Jalin “The Tarantula” Turner, 28, is stepping in on short notice for UFC Austin. He’s looking to rebound following back-to-back losses, both controversial split decisions. Overall, the #12 ranked lightweight is 6-4 in UFC, with all wins coming via finish and three of his four losses by decision.
Bobby “King” Green, 37, is ranked one spot lower than his opponent and has been in the UFC a significantly longer time. Since joining the promotion in 2013, Green has accumulated a 12-9 record, with a combined 13 of his 21 total fights going the distance. He enters with a two-fight winning streak.
Despite being the short-notice fighter, Turner opened as the favorite but the line has since narrowed.
Turner is exceptionally talented, dangerous, and uniquely sized for the lightweight division. Yet, he has one of the dicier records in the division. A significant reason for that is the early part of his career. While still finding his footing, Turner faced and lost to Frevola and Luque, both dangerous and ranked-level fighters. Then, most recently, he lost controversial decisions that I and others had him winning. It’s reasonable to put an asterisk next to his record.
However, when handicapping, regardless of why, the main point is Turner lost those fights. He often did because he struggled to keep the fight standing. In both of his recent losses, Turner surrendered just shy of seven minutes and three minutes, respectively, of control time.
Neither opponent was able to deal much damage when holding Turner down because Turner used his length well to close guard to defend top position with submissions of his own. Then, when on the feet, Turner, as he always does, shined with explosive yet still technical striking. He is a massive, 6’3, lightweight who uses his reach, a stiff jab, a devastating cross, and innate timing to land powerful shots time and time again. He just needs to keep the fight standing to showcase his full skillset regularly.
At this point, most UFC fans know who “King” Green is. He is an exceptional boxer with lightning-fast hands, impressively fluid and evasive head movement, and the ability to push a pace while maintaining technical precision. Green will fight with his hands down by his hips and rely on his reflexes to shoulder roll or dip incoming combinations.
Outside of the Mayweather-like striking looking impressive, the advantage Green gets from his style is that his strikes come from under his opponent’s guard where they struggle to see them coming, and increased speed and fluidity. Green is not a power puncher, nor is he someone who accumulates enough damage over three rounds to end fights regularly. Instead, Green looks to outpoint his opponents, like a boxer, with volume, precision, and evasive maneuvers.
He embodies the old adage “hit and don’t get hit.” This style, though, has resulted in close decisions that Green has lost because he struggles to land emphatic enough strikes to truly seal a round. Recently, though, Green seems to have figured out how to increase his volume and timely clinching to sway the judges in his favor with more consistency.
Both of these fighters are eerily similar in style and production. Both are long and rangy strikers who use intelligent, quick, and deceptive jabs followed by stiff crosses to land volume and damage.
Both are also stout wrestlers who primarily use their length and posting ability to keep the fight standing, but can also land a key takedown to secure a close round. Additionally, both fighters are strong in the clinch and use leverage well to land knees and elbows while maintaining their base.
Finally, both fighters have rocky records because of early struggles in the UFC with close fights going against them. Yet, both are still ranked because their talent and skills are undeniable. So, on paper, this fight should be a heck of a lot closer to pick’em than the odds suggest.
However, I do think Turner is appropriately lined and like him to win this fight. Green tends to win on the back of volume, cardio, distance striking and, most importantly, speed. In this fight, Green should have the cardio advantage but will be at a disadvantage in volume, distance control, power, and most importantly speed.
Turner should be able to play Green’s game and play it better than the UFC veteran. I’m expecting a fan-friendly and exciting fight but for Turner to land the more damaging shots throughout the fight.
Lastly, the x-factor here is Green’s chin. After years of fighting with low hands and a dependency on head movement, as he’s getting older and slower, Green is getting clipped more. Green has only been knocked out three times in his career but two have come in the last year. Given Turner’s power, there is a chance Green is significantly hurt again.
Best Bet: Turner to win (-220 at BetUS)