Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight scrappers Tim Means and Sabah Homasi will square off this Saturday (Aug. 20, 2016) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It’s easy to forget about Means because of just how many rising Welterweights there are, but "Dirty Bird" has won five of his last six fights, including a trio of finishes. His opponent pulled out just about a week ago, so now Means must face the challenge of a complete unknown. Why UFC didn’t simply pair him off with Hyun Gyu Lim — a reasonably big name whose opponent fell off in similar fashion — is probably above my pay grade.
Filling in that sudden vacancy is Sabah Homasi, a former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veteran. On the bright side, Homasi competed less than two weeks ago and scored the biggest victory of his career, so he should be in good shape for this contest.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for both athletes:
Key Wins: John Howard (UFC Fight Night 80), George Sullivan (UFC on FOX 15), Dhiego Lima (UFC 184)
Key Losses: Matt Brown (UFC 189), Neil Magny (UFC Fight Night 40)
Keys to Victory: Means is an aggressive finisher with dangerous kickboxing and clinch work. One of the tallest and longest fighters at Welterweight, Means pushes a hard pace and often overwhelms his opponents with endless offense.
Sounds like a smart plan opposite Homasi.
Historically, Means has struggled with fighters able to stick to a disciplined game plan that involved keeping him on his back or refusing to give him a target to punch at. Since Homasi doesn't really have the skills to fit into either of those molds, Means' go-to style should work just fine.
Against a fellow slugger, Means seems to have all the advantages. He's the bigger fighter. He's a more proven knockout artist, with 17 stoppages to his credit. Perhaps most importantly, Means has never been truly knocked out himself, which is Homasi's primary path to victory.
In short, that all seems to add up to a quick, violent finish for "The Dirty Bird."
Key Wins: Jorge Patino (Titan FC 40),
Key Losses: Reggie Pena (Supreme FC 1)
Keys to Victory: Homasi is a very hard hitter, and he's well aware of it. "The Punisher" doesn't waste much time before stepping to his opponent with wide, powerful punches, and he can definitely do major damage if he connects.
This is definitely a difficult match up for Homasi, but he does have the proverbial puncher's chance. The man can punch damn hard, and it's not like Means is one to avoid a slug fest.
To give himself the best chance of landing a fight-changing blow, Homasi needs to work inside Means' long range without getting wrapped up in the clinch. Means excels at both of those distances, whereas it would be difficult for Homasi to punch with power from too far out or too close.
If he's able to work from his own boxing range, Homasi does have the ability to shake things up in dramatic fashion.
Bottom Line: Regardless of whose hand is raised, this fight should be violent and end fairly quickly.
This is definitely a high-risk fight for Means. He's facing an unknown, short-notice opponent with pretty massive power in his punches. That's a recipe for disaster, as a loss here would eliminate the momentum Means has built up and send him spiraling down the ladder.
On the other hand, there's not much to gain for Means either. In order to make any significant progress from this fight, Means needs to absolutely maul his opponent. A mere finish isn't enough; it has to be highlight reel worthy.
Meanwhile, little to no expectations exist for Homasi. He's expected to be blown out of the water, so there's nothing for him to lose really. However, anything more than getting smashed easily -- from simply giving Means a hard fight to knocking "Dirty Bird" cold -- will earn Homasi some respect and credit heading into his next match up, which should be a more reasonable opponent for just his second UFC showing.
At UFC 202, Tim Means and Sabah Homasi will brawl. Which man will leave the Octagon with the victory?