Two men guaranteed to push the pace and put on an exciting bout will get things started this Saturday night (July 21, 2012) as welterweights Chris Clements and Matt Riddle will compete on the UFC 149 main card in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Clements is a veteran of the sport with some major knockout power and as an Ontario native, he'll be getting some major support from his fellow countrymen. "The Menace" was victorious in his UFC debut earlier this year against Keith Wisniewski and he's expecting to keep the good times rolling against Riddle.
Matt Riddle is a veteran of season seven of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) and has actually spent his entire mixed martial arts (MMA) career inside the UFC. Believe it or not, Riddle will be competing in his 10th UFC fight this Saturday night and will be looking to end a series of rough performances.
Will Clements be able to solve Riddle with his tremendous knockout power? Can "Deep Waters" drag Clements into the later rounds and drown him? What's the key to victory for both men on Saturday night?
Let's find out:
Record: 11-4 overall, 1-0 in the UFC
How he got here: Chris Clements took the long road to the UFC. The 36 year old Team Tompkins member got off to a tremendous start in his mixed martial arts career, winning five of his first six bouts including the fastest knockout in MMA history with a three second KO against Lautaro Tucas.
After fighting injured and enduring a rough four fight stretch in which he lost three bouts against future UFC competitors, Clements was ready to call it quits.
He instead changed his mind and after going on another solid four fight winning streak which included four knockouts, he found himself making his UFC debut against Keith Wisniewski this past April.
After originally stepping in for an injured Thiago Alves, Clements will be taking on fellow injury replacement Matt Riddle.
How he gets it done: Clements has some massive power in his hands as evidenced by his 10 knockouts in 11 career victories.
His opponent, Matt Riddle, loves to stand and bang despite not being very technical. What Clements needs to do is get Riddle to brawl with him and then land a massive power shot to either his temple or chin. Riddle is not unfinishable, having been stopped twice in his UFC career due to strikes (although one was an illegal kick).
As long as Clements doesn't leave himself completely exposed to an easy takedown, he should at least be able to outstrike Riddle and earn a decision, but I feel he's not going to be happy unless he can put the American down.
Record: 6-3 overall, 6-3 in the UFC
How he got here: Matt Riddle was a wrestler in college at East Stroudsburg University and despite having no professional MMA experience and just one amateur fight, he tried out and successfully made it onto season seven of The Ultimate Fighter. To get into the show, Riddle scored an extremely violent knockout over Dan Simmler which UFC president Dana White called "The biggest knockout in Ultimate Fighter history."
Riddle would be defeated by Tim Credeur on the show, but he would win five of his first six UFC bouts as the promotion helped him grow against lower ranked welterweights on the roster.
"Deep Waters" has had to go through some adversity of late, losing consecutive bouts to Sean Pierson and Lance Benoist before barely squeaking out a decision against late replacement and undersized Henry Martinez. Now, he's going into hostile territory against a very powerful veteran striker after stepping in on late notice for the injured Siyar Bahurdazada.
How he gets it done: Riddle is one of those fights that probably works on all the technical stuff in practice, but the second the cage doors close, he forgets about it and just wants to brawl. His fight against Sean Pierson was a good example of that as he just smiled, got punched in the face and kept coming forwards.
I expect Riddle to want to stand and trade with Clements, likely pushing the pace and throwing big arm punches but if he eats a really big shot from "The Menace," something tells me he's not going to like it.
If he gets hurt in the stand-up, expect Riddle to hearken back to his wrestling roots and try to take Clements down, working ground and pound on the canvas or at least winning the battle of positioning.
Time is on Riddle's side as Clements is not one for decisions. His lone career decision was his last fight and if Riddle can really push an exhausting pace, he can definitely take over by the midway point of the second round and definitely the third.
Fight X-Factor: The biggest X-Factor for this fight has to be Matt Riddle's "stand-and-bang" mentality. Whatever happens when he fights, he is always looking to brawl and put on a show for the fans moreso than he cares about winning or being technical. That is a good thing for some viewers who appreciate that kind of thing but against someone as powerful and dangerous as Clements, it could be a nightmare scenario.
If Riddle steps forward trading bombs with a big goofy smile on his face, he could find himself counting ceiling tiles before this fight is all said and done.
Bottom Line: Chris Clements can throw just about any strike due to his taekwondo background and he's got some serious power in his fists. If Matt Riddle obliges him and this fight turns into a huge brawl, then this fight has some serious potential to win not just one but multiple bonuses. It probably won't be the most technical battle, especially from Riddle's end, but it will definitely be fun.
Who will come out on top at UFC 149? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!