UFC Fight Night 27 is a rare Wednesday MMA card but the event features a number of fights that should capture the attention of hardcore fight fans. Looking through the under card there is one particular bout that stands out as important even though it doesn't feature two largely popular names in the division. Hatsu Hioki and Darren Elkins are set to face off at featherweight in a fight that's vital to both competitors.
Losses are always tough to take for fighters on the UFC roster because not getting their hand raised can quickly lead to the unemployment line. Both Hioki and Elkins are coming off of defeats in their recent outings; yet are considered among the top ten to fifteen of the weight class.
Hioki was once considered the top contender to Jose Aldo's title but two losses in his last three bouts have left people wondering if the Japanese star will make any headway in the Octagon. Ricardo Lamas dominated him for three rounds at UFC on FX 4 then he lost a highly controversial decision to Clay Guida at UFC on Fox 6. Elkins was riding a five-fight win streak at featherweight before he stepped up to face Chad Mendes on late notice. The decision proved to be a mistake as it took Mendes only 68 seconds to finish Elkins off. A costly decision that pushed Elkins down the preliminary bracket.
When looking at the style matchup of Hioki and Elkins it is very interesting to see where this fight will be contested. Hioki has very crisp standup skills that he displayed against Guida and Bart Palaszewski back in 2012. Yet it is his submission skills that have built his career. When a bout hits the mat his active guard threatens from multiple positions.
Elkins, who is a very solid wrestler, has the ability to take this fight to the ground when needed but the question is what will happen when the fight gets there. Hioki was very active against Guida but judges still decided to give the fight to Clay because he was able to hold down the Japanese star. Darren has the abilities and strength to do the same exact thing come Wednesday.
Statistically speaking, Hioki has been more capable in both the striking and grappling departments on mixed martial arts. According to Fight Metric; Elkins lands more shots per minute but Hioki has been tracked to be more accurate with his attempts. Hioki has also shown the ability to stop 54 percent of all take downs his faced which is well above the 39 percent take down rate that Elkins completes.
UFC Fight Night 27 is an opportunity for both Hatsu Hioki and Darren Elkins to push their names onto the short list of competitors who can be built into contenders for the rest of 2013 through next year There isn't any say if either competitor will be cut with a loss, but there is no room for error on such a major card for the Ultimate Fighting Championship.