Matt Brown (16-11, 9-5 UFC) vs. Jordan Mein (27-8, 1-0 UFC)
Brown will be looking to continue his resurgence in the UFC as he competes in the opening main card bout on FOX for the second straight time. After a 1-4 stretch that almost got him cut from the UFC roster, Brown has won four straight fights and is coming off a knockout win over Mike Swick in December. Mein is a replacement for Dan Hardy, who was pulled from the fight due to a heart condition. Mein competed just one month ago at UFC 158, defeating Dan Miller in his UFC debut. Mein is 4-1 over his last five fights.
Fight Breakdown- Brown is an intense and aggressive fighter who will always come to fight and will set a solid pace with an in-your-face style. He has had his ups-and-downs, but he is rarely seen in a boring fight, and he will go for the finish or be finished trying. At just 23-years-old, Mein is already a veteran of 35 fights, and he actually has more fight experience than Brown. Mein has scored 22 finishes in his 27 wins, and he has been training MMA since the age of four as his father is also a professional MMA fighter, and he has the distinction of being the only man to ever finish Dan Miller, which he did in his last bout.
Brown is an aggressive striker with a durable chin who will come forward bringing the fight. Mein will be a willing striking partner, and with a slight reach advantage and a southpaw stance, he will be looking to use his jab to set the tone of the fight. Brown has dangerous power in his right hand, and he will be looking to lure Mein into a wild brawl with a lot of exchanges. Mein should be looking to land counter punches, especially with a right hook, and he should be looking to mix in his kicks and knees along with his punches. Brown will likely be looking to work in the clinch where he can utilize dirty boxing, but he will need to be aware of Mein changing levels and attacking the body.
The likelihood of this fight going to the mat is not huge as both prefer to stand and trade punches. Brown can be submitted, and rather easily at times, so Mein taking the fight to the ground looking for a submission could be a safe route. Brown also could always try to take the fight down and ride out a decision as he looks to score another win, as he has done that in the past. However, this fight has all the makings of producing a huge amount of fireworks, and it is a perfect fight to open a FOX broadcast. Mein fighting just one month ago could be a big advantage to him, but it could also be a big disadvantage and allow Brown to be the fresher and more conditioned fighter. It will be an action-packed fight, but Mein being the more overall polished fighter gives him the edge in this one.
Why It Matters- Brown wants to keep his momentum going and extend his win streak to five and put himself in title contention. That seems like an almost impossible situation considering where he was heading into 2012. A perfect 4-0 record in 2012 changed his fortunes for the better, and Brown now has a firm hold on his spot on the UFC roster. A win would be his tenth in the UFC, something that only ten other fighters currently in the UFC’s welterweight division have accomplished.
Mein is considered one of the future stars of the sport and a future title contender, and this is a chance to put himself in the spotlight. Those who saw his survival and then destruction of Dan Miller know what kind of a star he can become, and being featured on the FOX broadcast is another chance for him to make himself a more household name. Mein has all the tools to potentially be a champion in the UFC, and at just 23, the future is bright and the sky is the limit for him. This is his chance for a star-making performance.