I’ve been very intrigued by the potential of Yancy Medeiros since he entered the UFC. My interest stems from being very impressed watching Medeiros live at Strikeforce a few years ago, along with Medeiros having a strong pre-UFC fight record. I went so far as to pick Medeiros to beat Jim Miller in his last fight – not the sharpest pick I’ve ever made on this blog. Now FPR is telling me in no uncertain terms that I need to shift my thinking on Medeiros – that he’s just not as good as I want to believe.
So far in the UFC, Medeiros has knocked out Yves Edwards (an accomplishment that would have been far more impressive ten years ago), got his thumb jammed by Rustam Khabilov, and got submitted by Miller. In Medeiros’s defense, Khabilov and Miller are both very tough opponents, but he doesn’t have much to show for his UFC run so far. His FPR entering this fight is -1.85, which puts Medeiros on par with Mitch Clarke and Jesse Ronson in the lightweight division.
His opponent this time is Damon Jackson, a fighter who took this fight on very short notice after an injury forced Justin Edwards out. Jackson’s nickname is “The Leech,” which is a pretty good description of his fighting style. He likes to clinch with his opponent, drag them to the ground, and hunt for submission holds while giving his opponent no room to breathe, strike, or do much of anything. Jackson enters the UFC with seven wins by submission in nine fights.
It’s a fighting style that probably wouldn’t work if Jackson didn’t have a background as an All-American collegiate wrestler. Despite being a relatively tall featherweight, Jackson has had a lot of success dragging his opponents to the ground quickly. It will be a challenge for Medeiros to keep Jackson off of him – in all likelihood, Medeiros will have to grapple with Jackson somehow, even if that means spending a lot of time defending takedown attempts from the clinch.
Medeiros is a good striker so I have to assume he’ll have the advantage as long as the fight is at distance. I didn’t see much of Jackson’s striking, but the little I saw didn’t look too great. The question is: can Medeiros shut down Jackson’s takedown attempts, or will Jackson succeed in getting Medeiros to the ground?
The answer is… I have no idea. I simply have no idea. My guess – and it’s really just an educated guess – is that Medeiros will make takedowns difficult. Jackson is a featherweight fighting up a weight class on short notice, while Medeiros is a former middleweight who showed good balance in his brief fight against Khabilov. I hope for Medeiros’s sake that is the case, because if it’s not, he’s probably going to have a miserable time on Saturday night.
Pick: Yancy Medeiros by TKO… but there’s no way I would ever bet on it