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UFC 96: Previewing and Predicting Gray Maynard vs. Jim Miller

We’re just one day away from UFC 96. As such, will continue its fight-by-fight preview of the event with a look at a highly anticipated lightweight matchup between two future title contenders.

Gray Maynard (6-0) vs. Jim Miller (13-1)

This fight is not an easy one to predict.

You have a fighter in Miller with tremendous submissions and good wrestling who is matched up against a fighter in Maynard who is a tremendous wrestler with good submissions.

I’ve long contended that Miller will eventually emerge as a top ten lightweight. The Jersey-based fighter is 2-0 since coming over to the UFC from the IFL and has recorded notable wins in the Octagon over David Baron at UFC 89 and against Matt Wiman on one week’s notice this past December at “UFC Fight for the Troops.”

But as big of a supporter as I am of Miller, Gray Maynard is simply a bad matchup. He’s not just a bad matchup for Miller, he’s apparently a bad matchup for everyone as the UFC has a great deal of trouble trying to secure opponents for him.

I think Miller is one of the best kept secrets in MMA but the world may not get to see that on Saturday. I can’t help but wonder whether Miller will suffer the same fate as Frankie Edgar at UFC Fight Night 13.

At UFN 13, Edgar was simply no match physically for Maynard. Despite being a top ten-caliber lightweight, Edgar was unable to compensate for the difference in size and strength. While Miller is a little bigger than Edgar, the difference in size is very slight.

In reality, we’re going to be watching an average sized lightweight in Miller trying to hold off a small welterweight in Maynard. Unless Miller catches Xtreme Couture product in a triangle or catches him on the chin, I just think Maynard’s size and strength will prove too much.

Prediction: Maynard via unanimous decision.

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