The opening mixed martial arts (MMA) match up at UFC 159 later this evening (Sat., April 27, 2013), which takes place at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., pits fan favorite Jim Miller against a relatively similar style in Strikeforce import Pat Healy.
Both Lightweight standouts are gritty, hard-driving and big-bearded guys who rely on conditioning and resilience to wear down their opponents.
The difference between the two is class of opposition and how they’ve fared in the past. Healy has always been a tough out and functioned in Strikeforce as one of those guys who was a little too talented to be a steppingstone, but not quite able to break through to the elite level and wear a championship belt.
His rise in the promotion concluded with six wins against lower-level competition prior to its end last December; however, in his defense, a match against 155-pound champion Gilbert Melendez alluded "Bam Bam" until the bitter end.
Miller’s striking isn’t anything to strike fear in the heart of opponents, but it functions well enough to allow him to exchange and close the distance, and like Healy, he can take a lot of punishment. Healy’s stand up is rudimentary, which will allow Miller to dictate the ranges and positions in which the fight takes place.
Check out a complete breakdown of the UFC 159 main card bout between Jim Miller vs. Pat Healy below:
It’s doubtful Octagon jitters will phase Healy, who is a reliable veteran used to fighting as the B-side in match ups. However, much may swing on how much Miller wants to make a statement. The durable Healy is a high-risk, low-reward type of opponent, and anything short of a finish will do little do boost Miller up the packed lightweight ranks.
Miller isn’t afraid to take risks to end fights, and consistently ends up in entertaining brawls, punctuated by his intense pace and ability to force the action. Healy’s best chance is in exploiting an opening, off a big exchange.
Healy boasts good submission chops, but his and Miller’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu will likely cancel one another out.
Stylistically this is a good match up for Miller. He has better wrestling and stand up, which will allow him to flit in and out, at will, using his superior footwork to score on the feet. When he decides to take it to the ground, he will, using top control and some effective ground and pound to dictate the action. Healy is very scrappy and doesn’t give up much from his back, but he’ll get ground down and outwrestled to a one-sided decision win for Miller.
Miller via unanimous decision.
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the UFC 159 pay-per-view (PPV) main card action, which is slated to start promptly at 10 p.m. ET. Up-to-the-minute updates and fight-by-fight coverage will begin to flow earlier than that, however, around 6:35 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook and FX.
Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst