This Saturday (July 19, 2014) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) flyweights Ian McCall and Brad Pickett will put their differences to bed on the main card of UFC Fight Night 46, airing live on Fight Pass from O2 Arena in Dublin, Ireland.
No. 3-ranked McCall has been out of action since UFC 163 in August 2013, where he won a decision over Iliarde Santos. "Uncle Creepy" was supposed to square off with both Scott Jorgensen at UFC on FOX 9 and Pickett at UFC Fight Night 37, but injuries forced him out of both bouts.
After losing close friend Shane Del Rosario late last year, it's been a trying year for McCall.
He'll look to get on a win streak against No. 10-ranked Pickett, the British slugger who's known for being one of the most exciting flyweights in all of mixed martial arts (MMA).
"One Punch" was last seen defeating a game Neil Seery at UFC Fight Night 37 in his homeland. At 2-2 in his last four bouts, it's time for Pickett to rise above his inconsistency if he wants to be true contender at 125 pounds.
Pickett had no sympathy for McCall's recent trials and tribulations, something that could add an extra dynamic to this important match-up. Let's take a look at the keys to victory for McCall vs. Pickett:
Record: 12-4-1 overall, 1-2-1 UFC
Key Wins: Iliarde Santos (UFC 163), Darrell Montague (TPF 10), Dustin Ortiz (TPF 9), Jussier Formiga (TPF 8)
Key Losses: Demetrious Johnson (UFC on FX 3), Dominick Cruz (WEC 38), Joseph Benavidez (UFC 156)
Keys to Victory: Former Tachi Palace Fights (TPF) champion McCall is a well-rounded finisher with four knockouts and three submissions in 12 total wins. The 30-year-old "Uncle Creepy" has struggled to put the demons of addiction behind him in the past, so he'll need a clear head to get by the dangerous Pickett.
To do so, McCall should look to take this fight to the ground. Pickett has tapped out four times in eight losses, and he doesn't have the nickname "One Punch" for no reason. He's a dangerous striker who could give McCall trouble despite the fact that "Uncle Creepy" has never been knocked out.
Getting in Pickett's face without overcommitting will give McCall the chance to bully him up against the fence and look for a takedown. If he's able to gets fight to the mat, McCall will go to work in search of a potentially fight-ending choke.
It's a solid gameplan to win, but it's also much easier said than done. Pickett is a seasoned veteran who gives his all each and every time out to the cage, and McCall will probably have a bit of ring rust lingering from his lengthy time away from the cage.
The crowd will also be against McCall in a big way. He has to look past that and regain his championship form to pick up another big win in Ireland.
Record: 24-8 overall, 4-3 UFC
Key Wins: Demetrious Johnson (WEC 48), Ivan Menjivar (WEC 53), Mike Easton (UFC on Fuel TV 9)
Key Losses: Renan Barao (UFC 138), Michael McDonald (UFC Fight Night 26), Eddie Wineland (UFC 155)
Keys to Victory: Former Cage Rage featherweight champion Pickett is an even more lethal finisher than McCall.
He has seven knockouts and 10 submissions spread among his 24 wins, but it will be quite the feat to add the hard-nosed McCall to that list.
"Uncle Creepy" has only tapped out once in 17 fights, and he's never been knocked out. Still, Pickett should hold a decided advantage in the striking department. Training out of Florida's American Top Team, Pickett enjoys the wealth of knowledge available at one of the best camps in the sport.
He'll be utilizing a high pace to catch McCall off guard and capitalize on his perceived ring rust. "One Punch"" is on a very short list of fighters to defeat UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. While it's safe to say that "Mighty Mouse" is a different fighter now, it's still an impressive feather in his cap.
However, he's failed in big fights recently, and this one definitely qualifies as such. He'll have the full support of the European crowd at his back, and that should help him come out strong on Saturday.
But fighters who have talked a ton of trash haven't exactly delivered in the Octagon, and Pickett has talked his fair share. He'll have to buck that trend to pick up his biggest UFC win against McCall.
Bottom Line from Dublin: The bottom line for this fight is that we're going to see how McCall's lengthy layoff has affected his status as a top-ranked flyweight.
He took Johnson to the limit in his UFC debut, but his record with the promotion is not exactly sterling. A win over Pickett will help him regain much of his lost momentum, and his best chance to get it is on the ground.
Pickett has a great opportunity to establish some crucial consistency in the Octagon. The pressure is on McCall to show he can rebound from injuries and unfortunate personal circumstances.
If he can push the action early and prevent McCall from finding any sort of a rhythm, "One Punch" could bring home a big win for the fans.
On the other hand, McCall just doesn't go down easily. He's a fighter in every sense of the term, and you'll have to drag him out of the cage in order to earn a stoppage.
That means that this should be an exciting back-and-forth battle. In a time where flyweights are getting a ton of flack, UFC needs these two 125-pound brawlers to put on a show. Luckily for them, they'll probably do just that, so enjoy the fight.
Ian McCall has a lot to prove in his comeback UFC Fight Night 46 bout against Brad Pickett. Will "Uncle Creepy" rise to the occasion, or will he succumb to the striking of "One Punch?"