At UFC 154, all eyes will be on the much-anticipated main event. However, the fight currently set to open the main card may just garner some "Fight of the Night"-worthy attention of its own: Mark Hominick vs. Pablo Garza.
UFC 154 is set for this weekend (Nov. 17, 2012) at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada with some terrific fights. To open the pay-per-view (PPV) portion of the card, UFC has selected an especially interesting bout between two featherweights that are definitely hungry for a win, as Mark Hominick fights on his home turf against flashy fight finisher, Pablo Garza.
Hominick will be local hero for the matchup, and it is electric when he fights for 'his' audience. When he walked out for his title fight against Jose Aldo at UFC 129, Hominick's walk out gave everyone chills, as his home audience cheered their fighter going in to the biggest moment of his career. He put up a valiant effort against one man who is in the top pound-for-pound standings, but he came up short, as the champion retained his belt in hostile territory.
In another Canadian fight, I expect nothing less from Hominick. He may have been quickly finished by Chan Sung Jung at UFC 140, but it didn't say much about "The Machine's" pure desire to put on a gutty performance for his countrymen. He will always be ready to fight tooth and nail, and while a quick knockout loss didn't quite show that, Hominick can be one of the grittiest, most pressure based fighters around.
The Canadian's main focus is his striking, and he uses it to great effectiveness. His punches come quick, and he has a heavy focus on precision, landing far more often than not. Usually, he remains highly technical, with quick snapping punches that stun his opponents, but he can also attack heavily, throwing heavy leather as hard as he can. This may produce mixed results at times, but his power is something rare for a featherweight.
Garza's striking is something not common for featherweights, and in compliment to Hominick's, should provide an interesting clash. He is a very lanky featherweight, standing at 6'1" with very long arms and legs. He uses his reach well, and he can be very flashy with kicks and knees, most notably in his knockout victory over Fredson Paixao with a flying knee. He has shown a flaw that seems common among long fighters, and it is an apparent inability to react to high pressure, which is something he'll have to overcome against Hominick.
Despite a primary focus on his striking, Mark Hominick possesses strong wrestling, both offensively and defensively, though he uses it primarily to stay standing. His jiu-jitsu is also very effective, accounting for six career submission victories and some very strong ground work. He has good hips and has shown strong in initiating and winning scrambles, as well as good positional control when on top. Hominick's ground game is definitely solid, but when compared to Garza's, it may only serve him enough to remain competitive for a short time.
Garza, though a fairly skilled striker, has gotten most of his victories with his terrific ground work. With seven career submissions, the Fargo native has proven that he is not a fighter you want to hit the mat with, and he has shown this to many good fighters. His most notable submission victory is his win over Yves Jabouin by flying triangle, which got him a "submission of the night" bonus at UFC 129. His tricky guard and his numerous submission attempts create a very difficult challenge for most fighters, and it will be something Hominick must be wary of when fight time comes around.
Overall, Hominick and Garza are both very skilled fighters. While I must give a striking edge to Hominick, I would give an edge to Garza if it hits the mat. They may have some shortcomings in their games, but they compliment each other in a way that is not usually seen, and this should produce a fun scrap.
Both men have their backs against the wall here, as Hominick comes in on a three fight losing streak and Garza on a two fight skid. They will have to be very focused and very competitive to preserve their jobs in UFC, and when you factor that in, it is likely that they will fight back and forth for the win.
When they begin their fight at UFC 154, Mark Hominick and Pablo Garza will be prepared well for their clash and will pull out all the stops to put on an impressive performance. It looks like a fight that should produce fireworks, with two evenly matched competitors with a lot at stake. They have their backs against the wall, and in this case, it should produce a great fight, and definitely worthy of "fight of the night."
Do you agree?