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UFC 284 Staff Preview and Predictions

UFC 284

UFC 284

UFC 284 Staff Preview and Predictions

I don’t think it’s an unpopular opinion that the last handful of events, especially after the new year, have not been billed as a massive deal. However, the card for UFC 284 has all the firepower one could ask for. You have P4P #1 going against P4P #2, a rising superstar, and action-packed fights throughout. James Herrick and I are here to give you our thoughts and picks heading into this Saturday’s card.

James’ Record: 9-5-1

My Record: 7-7-1

No. 12 Jimmy Crute vs. Alonzo Meinfield (Light Heavyweight Bout)

James: The UFC 284 main card starts with an intriguing light heavyweight bout between Jimmy Crute and Alonzo Menifield. Crute was a solid light-heavyweight prospect, but he hit a rough patch with two consecutive losses. Meanwhile, Menifield is a 9-fight UFC veteran with six wins. More importantly, he has won four of his last five to get a chance against a ranked fighter.

In this fight, Crute will be the far better grappler. He has solid wrestling and does great work once he gets it to the ground. However, Menifield has strong takedown defense and will be able to make Crute work if he wants to get the fight to the ground. On the feet, both fighters have scary knockout power. If you forced me to pick, I’d say Menifield has more power and a bigger offensive toolset. That is not a dig on Crute though. If you want a flaw in Crute, it would be his striking defense.

In this fight, I think Crute will be able to land a few takedowns and get work done on the ground. Once it is on the ground, he should be able to control the fight and advance position. On the feet, he can compete too. This balance leads me in his direction. I will take Crute by knockout.

Garrett: The opening fight on the UFC 284 main card is the ultimate proving ground that the hype surrounding Jimmy Crute wasn’t just that: hype. Crute won a UFC contract on Dana White’s Contenders Series and won his first two fights under the UFC umbrella. However, he has gone 2-3 since. Meinfield has been on a tear as of late, winning four of his last five and knocking on the door of a spot in the rankings.

This fight should be contested on the feet almost the entire time. Crute has very good wrestling, but the takedown defense of Meinfield should be able to snuff any attempts. On the feet, I believe the advantage goes to Meinfield. Both guys can put their opponents’ lights out with one punch. While I do think that Meinfield should be able to outbox Crute enough to get the points, I am actually going to take Crute. I don’t believe he was all hype and his two-fight losing streak he is currently on will be more than enough motivation to propel him to get back into the win column. I’ll take Crute via TKO.

Justin Tafa vs. Parker Porter (Heavyweight)

James: It is a shame that Justin Tafa and Parker Porter find themselves on the main card of a UFC pay-per-view. In fairness, this was because of several canceled bouts, but that does not make this fight any better. In this one, Tafa and Porter are both below-average UFC heavyweights. Between the pair, Tafa is a better striker. The issue with Tafa is that he has very poor defensive grappling. Meanwhile, Porter will be the better grappler and has better clinch work.

This fight is tough to call because each fighter could lay an egg and put on a poor performance. If you force me to pick, I will take Tafa. I think he is more athletic and has better striking. I will take Tafa by second-round knockout.

Garrett: How did this fight make the main card? Well, we know why. The number of canceled bouts leading into this card. But goodness both guys stink. That is putting it kindly. I have zero information on either guy, as both are irrelevant in the heavyweight division. I’ll take the favorite. Give me Tafa via…however.

Jack Della Maddalena vs. Randy Brown (Welterweight)

James: Jack Della Maddalena has seen his stock skyrocket as of late with a string of impressive performances. That has led to a massive step up in competition as he is taking on Randy Brown at UFC 284. Brown is currently at the highest point in his career as he has won his last four fights which have pushed his UFC record to 10-4. On the flip side, Maddalena has had a perfect UFC run with three first-round knockouts.

Brown could cause some issues for Maddalena. He is a very long fighter that excels at range with straight punches and front kicks. Plus, on the ground, he has a ton of slick submissions. On the flip side, Maddalena has massive power and impressive boxing combinations. I expect Maddalena to crash the distance and get inside against Brown. While this fight is in the pocket he should be able to mix the head and body while landing massive shots. I will take Maddalena by first-round knockout.

Garrett: I’m sure James is going to give you the whys and the hows for this one. We all know how this one is going. Maddalena via first-round KO.

No. 2 Yair Rodriguez vs. No. 5 Josh Emmett (Interim UFC Featherweight Championship)

James: In the UFC 284 co-main event, Yair Rodriquez and Josh Emmett are set to fight for the UFC interim featherweight bout. This fight is very interesting because it could play out in several ways.

Rodriquez is an elite striker. The more notable part of his game is his quick kicks that land with knockout power. Plus, he has a variety of different kicks that he throws and will mix to all three levels. As his career progressed, he supplemented his kicks with boxing. Rodriquez has quick hands and can out-strike fighters with his jab and straight. Meanwhile, Emmett is one of the most powerful strikers in the UFC. He lands with devastating power that he can hold until the end of the fight. Emmett is also an elite wrestler, but he barely uses that skill in the UFC.

I could talk myself into picking either fighter in this one. If these two trade for the entirety of the fight, Rodriguez will pick Emmett apart with leg kicks and quick hands. My issue is that Rodriquez has suspect wrestling defense. For example, he would have beaten Max Holloway if he would have defended the takedown. Because of that, I lean toward Emmett. After all, Emmett has the wrestling and power advantage. Plus, he has good cardio. I have a hard time picking against someone with those tools. With that being said, if Emmett opts not to wrestle he will lose. As far as a prediction goes, I expect him to attempt takedowns. I will take Emmett by decision.

Garrett: We are in for a doozy of a fight in the UFC 284 co-main event. We are seeing an interim title fight due to Alexander Volkanovski moving up a weight class to challenge Islam Makhachev for the Lightweight championship.

This fight could go one of two ways, cliche I know. Josh Emmett possesses great wrestling, however, if you have watched his fights it is a trait he has rarely used. This is likely because he has dynamite in his hands. If he were to implement takedowns into his game plan, he would have no problem against the less-than-spectacular defense by Rodriguez. But, you could make the argument that Rodriguez is the better striker of the two based on the lightning-fast leg kicks he has. He can chop down the best of them.

We haven’t really seen Rogriguez in a war. I believe he is in for one with Emmett. I can’t imagine his camp telling him to make this a stand-up fight for 25 mins. The cardio on Emmett is good enough to be relentless early with the takedowns and wear Rodriguez down. For that reason, I will take Emmett to become the new interim UFC Featherweight champion via decision.

Islam Makhachev (C) vs. Alexander Volkanovski (FW C) (UFC Lightweight Championship)

James: The main event of UFC 284 will be historic as Alexander Volkanovski moves up to lightweight in an attempt to take Islam Makhachev’s lightweight belt and become the fifth UFC double champion in the history of the organization.

Since Volkanovski and Makhachev are two of the best fighters in the world, this breakdown is pretty complex. The difference maker in this fight will be Makhachev’s grappling. He has elite takedowns, dominant clinch work, can control the position from the top, passes the guard, and lands submissions. When I say he is elite in those areas, he is legitimately the best in the UFC.

On the feet, Volkanovski will be miles better. Makhachev has a fairly simple offensive skillset while Volkanovski utilizes his fight IQ to set up strikes at an elite level. The skill difference between the two is very wide. On the feet, Volkanovski should be able to easily outbox Makhachev while landing a ton of leg kicks. The best hope that Volkanovski has in this fight is that he can utilize circular movement to confuse Makhachev and hopefully dissuade takedown attempts.

I think Volkanovski can make this fight look one-sided while it is standing. However, I can not pick against the best grappler in the sport. At the end of the day, grappling is still the best skill set to have if you want to be one of the best fighters in the world. I will take Makhachev by fourth-round submission.

Garrett: James Herrick does a wonderful job breaking down fights. He gives a masterclass in it. One of the best in the game. I will give my thoughts on it without as much detail.

The UFC 284 main event provides fight fans with as massive a tilt as we have seen in quite a long time. This is only the second time in UFC history we are seeing the top two pound-for-pound fighters face off with one another (DC and Jones did it first). Islam Makhachev has elite wrestling. The type of wrestling where he could legit fight against anyone In any weight class and land the takedown. Alexander Volkanovski, for my money, is the best in the world right now. If he can keep this fight standing, he easily has the better striking of the two.

I will always lean toward wrestling in fights. If you have the means to do so, you have to use it. I think that Makhachev will eventually overwhelm Volkanovski with the takedowns and grind out a win. If you tell me the fight ends in the first two rounds, it goes to Volk. It has to. But I think this is a 25-minute showcase as to why Makhachev is the best fighter in the world. I’ll take Makhachev via decision.

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