In the thin Featherweight division, division champion Jose Aldo is fresh off a one-round decimation of then-top contender Chad Mendes. With a the cupboard somewhat bare compared to other weight classes, the ranks of marketable Aldo challengers took another beating when Mark Hominick was blitzed by Chan Sung Jung last December in a stunning seven-second knockout.
The shocker wasn't just with how quick it was, but the fact that Hominick's previous bout was a gritty, five-round war with Aldo, where he absorbed a frightful beating early, a massive hematoma en route, and then rallied strong to punish the champion in a dramatic fifth round as Aldo gassed. And, the fact that Jung had never displayed such numbing knockout power before.
Such are the fickle fates of mixed martial arts (MMA). That said, Hominick is still a couple wins away from getting another shot at Aldo, simply because he's given the champ more moments of competitive action than everyone else in Aldo's Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) career combined.
That road back to the top begins anew tonight (April 21, 2012) when Hominick collides with Eddie Yagin on the UFC 145 pay-per-view (PPV) main card, which will emanate from the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Yagin is a tough customer with a ground-based style, and he, too, will look to bump his name up a couple notches with a win over a former title challenger.
Follow me after the jump for a complete breakdown of the UFC 145 fight between Mark Hominick vs. Eddie Yagin:
How Hominick rebounds from the Jung disaster will go a long way toward perception of his viability as a contender. Getting knocked out is always a confidence-tester for a fighter, particularly one like Hominick, whose stock in trade has been the stand up game and his ability to absorb punches in order to deliver his own.
He remains a slick stylist with an outstanding guard game, while Yagin will have to assert his own compact frame and turn it into a down-and-dirty kind of match, with clinching, dirty boxing, ground and pound and sticking to Hominick like burnt eggs on a skillet.
A game of angles, movement and smooth striking exchanges will be all in Hominick's favor -- I'm not yet convinced that the Jung loss was more than a simple glitch, which happens in MMA with those tiny gloves -- and Hominick has enough confidence in his jiu-jitsu to negate Yagin should he get takedowns.
At the very least, Hominick can simply stall for a standup or work back to his feet.
Fights and rounds start standing, and Yagin will be too outgunned on the feet to close the distance and score consistent takedowns. He may get one or two, but Hominick is pretty good as using jiu-jitsu to shut down opponents, and as the Aldo bout showed, he can take a lot of punishment from his back and still keep a clear head.
Yagin will eat strikes standing and simply take too much damage over the long haul to be effective enough, outside of the occasional counter strikes and limited ground and pound he'll scrape by on, while getting picked apart. However, Yagin is pretty resilient and Hominick will cruise to a confidence-building win, piling up points and surging late to take a clear-cut decision.
Hominick via decision
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