September 17 the UFC returns to the great state of Louisiana for a battle in the bayou between former Strikeforce multi-division champion Jake Shields (26-5-1) and red hot welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger (24-5) at UFC Fight Night 25. Opening the card is the return of “The Talent” Alan Belcher (16-6) as he squares off against “The Athlete” Jason MacDonald (23-14). Following the middleweight tilt is a solid featherweight showing between TUF 12 winner Jonathan Brookins (14-1) and WEC stand-out “New Breed” Eric Koch (12-1). Taking the responsibility for ushering in the night’s main event is a truly exceptional middleweight pairing, “The Crusher” Court McGee (11-1) of TUF fame and “The Ox” Dongi Yang (5-1) from Korean Top Team. “The Ox” is looking to make his name known and build a winning streak after his 1-1 UFC start and he knows that McGee is a tough opponent to go through to get there. McGee has no plans on letting the Korean break .500 as he seeks to stay undefeated in the UFC.
At First Glance: Despite having similar experience, this match is a bit more slanted than it appears at first glance. The slight edge goes to McGee based on record alone with his 11 wins and 2-0 UFC mark pitted against Yang’s 10 wins (five of his are in unsanctioned matches not recognized by the ABC) and 1-1 UFC record, but the advantage becomes much more pronounced when the opponents are taken into consideration. Literally every opponent he has faced outside the UFC has a losing record. Adding to Yang’s shaky credentials is the fact that more than one of his wins has come from questionable officiating to say the least. McGee by contrast has faced several UFC veterans and other respectable fighters in his career. Based on the first impressions, McGee is a big favorite.
In Depth: Both McGee and Yang have very similar styles – they are standing fighters with solid hands and good kicks that they use to put their opponents away in short, violent order. The biggest difference is that McGee has a solid ground game to supplement his strikes and he is a far more disciplined fighter in general. In both his UFC fights, Yang got frustrated and abandoned technique, swinging wildly in search of a knockout blowing in the wind. Court, however, has shown tremendous poise under fire and an ability to stay relaxed and recover from bad situations. This all points to a strong likelihood that McGee will hold the advantage anywhere the fight goes. On the feet, McGee will have to be wary of Yang’s power, but he should be able to work his reach and footwork to stay safe on the feet.
Wild Card: Yang is a dangerous opponent for anyone in the division due to his power. He also has a bit of a size advantage in his bulkier frame. If Yang can get Court against the fence and bully him around, he may be able to wear the Ultimate Fighter alum down and do serious damage late in the fight.
The Verdict: Court McGee holds the winning cards in this hand, as long as he doesn’t fold when Yang goes all in, he will take the pot. Yang has nasty power but McGee has the head movement to avoid it and the discipline to stay calm and detached as he systematically dismantles the Korean and moves to finish the fight on the mat after Yang wilts from the pressure. McGee via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2