UFC Fight Night 158 Preview And Picks: Is Jimmy Crute Ready For The Top 15?

Jimmy Crute is something the UFC light heavyweight division can use, a young light heavyweight with an upside. The 23-year-old faces 32-year-old Misha Cirkunov in the opening bout of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 158 main card. 

Crute is 10-0 as a pro, but only two of those fights have come with the UFC. Despite his short run with the promotion, the UFC is already matching him up against a ranked opponent. Cirkunov, who is 1-3 in his past four fights, is currently ranked No. 15 in the 205-pound division. All three of those setbacks have come via knockout. Cirkunov’s other two losses came via submission.

Crute has good wrestling and jiu-jitsu skills to go along with a fair amount of strength for a fighter of his age. He also has solid cardio, but the most critical thing that Crute has is potential. Crute appears to have the tools to move up the rankings in the division. The fear with someone like Crute is that the lack of depth in the division will force the UFC to move him up the ladder quicker than he should be. If that happens, it could be a setback for the development of the young Australian. 

If Crute does get a win in this contest, the UFC should be careful in how often it books Crute and who it books him against. The promotion should be in no rush to push him before he is ready to move up in level of competition. This matchup, which is essentially a pick ‘em, will give a good indication as to where Crute stands in the light heavyweight division.

UFC Fight Night 158 takes place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The entire card streams on ESPN+. The prelims begin at 5 p.m. ET, followed by the main card at 8 p.m. ET.

Pick: Crute 

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