Schaub file photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Dwight Schrute loves beets. Garfield loves lasagna. Hardcore MMA fans love prelim fights.
These are the pillars of truth in modern society, and the prelim slate for UFC 116 has a funky mix of old and new to suit all palates. Even better, with a pair of bouts slated to air on Spike TV before the pay-per-view broadcast, our chances of seeing some extra fights are that much greater.
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Brendan Schaub vs. Chris Tuchscherer
Physical talent has never been an issue for Schaub, who is built like a next generation member of the Greek pantheon. What has many wondering about him is how his relative lack of experience will play out against UFC-quality competition. After acing the first exam against Chase Gormley, Schaub will look to add even more steam to his hype train in his Octagon return against Tuchscherer.
Perhaps best known for his devastating TKO loss to Gabriel Gonzaga that saw him take the low blow of the century, Tuchscherer is seen by some as an easy opponent for a quality prospect in this fight. A middling Greco-Roman style wrestler with limited offensive skills, “The Crowbar” doesn’t have much to offer Schaub save for the vague threat of a takedown. Vague because Schaub has proven in past bouts that he is surprisingly adroit in the clinch and can rely on pure brute strength to escape to his feet when taken down.
When Tuchscherer does go for that takedown, the first problem he’ll run into is Schaub’s reach and power. Despite being a football convert, Schaub has a real propensity for boxing and has developed a sharp 1-2 that he seems to land at will. From range there isn’t much Tuchscherer can do, and even in close quarters the fight still favors Schaub’s blackout power.
Granted, showcase fights have a long history of ending with prospects torn asunder, but this fight is a stylistic nightmare for Tuchscherer. Even if he does get “The Hybrid” down, he lacks the finishing skills to capitalize on the opportunity and probably doesn’t have the cardio to keep scoring takedowns for 15 minutes. Tuchscherer’s controversial majority decision over Tim Hague suggests that even in a worst-case scenario, Schaub just has to wait for Tuchscherer’s gas tank to hit zero.
All that’s left for Tuchscherer is landing a miracle KO strike or hoping Schaub makes some grade-school mistake on the mat. Neither scenario is terribly likely, as Schaub has too much pop in his fists and is only getting better at using it. This one ends as another step forward for the imposing Greg Jackson student.