The UFC 161 card scheduled for June 15th in Winnipeg, Canada has a pair of Heavyweight bouts scheduled that feature four men looking to establish themselves at the next level. Stipe Miocic takes on Soa Palelei and Pat Barry faces Shawn Jordan. The upper echelon of the division is firmly set, with Cain Velasquez holding the title and fighters like Junior Dos Santos, Mark Hunt, Alistair Overeem and Antonio Silva in the mix for top contenders. Then the UFC has a drop off to a group of contenders who all have shown flaws and need development. It is in this group that the four fighters on deck for UFC 161 fights belong. Let’s take a look at where the odds will shake out for this one…
Stipe Miocic was considered a future contender until he tired and ate an elbow from Stefan Struve that knocked him back down to the pack. Miocic gets Soa Palelei, who has a newly minted 4 fight deal with the UFC. The big pacific islander had a cup of copy with the UFC and has gone 10-1 since to earn a return.
Miocic has a chance to re establish himself. Palelei’s big winning streak includes wins over the likes of Bob Sapp and Henry Miller, both whom may be found fighting for a bucket of KFC Chicken Wings nowadays. Palelei is big a strong, and has a decent grappling base, but Miocic should own a speed advantage. Palelei will likely weigh the full 265 lbs, meaning he will have 30 lbs on Miocic. Miocic can be aggressive and try to take Poa out in the opening act, and if the fight extends itself, a bigger slower opponent allows Miocic to mind his cardio while boxing and out pointing his foe. Miocic should be favored in this one.
Pat Barry finally put together some punches and got a win over Shane Del Rosario in his last outing, but he was 1-3 before that. Barry had looked wholly unimpressive in some of his outings, so with him it really depends on his motivation when he shows up to fight.
In Jordan, Barry is going to face a grinder who is not afraid to get hit. Jordan is tough, but when he has faced an athletic opponent (Cheick Kongo, the wrestler Devin Cole) he has struggled, and Barry is a good athlete. Barry is going to get a chance to get off on Jordan, and Jordan will struggle to shut Barry down in the early going. This is Barry’s fight to win.