UFC Fight Night 85 Breakdown: Antonio Carlos Junior vs Dan Kelly

antonio-carlos-juniorPrior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at rising Brazilian middleweight Antonio Carlos Junior as he takes on Australian Dan Kelly.   Antonio Carlos Junior (Record: 5-1, -500 Favorite, Fighter Grade: C+) The 26-year old Brazilian is fast becoming one of the top prospects in the UFC’s middleweight division. A multiple time world champion in BJJ, Carlos Junior is without a doubt one of the top submission threats in the division. He holds a couple of decent wins over surging Vitor Miranda and former TUF winner Eddie Gordon. His only career loss is to light heavyweight top 15 fighter Patrick Cummins. Carlos Junior is one of the best fighters to come out of TUF Brazil. At 26 years old, he’s found the right weight class at middleweight and is quickly improving his stature in the division. He’s a big middleweight at 6’1” with a massive 80 inch reach. In just about every fight he can have in the division, he’ll have a reach advantage. His striking continues to improve making him competitive on the feet in most middleweight bouts. Where he stands out is in the grappling. He’s got a very good submission game from top control and can really suffocate opponents. Four of his five career wins have come via submission and he’ll be looking for his fifth submission win in this weekend’s bout.   Dan Kelly (Record: 10-1, +400 Underdog, Fighter Grade: D-) Australian Dan Kelly is one of just a few athletes in the UFC to compete in the Olympics. In fact, he’s competed in the Olympics four times in judo. He’s the only Australian to have ever accomplished that feat. Kelly made the move to MMA after the 2012 Olympics compiling victories in Australia prior to making the jump to the UFC. In the UFC he has a 3-1 record with his only defeat to “Smilin” Sam Alvey. Kelly has a winning record inside the octagon achieving wins over fighters no longer with the promotion. His best attribute is his jab. For a fighter who came to MMA from a grappling background, he’s shown to have decent technique in his boxing and he’s able to throw his jab with accuracy. Surprisingly, he doesn’t attempt to utilize his judo background much. He makes very few attempts to work for takedowns and control fights on the ground. He seems satisfied to engage in 15 minute stand up battles. While his mobility is rather limited, he fights at a fairly constant pace for all 15 minutes. This allows him to do better in his fights as his opponents fatigue. Kelly does not have one punch knockout power and for the most part looks to outpoint and/or outland his opponents to earn a decision win.   Match-up Typically the UFC likes to pit hometown or home country fighters in winnable fights on these fight night international cards. This match-up is a much different scenario. Carlos Junior is over 10 years younger, is the better athlete, has much more rangy, and is significantly more skilled in nearly all facets of MMA than his opponent. Look for Carlos Junior to control the action on the feet hurting Kelly within the first round. If he doesn’t put him away on the feet, look for Junior to drag the fight to the ground where he has a massive advantage over Kelly. Either way, this is a mismatch. Even as a five to one favorite, Carlos Junior is a safe parlay piece this weekend.

Written by Jay Primetown

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