CM Punk vs. Mickey Gall Pre-Fight Analysis - UFC 203

UFC 203 will be taking place on September 10, at the Quicken Loans Arena (home of the Cavaliers) in Cleveland, Ohio. Considering this is the first time the company visits America's North Coast, the card is surprisingly good. There are a handful of matches I'm genuinely anticipating. Hometown hero Stipe Miocic will defend his heavyweight title for the first time against Alistair Overeem. J├ęssica Andrade and Joanne Calderwood are set to go to a technical war. Plus, the event will feature names like Urijah Faber, Fabricio Werdum, and Ian McCall. Nonetheless, CM Punk's debut against Mickey Gall is arguably the battle getting the most buzz. Today, I'll be doing a quick preview of the fight. Without further ado, let's get to it:

Unlike the majority of UFC fights, there's is no skill-breakdown to be done here. Cleveland will witness a contest between a man who's been fighting professionally for less then a year, and a former pro-wrestler who has never competed inside the cage. Therefore, this pre-fight analysis will solely focus on the mental and statistic aspects of this bizarre matchup. However, before we get into that, let's find out who the men involved are.

Mickey Gall is a fighter coming out of Miller Brothers MMA, in New Jersey. After winning his pro-debut, he cleverly asked the UFC to give him the chance to welcome Punk into the octagon. His wish was granted. To be honest, there isn't a whole lot I can say about this kid. He's a decent prospect at welterweight. From the short footage that is available, he seems like a well-rounded athlete. Having said that, it's way too early to predict whether or not he'll be successful within the organisation.

CM Punk is one the most celebrated pro-wrestlers of the past decade. Sadly, that set of skills doesn't amount to much when it comes to combat sports. Nevertheless, he gathered an enormous fanbase throughout his years in the squared circle. Considering his level of experience, you would think a contract with Bellator made the most sense. To my surprise, the UFC decided to pull the trigger and see if he has what it takes. Now, there has been a very split disagreement that has people wondering weather or not CM deserves the chance to fight for the company. Personally, I say more power to him. As long as this doesn't become the norm, I don't have a problem with the decision. Nevertheless, I understand if you feel like it devalues the corporation that is supposed to be the pinnacle of martial arts. It's a perfectly valuable point of view.

Moving on to the bout itself, the general prediction is that Gall will annihilate Punk. Honestly, I can't disagree. For all intents and purposes, that will probably be the end result. Gall is more proficient in every facet of the game. Neither man is incredible, but one of them clearly has the upper hand. Still, there are certain forces outside of 'skill' that can change the outcome of a contest.

The first one is CM's progression as a martial artist. In general, if you told me a man with no prior experience would begin training MMA full-time at a premiere facility (Roufusport) for two years, I would tell you he should be able to become a competent fighter. Not UFC champion caliber, but certainly enough to get the better of another amateur. Despite that, Punk is a 37 year-old who suffered multiple injuries during his training camp. Realistically, we just can't know the depth of his abilities. They might be the basic, sloppy tools we expect to see. On the other side, perhaps he picked up a decent amount of capability.

When we transition into the mental warfare, I believe Punk holds the advantage. He has previously performed in front of packed arenas that passionately cheer/boo him. He's accustomed to the big stage. Gall will have to deal with the audience issue, alongside an extra element that could potentially ruin his night: expectations.

Ever since this fight was announced, Gall has (deservedly) been seen as the clear-cut favorite. Friends, family, and coaches have bombarded him with phrases such as "You're going to destroy this guy", "You got this, baby", and "you'll take him out within a round". In a few words, he's the one supposed to push forward. He must put on a one-sided beating and obtain the finish. You can't have the 'WWE lad' go over you. That would be career suicide. The pressure to deliver such a performance can absolutely mess with your head. If he's too worried about committing a mistake, I can assure you that a mistake will be done. Punk could capitalize and shock the world.

Regardless of the outcome, this is a clash I'm very excited to see unfold.

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