UFC 108: Dustin Hazelett vs. Paul Daley Prediction

170 lbs: Dustin Hazelett vs. Paul Daley

Odds: (Hazelett / Daley)

Dustin “McLovin” Hazelett, a top five pound for pound worst nickname contender, will face off with recent UFC acquisition Paul “Semtex” Daley in a competitive Welterweight matchup that will show off their very different styles.  Hazelett, a Jorge Gurgel student and submission expert, will look to bring the action to the mat against Daley, who will be swinging at Hazelett’s head with ruthless aggression.

Paul Daley, one of the many promising stars to emerge from England’s burgeoning Mixed Martial Arts scene, is as dangerous a striker as you will find in the Welterweight division.  He shocked many fans and pundits in his UFC debut, dispatching skilled competitor Martin Kampmann in easy fashion with devastating strikes.  Against Hazelett, Daley will have a huge advantage in speed, technique, and power on the feet.  It is imperative, though, that he keeps the fight to striking, because Hazelett outmatches him on the ground just as bad as he outmatches Hazelett on the feet.

Dustin Hazelett, a shoo-in for submission of the decade with his ridiculous armbar of Josh Burkman, is a very dangerous grappler with an above average ability to finish tough opponents with submissions.  Inactive for over a year, he will look to continue the momentum he built up in the second half of 2008 against Daley.  A whopping five of Daley’s eight career losses have come by way of submission, so if Hazelett can work his game plan and not get drawn into a boxing match with Daley, he might put up an early contender for his second submission of the year award.

Style vs. style matchups like this always come down to which guy is more effective at implementing his game plan.  In general, I think the edge in these types of matches goes to the grappler, and this is no exception.  Daley has a huge advantage on his feet, but is a lot easier to close distance, clinch, run away, and generally avoid strikes than it is to escape a bad position against a skilled jiu jitsu player.  Hazelett will have to be cautious, because if he gets into the kind of war he did against Josh Burkman he is going to get annihilated, but as long as he stays patient and picks his spots, he should be able to take control of this fight and get it to the ground.  Once that happens, it is all elementary, and he will submit Daley with ease.

Fight Prediction: Dustin “McLovin” Hazelett via armbar in round two.

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