TUF Finale 22 MMA DFS Picks: Rise of Frankiestein
Frankie Edgar will be looking to make his rise again as a former champion and make a serious push for a possible last chance at a title shot. He’ll have a very tall task (yes, that’s a height joke) as Edgar faces off against power wrecking ball in Chad Mendes, recently coming off a KO loss to….who else? Conor McGregor! There are also some great, great fights on the card including a possible FOTN candidate between Tony “El Cucoy” Ferguson and Edson Barboza. Just like FN 80, this card will be in the small cage, and if you aren’t aware by now, the UFC uses two cages typically for any of their cards. The default octagon used is generally 30 feet in measurement, while the smaller cage is around 25 feet. Those extra 5 feet can be crucial in certain match-ups, and statistically speaking, there are more finishes when a card uses the smaller cage versus the larger. So, with that said, be aware of rostering power punchers as they gain an edge since their opponents can’t run around as easily as they normally would. Smaller cages also affect certain fighters since they generally train in cages with the default dimensions of the larger octagon. Again, just keep in mind. With that said, PICK YOUR FIGHTERS!!!!!
Chris Gruetzemacher vs Abner Lloveras
I hope neither guy makes it in the UFC, cuz those are some brutal names to pronounce, much less type out. Anyways, I don’t know about the fight. I didn’t watch the show and I don’t really care to know about either fighter until absolutely necessary. Sorry, flip a coin?
Lloveras via TKO
Julian Erosa vs Marcin Wrzosek
Ditto for this fight as well, though I can tell you it should be a finish by either guy. Wrzosek’s nickname is the Polish Zombie, so I’ll pick him off that alone. Sorry, don’t flip a coin?
Wrzosek via triangle choke
Artem Lobov vs Ryan Hall
OKAY, I can answer this one! Ryan Hall is filling in as a replacement for Saul Rogers, who apparently lied on his visa and was thus disqualified from going to the finals against Lobov. Oh, and Lobov was actually eliminated from the show in the very 1st fight, then brought back due to an injury. Sureeeeeeeeee, being McGregor’s friend had nothing to do with it, right? Anyways, this is a very, very simple fight to break down. Lobov has a huge advantage on the feet with his power punching/counter-striking southpaw fighting style against Ryan Hall’s advantage in his tremendous ground game, having a black belt in BJJ and having experience in high level grappling tournaments. If this fight stays standing for like….two minutes, it’s probably a KO for Lobov. If Hall is able to get Lobov to the ground, it’ll be a quick submission victory against Lobov’s bleh ground defense. Being a replacement and against a guy on a hot streak has me leaning towards a Lobov KO win. And I mean, he is McGregor’s friend after all!
Lobov via knockout
Jason Knight vs Tatsuya Kawajiri
This fight was one of those DAMN YOU INJURY BUG!!!!! depressing short notice fight, as Kawajiri was slated to face Bosnian powerhouse Mirsad Bektic, until injury forced out Bektic. In his absence comes in Jason Knight, with an official/unofficial 14-1 record at only 23 years of age. Kawajiri is a tough, top control focused ground and pounder that will go for the back early and often to set up the RNC. Jason Knight, while full of aggression as the norm for young newcomers, is more of a Swiss army knife, as he can keep it standing, go for the offensive take-down and GnP, or scramble into fight ending submissions. His defense in general is putrid, especially when the fight takes place on the feet. Kawajiri isn’t exactly a technician on the feet, so that shouldn’t be an issue. The fight will likely be won or lost on the ground, as Knight is very, very aggressive with his guard, going for a ton of submissions even at the risk of getting his face smashed in by a veteran. Kawajiri is just too disciplined of a top control grappler to get submitted by a rookie of sorts.
Kawajiri via unanimous decision
Geane Herrera vs Joby Sanchez
Another fight affected by the injury bug that just won’t go the FLY away, as Joby Sanchez was originally fighting fun striking Karate youngster Justin Scoggins. Instead, he gets an equally tough match-up against Geane Herrera, last seen getting dismantled by the Tazmexican Devil himself in Ray Borg. Herrera has some definite talent despite his loss to Ray Borg, with a slick grappling game and a decent stand-up game that can be molded as he grows into his own as a fighter. He’s got some pretty nice take-downs and is adept out of the clinch, so Joby Sanchez isn’t gonna have an easy fight by any means. Sanchez is mostly a fast paced striker with some wrestling but nothing out of the ordinary. He struggled against Wilson Reis and his take-down attempts, as Reis landed 9 take-downs on Sanchez. I’m thinking Herrera does the same thing but gets a submission finish instead of a decision.
Herrera via RNC
Mike Pierce vs Ryan LaFlare
Damn, Mike Pierce is back? We haven’t seen him since Rousimar Palhares literally tore his leg apart. Then came a broken hand before his match against Demian Maia. The veteran has been a long time steady solid top 15 welterweight over the last few years, having only lost a split decision to Johny Hendricks and Koscheck before Koscheck started declining in his last 10 fights (not including the Palhares brutal illegal submission). He gets a tough opponent right off the bat despite a 2 year long layoff, as Ryan LaFlare is pretty similar to Mike Pierce. Both men are wrestler-strikers with much better striking than people give credit to either, with Ryan LaFlare having the quicker overall striking than Pierce and Pierce having the edge in power. They are both strong wrestlers, with maybe LaFlare having the edge in that category with his more diverse take-down offense. Pierce had always been a tough out for anyone and just seems to always bring it in every fight. Ring rust is a real thing though, and I have to err on the side of caution despite LaFlare’s worrisome striking defense that’s reared its ugly head in recent fights. Still, I doubt there will be a finish in this fight anyways.
LaFlare via unanimous decision
Gabriel Gonzaga vs Konstantin Erokhin
Whew. Two heavyweights in the small cage? This is gonna be a finish, no doubt about it. Gonzaga doesn’t have a chin and a pretty shoddy stand-up game both offensively and defensively, but he does have a pretty strong grappling game to go with his black belt in BJJ. Konstantin Erokhin had won all but 1 of his fights by 1st round KO/TKO, with his 1st pro fight being his sole loss until getting decisioned by Viktor Pesta. Let me tell you something about this Erokhin guy. He is a pure puncher, plain and simple. He has immeasurable power in his hands and even with all of his might, could not slain the hardy Pesta in the 1st round before succumbing to the wrestling of Pesta. Gonzaga is not quite as steely chinned as Pesta is, so it will mostly likely take only 1 blow from Erokhin to put away the grizzly Gonzaga. Why do I say grizzly? He’s got a hairy chest, bro! However, if Gonzaga gets the fight to the ground, which he can since Erokhin doesn’t seem to understand the concept of defending take-downs, it should be fairly simple for the black belt to get the submission win. Too bad for him that it’s the small cage. Oh well, better luck next time.
Erokhin via KO
Edson Barboza vs Tony Ferguson
Oh, mama. I swear to the violence gods if this blood sacrifice does not please them, I will smite them with all of my anger and fury! Ahem. Edson Barboza is still one of the most dangerous lightweights in the division, with his exceptional Muay Thai leading the way alongside his brilliantly timed kicks that could put down an adult bear. Ok, enough with the bear references. Tony Ferguson just continues to ball out with his fantastic boxing and at range kicking, as well as his unique way of handling pressure by literally rolling away from his opponents. Yes, he somersaults. He made a fool out of Josh Thomson to the point that I actually felt bad for the guy as he struggled to defend Ferguson’s attacks while all bloodied up. That’s a rare feeling for me as a fan of violence, but that’s what makes Ferguson so fun to watch. I dunno. This is a hard one for me since Ferguson doesn’t really care to go for take-down attempts despite having some clearly unique grappling skills that could overwhelm half the division, including his current opponent Barboza. It’s also 2 stand-up heavy guys in a small cage, so literally anything could happen. Battle between two of the division’s most exciting strikers! Pick one and hope for the best?
Ferguson via TKO
Evan Dunham vs Joe Lauzon
Well, this is quite the interesting match-up. Both men are equally skilled on the ground with their respective BJJs, with Lauzon probably having more experience and uniqueness to his grappling and Dunham being the stronger of the two in that department. Dunham is much better on the feet than Lauzon both with his striking arsenal and technique, but Lauzon has the willpower and sheer determination to push through and create classic FOTNs. His striking defense is beyond abysmal, but damn it if he doesn’t have the biggest heart in the division! With that said, let’s delve a little deeper into the match-up. Dunham will likely want to keep the fight standing so he can rack up the sig strikes (can get 100+ easily) and dominate the fight his way, hoping that Lauzon will gladly oblige for a 3 round stand-up war (usually his favorite). If Lauzon wants to win, he’s gonna have to get his take-down offense going, which isn’t a strength of his. Even if he does get the fight to the ground, Dunham is no slouch at all off his back, so it’s really Dunham’s fight to lose. Don’t worry if it stays on the ground all fight, as long as Lauzon is involved it will always be an entertaining affair!
Dunham via unanimous decision
Chad Mendes vs Frankie Edgar
Very, very tough fight to call here. Chad Mendes is a wrecking ball at featherweight, with insane one punch power for someone his size. He had been on an absolute tear before his short notice loss to McGregor, knocking out several high level opponents including one against Ricardo Lamas. Mendes has improved his striking to the point where he’s essentially a one punch assassin that doesn’t actually overly rely on getting close and landing the KO punch. He has several tools up his sleeve to frustrate opponents, including his power blast offensive wrestling. Here’s the issue though. Frankie Edgar is almost impossible to take down. Edgar also has infinitely better boxing and is much more technical than Mendes. While he lacks power in his hands, he makes up for it with a great gameplan and excellent timing on his combinations in addition to his cage movement. Edgar also has prime time experience against the best of the best, thanks to his time as former lightweight champion.
So, who am I leaning here? I think you gotta go Frankie unless Mendes can find a way to get within striking distance against Edgar for his usual one punch KO that can break even the strongest of wills. Frankie is just too damn experienced and annoying of a fighter to not take him vs literally anybody not named Aldo. Hell, don’t be surprised if Frankie gets in some take-downs of his own. Damn that Jersey meathead. GTL!