Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweights Ryan Jimmo and Francimar Barroso will battle this Saturday night (May 30, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 67 on FOX Sports 1 inside Goiania Arena in Goiania, Brazil.
Since entering the UFC on a major win streak, Jimmo has alternated wins and losses inside the Octagon. Strangely, two of his three losses in that time came via injury, though Jimmo has scored some nice knockouts, as well.
Meanwhile, Barroso has been trying to carve out a place for himself in the light heavyweight division. He's currently 1-1 inside the Octagon, but neither of his fights have been all that memorable.
Let's take a look at the keys to victory for both fighters.
Key Wins: Sean O' Connell (TUF Nations Finale), Igor Pokrajac (UFC 161), Anthony Perosh (UFC 149)
Key Losses: Ovince St. Preux (UFC 174), Jimi Manuwa (UFC Fight Night 30), James Te Huna (UFC on Fuel TV 7)
Keys to Victory: Jimmo is an experienced karate striker and spent much of his career frustrating opponents on their feet. He's gotten more aggressive in the last couple years -- perhaps due to his time training with the Blackzilians -- and has scored eight knockout wins.
This is a match up that Jimmo should win. Thus far, each of his losses have been fairly close, including his defeats via injury. However, Jimmo's failure to really take control of the fight has already cost him dearly.
In order to avoid a similar fate here, Jimmo needs to stay aggressive. Barroso is not really an expert at anything, but he could make the fight close with consistent punches and takedown. Jimmo cannot let him get away with that and needs to capitalize on any counter opportunities in violent fashion.
To defeat the Brazilian, Jimmo should be careful with his distance control. If he can keep Barroso reaching with his punches and shooting from too far out, "Bodao" will likely slow down.
Once that happens, Jimmo can take advantage.
Key Wins: Ednaldo Oliveira (UFC 163)
Key Losses: Hans Stringer (UFC Fight Night 38)
Keys to Victory: Barroso is a black belt in both kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Though he scored plenty of finishes on the regional scene, both of his UFC fights have gone the full distance.
Thus far, Barroso has mostly relied on his jiu-jitsu skills. He's got some quality top control, although his takedowns aren't the best, meaning he'll have to catch Jimmo off guard in order to land one.
In short, Barroso can't simply rush Jimmo and hope to catch him off guard. Not only will that probably fail, he'll likely eat some counter punches, too. Instead, Barroso should use his strong low kicks to chip away at Jimmo's movement.
If Barroso is able to limit Jimmo's movement, he should be able to walk him into the fence. From there, if he's still unable to score with takedowns, Barroso might at least be able to land some big punches and make it close.
Against a fighter who's historically quite hesitant like Jimmo, that could be enough to earn the victory.
Bottom Line: These fighters are likely fighting for their jobs, even though Jimmo could be a top-15 fighter.
Jimmo has been quite outspoken in his complaints about the UFC, which likely leaves him on a short leash. If he loses to the unheralded Brazilian, he could find himself cut from the promotion.
That said, Jimmo is a very talented fighter. If Fabio Maldonado is in the top 15, Jimmo easily could be, as well. If he returns to the win column here, he should next match up with a fighter near the bottom of the official rankings.
Despite having two fights inside the Octagon, Barroso has yet to do a single memorable thing inside the Octagon. That's almost as bad as losing in devastating fashion. Actually, it might be worse. If Barroso wants to extend his UFC career, he needs to earn a dominant win here.
On the other hand, a loss would almost certainly signal the end of his time with the world's premiere promotion.
At UFC Fight Night 67, Ryan Jimmo and Francimar Barroso will clash. Which fighter will have his hand raised?