Two very talented and extremely dangerous welterweights will cross paths this Saturday night (April 20, 2013) as Canadian young gun Jordan Mein takes on battle tested Matt Brown in the opening bout of the UFC on Fox 7 main card.
Mein made a truly explosive UFC debut, blasting veteran Dan Miller on the feet and systematically breaking him down until securing a violent and methodical first round finish. He'll be looking to take out his second straight UFC vet in a row to truly make his stamp on the division.
Brown was on the brink of a UFC release but turned everything around with four straight wins including two very impressive victories over rising prospect Stephen Thompson and most recently a knockout of former top contender Mike Swick. Now, he's trying to join the ranks of welterweight contenders himself if he can outwork Mein.
Record: 27-8 overall, 1-0 in the UFC
How he got here: Mein has been a very busy young man. At just 23 years old, he's already been competing in MMA for nearly seven years. He stumbled out of the gate with his first ever opponent being current top UFC contender Rory MacDonald and after a 3-4 start to his career, he really found his groove.
Mein competed entirely in Canada for the next four years, slowly progressing up the ladder facing stiffer and stiffer competition. After dropping a decision to Jason High at his father's Rumble in the Cage promotion in 2010, he hasn't looked back since, going on a tear that included the likes of UFC veterans Joe Riggs, Josh Burkman and former Dream champion Marius Zaromskis.
He caught the attention of Zuffa after the Zaromskis victory and was given a tremendous opportunity against former Strikeforce title challenger and overall ferocious Brazilian Evangelista Santo. He hung with the veteran for two rounds and then pulverized him in the third with a brutal onslaught of elbows to score the biggest victory of his career.
The victory earned him a contender fight against Tyron Woodley, but he was wrestled for three straight rounds and taken out of his stand-up element. Since then, Mein has won three straight including a ferocious UFC debut where he finished the tough as nails veteran Dan Miller for the first time.
He accepted this bout on short notice after Dan Hardy's heart condition forced him out.
How he gets it done: Mein's striking is straight nasty. The dangerous Canadian possesses some of the crispest and most technical stand-up attack in the division and he'll need to slice up Matt Brown's defenses like a surgeon if he wants to find success.
Brown is very powerful and dangerous, but as long as Mein remains composed and patient, looking for openings when Brown presents them. He'll be the quicker fighter with the better reaction times and he can definitely use that to his advantage.
One of the most important factors for Mein is not to overextend. Brown isn't a great ground fighter, but he's utilized takedowns to defeat superior strikers in the past. Look no further than his grounding and pounding of Stephen Thompson. Mein needs to keep his distance with his jab and not dive in with the really crazy stuff unless Brown has been stunned or there's no way Brown can counter.
Record: 16-11 overall, 9-5 in the UFC
How he got here: Brown has had an extremely up and down roller coaster career both inside and outside the Octagon. Never one to turn down a tough fight, he fought extremely tough competition in his pre-UFC career, defeating the likes of Douglas Lima and Matt Arroyo while losing to opponents like Pete Spratt
He was chosen as a participant of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season seven and won his first two fights on the show, but was eliminated by the eventual winner Amir Sadollah via submission in the final eight. His UFC debut was strong, winning four of his first five fights while only losing a split decision to Dong Hyun Kim and stopping all four of his victories. This earned him some higher caliber opposition but he was not up to the task.
Brown suffered a rough three fight losing streak, getting submitted three straight times by Brian Foster, Chris Lytle and Ricardo Almeida but the UFC believed in him and his ability to entertain so he remained employed. After trading wins and losses, he got back to his killer ways with a second round knockout of Chris Cope.
He took "Wonderboy" Stephen Thompson's best shot at UFC 145 and came back to beat the karate expert down with ground and pound and pressure on the feet. He followed up with a dominant showing against Luis Ramos and then put a stamp on his comeback by knocking out former contender Mike Swick in his last fight.
After originally expecting to take on Dan Hardy, he gleefully accepted Mein's challenge.
How he gets it done: The key for Brown is pressure, pressure, pressure. He loves to get in fighters' faces and pound on them. That's what made him such a scary opponent during the early stretch of his UFC career and that's what he went away from when he was losing.
Brown is very powerful and he's extremely durable. It's not the best idea to rely on your chin, but if he sees an opportunity to take a shot to dish one out, he should go for it. He shouldn't give Mein any room to breathe on the feet and just pound away with punches and elbows on the inside. He's got some underrated Muay Thai skills and Mein won't be afraid to engage him on the inside.
If the stand-up is not working, Brown also has a chance to use his wrestling. That's what helped him defeat John Howard and Stephen Thompson and Mein showed in his return fight against Tyron Woodley that he had a bit of trouble off of his back. The ground could definitely be Brown's saving grace.
Who will come out on top at UFC on Fox 7? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!