In the crowded welterweight division, Swick and Matt Brown -- who together will kick-off the UFC on Fox 5 televised main card tonight (Dec. 8, 2012) at the KeyArena in Seattle, Washington -- are basically fighting for the right to edge into the top 15, or maybe even 10, with a breakout performance. Both men are comfortable on the feet and the ground, but Brown's caliber of grappling might be a shade or two beneath Swick's, whose solid mat work is often overshadowed by his penchant for trading strikes.
Brown's an exceptionally willing type who makes up for limited athleticism with pure guts and a grim resilience. His ability to get to the elite level of the division has often been stymied as he's caught between grappling and striking, without one world-class skills set to use as a go-to that other top welterweight mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters possess.
Check out a complete breakdown of the UFC on FOX 5 televised fight between Mike Swick vs Matt Brown below:
Swick's time at welterweight has been hit-or-miss, but his precise striking against Johnson was the Swick of old.
Brown's not going to be able to take him down, and that's a huge tactical advantage for Swick, who is also a more polished kickboxer. Brown's got to make this a down-and-dirty fight, with clinches, roughhousing, wild exchanges and exploiting every opening he gets, of which there will likely be few due to Swick's decent ability to stick and move and choose when to engage.
Swick's sharp right hand will be his key weapon on the feet, as Brown is aggressive but tends to wade in, open for strikes. Movement, circling and quick one-twos will serve Swick best as he looks to wear down Brown and create an air of frustration; obliging a brawl only increases Brown's chances to win, as he won't have the speed to cut off and shut down the wily Swick.
There is no accident this is the first televised bout on the UFC on Fox 5 card because nothing kicks off a cable fight night like a good old-fashioned brawl. Look for Swick to feel out Brown for the opening minute or two before switching gears and letting his hands go. It figures that Brown may land a few, but Swick's likely to land a lot more, and much sharper, as his stand up technique is much more refined.
In big exchanges, Swick will create opportunities to pounce for the finish or come close to it. Brown, however, will remain game throughout, getting worn down and beat to the punch in an increasingly one-sided contest stopped in the third round via ground and pound.
Prediction: Swick by knockout
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Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst