Filling in for an injured Thiago Alves, Mike Pyle will have his work is cut out for him tonight (Sat., Aug. 17, 2013) when he takes on the streaking Matt Brown at UFC Fight Night 26, which takes place at TD Bank Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
That's because Brown boasts five consecutive wins, making him him a legitimate Top 10-ranked 170-pound contender. Pyle -- forever cast as a spoiler stepping stone-type to rising talents -- has the guile and know-how to exploit holes, and Brown's aggressiveness, while effective, makes him a tempting target, especially on the ground and in a wrestling-style gut-check.
Momentum is huge in combat sports, and Brown's gritty win over the talented Jordan Mein was a huge one for his mixed martial arts (MMA) career. Pyle showed his trademark staying power and savvy in outhustling Rick Story in his last outing, doing just enough in a taxing battle to nip a close decision as "Horror" gassed down the stretch.
Brown figures to jump on Pyle immediately to discourage any such strategy, and that's where the mediocre "Quicksand" stand up could really be a liability. "The Immortal" puts together very good combinations and always seems to have something extra coming at his opponents. He also has outstanding killer instinct. For Pyle, surviving the early storm and getting it to the mat is a huge factor in him winning this fight, as he's a much better grappler and wrestler, which will cool Brown's heels and limit his options considerably.
Brown is on a roll right now. And while it's easy to see the mat-slick Pyle taking him to the mat somehow and submitting him, you can't ignore how outstanding Brown's been of late. He'll come out pressing the action, battering Pyle early and jumping on him for the finish, but Pyle will survive a rough opening round on veteran smarts and canniness. In the second, Brown will resume the attack, and pounce for the finish as Pyle, a step behind, is whacked senseless.
Brown via knockout
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 26 card this weekend, starting with the Facebook "Prelims," which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised under card bouts at 6 p.m. ET and then the main card action, which is slated to begin at 8 p.m. ET.
Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst