Heavyweight bouts are usually the red-meat offering on a mixed martial arts (MMA) fight card. And the showdown between Brendan Schaub and Ben Rothwell on the UFC 145 pay-per-view (PPV) main card tonight (April 21, 2012) at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga., is precisely that.
When they're likely to be stand up bouts, that's even better, as even the slobs in the cheap seats with not the slightest idea of what half-guard is will be entertained. "The Hybrid" taking on "Big Ben" is nowhere near producing a top 10 contender for the victor, but it is likely to produce some headhunting and highlight-reel stuff.
That's the reason we find it here on the main card as the sole big-man bout of the night.
There's also the subplot of Schaub as one of the better up-and-coming Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavies, and since the promotion has got a lot invested into him, he's definitely looking to get an impressive win after his first-round knockout loss to the legendary-if-aging Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
Follow me after the jump for a complete breakdown of the UFC 145 fight between Brendan Schaub vs. Ben Rothwell:
Schaub's definitely on a rebuilding path, especially given the lofty trajectory his career seemed to be taking heading into the Nogueira bout. With that scuttled from one "Big Nog" right hand, it's a more realistic level of competition here. Schaub's an exceptionally gifted athlete with a great physique, speed and a solid work ethic. His basic boxing is sound enough to trouble any heavyweight he can connect with, especially his booming cross.
Rothwell's got a ton of mileage and experience going for him, which can work both ways. Limited athletically, Rothwell often pushes his punches and just seems like a lumbering, plodding type with a ton of guts making up for what he doesn't have athletically. The performance against Mark Hunt was terrible, as both men -- fighting in Denver's considerable altitude -- were badly gassed early in the bout.
Rothwell is in a must-win situation here.
Schaub's crisp boxing and footwork are both things Rothwell doesn't have, and "The Hybrid" will look to circle and create angles, changing directions while picking his spots and firing off one-twos.
Rothwell has a strong chin and an exceptionally hard head, but his stamina seems to fade almost as soon as he gets halfway past the first round, especially when discouraged by a better opponent. Schaub's probably also willing to shoot takedowns given Rothwell's modest jiu-jitsu and bottom game, perhaps just to mix it up and show that he can.
However, either way, this is a complete setup fight for Schaub to score an impressive win over what is basically a guy that is marginal UFC talent, at best.
Schaub via knockout
Be sure to join MMAmania.com this evening for LIVE, detailed UFC 145 results of all the "Jones vs. Evans" pay-per-view (PPV) action. It will include blow-by-blow coverage of the Facebook video stream, FX "Prelims" bouts, and of course, the PPV broadcast. We'll start RIGHT HERE at around 7:00 p.m. ET and carry straight on through early Sunday morning.
See you then!
Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst or firstname.lastname@example.org