Photos by Kyle Terada and Anne-Marie Sorvin via USA Today
MMAmania's Brian Hemminger takes a closer look at Saturday night's UFC on Fuel TV 7 fight between light heavyweight sluggers James Te Huna and Ryan Jimmo. What's the key to victory for both men? Find out below.
Two very dangerous light heavyweights will duke it out inside the Octagon this Saturday night (Feb. 16, 2013) as New Zealand slugger James Te Huna battles former MFC champion Ryan Jimmo on the UFC on Fuel TV 7 main card in London, England.
Te Huna has slowly risen up the ranks, smashing opponents on the feet with his brutal power in the UFC while hitting only one speed bump in top contender Alexander Gustafsson along the way. The knockout artist is searching for his fourth straight UFC victory this weekend.
Jimmo couldn't have had a more impressive UFC debut, knocking out Anthony Perosh in a near UFC-record seven seconds last July. He's been patiently waiting on the sidelines for the right opponent and he's hopefully found one in Te Huna.
Will Te Huna finally make the jump into the light heavyweight mix of contenders? Can Jimmo possibly one-up his UFC debut? What's the key to victory for both men?
James Te Huna
Record: 15-5 overall, 4-1 in the UFC
Key Losses: Alexander Gustafsson (UFC 127), Hector Lombard (Warriors Realm 8)
How he got here: James Te-Huna is a New Zealand native so obviously, he got his start on the Australian circuit. The powerful striker had mixed results early on in his career but one thing was almost always guaranteed, a ferocious finish.
In 19 career fights, he's only ever gone to decision twice. Te-Huna eventually worked his way up the local circuit to a CFC light heavyweight Grand Prix where he knocked out everyone he faced including current UFC light heavyweight Anthony Perosh.
The victory earned the New Zealander a UFC invite and he would make the most of his opportunity, knockout out Igor Pokrajac in the third round of his debut. After a setback against Alexander Gustafsson in which he was submitted via rear naked choke, Te-Huna has laid waste to his opposition since.
He thrashed Ricardo Romero in just 47 seconds and followed that up by blasting Aaron Rosa via TKO in his backyard of Sydney, Australia earlier this year. He was finally given a spotlight in his last bout and punished Joey Beltran over the course of three rounds, earning a decision victory against the hard-headed foe.
Now, he's ready to take the leap against Jimmo
How he gets it done: This is obvious. Te-Huna is not the most skilled on the ground, or even in the clinch but what he does possess is absolute dynamite in his fists.
Expect to see him come forward and try to blast Jimmo in the temple or the jaw with heavy hooks and straight punches. If Jimmo doesn't defend himself, he's going to be in for a world of hurt and could find himself unconscious.
Footwork will be important as Jimmo has some well-roundedness to his game and can hurt him either in the clinch or with takedowns. We all know that Te Huna does not possess the most diverse fighting style and if he finds himself on his back, he'll be in trouble. Expect to see him try to do everything he can to keep the bout standing and try to mix in some power.
Record: 17-1 overall, 1-0 in the UFC
Key Losses: none
How he got here: Believe it or not, Ryan Jimmo lost his professional debut, getting TKO'd inside the first two minutes back in 2007 at MFC 11. The "Big Deal" was not discouraged, however and has now reeled off 17 straight victories.
The Canadian slugger bounced back in a big way, working his way up to become a standout competitor in MFC. After 13 straight victories, he was given a title shot for the vacant MFC belt and he defeated Dwayne Lewis for the belt via third round doctor stoppage.
After two more title defenses, Jimmo's deal with MFC ran out and he made the leap to the UFC. His debut with Ultimate Fighting Championship couldn't have gone any better as he dropped Anthony Perosh with his first punch and finished him in just seven seconds, nearly breaking the UFC record in the process.
Now, Jimmo is hoping to somehow build off his impressive debut by taking on Te Huna.
How he gets it done: Jimmo showcased some power in his last bout, but he hasn't historically been a tremendous finisher throughout his career. The "Real Deal" has some solid leg kicks, respectable punching and knows how to maneuver himself around the cage.
Look for Jimmo to try to take away Te Huna's weapons, which are the huge power in both his left and right hands. Te Huna has the ability to finish the fight if he can land a brutal shot so expect Jimmo to either try to take this fight to the clinch or potentially even take Te Huna down if he is concerned about the big blows.
Jimmo has the well-roundedness to his game and he has to capitalize on that. If he stands and trades with Te Huna, even if he ends up outpointing the New Zealander to earn a decision, that would not be the wisest gameplan if he wants to reduce risk and have his best chance of success.
Fight X-Factor: The biggest X-Factor for this fight might be the fact that Jimmo scored such a dramatic knockout in just seven seconds in his last bout. He has the diversity of his skillset to mix up his game and take away Te Huna's weapons, but coming off the heels of a fantastic knockout might make him want to stand and bang with the powerful slugger and that would be a huge mistake.
Bottom Line: This fight has potential to be extremely entertaining, but
Who will come out on top at UFC on Fuel TV 7? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!