Ian “The Future” Garry personified his nickname and backed up his hype with a 1st round knockout victory in his debut, bringing his record to 8-0. Darian Weeks, also a young prospect, dropped his UFC debut via unanimous decision, bringing his record to 5-1. They’ll face each other this Saturday at UFC 273.
Garry opened as a respectable favorite; and, as money has come in, has only widen the odd’s gap.
- Garry: -360
- Weeks: +285
Garry entered the UFC with legitimate hype because of his reputation of vicious ground and pound that accompanied his impressive wrestling. The way in which Garry gets the fight into his world is impressive. He is a long kickboxer who can snap leg kicks and land devastating head kicks without indicating which attack is coming. Further, his wrestling is fundamentally sound while also showing signs of natural strength; meaning, if he wants to get the fight down, it is difficult to stop. Surprisingly, though, in Garry’s debut, he did not shoot a takedown, nor did he attack much with his kicks. Instead, Garry got into a fire fight that almost cost him a win. He carried his chin high, struggled against a pressure heavy dirty boxer, and was losing the round before he found the finish. Rather than writing Garry off as “overrated,” I suspect his debut was a result of adrenalin and excitement. I anticipate a more measured approach from Garry where we see more kicking from distance and traditional wrestling on Saturday night.
Weeks poses an interesting threat to the Garry hype train. He is a younger and more well-rounded version of the fighter who gave Garry fits last time out. Weeks is an accurate and volume heavy striker on the feet. He tends to land shots from distance, pestering his opponent with volume. Once he creates the distance he wants, Weeks will shoot for a takedown. In his debut, Weeks landed 4 of 5 shots. Even if his attempt failed, it allowed Weeks to safely crash distance and clinch fight against the cage where he use his dirty boxing. Weeks’ biggest gaps are his striking decision making and offensive grappling. As many wrestlers do, Weeks likes to throw a big overhand right designed to drop his opponent or create momentum for a takedown. The issue, though, is a fighter with fluid movement, solid defensive grappling, or quick counter striking and evade, defend, or capitalize on the telegraphed power shot. If Weeks’ strategy does work, and he gets the takedown, he struggles to hold position on the mat. Weeks can get the takedown but doesn’t have the grappling experience to hold his opponent down or get a finish.
Weeks could follow the blueprint against Garry, dirty box and clinch fight, to victory. However, that assumes the same Garry we saw in his debut enters the octagon on Saturday. As I said above, I think Garry will be more measured in his striking and willing to initiate the wrestling. Further, Garry’s submission game should be a viable approach to counter Weeks’ wrestling. Regardless of who shoots first, I see this fight hitting the mat and Garry’s grappling taking over for a finish.
Prediction: Garry by Submission
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.