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UFC 161 fight card: Ryan Jimmo vs Igor Pokrajac preview

How can either Ryan Jimmo or Igor Pokrajac walk away victorious this weekend? Find out below!

Photos via USA Today

Two very dangerous light heavyweights will throw down this Saturday night (June 15, 2013) as Ryan Jimmo takes on Igor Pokrajac on the UFC 161 main card in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Both men are trying to erase the memories of their most recent UFC performances.

Ryan Jimmo

Record: 17-2 overall, 1-1 in the UFC

Key Wins: Emanuel Newton (MFC 23), Anthony Perosh (UFC 149), Wilson Gouveia (MFC 25)

Key Losses: James Te Huna (UFC on Fuel TV 7)

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 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.

He couldn't keep the momentum rolling against James Te Huna, but he's hoping soe home cooking in Canada will get things back on track.

How he gets it done: Jimmo showcased some power in his UFC debut, 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 Pokrajac's weapons, which are the huge power in both his left and right hands. Pokrajac 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 him 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 Pokrajac, even if he ends up outpointing the Croatian to earn a decision, that would not be the wisest gameplan if he wants to reduce risk and have his best chance of success.

Igor Pokrajac

Record: 25-9 (1 No Contest) overall, 4-4 (1 No Contest) in the UFC

Key Wins: Fabrio Maldonado (UFC on Fuel TV 3), Krzysztof Soszynski (UFC 140), James Irvin (UFC on Versus 2)

Key Losses: Vinny Magalhaes (UFC 152), Stephan Bonnar (The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale), James Te Huna (UFC 110)

How he got here: Pokrajac got his start as a training partner of the legendary Mirko Filipovic in Croatia. From 2003-2009, he competed 26 times, all in Europe and compiled a 21-5 record overall with all but four fights being stopped.

He would make his UFC debut later that year against Vladimir Matyushenko, but would drop a decision to the Belarusian wrestler. His bad luck continued against the heavy-handed James Te Huna, getting TKO'd in the third round.

The UFC kept him on the roster and he made that decision look wise after choking out veteran James Irvin in the first round and then winnning two of his last three fights. He most recently put on the best performance of his career, knocking out Krzysztof Soszynski in just 35 seconds which earned him a slot on the main card of this card against Fabio Maldonado.

The bout versus Maldonado delivered in every facet, but Pokrajac's subsequent bouts against Vinny Magalhaes and Joey Beltran have left plenty to be desired. He can put that all behind him if he steps up this Saturday night against Jimmo in hostile territory.

How he gets it done: Pokrajac has some of the fastest hands in the light heavyweight division, so since he's going in there against another respectable striker, he's going to want to get into the pocket, work his head movement, his footwork and then pound away with his combinations.

Pokrajac possesses some terrific technique, but what might set him apart from Jimmo standing is his ability to mix in knees. His knees are devastating if thrown properly, especially evident in his fight against Todd Brown, where he dropped him in the final 30 seconds of the first round.

His ability to mix it up against Jimmo, who's been threatening opponents in all areas recently, could be huge. As long as he doesn't get neutralized along the wall, he's definitely got at least a puncher's chance.

Who will come out on top at UFC 161? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!

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