Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight sluggers Jimmy Crute and Alonzo Menifield will battle this weekend (Sat., Feb. 11, 2023) at UFC 284 inside RAC Arena in Perth, Australia.
Crute may be entering this bout following a pair of losses, but the 26-year-old Aussie remains one of the division’s best prospects. It’s a weird situation: one loss came to the current champion, whereas another came in one of those funky moments where his knee shut off from a single low kick. Conversely, Menifield rolls into this fight on a pretty good run. He’s won four of his last five bouts, finishing three of those fights before the bell. None of the names on his record are spectacular, but “Atomic” has a chance to change that in this match up.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Michal Oleksiejczuk (UFC Fight Night 168), Paul Craig (UFC Fight Night 142), Sam Alvey (UFC 234), Modestas Bukauskas (UFC Fight Island 6)
Key Losses: Jamahal Hill (UFC Vegas 44), Jamahal Hill (Anthony Smith (UFC Vegas 9), Misha Cirkunov (UFC Fight Night 158)
Keys to Victory: Crute is very well-rounded for such a young fighter. He’s an adept striker with power in his hands, but Crute really excels on the canvas. He’s a strong wrestler with excellent submission skills, making him a real handful in such a striker-heavy division.
Menifield is a powerhouse. This is not an opponent who should be approached straight on in regards to either striking or wrestling. If Crute thinks he’s going to safely trade with Menifield or easily blast him off his feet with a double leg, he’s likely in for a rude awakening.
Fortunately, there are ways around pure strength. Namely, Crute could work his distance striking, avoid the pocket, then try to time a takedown perfectly beneath a Menifield swing. Alternatively, he could look to really grind Menifield, exhaust him, then implement his ground game.
The latter seems safer to me, as Crute remains a young fighter with still-developing defense. If Devin Clark was able to fatigue and wrestle Menifield through consistency, Crute should be able to do the same.
Key Wins: Paul Craig (UFC on ESPN 3), Misha Cirkunov (UFC Vegas 62), Ed Herman (UFC 265), Vinicius Moreira (UFC Fight Night 143)
Key Losses: William Knight (UFC Vegas 44), Ovince Saint Preux (UFC Vegas 9), Devin Clark (UFC 250)
Keys to Victory: Menifield doesn’t do anything too complicated inside the cage. He’s got big power in his right hand and a very serviceable wrestling game, which is enough to climb pretty far up the Light Heavyweight ladder.
He’s stopped 10 foes via knockout.
Menifield wants a firefight here. By and large, he’s proven himself rather durable, and he definitely is the greater one punch knockout threat. Therefore, he wants to encourage one-to-one exchanges, because he’s more likely to come out on top.
It makes sense for Menifield to press Crute to his backfoot. “The Brute” likes to walk opponents down, so flipping that dynamic back on him should be beneficial. It’s harder to shoot when being pressured, and Menifield will have more room to avoid the fence if he’s the man moving forward.
This is an important fight for each man and for the Light Heavyweight division.
Crute enters this fight ranked at No. 12, and he remains one of the better prospects in the division. The latter will still be true with a defeat here, but he’ll likely drop out of the rankings as a result of a third consecutive losses. Really, this fight will determine whether or not Crute can look ahead in the rankings in 2023, or if a regroup period is necessary for his career.
For Menifield, this is a major opportunity on a high-profile event (or at least, a card that is supposed to be high-profile). The knockout artist is 35 years of age, and he has the chance to extend his win streak to three with the best win yet of his career. Victory here introduces him to the Light Heavyweight rankings, and it should set him up for another big fight next.
At UFC 284, Jimmy Crute and Alonzo Menifield will open the main card. Which man remains standing when the dust settles?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 284 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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