The main card of UFC 284 starts with fireworks with two absolute powerhouses in Jimmy Crute and Alonzo Menifield facing off in what will most likely be a light heavyweight barnburner. This is Crute’s first fight back in over a year following a two-fight skid with a doctor stoppage loss to perennial contender Anthony Smith and first-round knockout by current champion Jamahal Hill.
On the other hand, Menifield is riding a two-fight win streak with knockout wins over Misha Cirkunov and Askar Mozharov. The two men both have over a 75% finish rate and are explosive finishers, making this an exciting fight where anything could happen.
Despite Menifield’s apparent momentum, Crute is coming in as almost a 2-1 favorite.
- Jimmy Crute: -190
- Alonzo Menifield: +160
The most obvious factor that both fighters share in their game is their overwhelming explosivity and remarkable athleticism. Both fighters have their fair share of knockouts, however, they have also both been on the receiving end of such finishes. This is what makes this fight such a difficult matchup to pick, as it is really a question of who connects first and who is more willing to meet the others’ power.
Aside from this, from a statistical standpoint, Crute goes into this fight sporting a 2-inch height advantage and Menifield enters with a 2-inch reach advantage. Menifield is also a much older fighter, being nine years older than Crute and likely escaping his athletic prime as Crute is entering his own.
Crute seems to be the much more well-rounded fighter with a variety of submission wins and showcases of offensive grappling and ground-and-pound. He has an extremely effective kimura that is well supported by his monstrous strength that scored him wins over grappling-ace Paul Craig and Michal Oleksiejcuk. As well as this, his striking appears to be much more well-refined, using much lengthier combinations and many more tools in his arsenal with his rear leg kicks and a fairly sharp jab. Crute’s main deficit, however, is his lack of defensive awareness. He often leaves his hands down and does not check or respond to leg kicks when he is moving forward, which got him caught in the first round by Jamahal Hill and eventually led to a doctor stoppage in his match against Anthony Smith in what looked like a shut down of the peroneal nerve in his leg.
Aside from his explosive power, Crute’s claim to fame is also his sheer toughness and grit. Despite many of his fights ending in the first round, he’s shown to carry himself well in three-round fights, as was shown in his war with Paul Craig and various five-round bouts in his career prior to the UFC as a champion in Hex Fight Series. He has an iron chin that has only been shut down by Jamahal Hill, who has shown himself to be able to sleep nearly anybody in the light heavyweight division. Even in his fight against Anthony Smith, where his leg clearly wasn’t capable of carrying weight, he was able to somehow shoot for a takedown, stack and defend a triangle, and was still willing to go out for the second round before the doctor stopped the bout.
Menifield appears to be more one-dimensional, but very effective in that aspect nonetheless. His vicious knockout power has carried him through the UFC since his debut win in Dana White’s Contender Series, only having one win via decision and another by submission. He’s less sharp than Crute in his striking and throws much less in his combinations, however, it is arguable that he carries more power in his hands. Like Crute, he lacks a certain level of defensive responsibility, often leaving his hands down and refusing to check leg kicks. His attacks are also fairly telegraphed due to his lack of a deep arsenal, which led to him getting knocked out by Ovince St. Preux by a single left hook.
Menifield has also shown himself to have a more suspect gas tank, likely due to the way in which he wildly loads up his shots. Following the first half of the second round, his activity often drops off and his punches seem to lose a significant amount of force and power. This has proven to be a detriment to him in fights where he couldn’t put away his opponents, as he has often gotten outclassed into unanimous decisions against him. This makes the first round extremely dangerous for any of his opponents, however, as there’s no telling when or how quickly the fight could end from a single shot.
Prediction and Betting Guide
Although it’s difficult to pick against Menifield with his sheer power and strength, I’m going to go with Crute, likely via stoppage. At a certain level of power, it makes no difference who hits harder, as both fighters could put each other out with a single shot, and Crute’s deeper arsenal and superior cardio will likely carry him to be the first of the two to find his target. As well as this, even if the fight somehow goes the distance, Crute’s cardio and offensive grappling could likely edge out a decision win for the Australian in his home turf, making him the much safer pick. Like all fights though, nothing is guaranteed, and it could only take one well-timed right hand from Menifield to end Crute’s night.
Bet: Jimmy Crute by stoppage (+215)