There's a lightweight score to be settled this Saturday night (October 1, 2011) in the opening bout of the UFC on Versus 6 main card as Ultimate Fighter season five veteran "Handsome" Matt Wiman takes on Ultimate Fighter season six winner Mac Danzig in a bout with serious unfinished business.
Wiman previously defeated Danzig at UFC 115 via technical submission at 1:45 of the first round. The problem? Danzig wasn't unconscious and the referee stopped the fight believing he was. It was a horrible mistake and the promotion has absolutely done the right thing by giving both men a chance to prove who truly is the better man.
Matt Wiman had his three fight win streak snapped by Dennis Siver this past July and he's eager to get back on the winning track. He had Danzig in a precarious position the last time out and he's hoping to get right back in the realm of UFC lightweight contenders with a victory.
Mac Danzig has had a serious up and down UFC career after winning season six of The Ultimate Fighter. He finally scored a huge victory with a nasty knockout of Joe Stevenson last December but has had his momentum halted by injuries. If he can settle the score with Wiman, it will do big things for his confidence and divisional standing.
Will Wiman finish the job he started at UFC 115? Or can Danzig set the record straight by putting marking up "Handsome's" pretty face? Which lightweight will prove their superiority this Saturday night?
Record: 13-6 overall, 7-4 in the UFC
How he got here: Matt Wiman made his professional debut by winning three fights in one night in 2004 when he was just 20 years old. He first caught the notice of the UFC after a back and forth fight against Roger Huerta that he lost. They remembered his name and he was called on with two week's notice to take on Spencer Fisher at UFC 60.
Wiman would lose his promotional debut to Fisher, but the UFC came calling again when they needed competitors for season five of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF). He advanced to the second round of the show before falling to eventual finalist Manny Gamburyan via decision.
"Handsome" won his next four fights in the UFC, including a "Fight of the Night" winning performance against Thiago Tavares at UFC 85. His competition level would be raised, and while he put on tremendous performances against both Jim Miller and Sam Stout, also winning "Fight of the Night," he would fall short via decision both times.
Wiman built himself back up with three straight victories including a controversial stoppage against Mac Danzig at UFC 115. He most recently lost a very close decision to Dennis Siver at UFC 132 and decided now would be the perfect time to settle the controversy of his win over Danzig.
How he gets it done: Wiman's biggest strength is his ability to put people on their back and nullify their skills. He's very difficult to submit and he usually takes little damage during his bouts.
Against Danzig in the stand-up, he'll need to really keep the pressure on the TUF season six winner by forcing him to move backward and making him uncomfortable. If he can pin Danzig against the fence and work his dirty boxing, that wouldn't be a horrible idea.
Where Wiman truly wants this fight is on the ground with him in a favorable position. He is very capable on the canvas, able to avoid submissions while controlling his opponent and going for submissions of his own. Wiman had Danzig in a lot of trouble with the guillotine the last time around, even if he didn't go unconscious like the referee thought.
If he can put Danzig in a choke this time, he'll just have to squeeze a little tighter to make it legit.
Record: 20-8-1 overall, 4-4 in the UFC
How he got here: Mac Danzig first began to get noticed during a 12 fight win streak that included a 3-0 stint in the IFL and a seven fight win streak in King of the Cage in which he won the promotion's lightweight title and was able to defend it four separate times.
After losing his title via split decision, he eventually competed on season six of The Ultimate Fighter as a welterweight. He was the clear favorite to win the season and he swept through the competition pretty easily, eventually defeating Tommy Speer on the show's finale to capture the coveted six figure contract.
Danzig has not has an easy go of it in the UFC. He's faced top opposition in nearly every fight. After an impressive stoppage of Mark Bocek, he would lose three straight to Clay Guida, Josh Neer and Jim Miller. He saved his job with a decision victory against Justin Buchholz but a controversial stoppage loss to Matt Wiman sent him reeling again.
In his most recent outing at UFC 124, he had the best performance of his career, knocking former lightweight title challenger Joe Stevenson out cold inside the fight's first two minutes. He has been sidelined by injuries since but is finally healthy and ready to avenge the Wiman controversy.
How he gets it done: Danzig has solid stand-up skills and showcased some serious power against Stevenson, knocking out Joe Stevenson while backing up with a clean left hook.
He's had problems against tough ground fighters in the past, either getting caught in submissions or getting taken down and overpowered on the canvas so if he goes to the ground against Wiman, he needs to remain in top position. Even then, he's got to watch out for Wiman's sweeps.
In all honesty, the best method of attack for Danzig should be to keep this fight standing. He's likely gained a lot of confidence in his punching power with that knockout of Joe Stevenson so he should really work on his footwork to avoid overextending himself and providing openings for takedowns from Wiman.
Danzig has a three inch reach advantage, it's not huge, but it could play a factor if he can keep Wiman on the end of his jab in the stand-up.
Fight "X-Factor:" There are two major X-Factors for this fight. The most obvious one is what has each man learned from the first match? Danzig had been in control before Wiman latched on a guillotine choke and reversed him. Will he be willing to try to take this fight to the ground again against a strong ground fighter like Wiman?
The last fight should have given "Handsome" a lot of confidence in going for submissions. Even if he didn't actually choke Danzig unconscious, he still had him in a horrible position and could have finished the fight shortly thereafter.
The other factor at play is injuries. Mac Danzig has twice pulled out of fights in the last year with a chest injury, including the first scheduled rematch against Wiman last September. Will he have the same power that he displayed against Stevenson in his punches? Also, will he still have confidence to use those muscles if the fight gets ugly?
Bottom Line: The last time these two men fought, the bout featured fun striking exchanges, takedowns, sweeps and submission attempts -- and that was just in 1:45 of the first round. Both men are exciting fighters who bring it and they've got a score to settle so this should be similar. These are two evenly matched opponents so there's a bit of mystery about who will come out on top this time around. Wiman was a fringe top 15 lightweight before losing the close decision to Siver so there are some divisional implications with this bout as well. Stay tuned to this one.
Who will come out on top at UFC on Versus 6? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!