Diggin’ Deep on UFC on FOX 21: Maia vs. Condit Fight Pass prelims preview

As the UFC continues to be schizophrenic in its treatment of the Fight Pass featured fight, the UFC presents six fighters with a total…

By: Dayne Fox | 7 years ago
Diggin’ Deep on UFC on FOX 21: Maia vs. Condit Fight Pass prelims preview
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

As the UFC continues to be schizophrenic in its treatment of the Fight Pass featured fight, the UFC presents six fighters with a total of seven fights within the confines of the Octagon this week, all of those in the featured fight between Chad Laprise and Thibault Gouti. Not exactly a riveting sell to the internet audience.

It’s clear the UFC is trying to cater a bit to the home crowd as five of the six fighters competing on Fight Pass are native Canadians who would likely provide the home crowd with something to cheer about. Only fair considering there isn’t a single Canadian on the main card. Is this indicative of a declining state in Canadian MMA? Hard to say definitively, but nobody outside of friends and family of the fighters are going to be too excited about what is being offered online.

The Fight Pass prelims start at 4:30 PM ET/1:30 PM PT.

Chad Laprise (10-2) vs. Thibault Gouti (11-2), Lightweight

A pair of TUF veterans on a two-fight skid get the Fight Pass spotlight. Both are likely in need of a victory in order to remain employed.

Laprise isn’t just a veteran of TUF, he actually won the welterweight tournament of the TUF: Nations version. He opened his UFC career with three wins only to fall on hard times once given a sizeable step up in competition, falling to Francisco Trinaldo and Ross Pearson. He’s the more established fighter here and as such he’s expected to walk out the winner.

Don’t mistake Gouti’s lack of success thus far in the UFC as a lack of skills. He faced a pair of opponents in Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Teemu Packalen who presented matchup problems for him and he wasn’t able to overcome their challenge. Laprise represents his most favorable matchup despite having the highest profile of any opponent the Frenchman has faced thus far in the Octagon.

Where Gouti fell short in his first two UFC contests was on the ground. He did show some solid takedown defense against noted grappler Aubin-Mercier, but eventually succumbed to a rear-naked choke as his grappling acumen is far behind his striking. Fortunately for him, Laprise would much rather fight a standup battle where Gouti excels. Though Gouti isn’t a powerful striker, he throws a solid jab with simple punching combinations and punctuated with a busy jab. He’s tough too, though he needs to be based on how often he allows himself to get hit from his subpar defensive skills.

Laprise is in many ways a similar fighter. He relies heavily on his jab, isn’t a particularly powerful striker, and throws in high volume. The biggest difference is his footwork keeps him out of danger more efficiently than Gouti while placing a heavier emphasis on leg kicks. He spends a lot of time in the pocket which means that he eats a lot of damage, though he usually dishes out more punishment than he receives. While Laprise doesn’t use his wrestling very much, he usually times his attempts well when he does give his takedowns the old college try.

MMA math dictates Laprise should be the favorite as he owns a victory over Aubin-Mercier. While I am favoring Laprise, it has nothing to do with that factor. Laprise’s subtle defensive skills and occasional takedowns should give him a decided advantage. It’s true that his takedowns have dried up recently, but that is due to him facing fighters with superior takedown defense. He should be able to get Gouti down a few times over the course of fifteen minutes which should be the difference. Laprise via decision

Ryan Janes (8-1) vs. Adam Hunter (7-1), Middleweight

Who? Anyone heard of these guys? Like I said earlier, they’re on the card because they are Canadian homeboys making their debut on Canadian card.

Janes is your classic story of someone starting MMA to get into shape only to develop a serious love for the sport. He didn’t have any sort of athletic background beforehand and has been fighting for nine years. Translation: he is your classic overachiever who isn’t a traditional prospect.

Hunter isn’t really a prospect either at 32, but considering he really started his career in earnest in 2012, he still has some room to grow. He got the call to the big show after blowing through former UFC fighter Chris Dempsey in less than a minute.

There is not much footage out there for either of these fighters, so most of what I say needs to be taken with a grain of salt. What I do know for sure is that Janes is a grappler and Hunter is a striker. Not that long ago in a contest in which you don’t know much about the fighters, you’d go with the grappler. That isn’t really the case anymore as the strikers have evened it up if not swung the pendulum slightly in their favor.

What I have seen is Janes is a fairly smooth striker, but he isn’t very powerful. Hunter on the other hand is a bull in the cage, barreling forward looking to put his opponent to sleep at the first opportunity. None of his fights have gone the distance which is a testament to his power, but also draws into question his gas tank. I admit that I haven’t seen any of Janes grappling, but he’s noted as a reputed BJJ practitioner with a knack for finishing fights with a RNC.

You want an educated prediction? Flipping a coin is about as educated as it gets in this contest as there just isn’t enough available information to go on. I’m going to pick Hunter and not because I flipped a coin. I like the power and aggression he has shown while finishing most of his fights early, though I admit that isn’t much to go on. Hunter via KO of RD1

Jeremy Kennedy (8-0) vs. Alex Ricci (10-3), Lightweight

Pretty much the same story as the previous fight. As the UFC tries to find new blood out of Canada, two newcomers out of the Great White North make their UFC debuts.

Kennedy was signed about a month ago to fight Team Alpha Male representative Josh Emmett. Emmett reported an injury about a week before the scheduled fight which left the UFC scrambling as the number of fighters ready and able to travel into Canada is limited. Ricci ended up being the replacement, mostly due to his Canadian heritage which left him not needing to have a passport ready.

Kennedy has spent most of his career at featherweight, agreeing to move up upon his signing to the UFC. He’s only been fighting professionally for just over three years and had mainly beaten up nobodies before securing a win over Canadian regional vet Drew Brokenshire. Ricci has been around the Canadian circuit since 2010, consistently facing some of the better names around there.

It’s kind of funny that Kennedy is the one the UFC signed first as the only full fight of his I was able to find was an amateur contest from over four years ago. Much like with Janes and Hunter, everything I say about Kennedy needs to be taken with a grain of salt. He did show a sound jab, good takedown defense, and some submission ability off of his back. It will be curious to see who the move up affects him as he could either be too small to deal with most lightweights or he’ll be able to go all-out without worry of tiring.

Despite being the short notice fighter, Ricci is the better known commodity. He isn’t a massive lightweight, but he is bigger than Kennedy in terms of girth despite being an inch shorter. Showing a diverse punching attack with combinations, Ricci has a preference for countering and staying on the outside. Front and leg kicks along with jabs help the former Muay Thai fighter maintain his distance. He has shown good takedown defense, but also tends to back himself into the cage and has faded late at times.

Much like the Janes-Hunter fight, there isn’t much to go on with a coin flip possibly being your best route. Ricci coming in on short notice favors Kennedy, but Ricci was training for a contest in September. And how will fighting at lightweight affect Kennedy? Ricci has faced a much higher level of competition which attributes to his losses. Being in higher profile fights should help him handle the spotlight better which is why I’m going to pick him. Ricci via decision

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About the author
Dayne Fox
Dayne Fox

Dayne Fox is a contributing writer and analyst for Bloody Elbow. He has been writing about combat sports since 2013 and a member of Bloody Elbow since 2016. Dayne primarily contributes opinion pieces and event coverage. Dayne’s specialties are putting together the preview articles for all the UFC events and post-fight analysis. Outside of writing on combat sports, Dayne works in the purchasing department of a construction company, formerly working as an analyst. He is also a proud husband and father. In what spare time he can find, he enjoys strategy games and is a movie enthusiast. He is based in Utah.

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