Volkmann file photo: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
Check out any MMA forum or blog and the vibe is the same: The masses are going into withdrawal, and it’s starting to get ugly.
Thankfully after one week too many of no major league fights, Versus comes to the rescue of our sanity with UFC on Versus 2: Jones vs. Matyushenko. While the prelim bouts aren’t guaranteed any shine on the broadcast, I’ve been making an awful lot of pagan sacrifices lately, so the Gods should be pleased.
In anticipation of a prelim packed show, devour another top to bottom knowledge fest of awesomely awesome proportions.
Paul Kelly vs. Jacob Volkmann
Of all the fights on the prelims, the lightweight bout between Kelly and Volkmann is the most fascinating because both fighters play against each other’s weaknesses so well.
Watch Volkmann fight and it becomes obvious that he’s eminently hittable on the feet and makes some bizarre decisions on the mat despite being a solid wrestler. Kelly is certainly the better striker and has shown flashes of a strong grappling game, but he’s going to struggle against Volkmann’s wrestling. Basically, the fight comes down to whether Kelly can find a way to finagle his way into top control like he did repeatedly against Matt Veach.
For all of Volkmann’s hyped-up wrestling skill, he just doesn’t have the ironclad base to ride out top-control decisions. Kelly has the grappling savvy to avoid any submissions and work his way either into top control or back to the feet. In three UFC bouts Volkmann has yet to show discernible improvement on the feet and, despite having some pop in his fists, he makes for an easy mark because his stance is so open.
The only time Volkmann will be in control of this bout is when he’s on top, and his wrestling isn’t so great that he’ll win every takedown battle. He may win the bulk of them, but Kelly’s superior offense will make up for a few minutes’ worth of unappreciated guard work and the Brit will get the win.