jump:

Kamal Shalorus

Record: 7-0-2 overall, 3-0-1 in the WEC

Key Wins: Bart Palaszewski (WEC 53), Will Kerr (WEC 44), Dave Jansen (WEC 46)

Key Losses: None

How he got here: Shalorus entered the sport of mixed martial arts after wrestling in the Olympics representing Great Britain. The Iranian-born Texan has worked his way up the ranks in the now defunct WEC where he continued his unbeaten streak. In his last fight, Shalorus gutted out a hard-earned split decision victory over Bart Palaszewksi at WEC 53.

How he gets it done: Shalorus needs to back up Miller with his powerful striking, utilize his world-class wrestling and stifle Miller's guard with ground and pound. Miller does have a solid guard; but it has been a bit overestimated as he has yet to submit an opponent from that position inside the Octagon, so Shalorus will still have to be cognizant of it -- but don't expect Shalorus to get caught too easily.

Jim Miller

Record: 19-2 overall, 8-1 in the UFC

Key Wins: Gleison Tibau (UFC Fight Night 22), Mac Danzig (UFC 100), Mark Bocek (UFC 111)

Key Losses: Gray Maynard (UFC 96), Frankie Edgar (Reality Fighting 14)

How he got here: The New Jersey native is currently riding a six-fight win streak with victories over the likes of Gleison Tibau, Duane Ludwig, Mac Danzig, and Mark Bocek. Miller is widely ranked by most MMA websites as a top 10 lightweight, but Jim has said how he feels he's number three behind Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar. Last we saw Miller, he racked up an impressive submission victory via kneebar over dangerous grappler Charles Oliviera.

How he gets it done: Miller needs to stick and move on the feet and capitalize on any opportunities to get on top and work his submission game. Typically the AMA Fight Club member gets things done by utilizing his solid BJJ top game. Being that Shalorus loves to swing wide, Miller has to move keep his head moving and tire out Shalorus from missing all his big punches.  If Miller can effectively tire out Shalorus, he will then need to take it from Shalorus in the later rounds and work for the submission finish.

Fight "X Factor:" Miller's cardio may end up being the difference in this fight. Shalorus has shown signs of tiring as the fight goes into deeper waters.  The cardio of Shalorus is still a question mark and Miller has always shown a full gas tank even dating back when he took on Matt Wiman on short-notice in 2008.

Bottom Line: I'm going against the masses and I'm banking on Shalorus to get a huge upset. Jim Miller has shown signs of weaknesses in his fights against Tibau and Bocek in his wrestling, lost fights against Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar in the wrestling department and no one I just mentioned has the international wrestling skills that Shalorus possesses. No one can ever count Miller out because of how tough and durable he is, but I believe that with how Shalorus comes forward and how strong a wrestler he is, he'll be awarded a decision victory.

Which lightweight will get the victory at the Prudential Center? Voice your opinion!

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