“Be Joe Pyfer!” (Dana White). Joe Pyfer (10-2; 1-0 in the UFC) a popular Dana White’s Contender Series alumnus, is set to make his second trip to the UFC octagon after a first-found KO finish in his debut.
His opponent, Gerald Meerschaert (35-15; 10-7 in the UFC), is excited to stunt the hype around Pyfer and showcase there are levels to the fight game.
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Joe Pyfer is a -200 favorite over Gerald Meerschaert.
“Be Joe Pyfer!” (Dana White) was used in the context of a DWCS night, where Dana White was quite frustrated with performances up until Joe Pyfer went out and landed a thunderous KO in round 2 that started with a left hook and ended with ground and pound strikes. While a KO finish is by no means abnormal for the fight game, particularly on DWCS, the notion of the right place, right time, greatly aided Joe Pyfer in getting media buzz around his performance and he capitalized on this buzz with another dominating performance in his first UFC fight.
Beyond hype alone, Joe Pyfer does have some serious skills, most notably his immense power. Additionally, Pyfer, training closely with the elite grappling welterweight, Sean Brady, is becoming far more comfortable on the mat. This comfort is far more rooted when he can dictate the grappling exchanges, as his massive strength and frame are far more suited to excel in the top position compared to being fluid and slick on the mat from his back. This lack of fluidity is also seen with his striking, as he is by no means a sexy sports car, instead, he strikes like a Ford F-150 would strike, that is, throw powerful blows, bypassing the need to be quick or fluid.
Lacking the ability to be fluid is not a concern for Gerald Meerschaert when it comes to grappling, as he is known for having a plethora of dangerous submissions that can be thrown up from any position. This ability allows Meerschaert to be more than comfortable with being taken down to the mat, as he will happily accept the danger of facing heavy ground and pound at the prospect of finding an angle, shifting his hips, and finding a submission finish – 27 of his 35 professional wins have come via submission.
The issue Meerschaert has faced is when he squares off against fighters who have power, comfort on the feet, and an ability to keep the fight standing if they so choose. The latter issue is a concern, as a grappler who struggles to secure a takedown – 37% TD accuracy – is one that relies too much on his opponent’s willingness to prompt a takedown shot. Because of this issue, Meerschaert is often forced to strike for a vast majority of the fight, and albeit his chin is far better than its reputation given he has only been KO’d 3 times as a professional, the inability to avoid thumping strikes often gets him down on the rounds, in turn, limits his path to victory. While hyper-critical, particularly for a fighter who has had to face many dangerous middleweight contenders over the years and one who has stuffed many prospect’s hopes, it is a concern, particularly in a fight where he faces someone as physically imposing as Joe Pyfer.
This fight should not reach the judges’ scorecards. Pyfer, standing orthodox, facing Meerschaert, who predominately stands southpaw, will have a massive opening to find the mark with his powerful right hand. If he lands cleanly, I expect it to rock Meerschaert to the point it finishes him in one blow or will be TKO’d soon after.
But, if indeed Pyfer lands a right hand, and overly rushes to the mat, then I would not be shocked to see Meerschaert regather himself like the veteran he is, and then, find a submission from his back.
But, the likelihood of submitting someone as physically strong as Pyfer and someone who trains with one of the best submission artists and grapplers in the entire UFC in Sean Brady is far less likely than it is for Pyfer to land the right hand and work his way to a KO finish.
Because of this, I am electing to pick Pyfer here in this matchup, and him by KO at a -110 price is a very advantageous line to attack.
Pick: Joe Pyfer to win by knockout (-110)