UFC 149 Preview: Anton Kuivanen vs Mitch Clarke
Finnish lightweight star Anton Kuivanen is hunting for his first UFC win this Saturday as the UFC 149 show goes down at the Scotiabank Saddledome arena in Calgary, Canada. In his second UFC bout Kuivanen is matched up with a local hero in Mitch Clarke.
In advance the fight seems to be a classic Striker vs Grappler match up with Kuivanen holding the edge in striking while the former wrestler Clarke’s strongest point is grappling. There is a lot of stake in this bout as the loser will most likely be cut from the promotion.
Anton Kuivanen (16-5, 0-1 in the UFC), Finland
Notable wins: Ivan Buchinger (20-3), Thiago Meller (18-5), Tim Radcliffe (12-4)
Strengths: Striking, physically strong, tough to submit
Weaknesses: Sometimes gets too excited in the heat of combat
UFC career: Lost to Justin Salas (10-4) by unanimous decision in February of 2012
Why he lost to Salas: Kuivanen started off with a good pace but lost his aggressiveness as the fight went on and showed too much respect for the wrestling of the former D1 wrestler Salas. Salas moved forward and was able to dictate the pace in the second and third round, earning him the decision win.
Keys to victory against Clarke: Aggressive in-and-out attacks on the feet. Use sharp footwork to circle away from the fence when Clarke tries to clinch. Make the Canadian pay for his takedown attempts with explosive knee strikes and dirty boxing.
Mitch Clarke (9-1, 0-1 in the UFC), Canada
Notable wins: Josh Machan (9-4)
Strengths: Wrestling, submissions
Weaknesses: Limited gas tank
UFC career: Lost to John Cholish (8-2) by TKO strikes round 2 in December of 2011.
Why he lost to Cholish: Visibly tense Clarke threw a lot of strikes against Cholish but almost none of them connected due to poor distance control and stiffness. Clarke was able to score a takedown on Cholish but couldn’t do anything with it. In the second round Clarke gassed out and Cholish was able to maul him from the back mount to a TKO stoppage.
Keys to victory against Kuivanen: Push the Finn against the fence and shoot for the takedowns. On the ground deliver steady Ground and Pound while hunting for submissions.
Read more about Anton Kuivanen’s preparation for the fight:
UFC Lightweight Anton Kuivanen Feeling Confident Heading Into UFC 149
Read Interview with Mitch Clarke on FCFighter.com:
Full Contact Fighter’s interview of Mitch Clarke