UFC 120: James Wilks vs. Claude Patrick Prediction

UFC Welterweight Bout:  James Wilks vs. Claude Patrick

Odds:  ( +130 Wilks / -160 Patrick )

Betting Pick:  Claude Patrick

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In the opening bout of the evening, two young and promising welterweights will go at it as James “Lightning” Wilks takes on Canadian prospect Claude “The Prince” Patrick. Patrick is an impressive 12-1 with nine wins by submission, while Wilks rebounded nicely from a tough loss to Matt Brown, turning in a dominant performance in his last fight. What makes this fight so interesting is that both guys have great gound games, but their styles are very different, so this one could be the sleeper fight of the night.

Claude Patrick, a skilled Canadian with only one loss as a professional, has a very slick and effective ground game with very dangerous submissions. Patrick is something of a rarity in that he brings both quality submissions and a powerful takedown attack to the table. Many grapplers have subpar wrestling, and many wrestlers have subpar submission skills, but Patrick brings the complete package when it comes to grappling. Where he still has work to do is in the standup, where he will have a significant disadvantage to Wilks.

Wilks, one of the many Brits featured on this card, has a fairly formidable ground game of his own. While he will be at a disadvantage in terms of wrestling, he also has very slick submissions from both top position and off his back. His ground game is not as complete as Patrick’s, but he is very dangerous nonetheless, and he compensates by having a far superior striking game. Wilks’ punching is crisp and accurate, he is effective from both range and in the clinch, and he uses his jab extremely well to control distance and push his opponents around.

Wilks is a very skilled grappler and has standup that easily trumps Patrick’s, but I think Patrick’s superior wrestling will be the difference-maker in this fight. Patrick is going to have trouble winning striking exchanges, and the two guys have very similar jiu-jitsu skills, but it has been proven time and time again that takedowns can make a gigantic difference in the scoring of close fights. I think Patrick will be able to force the fight to the ground when he wants to, and that coupled with positional control from top position should be enough to earn him the unanimous decision win.

Prediction:  Claude “The Prince” Patrick via unanimous decision.

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