The universe will stand on edge this weekend as two complete magnetic opposites enter the cage for the opening bout of UFC 123 in Detroit, Michigan. Tyson Griffin, perhaps the most exciting fighter in the UFC with 5 “Fight of the Night” bonuses to his name will square off against Nik Lentz, who many believe is the most boring fighter in the promotion.
Lentz is a wrestler out of the University of Minnesota and he trains with fellow UFC wrestlers Sean Sherk and Jacob Volkmann at theMinnesota Martial Arts Academy. He garnered a lot of criticism after his last fight, a unanimous decision against Andre Winner at UFC 118. During that fight, Lentz had very little offense, and instead kept his opponent clinched against the cage with failed attempts at takedowns. Much discussion was initiated due to the aftereffects of the fight about fighters who don’t try to finish fights or perform much offense.
Tyson Griffin is the exact opposite. After wrestling at a junior college, he started his MMA career early in 2004 and began training with Randy Couture’s legendary gym “Xtreme Couture” after he entered the UFC in 2006. Griffin is known for putting on very exciting bouts, always willing to throw down with his opponents. Time and time again, Griffin has gritted his way through the submission attempts of world class jiu jitsu fighters and has willed himself to victory.
After two straight losses against top lightweights Evan Dunham and Takanori Gomi, the latter being the first knockout loss of his career, Tyson Griffin is in need of a victory to keep his UFC dreams alive. Three consecutive losses is never a situation you want to be in with the UFC, although a rare few have been able to keep their jobs as long as they put on great fights. Griffin may be fortunate enough to keep his job win or lose Saturday night, but I don’t feel the same way about Nik Lentz. With the recent addition of the WEC lightweight division as well as an influx of talent from season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter, the UFC is going to be dropping boring lightweights left and right.
Look for Griffin to want to keep the fight standing where he will likely have an advantage. Griffin may be a little gun-shy after suffering the first knockout of his career in his last fight so that may be another intriguing storyline. Lentz knows wrestling and the clinch and that’s about it. He will try to control Griffin’s position in the octagon as well as the pace of the fight. If he can take Griffin down (and that’s a big if), he will be able to put himself in a position to win this fight.
Prediction: Tyson Griffin via unanimous decision