At UFC 137, Bart Palaszewski will be perhaps the second to last WEC transfer to make his UFC debut (we’re still waiting on Brad Pickett). At first glance, it would seem like there’s not a whole lot to be excited about with Palaszewski. His 35-14 record is indicative of a fighter who likes to compete, but that’s a lot of losses for an aspiring contender to have. Given that Palaszewski is just 6-6 in his last 12 fights, it can’t be said that he’s magically turned a corner like Melvin Guillard or Clay Guida.
This, naturally, begs the question: who has Palaszewski been facing in this period? Obviously, there’s a difference between going 6-6 against stellar competition, and going 6-6 against decent/OK competition. Truth be told, all of Palaszewski’s recent losses are to solid opponents. The list is: Deividas Taurosevicius, Chris Horodecki, Jim Miller, Ricardo Lamas, Anthony Njokuani, and Kamal Shalorus. Now, it’s nice to have no losses against inferior competition, but who has Palaszewski beaten? Well, while I’m not thrilled with wins against Jeff Cox, Alex Karalexis, or Tyler Combs, I am impressed with wins over Anthony Pettis, Karen Darabedyan, and Zachary Micklewright.
From a Fight Level perspective, this endorses Palaszewski as a good, but not great, MMA fighter. His most recent losses, to Lamas, Njokuani, and Shalorus, were to fighters with SILVA scores of 36.07, 34.21, and 40.29. And while I don’t have SILVA scores for Darabedyan or Micklewright, I know that Anthony Pettis, Palaszewski’s other win, has a SILVA score of 32.43. So, take the lowest SILVA score of a fighter Palaszewski has lost to (34.21) and the highest SILVA score of a fighter Palaszewski has beaten (32.43), and it stands to reason that Palaszewski should be somewhere in the middle. Bingo! A SILVA score of 33.19 for “Bartimus.”
It’s a little more complex than that, though. Palaszewski has not shown a great ability to avoid being hit. The always useful website Fight Metric demonstrates this by showing the significant strikes landed in Palaszewski’s last eight fights:
- Chris Horodecki 74, Bart Palaszewski 42
- Bart Palaszewski 26, Alex Karalexis 23
- Ricardo Lamas 39, Bart Palaszewski 27
- Anthony Njokuani 36, Bart Palaszewski 7
- Anthony Pettis 39, Bart Palaszewski 29
- Karen Darabedyan 18, Bart Palaszewski 3
- Zachary Micklewright 28, Bart Palaszewski 27
- Kamal Shalorus 64, Bart Palaszewski 51
So, even when he wins, Palaszewski gets out-struck on a regular basis. This means that, for Palaszewski to win fights, he generally needs to either finish his opponent, or win by points with takedowns and the ground game.
That’s bad news for Palaszewski in this fight, as he’s moving down to featherweight and will face none other than Tyson Griffin in his UFC debut. Griffin isn’t a spectacular striker, but he’s good enough that he should be able to out-struck Palaszewski, as others have done so regularly. The problem for Palaszewski is that he’ll most likely need to take Griffin to the ground and out-grapple him in order to win. Good luck: Griffin is a very strong wrestler and very tough to deal with on the ground as well.
SILVA PREDICTION: TYSON GRIFFIN (33.88) OVER BART PALASZEWSKI (33.19)
Historically, when Griffin loses, it’s to a striker: Frank Edgar, Sean Sherk, and Takanori Gomi all mostly beat Griffin with striking. Griffin’s other losses are to Nik Lentz, who, by all accounts, won a very questionable decision, and Evan Dunham, who is a stronger wrestler than Palaszewski in my opinion. It’s certainly possible that Palaszewski could score a KO, or somehow out-grapple Griffin, but the clearest path in this fight is for Griffin to keep it standing, and out-strike Palaszewski en route to winning a decision.