Saturday, June 4th, 2016 in Los Angeles California for UFC 199: “Rockhold vs. Bisping” by Daniel Tom
Sean Strickland (17-1)
- Height: 6’1″ Age: 25 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 76″
- Last Fight: TKO win / Alex Garcia (2-21-16)
- Camp: Millennia MMA/Team Quest (California)
- Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
- Risk Management: Moderate
+ King Of The Cage MW Title
+ Brown Belt BJJ
+ 8 KO victories
+ 4 Submission wins
+ 9 first round finishes
+ Consistent pace & volume
+ Good distance management
^ Deceptively dictates range
+ Excellent jab
^ Accurate / stays long
+ Underrated wrestling ability
^ Improved takedown entries
+ Fundamentally sound top game
– Head often upright
^ Overhand/counter opportunities
Tom Breese (10-0)
- Height: 6’3″ Age: 24 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 73.5″
- Last Fight: Decision win / Keita Nakamura (2-27-16)
- Camp: Tristar Gym (Canada/UK)
- Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
- Risk Management: Moderate
+ BAMMA Welterweight Title
+ Brown Belt BJJ
+ 3 KO victories
+ 6 Submission wins
+ 6 first round finishes
+ Continual striking improvements
+ Effective straight puncher
^ Long & accurate jab-cross
+ Hard kicks from the left side
+ Strong over-hooks inside clinch
^ Looks for knees & trips
+ Solid transitional grappler
^ Uses leg-locks to scramble
+ Dangerous guard game
^ Superb hip & leg dexterity
– Sometimes struggles against the fence
Serving as the headliner for UFC Fight Pass is a tightly contested matchup at welterweight, as Sean Strickland welcomes the undefeated prospect Tom Breese into his backyard. Breese is coming off a hard-fought victory over Keita Nakamura earlier this year, where we saw Tom taken out of his element early and tested. Continuing his training with Tristar gym in Canada, Breese will look to make up for his past performance with an impressive showing here. Set to play the spoiler is Sean Strickland, who is coming off his most impressive win yet as he stopped Alex Garcia earlier this year. Looking to keep the momentum for his camp Millennia MMA, Strickland will attempt to take out another Tristar-trained fighter.
In what is the tightest matchup on paper, I feel this bout between two patient fighters may come down to who can shift gears first. Strickland is more of the counter fighter as he will consistently circle while actively striking & stifling with his jab. Usually having a length advantage over his opposition, this method allows Sean to force striking exchanges onto his terms. Although Tom is two inches taller, Strickland should be the longer fighter in regards to reach and frame.
If Sean can establish his jab first, we may see him stifle Tom and sway the momentum of this fight. However, we have seldom seen Strickland strike against southpaws as his outside foot awareness will be crucial in this contest. A technically sound southpaw, Breese has consistently made fight-to-fight improvements in his standing tools. Working behind a stiff jab of his own, Tom will stalk forward with feints to draw out his opposition’s attack.
With both men traditionally looking to counter, it will be interesting to see who can successfully create and capitalize on the chaos of exchanges. Although both men are more than capable of taking the other out, I give Breese the advantage standing as his stalking style scores well with judges and his defenses are much more fundamentally sound. Strickland tends to keep overly upright in his approach, as we have seen this cost him in exchanges with seasoned strikers like Santiago Ponzinibbio & Luke Barnatt.
I imagine this matchup will touch the mat on multiple occasions, which will likely make wrestling a key factor amongst two talented Brazilian Jiu-jitsu brown belts. Despite Breese being the more accoladed grappler with a wider range tools, I feel Strickland can pose some serious problems for Tom should he get topside. Although Breese bears a base in freestyle wrestling, the Englishman prefers to operate from the clinch as he emphasizes strong over-hooks to open up his knees and trip takedowns.
However, we saw in his last fight against Nakamura that his comfort inside the clinch can be used against him if turned to the cage. With over-hooks naturally giving way to the body-lock, Strickland could use these opportunities to his favor, especially since the fence area is Sean’s preferred space to attempt takedowns. Showing no fear in being grounded, Breese will parlay his over-hooks immediately into his guard game. Displaying superb hip & leg dexterity, Tom puts his long frame to good use on the floor as he will constantly chain submissions attempts into scramble opportunities.
Tom will need to be sharper than a sword to keep his edge and cannot afford any lackadaisical lulls in transition. Sean Strickland is a very underrated grappler who demonstrates a sound positional game as he is consistently active with pressure. Most importantly, Strickland displays an excellent ability to posture just outside of his opponents reach as he rains down shots from the top. Sean awareness of posture may shut down the over-hook based game of Breese and force him to work in a way favorable to Strickland.
With takedown agenda’s being this fights key intangibles, I feel the man on top should have a stylistic & scorecard advantage. It will be interesting to see both fighter’s game plans as this will be another opportunity for each camp to crack the proverbial code. Although I am siding with Breese’s technical prowess to get it done, I would not be surprised at all to see Strickland’s criminally underrated skill set steal the momentum of this fight. With this being the closest fight on paper and the hardest to breakdown on the card, I preach caution in plays as I instead encourage you sit back and enjoy this prospect showdown on Fight Pass.
Official Pick: Breese – Decision
Official Outcome: Strickland – Split Decision
Preliminary Card Predictions
- Ortega def. Guida
- Dariush def. Vick
- Penne def. Andrade
- Miller def. Caceres
- Breese def. Strickland
- Wilson def. Da Silva
- Mutapcic def. Casey
- Kim def. Reyes