On a night featuring a number of key welterweight clashes, one shapes up as a real crossroads fight at UFC 167 between Tyron Woodley and Josh Koscheck.
Both competitors are desperate for a victory in order to stay relevant in a hotly-contested 170-pound division. “Kos”, who’s been a fixture with the promotion since being part of the original Ultimate Fighter, will be making a remarkable 23rd appearance in the Octagon. He’ll be looking to end a two-fight skid when he tangles with the relative newcomer.
Koscheck, who failed in a title shot against current champion Georges St. Pierre back at UFC 124, was stopped in the first round by Robbie Lawler his last time out. Before then, he suffered a close split decision loss against UFC 167 title challenger Johny Hendricks. Koscheck possesses a strong wrestling background and some power, but simply hasn’t been able to put it all together of late.
The same can be said for Woodley. The former Strikeforce veteran also has a standout wrestling pedigree and and packs a punch. He began his career with 10 consecutive victories, including wins against the likes of Paul Daley and Tarec Saffiedine. However, the results have been mixed since that high point.
Woodley failed in bid to win the Strikeforce welterweight title when he was brutally knocked out by Nate Marquardt. He made a dynamic UFC debut when he ran roughshod over Jay Hieron, destroying the veteran in just 36 seconds at UFC 156. However, after the buzz created by that initial performance, it was a big step backwards as he dropped a close decision in a very unsatisfying fight against Jake Shields at UFC 161. It was a less than crowd-pleasing affair as Woodley was never able to get untracked against Shields’ suffocating style.
Woodley knows that another setback against Koscheck would definitely have the potential to leave him lost in the mix in a talent-rich welterweight division. Two welterweights with plenty to prove should lead to an exciting fight this weekend. The winner will be on track for another high-profile opportunity, while the loser will be left doing some serious soul-searching.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports