It’s time for me to get hysterical a little bit… because Myles Jury has been one of my favorite prospects to watch the last couple years, and a fighter I firmly believe will be a future top ten lightweight and UFC title contender. On the flip side is Mike Ricci, who happens to be the current lowest-rated UFC lightweight according to FPR.
Watching Jury, it’s clear that not only does he have a terrific skill set, he has a great “Fight IQ” to go along with it. Jury has a very good wrestling/grappling base and very intelligent striking to go along with it. What do I mean by “intelligent” striking? That Jury has an excellent sense of distancing and movement, that he knows when to strike and when to wrestle, and that he rarely places himself in serious danger. His striking defense as a whole is excellent, which is always a great thing for a rising UFC star to have.
In Jury we have a fighter who is good to very good in all areas of the MMA game and has excellent defense is all areas. That’s a guy who has a high ceiling.
A guy who doesn’t have a high ceiling is Ricci. To be fair, Ricci is a skilled striker and is far from hopeless in this match. His path to victory is simple: focus on defending Jury’s takedowns and pick him apart standing. Sadly for Ricci I’m very skeptical about his ability to execute this game plan.
We’ve seen Ricci take on a wrestler before. His name is Colton Smith, and he entered the fight with very little striking to speak of. Ricci knew that he needed to defend Smith’s takedown game… but not only did Smith take Ricci down almost at will, he did it in such a way that Ricci had no opportunity to strike even a little bit.
Jury is a smart fighter who is likely to take Ricci down, and not have much trouble in the process. Unlike Smith, Jury has the striking skill to keep Ricci’s defense honest… although Smith didn’t even need that to take Ricci down.
So Jury is likely to win by submission in this fight. At the same time, I’m not going to concede that Ricci is a better striker than Jury either. All Jury has done is get hit by 18 significant strikes in 25 minutes (0.72 per minute!) and knock out Ramsey Nijem in his last fight. Not that beating Nijem by KO is something unique to Jury, but it’s still meaningful.
I could keep going with a detailed look at the numbers… but really, this breakdown is pretty simple. Myles Jury is just better than Mike Ricci is everywhere. Expect Jury to get Ricci to the ground and finish the fight.
Pick: Myles Jury by submission