Norman Parke has dropped back-to-back bouts, both by split decision. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
LightweightsNorman Parke (20-4-1, 4-2-1 UFC) vs Reza Madadi (13-3, 2-1 UFC)
THE MATCHUP: Wayward all-star meets judoka-turned-kickboxer in this one.
Madadi makes his return to the Octagon after serving time for burglary. As a striker, Madadi is very limited. Despite decent pop in both hands, the Swedish freestyle wrestling champ does not string together shots well. Whenever Madadi has faced a superior striker, he has spent most of his time on the feet with both hands glued to his head, throwing one shot at a time. When he feels the momentum shift in his favor, however, Madadi will pile on the volume, marching forward and slinging heavy shots with his head down until he ends up in the clinch.
Madadi’s real strengths all lie in the grappling department. Though he rarely sets up his takedowns with strikes, Madadi knows how to time his shots and finishes very well. On the ground, aggression is the name of the game. Madadi utilizes elbows, forearms, his forehead -- whatever is available -- to make his opponent uncomfortable on the bottom while he slices through guard and looks for submissions. His guard game works much the same way. As a submission grappler, Madadi often fails to set up or commit to any one attack, but he compensates for this general looseness with extreme pressure. He has submitted eight of 13 opponents.
Parke is an odd case. His judo background makes him a natural clinch fighter, and he has demonstrated an acuity for shot selection in close, mixing tight uppercuts with short elbows and knees to break his opponents down against the fence. Despite this obvious strength, Parke has spent the last several years developing into a kickboxer under the guidance of Eric Del Fierro’s Alliance MMA. As beneficial as Alliance’s training methods have been for men like Dominick Cruz and Alexander Gustafsson, the fleet-footed kickboxer’s approach has never seemed to suit Parke. Like the Alliance-bred Phil Davis, Parke spends an inordinate amount of time sticking and moving at range, when logic suggests he should be punching his way into the clinch.
THE ODDS: Parke (-240), Madadi (+205)
THE PICK: Strange as his direction of development may be, Parke is not a bad striker and his stout takedown defense means he will have little trouble keeping the action on the feet. Madadi’s bursts of aggression make him a danger anywhere, but the Swede’s pressure just is not consistent enough to rattle Parke. The pick is Parke by unanimous decision.
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