Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight contenders Ian McCall and Justin Scoggins will battle this Saturday (July 30, 2016) at UFC 201 inside Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ian McCall entered UFC as the top-ranked Flyweight in the world and made a stellar debut. Since then, however, McCall has struggled to fight consistently due to injury and really needs to make a strong comeback. Scoggins made an immediate first impression, dominating a pair of opponents in his first two appearances inside the Octagon. He ran into a rough patch following those wins, but the 24-year-old has since proven himself as a serious fighter to watch once more.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both men:
Key Wins: Brad Pickett (UFC Fight Night 46), Dustin Ortiz (Tachi Palace Fights 9), Darrell Montague (Tachi Palace Fights 10)
Key Losses: Demetrious Johnson (UFC on FX 3), Joe Benavidez (UFC 156)
Keys to Victory: McCall is a well-rounded fighter who takes full advantage of his wrestling base. One of the larger men on the 125-pound roster, McCall has an impressive top game and is rather dominant in his element.
On the whole, McCall does a nice job of adapting his style to his gameplan. For example, in his bout with forward-moving-slugger Brad Pickett, McCall used movement and counter striking to pick apart his slower opponent.
In this bout, McCall needs to pressure the karate striker. Of Scoggins' two losses, McCall should look to emulate Dustin Ortiz's path to victory. In that bout, the wrestler kept on the offensive and forced takedown attempts, keeping Scoggins uncomfortable and allowing him to control the pace of the bout.
McCall is a bigger, stronger and more experienced wrestler/fighter than Ortiz. He should be able to follow a similar gameplan with success, so long as he sticks to the script and doesn't get into a brawl with the quicker kickboxer.
Key Wins: Ray Borg (UFC Fight Night 82), Josh Sampo (UFC 187), Will Campuzano (UFC 171)
Key Losses: Dustin Ortiz (TUF 19 Finale), John Moraga (UFC Fight Night 50)
Keys to Victory: Scoggins is the potent threat of a wrestler who can kick. An incredible active, offense-first karate striker with great conditioning, Scoggins is a serious threat to most of the division.
In this bout, Scoggins needs to keep his pace high without running into a takedown. That's a difficult balance, but it's one Scoggins must be able to find if he's to climb into the title mix. One thing that can really help him here is linear kicks like his side kick. If he focuses on jamming his side kick into McCall's mid-section, it will keep distance and slow down the heavier man.
In addition, Scoggins needs to watch his neck. He has a bit of a bad habit of leaving his head in the guillotine choke and thinking he's fine, which cost him in an otherwise dominant performance against Moraga. McCall is a veteran with similar experience, and Scoggins does not want to make the same mistake twice.
Bottom Line: It’s a very important bout for both men.
Judging by recent comments, McCall is close to retirement. He’s frustrated with pay and injuries, and he’s not on any type of win streak. If he comes up short to his young foe, it may be the final straw.
On the other hand, Scoggins is riding a considerable wave of momentum following his last win. If McCall can turn away "Tank," it could be the start of something big for "Uncle Creepy." This is a major opportunity for Scoggins. McCall may not be fighting or winning all that consistently, but he’s still highly-ranked and one of the division’s bigger names. It’s not title shot worthy, but Scoggins can definitely get into the mix.
That said, a loss would be a setback. Scoggins has faltered in his pair of bouts against top 10 fighters, and another defeat would not be ideal and would certainly halt his momentum.ideal and would certainly halt his momentum.
At UFC 201, Ian McCall and Justin Scoggins will throw down. Which fighter will have his hand raised?