Tyson Griffin (right) will return to the 145-pound division at UFC Live 4. | Photo: Dave Mandel
Offering eight bouts, the preliminary portion of the UFC Live 4 “Marquardt vs. Story” lineup on Sunday at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh is a lot to digest. Thankfully, it’s entirely delicious and nutritious food, with fights from the featherweight, lightweight and welterweight divisions.
Two once-prominent lightweight faces, Tyson Griffin and former UFC title contender Joe Stevenson, drop down to 145 pounds for UFC debuts in that weight class. The prelims also feature Joe Lauzon, Brazilian prospect Charles Oliveira and “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 finalist Michael Johnson.
Start your engines, folks. The time has come for the UFC Live 4 prelims preview.
Tyson Griffin (14-5, 6-5 UFC) vs. Manny Gamburyan (11-5, 2-3 UFC)
The Matchup: Griffin drops back down to 145 pounds, where he has not competed since 2005 -- the year he handed Urijah Faber his first loss in an epic battle. Griffin’s dropped his last three fights, including a controversial decision loss to Nik Lentz, a considerable drop-off in performance from a fighter that just two years ago was one of the most promising young faces in the lightweight division.
Gamburyan, looking to rebound from his September knockout loss to UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, is built along the same lines as Griffin. Both are compact, aggressive fighters with a strong grappling base and the willingness to trade strikes. They are comfortable wherever the fight goes.
Griffin’s return to 145 pounds is a serious obstacle, as he was a fairly thick lightweight. If he can make the cut effectively, he should have enough standup mojo and diversity in his attack. When Griffin is on, he chains together strikes, transitions and takedowns seamlessly. Gamburyan wields a cruder standup style, hoping to line up his big right hand or take it to the mat. On the ground, Griffin should be able to handle himself well enough and is probably a tad quicker in scrambles.
The Pick: Griffin by late stoppage in a rousing back-and-forth battle.
Continue Reading » Next Fight: Joe Stevenson vs. Javier Vazquez