- UFC 98 PREVIEW: THE SUPPORTING CAST

May 22, 2009
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by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
DREW MCFEDRIES VS. XAVIER FOUPA-POKAM

Hard hitting slugger Drew McFedries faces off with French striker Xavier Foupa-Pokam. Pokam takes the fight on a couple weeks notice after James Irvin pulled out due to an injury. This is a do or die fight for both fighters as Pokam lost his debut fight, while McFedries has dropped two in a row, the loser will surely see his UFC run end.

McFedries is known for his devastating punching power and boxing ability, but is also known for having a less than impressive ground game. Technically, Pokam has an overall better striking game than McFedries, as he incorporates kicks and knees with his punches. The difference in the fight will be if it goes to the ground. Pokam has a decent ground game that can exploit McFedries’ main weakness.

McFedries will look to keep the fight on the feet, trying to finish it and avoid going to the ground at all costs. Expect Pokam to test the waters on the feet, but then play it smart and take the fight to the ground, where he’ll look to lock on a submission. This is an important fight for both fighters, so expect a lot of urgency and energy out the two fighters.

DAN MILLER VS. CHAEL SONNEN

East coast submission fighter Dan Miller faces off with Team Quest middleweight Chael Sonnen. Sonnen steps in on a couple weeks notice after Yushin Okami had to pull out of the fight because of an injury. This will serve as an important indicator for both men as Miller will look to enter the upper echelon of the middleweight division, while Sonnen looks for his first win since returning to the UFC.

If the fight hits the ground then Miller will have the advantage when it comes to submissions, while Sonnen should posses the edge in wrestling. Although Miller has a wrestling background, Sonnen’s experience should be able to help him in the fight. One the feet, both are equally good and neither has an edge over the other by a large margin.

Sonnen’s strategy will be to either keep the fight on the feet and work his stand-up or take the fight to the ground, controlling Miller from the top. On the other hand, Miller would like to take the fight to the ground and work his submissions against Sonnen, who has shown in the past that his submission defense is his weak point. However the fight plays out, the winner should get a strong look as a possible challenger for the title somewhere down the road.

SEAN SHERK VS. FRANK EDGAR

Former UFC lightweight champion Sean Shrek faces off with East coast wrestling standout Frank Edgar. This should be on the short list for being the fight of the night, as both fighters have recently put on some entertaining performances. A win for either fighter could mean a possible title shot sometime at the end of the year after UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn and number one contender Kenny Florian clash.

Sherk will be the much bigger fighter come fight night and he will surely use that to his advantage to muscle the much smaller Edgar around. He showed off some improved stand-up in his last fight and seems to have the edge on the feet. Edgar’s best chance will be to take the fight to the ground and work for submissions. The deciding factor will be Shrek’s slight edge in wrestling ability.

Sherk will be looking to keep the fight on the feet and work his boxing game, much like he did against Tyson Griffin in his last fight. Edgar needs to be the quicker and more agile fighter if he wants to have a chance to win. He’ll need the fight on the ground and be working for submissions the entire time.

BROCK LARSON VS. MIKE PYLE

Former WEC welterweight contender Brock Larson faces off with the crafty veteran Mike Pyle. Larson steps in as a replacement for Josh Koscheck, who was forced out of the fight due to injury. Pyle is a replacement for Chris Wilson, who withdrew from the bout at the last minute after his family was held at gunpoint and robbed in their apartment in Brazil. Larson will be looking to take the fight to the ground and just punish Pyle with ground and pound. For Pyle to win, he’ll need to use his submission abilities to take advantage of Larson from the bottom.

PAT BARRY VS. TIM HAGUE

Former K-1 veteran turned MMA fighter Pat Barry takes on King of the Cage Canadian champion Tim Hague. Barry will simply be the better fighter on the feet as he is leaps and bounds better in technique. Hague will need to get into Barry’s face and turn the fight into a brawl, throwing Barry off his game. Another way for him to win the fight will be to take the fight to the ground and drop bombs on Barry. If Barry is given space on the feet expect him to pick Hague apart.

PHILLIPE NOVER VS. KYLE BRADLEY

Ultimate Fighter 9 runner-up Phillipe Nover takes on Rich Clementi trained Kyle Bradley. Nover has a lot of potential and he showed it on the Ultimate Fighter. Bradley is a scrapper and will look to turn the fight into a brawl, where he can possibly catch Nover with a heavy punch. Nover will look to keep the fight at a slow pace and work his technique. Expect Bradley to give Nover some early trouble by throwing him off, but expect him to slowly take over the fight as it wears on.

KRZYSZTOF SOSZYNSKI VS. ANDRE GUSMAO

Ultimate Fighter 9 participant Krzysztof Soszynski faces off with Brazilian prospect Andre Gusmao. Soszynski steps in as a late replacement on only a couple of weeks notice and about a month after fighting. Gusmao didn’t have a good performance in his UFC debut and will look to erase those memories with a better one here. Soszynski is the better rounded fighter of the two, but Gusmao has more power in his strikes. Gusmao will look to muscle Soszynski around, while Soszynski will look to use his crafty technique. This is one of the more evenly matched fights of the night and both fighters have a realistic chance to win.

YOSHIYUKI YOSHIDA VS. BRANDON WOLFF

Cage Force welterweight champion Yoshiyuki Yoshida takes on Hawaiian trained fighter Brandon Wolff. Both fighters are coming off knockout losses at UFC Fight Night for the Troops and will look to get back in the win column. Yoshida is simply the more talented fighter of the two and he will show it. Wolff’s only chance will be to catch Yoshida sleeping on the feet with a power shot. Yoshida will take the fight to the ground and more than likely finish the fight shortly thereafter with what he chooses.

DAVE KAPLAN VS. GEORGE ROOP

In a battle of Ultimate Fighter 9 teammates, Dave Kaplan takes on George Roop. Kaplan was hyped as being one of the more talented fighters on the show, but has disappointed up to this point. Roop is going to be at a size disadvantage and that will play into Kaplan’s favor. Kaplan will look to take the fight to the ground and use his size to eventually lock on a submission. Roop’s best chance will be to catch Kaplan off guard and finish him with strikes. Whoever wins the fight will stay in the UFC and the loser will see himself out the door.

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