UFC 90 Breakdown: The Undercard

Leites vs. McFedries

Oct 24, 2008
Wise men may hope for main card bouts at UFC 90 that last about as long as your average Hollywood marriage. The event has a stacked undercard upon which both hardcore and casual fans can gorge, should the main card go quickly.

Put aside thoughts of the hefty, post-Halloween dentist’s bill and focus instead on the fistic goodness lined up for this Saturday at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill.

Thales Leites vs. Drew McFedries

Leites Scouting Report
Height/Weight: 6’1/185 lbs.
Age: 27
Hometown: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Fighting out of: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Record: 13-1

The stakes: A training camp injury to Goran Reljic forced the UFC to scrap his main card bout with Leites and left the Brazilian submission sage to anchor the undercard against McFedries. Either way, Leites needs this win to keep his name in the Anderson Silva sweepstakes and to wash out the sour taste left behind by his controversial UFC 85 win over Nate Marquardt.

Talk all you like about Leites’ silky smooth jiu-jitsu; his last bout against Marquardt was about as aesthetically pleasing as a Damien Hirst exhibit. The fight was marred by fouls and questionable point deductions, which ultimately won Leites the match. A dominating display is in order, lest Leites lose any ground in the middleweight division.

The breakdown: One of the few jiu-jitsu prodigies in MMA who can consistently score takedowns, Leites presents a gaggle of problems for most opponents based on that alone. McFedries certainly falls into that group, considering his substandard takedown defense and the thrift-store jiu-jitsu that’s responsible for two of his three losses in the UFC.

Leites fans need to keep an eye on both the conditioning and strategy of their favorite Brazilian. He has shown an unsettling penchant for poor cardio and game planning. It’s high time he sticks to his guns, or he’ll never be the fighter so many envisioned he’d become.

McFedries Scouting Report
Height/Weight: 6’0/185 lbs.
Age: 30
Hometown: Ames, Iowa
Fighting out of: Bettendorf, Iowa
Record: 7-4

The stakes: As exciting a slugger as there is in MMA today, McFedries has never seen the second round in the UFC. Unfortunately for 30-year-old Iowan, three of those bouts ended with him on the wrong side of the ledger. He currently plays the “big guy who throws bombs” role in the middleweight division.

While getting Joe Rogan’s voice to hit incomprehensible highs every time one throws a punch is nothing to smirk at, McFedries needs to distinguish himself soon. Otherwise, he’ll spend the rest of his career as nothing more than a member of Rogan’s All-Explosively Athletic Team.

The breakdown: McFedries’ key to victory could not be more obvious: For the love of God, do not hit the ground. Leites has a troubling habit of testing out his strikes against far more skilled opponents, and if McFedries can avoid a takedown or two and force an exchange, this fight takes on a completely different look.

In fact, if Leites is foolish enough to trade with McFedries, we might see the Brazilian get knocked into a different dimension.


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The bottom line: The laws of reality predict a tidy first-round submission win for Leites. McFedries’ only hope rests on his opponent having a strategic brain fart so big it would make what took place at some of those nuclear test sites look like backwoods fireworks shows.

No such luck for McFedries, as he storms Leites from the opening bell before getting clinched, tripped and tapped. The interesting part will be if “Highlander” rules apply and Leites gets to absorb all of McFedries’ powers.
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