Ellenberger takes a swing at Carlos Eduardo Rocha. Julie Jacobson/AP/Press Association Images

Un-caged: it's Jake vs. Jake in New Orleans

With UFC’s Fight Night 25 just around the corner, we look ahead to the “Battle of the Bayou”, Jonathan Brookins’ baptism of fire and the welcome return of Adam Belcher.

LOUISIANA PLAYS HOST to this week’s UFC Fight Night 25 (“The Battle of the Bayou”) event featuring Jake Shields and Jake Ellenberger.

The main card features some exciting fights, including Joanthan Brookins’ first outing since winning the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) and Alan Belcher’s long-awaited return.

Another TUF winner, Court McGee, takes on Korea’s Dongi Yang in the final fight on the main card, and the preliminary card boasts a number of high-quality bouts, including Cody McKenzie vs. Vagner Rocha and Evan Dunham vs. Shamar Bailey.

Too close to call?

The main event looked set to become the first five-round non-title fight in UFC history, but unfortunately, we will only get to see the two Jakes face off for a maximum of three rounds.

Ellenberger has put together an impressive four fight winning streak, knocking out the likes of Mike Pyle and Sean Pierson on the way. Shields, on the other hand, lost on decision last time out against the current champ, Georges St. Pierre, and appears to be facing an even tougher task this time around.

“The Juggernaut” has a clear striking advantage, whereas Shields has the edge when it comes to wrestling and ground work. Obviously, this means that if Ellenberger can keep the fight on its feet, he should prove more than capable of coming out on top.

To have a chance, Shields will need to show a better takedown offence than he did against GSP; his best chance of winning the fight would be to get hold of Ellenberger, take him down, and try to submit him.

With both fighters so closely matched, it’s very difficult to choose between an Ellenberger KO victory or a hard fought Jake Shields decision victory.

From reality TV to UFC

Fans of TUF will be keen to see Jonathan Brookins back in the Octagon again, after he impressed en route to winning Season 12 of the popular TV show. He faces something of a baptism of fire, however, in the shape of up-and-coming all-rounder Erik Koch, currently on a three-fight winning streak.

Brookins, renowned for his fighting intelligence, will likely look to stifle Koch’s all action style with his superior wrestling skills. A stand-up war is not out of the question, though, as Koch’s striking has improved with every one of his previous bouts. That said, Brookins proved more than capable of trading with the best of them during his fight with current featherweight champ, Jose Aldo.

The best of the rest

Popular middleweight Alan Belcher makes his competitive return against Jason MacDonald after enduring a lengthy rehabilitation from serious eye surgery. In the past, Belcher has proven himself equally capable of knocking people out or submitting them, a tendency that’s endeared him to UFC fans.

In MacDonald he faces a well-versed veteran of thirty-nine professional fights, and while “The Talent” won’t be taking him lightly, many believe that if Belcher can overcome his ring rustiness, he should see off the Canadian.

TUF Season Eleven winner Court McGee is a strong favourite to extend his 2-0 UFC record against Dongi Yang. Magee has recorded submission victories in each of his previous two fights, hinting that his strength and durability will stand him in good stead.

Yang prefers to stand up and slug it out with opponents, and while Magee is no slouch on his feet, I expect him to lean on his wrestling skills in the hope he can take the fight to the floor and submit Yang within the distance.

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