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UFC Fight Night 101 fight card: Kyle Noke vs Omari Ahkmedov full fight preview

MMA: UFC Fight Night - Noke vs Nakamura Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight strikers Kyle Noke and Omari Ahkmedv will battle this Saturday (Nov. 26, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 101 inside Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.

Noke’s transition back to Welterweight proved to be a smart move, as the Australian reinvigorated his UFC career by winning three of four bouts. Since then, however, Noke has lost his last two bouts and cannot afford another defeat this weekend. Much like his foe, Ahkmedov is a former Middleweight in dire need of a victory. He’s a consistently entertaining brawler, but the Russian has been finished late in his last two bouts.

Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both men:

Kyle Noke
Record: 22-9-1
Key Wins: Peter Sobotta (UFC 193), Charlies Brenneman (UFC 153), Chris Camozzi (UFC 127)
Key Losses: Keita Nakamura (UFC Fight Night 91), Patrick Cote (TUF: Nations Finale)
Keys to Victory: Noke is an interesting veteran, as he's one of those unique athletes who's both incredibly dangerous and fairly flawed. He's a devastating kicker with some slick submissions, but Noke has always struggled with men who push inside his range to box or wrestle.

Oddly enough, both men have all the tools to terrorize their opponent or get battered.

Against an opponent who's only really effective at that inside punching range, Noke's strategy should be incredibly clear. He needs to maintain active movement and keep his opponent away with hard kicks In particular, Noke's front kick that ended Sobotta's day should work well against the crouched bruiser. Ahkmedov slows down considerable and is not the most durable fighter. If Noke can stifle him throughout the early rounds without taking too much damage, he should be able to overwhelm him later on.

VS.

Omari Ahkmedov
Record: 15-4
Key Wins: Brian Ebersole (UFC Fight Night 68), Thiago Perpetuo (UFC Fight Night 32)
Key Losses: Gunnar Nelson (UFC Fight Night 37), Sergio Moraes (UFC Fight Night 80), Elizeu Zaleski (UFC on FOX 19)
Keys to Victory: Ahkmedov's credentials don't exactly match up with his skill set. The International Master of Combat Sambo's grappling hasn't really proven to be all that great -- although his takedown defense is solid — but Ahkmedov's physical prowess and devastating punches have earned him so brutal wins.

Ahkmedov needs to start this bout quickly and attempt to overwhelm his opponent. He doesn't want to stand at the end of Noke's range, and so he should spend as little time as possible at that distance. Ahkmedov may not be the most consistent wrestler, but he can probably overpower Noke to the mat. That's been a problem for the Aussie in the past, and Ahkmedov's powerful swings should help open up the shot.

He may not do much from top position, but it could keep him ahead in the fight without costing much energy.

Speaking of, Ahkmedov's cardio is only an issue if he burns himself out. Noke tends to slow down a bit as well, so if he manages himself properly, he won't implode in the final round.

Bottom Line: It’s a fun match up of finishers who desperately need a win.

Noke might just be fighting for his UFC career. One of his recent losses was a pretty questionable split decision, but at 36 years old, it’s not like Noke is suddenly going to go on a tear toward the title. He’s still around because of his popularity in Australia and fan-friendly style, but that only goes so far. Noke needs to win this bout to stick around further, otherwise there’s a good chance he’ll receive his pink slip.

Ahkmedov is in a similar position. He tends to live and die by the sword, but that entertaining style has cost him a pair of late finishes. If he slips up a third straight time, he’s almost certainly done inside the Octagon. Yes folks, this is a main card match up. On the bright side, Ahkmedov could also score perhaps the biggest win of his career. If he manages to stop Noke, that’s a pretty significant feather in his cap, and it keeps him safe from the dreaded chopping block for at least a couple fights.

At UFC Fight Night 101, Kyle Noke and Omari Ahkmedov will brawl. Which man will remain standing when the dust settles?