The third and final fight on Facebook at UFC 152 this Saturday features another welterweight bout, but this time, it’s between fighters on winning streaks, as Ultimate Fighter season 11 contestant Seth Baczynski will be taking on Norwegian submission specialist Simeon Thoresen.
Striking: Baczynski is definitely the better man here, but as is the case with Charlie Brenneman in his fight against Kyle Noke, Thoresen is unlikely to have much patience for the striking game. Thoresen does have some decent boxing, but for him, the striking game exists mostly as a tool to keep the opponent honest while Thoresen pursues the ground game. The 6’3″ Baczynski is definitely the more dangerous striker, as he has very good knees and usually keeps up a pretty high pace. In fact, Baczynski’s last win, a split decision against Lance Benoist, is the only time Baczynski has ever won by decision. Expect Baczynski’s game plan to be to keep the fight standing and look to hurt Thoresen with some of those knees.
Wrestling: This is where this fight is won or lost. Thoresen is not a wrestler, but does have some decent single-leg takedowns and trips. The toughest part of evaluating this fight is that Baczynski does not have a history of fighting wrestlers in the UFC. However, in his last fight, Baczynski was taken down multiple times by Lance Benoist, which is not a good sign. My guess is that Thoresen will succeed in getting this fight to the ground, since he does have some good tricks to use. But make no mistake; this is really just an educated guess.
Submissions: Baczynski has ten wins by submission, but that won’t be happening in this fight. Thoresen is an outstanding submission fighter, with 15 total wins by that method in 20 fights, the last five of which were by rear naked choke. It’s possible that Baczynski could survive the ground game with Thoresen, but a Baczynski win by submission is almost certainly out of the question.
Prediction: Simeon Thoresen by submission. This fight really does come down to the takedown game. If Thoresen can land takedowns on Baczynski, and my guess is that he will, then he’s a good bet to put pressure on Baczynski on the ground, and wind up catching a submission hold of some sort. But if Baczynski can defend Thoresen’s takedowns, and keep the fight standing, I like him to win by TKO, as he has more fight-ending power than Thoresen does, particularly with his knees.