Josh Thomson vs. Bobby Green Lightweight
When you reflect on Bobby Green and Josh Thomson’s careers, it’s interesting to note how similar they are: both men are considered talented, and yet both men possess results that undercut their potential. They just haven’t broken through as the true elite. You could make the case that Thomson is truly elite, but it’s not a reflection of their failures. Rather, it’s a reflection of Lightweight’s high standards. Like the token 40 year old virgin who fancies himself an oscar mayer weiner complaining about how high a supermodel’s belly button sits…if you want to be beautiful at 155, you’ve got to be a Picasso of violent provincialism. Not just a Cezanne.
Thomson is 2-3 in his last five. He’s not in a must win scenario, but for a guy who has openly pondered retirement. a second loss in a row would be devastating; especially after hoping the judges would favor him against Benson Henderson. In the business of Lightweight success, hope isn’t hiring.
As for Green, hardcore fans might always remember him for the foul filled bout with Dan Lauzon at Affliction. He’s a competitor who has improved from bout to bout, and that improvement has culminated in a spotless 3-0 record inside the UFC, against Jacob Volkmann, James Krause, and now Pat Healy.
The fight itself is kind of all over the place. Green is a +215 on average when look at the odds. Is he a good bet?
The Healy fight is an interesting pugilist case study. I think it was as much a symbol of Healy’s limitations as it was of Green’s strengths. Green is a savvy puncher. More than the sum of his fast twitch muscle fibers, he possesses an excellent fight IQ on the feet. His jab is lightning quick, and he does a masterful job of capitalizing on an opponent out of position as they try to land strikes against his open guard. His switching of stances allows him to prevent from being easily assaulted, and he’ll drop down for a takedown when the need arises. He doesn’t opt for much away from his punches, but he’s versatile. The main thing for Green is keeping himself upright where he typically likes to just post up with his hands and scramble out.
Thomson has a little bit of the same offensive prowess. He’s ultra quick, or as we like to say in the sports commentary world: “explosive and athletic”. He’s also one the more gifted phase shifters in the game, not so much because of his timing, but because of his abilities on the feet and on the ground. His fantastic wrestling seamlessly turns into back control, and it’s something Green will have to worry about.
I think the oddsmakers have it correct. Green is not the favorite, even though he’s on a fantastic run. The first thing to note is what I mentioned earlier: Healy, as good as he is, has always been a plodder. He’s not a counter puncher, and he’s not especially fast. He needs to slow the game down to be effective. Don’t expect to see Thomson get hit the way Healy got peppered.
The other thing is that while Green’s takedown defense is a strength, it’s a nominal strength. Opponents get position on him, even if he eventually scrambles out. After a certain point, this part of the game becomes a game of roulette. Thomson will be able to secure back control if Green relies too much on posting up and wiggling his legs loose.
Same thing with his style of defense. It looks nice, and is doubly effective when he’s able to counter against missed strikes, but he still gets hit while doing it. Healy landed a good number of punches. To Green’s credit, he took them all, but Thomson’s speed will challenge Green’s chin with consistency if this is his strategy.
Thomson isn’t perfect, but his losses are rarely emphatic enough to call them indictments of his ability. The Gilbert Melendez and Henderson bouts were very close. Only the Tatsuya Kawajiri bout stands out as an instance where Thomson was dominated, and didn’t seem capable of adjusting.
Josh Thomson by Decision.
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