Ricardo Lamas is the only native Chicagoan on the main card, with Clay Guida and Mike Russow fighting on the FX prelims. And the winner of this is in prime position to fight for a UFC title, potentially. Plus it’s never dull when you have striker vs. grappler.
Fight Breakdown: Lamas is alumni of suburban Elmhurst College where he had a fairly stellar college wrestling career at the D3 level. He then started to coach wrestling there and then just as easily transitioned into fighting full time. And that’s his bread and butter: a stellar takedown/submission game with an improving striking game to match. He’s the classic wrestler in MMA; very good at one thing and getting better at the rest.
Koch fights out of Roufusport and is a dynamic striker. He’s good on the ground, as he has stellar BJJ, but his strength is on his feet throwing down. He works with a group of great wrestlers there (headlined by Ben Askren) so hopefully his TDD has gotten better but his strength is standing.
The key to the fight will be whether or not Lamas can get the fight to the ground for extended periods of time. If he can he can control the fight. His top positional game is good enough to smother Koch’s aggressive bottom work. He’s good enough to stand with him for bursts but I’m not sure if he can hang in a 15 minute kickboxing match with him. That’s Koch’s best way of winning, too. The longer he stands the longer he has a chance to take it.
Why It Matters: The winner most likely gets a shot at the Frankie Edgar vs. Jose Aldo title fight winner next weekend. So there’s that. Plus it’s a potential star-making chance since it’s on Fox; the biggest audiences are generally those on the terrestrial television and a big time performance can mean a lot.