Perhaps the most fan-friendly fight on the UFC 192 card is a welterweight contest between exciting strikers Albert “Einstein” Tumenov and Alan “Brahma” Jouban. Both fighters are currently 3-1 in the UFC and are looking to move up the ladder in the stacked welterweight division. Albert Tumenov (15-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC, -270 favorite) Tumenov has made a strong impression on UFC observers and pundits since signing with the promotion in early 2014. While he stumbled in his first fight against Ildemar Alcantara, he has rebounded nicely by recording three straight victories. His level of competition has been increasing gradually, which is the proper way to build a young prospect like Tumenov. Among the Russian’s three victories are two incredible knockouts over Anthony Lapsley and Matt Dwyer. He will look to notch his fourth straight win with a victory over Alan Jouban on Saturday night. The 23-year old is a constantly improving fighter that is already one of the best strikers in the UFC’s welterweight division. He has excellent footwork, head movement, and cuts angles very well. Primarily a striker, Tumenov has a vicious left hook, straight right, and left head kick. Additionally, he is very good at putting his combinations together, both while going forward and on the counter. The Russian is adept at finishing his combinations with head and body kicks, which often come from his lead leg. Excellent power, technique, and movement are also staples of Tumenov’s game. On the ground he is well-versed in defense, but is not an offensive submission threat and does not really attempt any takedowns. However, Tumenov’s takedown defense has really improved and it is quite difficult to get him down and even harder to keep him there. The one outlier was his UFC debut against Alcantara, but we have seen dramatic improvements since that fight. Alan Jouban (12-3 MMA, 3-1 UFC, +230 underdog) The 32-year old has been one of the most consistently exciting fighters to watch since he entered the UFC a little over a year ago. He started off with a vicious knockout of Seth Baczynski in a fight where he was badly hurt early and looked to be on the verge of getting knocked out. The Louisiana native followed that up by taking a fight in Brazil against one of the sport’s top prospects, Warlley Alves. Jouban took the fight to the Brazilian from the opening round, but lost a highly controversial decision that most people thought he won. While some fighters would become deterred after losing in such a fashion, Jouban just became more motivated. In his next fight he knocked out Richard Walsh in the first round with a standing elbow, which was another fight that showcased his toughness. Jouban’s most recent outing was a dominant decision victory over Matt Dwyer that earned “Fight of the Night” honors. Like Tumenov, Jouban is primarily a striker that has solid defensive wrestling and grappling. “Brahma” has a potent Muay Thai attack from a southpaw stance that features a vicious left hook, straight left, and right hook. Additionally, Jouban has solid knees and elbows and is especially dangerous when breaking from the clinch. He is one of a handful of fighters that can truly knock out their opponent with any of their eight limbs. Pinpoint timing, conditioning, and distance management are also solid aspects of Jouban’s game. His main flaw is his striking defense, as he tends to get hit a lot more than he should. Jouban often welcomes a slugfest, as he bites down on his mouthpiece and exchanges hard strikes in the pocket. That is not very good for a fighter’s longevity, as sooner or later they will not be able to take that kind of punishment. Still, Jouban’s toughness and durability are quite admirable. Although he is primarily a striker, Jouban has displayed solid defensive grappling and has even hit a few takedowns during his UFC career. Warlley Alves had him in a pretty tight guillotine and he managed to gut it out and escape. That defensive awareness could be attributed to his coach, Eddie Bravo, who trains several UFC fighters. Jouban is a jiu-jitsu brown belt under Bravo and often utilizes Bravo’s rubber guard system when he finds himself on his back. While he has continued to work on his jiu-jitsu on a regular basis, Jouban has not yet recorded a submission victory since becoming a pro in 2011. Thoughts I don’t see how this fight could be boring. Tumenov and Jouban are two of the most exciting welterweights on the UFC roster and they both are offensive machines that always go for the knockout. While the two will likely both get their licks in, I like Tumenov to pick up the victory. While they both are excellent strikers, Tumenov has much better defense and that will likely play a key role in this fight. Jouban is capable of winning this fight, but his tendency to eat big shots from his opponents is not a good sign when facing someone like Tumenov. Jouban’s toughness is legit, so it may be hard for the Russian to score a knockout. Still, he should at least be able to pick his shots and then use his superior footwork and defense to win the majority of the exchanges. The Russian is just a tad smoother on the feet and that should get him the victory. The Prediction: Albert Tumenov defeats Alan Jouban by unanimous decision
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