On January 31st, a locally trained welterweight talent will make the walk down to a cage inside the Arena Theater in Houston, Texas looking for his way back to the pinnacle of the sport he competes in. In the world of mixed martial arts, the brightest stage of competition is under the lights of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) promotional banner. FIT NHB’s Tim Means (19-5-1) made it their in early-2012 and after a couple tough losses, he is eyeing a return to the big show and his opponent on January 31st Artenas Young (10-6) is standing in his way.
The highly anticipated match-up will go down as the headlining act for Legacy FC 27 in Young’s backyard of Houston, Texas. Means is coming off a spectacular one-shot, elbow knockout over MMA veteran Pete Spratt back at Legacy FC 23 in September and another win over a seasoned fighter may exactly what is needed to get Means back to the UFC.
In the interest of intrigue and fun, we decided to do a “Keys to Victory” for both fighters where we outline a few thoughts and ideas for fight fans to watch for during the fight on January 31st. Our last installment detailed the “keys” for a Young win and today, here is what we think will be deciding factors in a fight that could be won by “The Dirty Bird”.
Having 100% Confidence In Strikes Thrown
I would say that one of the defining characteristics of Tim Means is that when he throws a strike, he really throws that strike. Typically, when an aggressive striker faces off with a potent counter striker, conventional wisdom would say the aggressive striker needs to pick his shots and stay away from the countering abilities. Well, I am not conventionally wise and that just wouldn’t be Tim Means at his very best and most effective. Means needs to throw caution to the wind and pinpoint his strikes with the kind of power that has stopped fourteen of nineteen (74% finishing rate by strikes) career victories.
Tim Means has one of the most impressive finishing rates in the sport at 89% and his willingness to bite down on his mouthpiece just in case he needs to take a punch in order to deliver his own makes him arguably one of the worst fighters to stand in front of in the division. If Means wants to throw Young off of his game as a counter striker, landing significant and powerful shots is the key.
All one needs to do is watch Means knockout Pete Spratt with a standing elbow to understand the significance of Means throwing with ill-intent. Young has never been know as a ground technician and this is the type of fight where Means can worry less about being taken down and worry more about inflicting damage in the stand-up.
Push The Pace / Cardio
While the statistics show that Means more often than not will finish an opponent via strikes or submission; those same stats show that his opponent Young is notoriously hard to finish. Young has lost six times in his career and only once has he been stopped by strikes and that bout happened over three years ago. Since that point, Young has only tasted defeat by judge’s decision (two split, two unanimous). It will be a tall task for Means to crack the seemingly solid chin of Young.
Means has finished twelve opponents before the 2-minute mark of the first round which includes TKO’s in 4-seconds, 9-seconds, 30-seconds and 46-seconds. Means would finish UFC opponent Justin Salas in just 66-seconds after barraging him with an onslaught of knees and punches. However, Means may have to endure a fight lasting longer then your typical television commercial break.
If Young proves to be as durable as his career suggests, Means may have to take this fight to deep waters where he will have to keep up the high-volume striking for 15-minutes. Means has seen third rounds before, he has even competed in a five-round title fight for the King of the Cage promotion and that type of endurance may be necessary to take home the “W” over Young.
Showing Improvement In Defensive Wrestling
It isn’t a secret when fighting Tim Means as to what his game plan is going to be. Of course nobody knows exactly how he will attempt to execute the game plan but it is very evident that Tim Means wants to stand in front of his opponent and throw everything including the kitchen sink at his opponent in order to finish the fight decisively. With that being said, it comes as no surprise when an opponent decides he is going to work takedowns to ground Means.
In a sport that requires constant progression, Means will have to show improvements in his wrestling skills if he hopes to find more success at the highest level of competition. If he does return to the UFC, he will face wrestlers at either weight class of 155 or 170-pounds. He may in fact face some wrestling in his bout with Young on January 31st.
Exploiting weaknesses is necessary in the combat arena and should Young see an opening or feel the need to escape a bad position standing, Means will need to deal with the takedowns of an explosive fighter. Means has to be methodical in his delivery of strikes when in close range or he will forfeit the leverage necessary to stuff a takedown or sprawl on it to gain advantageous position.
If Means has polished up his defensive wrestling, he could very well showcase the “Sprawl’n’Brawl” fighting style made famous by UFC Hall of Fame fighter Chuck Liddell where a solid wrestling game exists to compliment exceptional striking talents and if we know one thing about Tim Means, it’s that you don’t want to strike with him for too long.
That’s a wrap fight fans! Those are our keys to victory for Tim Means! Do you agree or do you have your own thoughts on what may impact the fight when that cage door shuts on January 31st! We would like to encourage fight fans to tune in and watch the show on the 31st which will be shown on AXSTV!