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UFC 197 DFS Picks: Jonesing For Another (Title) Shot

UFC 197 DFS Picks: Jonesing For Another (Title) Shot
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UFC 197 DFS Picks: Jonesing For Another (Title) Shot

Yes, Daniel Cormier pulled out due to injury some weeks ago. Yes, it’s an interim title fight against a guy who doesn’t even deserve to walk in the same hallways as Jon Jones. Yes, UFC sucks with injuries and the ever-changing landscapes of main/co-main events. YES, I KNOW THIS. I STILL HAVE TO MAKE MY TERRIBLE PREDICTIONS!!!! With that said, there are still some kinda intriguing fights on the card, including a for sure blistering striking battle between Anthony Pettis and Edson Barboza. There’s also that Pezao guy, Marcos Rogerio De Lima, fighting someone whose nickname is Headbussa. Joy! Here’s a quick history lesson for those of you wondering why Jon Jones isn’t the actual LHW champion. He snorted too much nose candy, had a hit and run which basically started the whole suspension from the UFC, then got arrested for “drag racing” because he revved his engines at a street light. The video of the banter between the cop and Jones is available, but suffice to say it was a very questionable arrest. Either way, after Jones’ “skiing” incident, the UFC stripped Jones’ title then let Daniel Cormier and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson duke it out for the official title. Sadly, Cormier won despite Rumble’s incredulous efforts to vaporize Cormier with his ungodly brutal strikes. Anyways, Jones is on the straight and narrow for now, and should be ready to regain back his rightful title as the LHW champion and one of the best fighters in the UFC. He’ll have to jackhammer his way past the speed bump that is Ovince St Preux. Ya know…the guy who doesn’t deserve to fart in Jones’ general direction? Picks time!

Efrain Escudero (+335) vs Kevin Lee (-420)

Kevin Lee looks to bounce back after a very surprising upset TKO loss to Leonardo Santos, ending his 4 fight winning streak and deflating the hype Lee was starting to pick up. The young wrestler-striker gets a pretty solid match-up stylistically against the three time UFC veteran Efrain Escudero, who just recently lost to Leandro Silva. These opponents’ names are way too damn familiar! Anyways, the “Motown Phenom” is a big favorite for one simple reason. TAKEDOWNS. Read further to whet your appetite for info on the match-up. Whet it!

EFRAIN ESCUDERO

Strengths

  • Has improved striking from being a patient counter-striker, to engaging his opponents more on the feet
  • Utilizes the jab to gauge distance and create opportunities, has developed a nice uppercut to mix in with the usual 1-2 combination and low kicks
  • Very good offensive submission grappling, 12 of 23 wins by submission
  • Can threaten with the guillotine choke on take-down attempts, decent guard on the ground to stop GnP attacks
  • Goes for power blasts and double leg take-downs, focuses primarily on stand-up unless it’s a plus advantage for Escudero to get it to the ground
  • Warts from previous fights less visible, so experience is starting to pay off for Escudero

Weaknesses   

  • Main issue from past fights was Escudero would struggle mightily versus bigger opponents than him who could wrestle him down and keep top control
  • Has moments of being too passive and not breaking up opponents’ striking rhythms
  • Small gas tank issues, mostly shows up against wrestlers
  • As said before, biggest issue was stopping the take-down and getting back up on his feet without giving up his back, was submitted several times due to inability to get opponents off him

KEVIN LEE

  • Strong and athletic wrestler with a 11-2 record, 5 wins by submission
  • Has been coming strong as of late with his vast improvement in striking to complement his already superb wrestling
  • Added more jab/straight combinations and has implemented more kicks as well, opening up his offensive gameplan more and more as he gets more fights under his belt
  • Obviously, biggest strength is his offensive wrestling and the take-downs that go with it, excellent double leg take-downs and sprinkling in more trips as well
  • Lee is also very quick and speedy for a guy his size and uses that edge to the fullest, relentless with his take-downs even with his improved stand-up helping close the distance
  • Grappling has also improved over the last few fights, seems to be getting better at back-takes, making more guard passes and landing more ground and pound to open up submission opportunities

Weaknesses 

  • Can be a little risky at times with his stand-up especially when he starts being too in love with his kicks, opens himself to power counters and striking defense begins to erode – last fight was a good example of risk/reward for Lee in the KO loss
  • Had a tendency to be a little lax when in top control, seems to have added more of a killer instinct in recent fights so wouldn’t worry about it
  • Not a ton of power behind his attacks, still can pour it on with quick jab/straights and if Lee opens up with ground and pound after take-downs

It’s a pretty simple fight to figure out between the two. Escudero may have improved drastically with his stand-up, but his main weakness in defending take-downs and stopping bigger fighters from overwhelming him is still there. Lee is a very quick, aggressive wrestler-striker coming off an awful upset KO loss that may or may not have exposed his chin, so I’m sure Lee will be licking his chops to rag-doll Escudero around the octagon. Unlike Santos, who did have some power in his hands, Escudero isn’t a big power punching striker, but rather keeps his combinations short and sweet while continuing to touch up his opponents with the jab. Lee certainly could match Escudero punch for punch, but it’s in his best interests to simply throw Escudero down to the ground and try to goad him into giving up his back for the RNC. As long as Lee avoids the guillotine choke from Escudero, it should be smooth sailing for the Motown Phenom.

Lee via unanimous decision

Clint Hester (+115) vs Marcos Rogerio De Lima (-135)

This should be a nice match to pick a fighter with a high chance of a finish, as both men’s fighting styles can destroy the other’s weaknesses. Clint Hester will be fighting at light-heavyweight after fighting all of his UFC fights at middleweight, probably due to a poor gas tank and possibly looking to get bigger to better fit his fighting style. He’s a power puncher with a wrestling background, looking to finish fights with some nasty GnP. Marcos Rogerio De Lima, or better known as “Pezao”, is a pure power striker with almost all of his wins by some form of knockout. Both men have very distinct weaknesses that can be fight ending for either one, and it’s something you should really familiarize yourself with before choosing to roster either fighter.

CLINT HESTER

Strengths

  • Strong and athletic, his big physique allows Hester to use his wrestling background to the fullest and now will be fighting heavier than before with the move to light-heavyweight
  • Leads with a jab or left hook as he lunges forward to set up his damning right hand that sends all heathens and sinners to…..well, you know where
  • Gets the gritty, tough take-downs using his strength and perseverance, shoots for singles and double legs
  • Loves to stay in top control and use brutal ground and pound to smash his opponents into oblivion
  • Solid from the clinch if he can get in front, willing dirty boxer but will primarily try to get a take-down out of the clinch

Weaknesses

  • Not the greatest striking defense, doesn’t seem able to stop most jabs or counter-straights and falters against quicker strikers who can gauge Hester’s right hand timing
  • Gas tank issues at end of fights due to his exhausting and grinding style of wrestling as he can be very persistent in his hunt for the single/double leg take-down
  • Mediocre off his back, can be dominated by a skilled grappler and get caught in a submission
  • Move to LHW to be determined, possibly solves gas tank issues or makes Hester an even slower target

MARCOS ROGERIO DE LIMA

  • Big light-heavyweight with tremendous power in his hands as he owns 10 of his 13 victories by KO/TKO and 2 others by submission
  • Keeps hands tight to his body, likes to to be a counter-striker with heavy hitting straights and power hooks
  • Lands a ton of hard leg kicks at any range, even if he misses with a punch and will batter lead legs if Pezao doesn’t get the counter windows
  • Can be a load if he pushes his opponents up the cage and gets in some dirty boxing and stays in the clinch
  • Able to circle away and control his range when not pressured, difficult to push around without effective pressure
  • Decent offensive grappling, likes to use guillotine choke to thwart take-down attempts even to a fault

Weaknesses

  • Weak take-down defense, can get his punches telegraphed into a take-down and tends to stick with the guillotine too long even if opponent get into side control
  • Mediocre off his back, doesn’t seem to stop most guard pass attempts and chooses to turtle away or hold and pray for a ref stand up
  • Tends to not keep head on a swivel, not necessarily keeps chin high but his head movement can be pretty minimal at best which diminishes his striking defense against effective pressure strikers
  • Gas tank issues at end of fights if gets taken down over and over, pretty much a one and half round fighter

These big boys will be looking to get in some nasty power bombs, with Hester probably still trying to grind his way into a take-down. Pezao gets a good match-up stylistically since Hester isn’t a combination heavy striker and doesn’t really have any pressure striking offense. Not to mention Hester can be pretty predictable with his lunges and level changes. Pezao should have the clear advantage on the feet with his quick but powerful one punch hits and effective leg kicks that should be able to slow down Hester’s attempts to close the gap. Pezao’s lack of take-down defense is still worrisome especially against a guy who can be extremely persistent in searching for the take-down. As long as Pezao continues to circle away from the fence and counters Hester effectively, I can see an early finish for the big man. Constantly defending take-downs can take a toll though, so there’s definitely a chance for a late round sub/GnP TKO for Hester if he can survive Pezao’s early attacks.

De Lima via 1st round KO

Cody East (-155) vs Walt Harris (+135)

Cody “The Freight Train” East gets a chance to redeem himself after a very, very questionable criminal past, and he gets a very beatable opponent in Walt “The Big Ticket” Harris, coming off a TKO loss against Soa Palelei a year and half ago. Harris is currently riding a 3 fight losing streak in the UFC (he was cut after the loss to Rosholt), and doesn’t seem to have changed for the better. Whatever. Just scroll down.

CODY EAST

Strengths

  • Quick footed powerful striker with a 12-1 record, 9 by KO/TKO and 2 others by submission – UFC debut
  • Primarily a striker who uses feints and quick feet to land a barrage of 1-2 power combinations, likes to stay in front of his opponents and plow through them with endless straights
  • Has excellent hand speed for a big guy of his size, doesn’t get stuck into the habit of simply throwing one punch strikes that you see out of many heavyweights, always landing 2-3 punch combinations
  • Good at toeing the line between a counter-striker and being the instigator, sprinkles in low leg kicks and front kicks as well
  • Very aggressive near the fence, will pounce on any opportunities to make it rain if East has opponent cornered or in the clinch with heavy knees and the occasional drop into double leg take-down
  • Doesn’t waste time in landing vicious GnP or hunting for a submission while on top on the ground

Weaknesses   

  • Bad gas tank, has a tendency to explode and deplete all of his energy into getting the finished if he corners his opponents against the cage
  • Mediocre competition faced thus far, lost to Tony Lopez who has basically fought everyone due to going all out in the 1st round trying to finish Lopez up the fence despite clearly outclassing him on the feet
  • Unknown take-down defense due to lack of competition
  • Striking defense can be a little lax at times, but still has good head movement and does use feints to his advantage

WALT HARRIS

Strengths

  • Tall, athletic southpaw heavyweight at 6’5” and a 77 inch reach, spotty 7-4 record including 0-3 in the UFC (3 fight UFC losing streak)
  • Basically the heavyweight equivalent of Ovince St Preux, long and athletic southpaw who prefers to stay at range and let opponents come to him
  • Speedy and powerful counter-left straight and a strong right hook lead the way for the 6’5 Harris, but majority of strikes all 1 punch hitters
  • Occasionally will land a leg kick here and there but relies on athleticism and countering to land real damage
  • I have nothing more to say

Weaknesses 

  • Bad gas tank, very bad take-down defense, and even worse ground defense – TKO’d by Soa Palelei on a very weak take-down and Rosholt basically slapped him around at the end of the fight
  • Questionable chin, has been knocked out in 2 of his UFC losses including a headkick TKO against Nikita Krylov, who has a similar fighting style to East minus the headkicks
  • Too much of a counter-striker, not great against pressure and relies on being quicker than his opponents to escape strikes rather than footwork
  • Leaves chin out on almost all of his 3 total attacks, gets countered easily and has no take-down offense

I don’t know why Cody East isn’t a big favorite over Walt Harris. I mean, the guy’s 0-3 in the UFC and 7-4 overall! He used to have potential due to his size and quick twitch, but he’s laughably limited in his striking arsenal, and isn’t very good against basically any take-down. At least East actually uses combinations and knows how to use footwork/feints to land quick and effective combinations while applying consistent pressure. Krylov is one of those apply pressure through combinations (although they are mostly of the kicking variety) to crack their chin, which he did against Harris. I see a similar result for East, possibly a fence take-down into a GnP TKO much like Soa Palelei did. Only way Harris pulls off the upset is if he outlasts East in the 1st round and beats up a gassed East in the later rounds. Unlikely.

East via 1st round TKO

Glaico Franca (+155) vs James Vick (-175)

Franca was the TUF Brazil 4 lightweight winner, which means absolutely nothing these days with how lame TUF has been, but it’s still a win. He’s a well rounded fighter with some decent upside, and if he can past the towering obstacle in front of him in the way of James Vick, it’ll be a nice start to his UFC career. James Vick is a very tall lightweight at 6’3 of height, with extremely long long but an unimpressive 76 inch reach. Franca actually edges out Vick in the reach department, which just makes the match-up all the more interesting. The long range striking of Vick against Franca’s all around combination of quick striking and wrestling/grappling of Franca’s! I’m….slightly interested?

GLACIO FRANCA

Strengths

  • TUF Brazil 4 LW winner, a little awkward and some unpredictability to his combos, can land some 1-2 combinations and land high arcing kicks
  • Take-downs more of the power variety, bullies his way through his opponents or tries for double leg take-downs – even will attempt suplexes if gets body lock
  • GnP game more refined than most, uses postures and lands strong, powerful punches and elbows – similar to Patrick Cummins, one of the better GnP’ers in the UFC
  • Has a pretty effective guard with smart usage of sweeps and getting reverses, sneaky grappling skills than gets credit for

Weaknesses

  • Franca reminds me a little bit of Yair Rodriguez, he’s pretty sloppy and unpolished with his attacks, has gotten taken down because of it + getting his kicks caught for the take-down
  • His guard is good enough versus weaker opponents, but against bigger and stronger wrestlers with a top heavy game, getting taken down may be the worst thing for Franca since he can be controlled a little bit by stronger guys   
  • Needs more fights under his belt for a more accurate rundown of his full strengths/weaknesses, but being able to close the distance against Vick should answer questions of striking defense and technical striking

JAMES VICK

Strengths

  • Very tall for his weight class at 6’3” with a 76 inch reach, 8-0 record with 4 submission win and 1 TKO win
  • At range striker with a heavy focus on his kicking game, utilizes his extremely long leg reach with quick low kicks that act as a jab for Vick
  • Alternates from low/body kicks to headkicks and can feint it either way, very difficult to telegraph
  • While he does have some boxing skills, it’s mostly used as a counter against pressure and those who try to grab his leg kicks and either take him down or punch him back
  • Due to his long limbs, Vick has a very effective guard, able to lock his opponents in his guard and being quick to set up submissions or reverses to get back up on his feet
  • Quick to react against take-downs and very solid in scrambles, not an easy guy to consistently keep on the ground
  • Very good guillotine choke also a big aid in stopping take-downs, was able to submit Jake Matthews who is every bit the sizzling prospect that he is

Weaknesses   

  • While it has improved somewhat, issue of keeping guys from closing the gap against Vick – despite his obvious length/reach advantages – still pops up here and there
  • Weak chin, was knocked down several times against Nick Hein despite a 10 inch reach advantage and being 9 inches taller, Valmir Lazaro also was able to uncork 90 sig strikes against Vick despite being extremely gassed
  • I know I mentioned his guard and his scrambling ability, but having a such kick-centric striking style can lead to easy take-downs for his opponents, regardless of whether or not Vick gets back on his feet anyways – in eyes of the judges that’s a L

Vick is such a difficult guy to get ready for due to his overwhelming height and kick-centric offense hard to read. Franca will be able to have his chance to knock Vick around if he can get the timing down and see if he can crack Vick’s questionable chin. The problem with that is I think Franca will eventually try a take-down and take matters into his own hands on the ground. From there, it becomes a question of whether or not Vick’s guillotine choke catches Franca on a take-down attempt, or Vick’s guard traps Franca in a triangle submission. It’s a dicey proposition for sure, and it’s probably why it’s wise to invest in some shares of Vick. Sneaky fight for a finish and I expect both fighters to be fairly low owned on DK. I want to pick the upset here, but Franca’s lack of competition worries me a bit. I choose you, Texecutioner!

Vick via 2nd round triangle

Carla Esparza (-185) vs Juliana Lima (+160)

Esparza was the TUF 20 winner (that’s actually a pretty good TUF) and defeated Rose Namajunas to claim the strawweight crown. Then she lost it to the current champion, Joanna Jeopardize (or Joanna Champion for short). She will be filling in on a month’s short notice for Jessica Aguilar. Juliana Lima is a decent but uninspiring wrestler-striker with solid grappling skills. It’s a good fight for Esparza to get back into the swing of things after losing her title to Joanna Champion, as Lima isn’t really a big threat on the feet and Esparza can simply dominate Lima with her take-down offense. I’m already falling asleep here.

CARLA ESPARZA

Strengths

  • Former strawweight champion with a 10-3 record, 4 by submission and 3 others by KO/TKO
  • Wrestler-striker with a big emphasis on wrestler, as her striking leaves much to be desired and she has a strong wrestling background
  • Constant pressure with take-down attempts, will duck and shoot/level change her way into closing the distance and get into the clinch where she can try the hip toss, trip take-down, or just go for the single/double leg
  • Stays heavy on top, will make guard passes if necessary but will mostly apply pressure through GnP to force mistakes and pounce on submission opportunities, great ground control
  • Low center of gravity also helps Esparza get real low on take-downs and try to leverage her way to the ground

Weaknesses   

  • Very rudimentary striking, jab-straight is about all she has, and while she doesn’t put herself in harm’s way standing wise, there’s no real threat of a counter-strike during exchanges
  • Joanna Champion was able to absolutely blow away Esparza with quick combinations due to that very reason – lack of a countering/striking threat a big disadvantage
  • Can sometimes be predictable with her level changes and take-down timing, Joanna Champion was able to telegraph most of those attempts and stymie them immediately

JULIANA LIMA

Strengths

  • Big for a strawweight and will have 4 inches of height on Esparza at 5’5”, 8-2 record but with only 2 finishes, both by TKO
  • Similar to Esparza in terms of being mostly a wrestler, but does have power in her hands and goes for power shots instead of staying compact and using the jab-straights
  • Overhands and hooks are Lima’s main means for countering, staying at range and kicking away lead legs of her opponents’ in order to ignite striking exchanges
  • Much like Esparza, Lima excels at level changes and being able to quickly stifle pressure with a well-timed take-down
  • Lima is also good from the clinch due to her size and grappling skills, but isn’t as polished as Esparza in that regard
  • Stays heavy from top with minimal guard passes and not a ton of GnP, which differs from Esparza’s usual gameplan – doesn’t care if it’s a snoozefest as long as she wins
  • Good take-down defense thanks to her size and quick sprawling ability, reacts to obvious lunges and level changes

Weaknesses   

  • Mediocre striking defense since she opens herself up to punishment on majority of her power shots
  • Needs to learn how to use the jab-straight more effectively instead of always looking to land a bomb
  • Bad gas tank has continually been a issue for Lima, something Esparza doesn’t lack and could be a game-changer in a fight between similar styles
  • Not a real threat off her back, can be stationary on the ground instead of trying to get back up to her feet and use her size to push opponents off her

ZzzZZzZzZZz. I can’t muster up the strength to even get remotely interested in this fight. Two strawweights with way too similar gameplans and are willing to win the dirty fight. Lima could just simply batter her way through Esparza due to her size advantage, but her lack of technical striking probably won’t be able to blow the Cookie Monster away. Not to mention Lima could also simply hold Esparza up the fence for the duration of the fight much to the dismay of the fans watching. Esparza is more persistent than Lima in notching the take-down and should have a speed advantage, but again….who cares? Someone’s gonna win with take-downs and whatever, pick at your own risk of falling asleep during lineup construction. I’m picking Lima just cuz I want to.

Lima via unanimous decision

Danny Roberts (-370) vs Dominique Steele (+310)

Danny Roberts made his UFC debut in December, winning by triangle choke against the tough and gritty Nathan Coy, improving his record to 12-1 with the win. He gets a fairly easy match-up against the cool nickname guy with mediocre talent in Dominique “Non-Stop Action Packed” Steele. Sure, Steele did just knock out the fake Dong Hyun Kim with a slam that basically crushed Fake Donger’s head against the canvas. Ouch. Steele is still a mediocre talent with average to below average striking and whatever wrestling. Danny Roberts is at least explosive and athletic with a surprisingly good guard, and has what I like to call “Dat Upside”. It’s what the UFC tries to look for whenever they sign any up and comers. Dat Upside!

DANNY ROBERTS

Strengths

  • 6”1 lanky southpaw with a 12-1 record, 5 wins each by KO/TKO and submission
  • Currently riding a 6 fight streak, including winning his UFC debut against Nathan Coy by triangle submission
  • Boxing background focus of Roberts’ striking, crisp and clean technical boxing behind a strong jab and right hook, has the power to stop pressure-strikers in their tracks
  • Uses movement around the cage to help set up his combinations, swivels left to better land the left straight right on the button, has enough athletic ability and hand speed to be an effective one hit striker
  • Will mix in some low kicks as he finds his striking range, but prefers to keep it boxing majority of the time
  • Excellent out of the clinch with raining knees and nasty uppercuts
  • Not much in the way of wrestling outside of living off athleticism, quick to sprawl against smaller fighters and get back takes
  • Dangerous guard with an aggressive mindset, will slap on a triangle or an attempt to reverse into an armbar

Weaknesses   

  • Lacks take-down defense against bigger wrestlers who do constant level changes or power blasts, taking advantage of Roberts’ own lankiness against him
  • While his guard is indeed dangerous, if opponents can stay out of Roberts’ guard with transitions and get into half/side guard, Roberts’ ground defense greatly diminishes along with any submission threat
  • Tends to give up his back too much when trying to get off the ground, depends too much on pure athleticism and quickness during grappling exchanges

DOMINIQUE STEELE

  • Big and strong welterweight, has fought at MW before so has a size advantage against Roberts
  • At range counter-striker with powerful hooks and uppercuts but not many combinations
  • Likes to catch kicks for the take-down and land some GnP but mostly a stand-up fighter and up the fence holder
  • Decent take-down defense if he uses underhooks and uses his strength to stymie attempts and turn them into scrambles
  • Willing fighter to get dirty up the cage and clinch up his opponents but likes to hold as well

Weaknesses

  • Bad gas tank and tends to tire himself out with the cage holding and multiple take-down attempts
  • Very rudimentary striking, bides his time to try and land some power shots but isn’t going to mix things up or keep his opponents off balance, mediocre striking defense and reaction time
  • Faster strikers can catch Steele off guard without too much worry about being countered due to Steele’s terrible reaction time and hand speed
  • Gives up his back too much during sprawls and on scrambles, which isn’t a good thing for his future in the UFC
  • While Steele is a strong guy, he isn’t very quick and can be taken down at will if he’s not paying attention especially if he keeps clinching up and creates scrambles that he can lose in

Steele has all the skills you would want to get an upset over Danny Roberts, being a bigger, stronger wrestler who can switch into side control after take-downs. The problem is the speed disadvantage for Steele is quite large, and his lack of striking defense could spell a quick knockout for Roberts. Steele is also not very creative on his take-downs, with predictable lunges and reliance on his own strength to win the battle inside the clinch. Roberts is excellent from the clinch and could feasibly destroy Steele with filthy knees if Steele ever tried to hold him up the fence. If Steele was just an actual wrestler who didn’t gas so easily and had some microcosm of any kind of striking offense, I could see a boring decision win for Steele. Roberts is just too quick and athletic for Steele to really get an edge on him.

Roberts via 2nd round TKO

Chris Kelades (+200 vs Sergio Pettis (-240)

Hey, I guess Anthony Pettis is still willing to fight on the same card with his lil bro Sergio! Kelades is a tough and annoying vet that seems to make fights closer than they should be. Sergio Pettis is Anthony Pettis’ lil bro if you didn’t pick up on that. He’s….kinda good? Kinda average? Kinda inconsistent? He’s got the stand-up skills and a solid guard to be a factor against anyone, but his own inconsistency and being too passive has destroyed any hype Sergio may have had. He’s still pretty young at 22 years of age, so there’s definite room for growth and the move to flyweight may end up being a good thing for Pettis in the long run.

CHRIS KELADES

Strengths

  • Pulled off a major upset in his UFC debut against Paddy Holohan, then added another upset with his last win over Chris Beal
  • Gritty striker with decent take-downs and opportunistic BJJ game as he owns a purple belt in that regard – 3 of 10 wins by submission
  • Solid top control with good ability at stifling opponents’ attempts at getting back up, makes fights dirty his way
  • Knows when to hit the button on take-down attempts and level changes, savvy veteran with experience at frustrating lesser experienced fighters – think of him as a Bill Laimbeer type
  • Feisty striker who will try to get the striking angles, but doesn’t have power and mostly depends on being a scrappy fighter
  • Lives off being a gritty fighter, excels against those who can’t consistently keep Kelades at bay against his pressure

Weaknesses

  • Struggles versus take-downs, mediocre scrambling and sprawl ability despite his scrappy mentality
  • Doesn’t have a great guard, passive off his back and can be dominated from top
  • Strikes with volume rather than accuracy and timing, huge counter windows during exchanges and often gets hit by power counters
  • Will be at a size disadvantage against Pettis, which might decrease Kelades’ chances at successful take-downs

SERGIO PETTIS

  • The little brother of Anthony Pettis! Black belt in Taekwondo much like his big bro, 13-2 record with 3 wins by KO/TKO and submission
  • Similar to Anthony Pettis, Sergio is a space oriented Taekwondo, but with less emphasis on the leg kicks and more with his boxing
  • Very technical, compact striker with quick 1-2 combinations usually ending in a kick of some sort and landing the counter-right hand
  • Patient and depends on hand-eye coordination and reaction time to be able to accurately and quickly counter against most strikes, doesn’t leave himself open on most attacks unless lunging forward
  • Improved his aggression from last few fights, more focused on landing combinations rather than waiting to land a fight ending counter-strike, pushes the pace more often now
  • Not usually one to go for take-downs, but he did indeed go for the easy take-downs against Chris Cariaso, taking advantage of Cariaso’s ineffective take-down defense, so his fight IQ is starting to improve in his young age
  • Smart grappling from top, will make guard passes and get himself in position to land some punches or jump into dominant positions for submissions

Weaknesses

  • While I don’t see it being too much of an issue at flyweight for Pettis, his take-down defense isn’t the greatest if he is unable to sprawl quickly before getting slammed up the fence
  • Passive at times as he waits for those counter windows to open, doesn’t have a killer instinct and prefers to get the flat out KO instead of pouncing against a hurt opponent
  • Was knocked out against Ryan Benoit while trying to be aggressive and lunging at him, may signal a chin issue
  • Unlike his big brother, Pettis doesn’t possess the dangerous guard of Anthony’s nor his grappling prowess unless he is on top

Sergio Pettis just continues to be a tease due to his talents and relation to exciting finisher Anthony Pettis. He’s faced opponents he should have easily defeated without breaking a sweat, but alas, this is MMA. Nothing is ever given to anyone, and you have to earn your keep. Kelades is the exact type of fighter that can frustrate Pettis and be able to take the accurate power combinations from Pettis in stride, maybe getting a take-down or two. It’s a good test to see if Pettis has improved in both his fight IQ and being able to control the flow of the fight rather than getting swallowed up in the other fighter’s gameplan. I’m feeling a striking battle between the two with Sergio finally looking like the Phenom the MMA world has waited for to emerge.

Pettis via unanimous decision

Andre Fili (+135) vs Yair Rodriguez (-155)

Andre “Touchy” Fili is a very promising fighter who has had some unfortunate breaks, with both injuries and a flying submission loss to Godofredo Pepey having slowed his career a bit. He gets a very difficult task in rising prospect Yair “Pantera” Rodriguez, riding a 4 fight winning streak including 3 straight in the UFC. The unpredictable and explosive Rodriguez may be a match-up nightmare for Fili, despite Fili’s own strong striking style and respectable wrestling, as Rodriguez finds strange, unorthodox striking angles and is willing to put himself on the line for a circus kick. Having a damn good guard and grappling helps minimize the damage for Rodriguez. Welcome to Pantera’s box.

ANDRE FILI

Strengths

  • Fun and exciting young striker at only 25 years old, 15-3 record with 8 wins by KO/TKO and 3 others by submission
  • Moves side to side with consistent pressure through 1-2 combinations and the constant threat of a body/headkick follow-up
  • Excellent counter intuition, reacts to strikes without hesitation, will lunge forward with strong hooks
  • Good mixture of attacks helps keeps opponents on their toes, has the range to land long ranged strikes with good accuracy
  • Wrestling background but usually goes for single/double legs when pressuring forward and near the fence after a combination
  • Aggressive from top with ground and pound, submissions if it’s there for the taking but will make the guard pass for better GnP opportunities

Weaknesses   

  • A 1st round warrior, looks fantastic in the 1st round with great employment of his attacks and pressure, then turns into a lemon after he depletes his gas tank
  • Susceptible to submissions, not very good off his back if he can’t use his athleticism to get back up on his feet despite decent grappling skills
  • Struggles versus power take-downs, can usually get back up quickly near the cage, but still an issue
  • Aggressive mindset from top control has led to reverses/sweeps from more experienced grapplers or those with an active guard

YAIR RODRIGUEZ

Strengths

  • A very crafty striker that switches stances, but is more of a counter-striker and will got for the flashy kick
  • Can land spectacular looking strikes such as spinning backfists, handstand kicks, handstand kicks, whatever you can think of
  • Loves using trip take-downs whenever he corners his opponents or gets into the clinch
  • Good wrestling base allows Rodriguez to employ his unique striking without depending on the one hit KO and can depend on his guard to get him back on his feet
  • Has a damn good guard, can be aggressive off his back and got for reverses/sweeps, submission grappling is very solid as well but mostly utilizes the guard to get back on the feet

Weaknesses

  • Not very technical with his strikes, can be very sloppy at times which can open himself to punishment against better, cleaner strikers
  • Not as intuitive as a counter-striker, mostly swinging when pressured rather than timing his strikes – will say he did look much better in his last fight in that regard
  • Can be a little top heavy at times instead of advancing into better positions for submission opportunities, still growing as a fighter
  • Can leave hands down when backing up which opens himself to counters, but cleaned up his issue of being too stationary so perhaps hands down issue is gone as well
  • Relatively untested as far as UFC caliber competition goes, held his own against Charles Rosa grappling wise, but Fili will test Rodriguez’s striking defense and technical striking

This should be a very exciting, back and forth battle between two young rising stars of the featherweight division. Yair Rodriguez has signs of early career Anthony Pettis with a dangerous guard and the mindset to go with it. Andre Fili has more UFC fights under his belt, so he has experience on his side along with his fiery stand-up. Fili could easily finish this fight in the 1st round with his barrages of pressure boxing and headkicks, as Rodriguez has been knocked down before his arrival to the UFC. After that? It’s a complete toss-up due to Fili’s lack of a gas tank and how badly his overall fighting game deteriorates after the fact. Not to mention he may go for ill-advised take-downs that expose him to Rodriguez’s guard. This is really a tough call, but I’m starting to feel like Fili has enough power and the pressure boxing to knock out Yair. Gotta roster both men in my opinion, as both have enough skills to finish the other within 3 rounds.

Fili via 1st round KO

Rafael Natal (+270) vs Robert Whittaker (-330)

I don’t like Natal. I think he’s boring and every time I see him fighting someone actually good, I cringe due to the possibility of Natal making it a snoozefest. Screw that guy. Robert Whittaker on the other hand? I love the guy! The move to middleweight has a huge boon for Whittaker’s career, as he has been able to utilize his funky power punching Karate/Hapkido fighting style while still having some size on him to defend against wrestlers. He’s coming off his best win over Uriah Hall, and is riding a 4 fight winning streak. I hope he breaks Natal’s chin.

RAFAEL NATAL

Strengths

  • Has transformed himself from a boring BJJ take-down guy who would stay in top control and not make many efforts in guard passing, to a cleaner, more refined striker who can threaten with a take-down and still has the submissions skills
  • Movement oriented striker who likes to open things up with the jab-straight and win the fight using proper at range striking and countering
  • Take-downs are the garden variety duck and shoot/level change single/doubles and fence holding into sloppy, boring take-downs
  • Top heavy ground control, not many guard passes but will mix in some short punches for GnP purposes, prefers to wait for a mistake to pounce on a submission rather than create them
  • BJJ background has given Natal a solid guard, but much like his top game, not very dangerous as far as submissions but must be respected nonetheless
  • Can be very elusive to a fault, circles around the octagon at a high rate and forces opponents to come to him and close the distance which opens up countering opportunities

Weaknesses   

  • No real power at all in his punches, short and quick combinations started by jab
  • While it has improved due to more cage movement and less volume of strikes, Natal leaves his chin high and striking defense can be porous at times
  • Gas tank issues still a very big issue past the mid 2nd round of most fights, 3rd round usually when Natal starts to lose his grip on fights he may or may not be winning in
  • Alluded to it before but ground game is very lacking in terms of finishing potential, likes to make it a boring fight whenever possible in order to win the round in the judges’ eyes
  • Mediocre take-down defense, doesn’t utilize underhooks and simply flops to the ground especially if gassed

ROBERT WHITTAKER

Strengths

  • Black belt in Hapkido and Karate with a purple belt in BJJ – 15 wins with 7 by KO/TKO and 5 by submission
  • Has alternated between welterweight and middleweight, but seems to have found his home at MW after his brutal win over Brad Tavares and outlasting Uriah Hall in his last fight
  • Keeps a firm stance in front of his opponent and prefers to be a counter-striker with his blistering right hand, but will land some jab/straight combos if needed to engage opponents
  • Good cage movement, knows when to circle out of trouble and re-establish octagon control, very confident in his countering ability
  • Has some great headkick finishers and has the athletic ability to quickly jump into an attack and reverse his position, but mainly focuses on landing the right hand (overhand or straight) at the right time in the right place
  • Decent offensive wrestling, mostly going for double leg take-downs against pressure, but his defensive wrestling is the key to Whittaker’s success in the MW division
  • Solid from top, creates submission opportunities with his ground and pound and aggression
  • Strong clinch game if gets opponent up the cage, will land uppercuts and knees as he batters his opponents’ body as well

Weaknesses

  • Can be entirely too dependent on landing the power right, as powerful as it can be, sometimes bordering on being too predictable in his set ups
  • Has good take-down defense but can sometimes falter against more persistent wrestlers who can handle Whittaker’s clinch control, average off his back
  • Quicker, more athletic guys seem to give Whittaker some issues on the feet, and against pressure Whittaker used to panic a bit and back pedal instead of circling out – since his move to MW this has been minimized but would keep in mind against better strikers, not this terrible Natal guy

As much as I don’t like Natal, I’m a little surprised to see Whittaker as a sub 300 favorite over the Brazilian. I do understand why Whittaker may seem to have the clear advantage over Natal, considering Natal isn’t a pressure fighter, nor does he have any real power to scare away Whittaker. Natal just doesn’t have enough striking offense to be able to keep up versus Whittaker’s counters, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Whittaker is actually going to be fairly aggressive against Natal as to expose his wobbly chin. Realistically for Natal to win, he has to stay far, far away from that right hand of Whittaker’s, and maybe get in one or two gritty take-downs. That gas tank of his though? Whew. Even if he gets the edge on Whittaker past 2 rounds, just Natal’s cardio alone will keep Whittaker in the fight for far too long. I smell a knockout.

Whittaker via 2nd round TKO

Anthony Pettis (-185) vs Edson Barboza (+160)

Oh, boy. My violencey sense are tingling right now. Wait, that might have been the 5 cheeseburgers I ate yesterday. Either way, SHEER AND UTTER UNADULTERED VIOLENCE!!!!!! Anthony Pettis finally gets a match-up that won’t put him on the ground for an eternity, allowing Pettis to be able to fully use all the tools in his arsenal. He’s a mean, lean, kicking machine who’s been pretty angry lately due to his recent losses (including losing his LW title to Rafael Dos Anjos) and the UFC not helping him out with bad stylistic match-ups. That’s not to say Edson Barboza is a pushover, but considering Barboza prefers to stand and bang, it’s a very favorable match-up for either fighter, as they both have incredible striking skills and acrobatic kicks that can decapitate at a moment’s notice. I am drooling right now. Might still be the cheeseburgers.

ANTHONY PETTIS

Strengths

  • Former lightweight champion, very dangerous Taekwondo striker and BJJ brown belt with an 18-4 record, 7 by KO/TKO and 8 others by submission
  • Spacing heavy striker with a wide base and a very kick-centric offensive striking, hits with pure force on all of his kicks
  • Utilizes the low/body kick as a jab of sorts, loves to feint his way into a headkick or a flashy kick, especially as a counter after a punch combination
  • While he isn’t known for it, can still land 1-2 punch combinations and land a counter-right here and there
  • A striking specialist of sorts, very rarely goes for take-downs but has the jiu-jitsu to battle against wrestlers with guillotine chokes and a very dangerous guard – submitted Benson Henderson with an armbar from guard to win the title

Weaknesses

  • Outside of his guillotine choke, not very strong against take-downs and can be held up the fence, struggled against RDA and Henderson in that regard
  • Heavily dependent on opponents giving him space to operate in the octagon for his striking to really shine, pressure-based strikers/wrestlers who get into his face early and often are able to eliminate the biggest strength of Pettis’
  • Lack of real punch combinations can be an issue against those who know how to check kicks and avoid getting lulled into Pettis’ counter-traps

EDSON BARBOZA

Strengths

  • An elite lightweight coming off a loss to Tony Ferguson, one of the few fighters in UFC history to own outright knockouts by a kick
  • Black belt in Taekwondo and black prajied in Muay Thai, purple belt in BJJ, 16-4 record with 10 wins by KO/TKO
  • One of the very best kickers in the division, Barboza and Cerrone lead the way as far as metrics go for kicks thrown/landed/accuracy percentage/power and force
  • Boxing is very good as well as Barboza has improved on limiting the holes opened up when he throws a kick and tries to land a jab/straight combination behind it, though he’s more of a counter-boxer
  • Good take-down defense, not much in the way of take-down offense as he’s a pure striker with some grappling skills
  • Has some of the fastest kicks in the division, extremely technical with his placement and usage – body kicks in combination with his hard low kicks very hard to defend against (Evan Dunham got crumpled by a toe kick to his ribs! Ouch!)
  • Excellent counter-striker when he’s able to keep his range and land all of his signature kicks that allow Barboza to be able to mix up his attacks enough to be unpredictable

Weaknesses

  • Has a questionable chin, though it’s looked better as of late as Barboza has minimized the striking windows that were cracked open in his past fights and exposed his chin
  • Struggled against Johnson’s pressure and dealing with Johnson not giving him space/cutting off the cage – many Taekwondo killers struggle when they aren’t given free reign to roam the octagon
  • Can be held up the cage and controlled, not a guy who handles wrestlers well unless he can knock them FLAT out

So, it’s two Taekwondo monsters with incredible kicking power and techniques, and they both need space to really highlight their striking skills. Barboza has the better boxing skills of the two, while I would say maybe Pettis kicks a little harder than Barboza. Pettis certainly doesn’t have Barboza’s speed or his famous wheel kicks, but he’s a better counter-striker than he gets credit for, not to mention he has a pretty strong chin. Barboza has shown in the past he can be cracked and hurt by strikes, which is probably why Pettis is the favorite. Another reason would be Pettis is more aggressive in his movement into striking angles and initiating contact first, whereas Barboza is content in being a pure counter-striker and landing hard low/body kicks in the process of staying back. It’s a difficult fight to really figure out who has the upper hand as they are both very good at their craft, but I tend to choose Pettis’ aggression and willingness to try for the homerun over Barboza’s much more technical striking. Whatever your reasoning for rostering either fighter, this is sure to be a fantastic exhibition of pure striking. It’s SHOWTIME baby!

Pettis via 2nd round TKO

Demetrious Johnson (-440) vs Henry Cejudo (+350)

ZzzzzZZzZzZZz. I completely forgot this fight was even on the card. AND IT’S A TITLE FIGHT! Part of that is due to Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson’s complete dominance of the flyweight division, even making John Dodson move up to bantamweight just so he could have a chance at gold. Sure, the FFW division is lacking in top end talent, and the current “elite” FFWs have already lost to MM – some even more than once! Henry Cejudo may possibly be one of the few flyweights who could actually match MM’s wrestling and even stop his take-down offense. Cejudo is an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling, and has the size and strength to be able to thwart MM’s incredibly diverse offensive take-downs and overall wrestling. The main issue is can Cejudo’s stand-up, which has thus far been a nice strength for Cejudo albeit against lesser competition, match that of Johnson’s in terms of speed and combinations landed? Probably not, and that’s why Mighty Mouse is still a large favorite over Cejudo despite a very different stylistic match-up than MM has been used to in past title defenses. More on that later

DEMETRIOUS JOHNSON

Strengths

  • Undefeated as a flyweight with 9 straight wins (and a draw against Ian McCall), only 2 career losses including a bantanweight loss to Dominick Cruz
  • Incredibly lightning quick striker who is always constantly on the move and never lets up on his frenetic pace
  • Diverse amount of combinations, gets in and out quickly and finds unique striking angles from his fantastic footwork and movement – very technically sound boxing with crisp jab/straight combinations and well-timed body/headkicks
  • Dodging ability and circling out + landing quick straights/hooks also one of Johnson’s strengths
  • What really makes Mighty Mouse dangerous isn’t his never-ending cardio or limitless combos, it’s his take-down offense or rather, the huge threat of his take-down attempts coupled with his movement

  • Superb level changes that Johnson pulls off on a dime, gets tough double leg take-downs that are almost impossible to defend against, great from the clinch and has a plethora of other take-downs

  • For all of Johnson’s massive improvement in his striking and overall fighting game, his biggest strength has been his wrestling and ground game, as he has made some absolutely gorgeous passes while on top and is a rock if he gets top control
  • Due to his controlled aggressive guard passes, Johnson also puts himself in great positions to pull off submissions without any risks at getting reversed or losing his position – 9 career submission wins
  • Possibly the best take-down defense and overall defensive fighter in the entire division, very little holes in his game

Weaknesses

  • So what the hell are his weaknesses? Well, he may have a little bit of a chinny chin, as Dodson was able to catch Johnson several times for a couple knockdowns, something that hadn’t been done by nearly anyone Johnson had faced
  • How did Dodson pull that off? He matched Mighty Mouse’s speed and quickness, something that very, very few fighters can pull off which poses a problem for Cejudo
  • Uhh….yeah I dunno I guess that’s probably it for his weaknesses other than MAYBE he struggles against bigger wrestlers like Dominick Cruz (was at bantanweight and Johnson was at a pretty bad size disadvantage then and has since evolved from that loss anyways), Cejudo certainly has the wrestling credentials and size to MAYBE overwhelms MM with his offensive take-downs

HENRY CEJUDO

Strengths

  • Quick and fast for someone his size, a huge flyweight who seems to have righted the ship on his weight-cutting
  • Superior wrestling that can look like Cejudo rag-dolling his competition at times, Olympic pedigree definitely shows during sprawls and scrambles
  • Offensive take-downs seem to mostly be level changes and clinch fighting up the fence into a trip or a drop down single leg take-down, prefers to use take-downs as a counter rather than as a starter
  • Surprisingly adept at grappling, can transition into dominant positions with ease and has the strength to hold his opponents down
  • Developing a strong ground and pound game, prefers to stand at the moment with quick jab-straight combinations and an improving kicking offense
  • Uses good footwork and can be flashy at times striking, showing off his athletic ability, but mostly depends on his surprisingly good boxing
  • Could turn into one of the few flyweights with real power in his hands and is already one of the strongest, if not the strongest flyweights

Weaknesses

  • Not really a weakness since he seems to have found a comfort zone in his weight cutting, but need to keep a watchful eye on him during weigh ins
  • Can be too wild at times striking, trying to be too flashy and get a highlight reel knockout, seems to have tightened up his striking since last fight
  • Untested on his back, but he’s too damn good of a wrestler that it won’t be an issue until he faces an elite flyweight….uh oh?
  • Majority of Cejudo’s weaknesses are to be determined at this time of writing, as he just hasn’t faced enough competition with differing fight styles to be able to get a gauge on his true skills

This truly will be a test to see if Cejudo’s Olympian wrestling is for real or not, as Mighty Mouse is just on a whole nother level when it comes to MMA wrestling/grappling. Cejudo should be the bigger, stronger flyweight with more power, but will be a big speed disadvantage and can’t really match MM’s cage movement. In all likelihood, Cejudo is going to have to make this fight a dirty one, clinching up MM as much as possible and try to notch some take-downs, utilizing his strength to his advantage. Can he actually catch Mighty Mouse in the 1st place? I don’t know. I bet against Johnson the last time around with Dodson, and he made me pay dearly, so I’m not going to doubt him again. Big issue at hand is paying up for MM’s price on DK, since he’ll have to get a finish to pay off. I think maybe if he gets a take-down enough times, he’ll give himself ample submission opportunities against Cejudo and his lack of real grappling experience. 5 rounds is a lot of rounds to have to constantly defend against such a lightning quick wrestler/striker, especially if he gets stuck on the ground.

Johnson via 5th round RNC

Jon Jones (-650) vs Ovince St Preux (+475)

Ah, Jon Jones finally gets to reclaim his title as the best LHW in the UFC, even if it is just an interim title. Jones has been through one hell of a whirlwind over the past year and half, with some events detailed out in the intro, but I shall sum it up all in one word. COCAINE BABY!!!!!! OK, I guess that’s two words. I could go on and on about how good Jones is, but I’ll leave that to the Strengths/Weaknesses portions to illustrate that point. Let’s talk about Ovince St Preux, or OSP for short, and why he is fighting in an interim title fight despite a spotty UFC record and coming off an average win over Rafael Cavalcante after OSP’s loss to Glover Teixeira. Well, it’s a short notice fight for OSP, and due to Jones’ talents and fighting style, it didn’t make sense for the elite LHWs such as Rumble Johnson to take the fight on such short notice without a full camp against a legitimate champion. Still, you have to respect OSP willing to step up and take on the challenge of defeating Jon Jones. Or rather, just staying alive past the 1st round to be realistic. Let’s find out why Jones is as elite as they come in the UFC!

JON JONES

Strengths

  • One of the best fighters in the UFC, possibly in the world, and owns a spectacular record of 21-1 (the loss was a DQ due to an illegal elbow against Matt Hamill), 9 by KO/TKO and 6 others by submission
  • Biggest strength of Jon Jones’ is his ability to adapt within the fight, and his endless fighting styles that he throws out against anyone
  • Uses his crazy length at 6’4 of height and a ridiculous 84 inch reach to frustrate opponents with his at range striking and the infamous extended arm to both gauge his striking distance and to impede opponents from rushing to Jones (also causes eye pokes, but I have no comment on that)
  • Adept in both orthodox and southpaw stances, attacks his opponents’ weaknesses by using their own strengths against them – out-wrestled Cormier, defeated Glover with cage pressure, edged out Gustafsson with his at range striking, and took down Chael Sonnen then destroyed him on the ground
  • Diverse range of attacks that Jones is willing to employ such jab-straight combinations, oblique/knee kicks, elbows of all kinds, and very effective spinning body kicks

  • In addition to mixing up his attacks very well, Jones is also filthy from the clinch, landing vicious elbows, uppercuts, knees, dirty boxing, and using his length as leverage in keeping his opponents up the fence
  • Jones will also mix in trip take-downs from the clinch or from anywhere, especially if he can force the back pedal

  • Jones also boasts the best offensive and defensive wrestling in the division, and possibly even in the entire UFC, with a fantastic double leg take-down in addition to his trip take-downs, helps that he has an endless gas tank to be able to achieve all of those at any time
  • Very strong defensive wrestling and quick to sprawl against most take-down attempts, doesn’t allow opponents to push him around or force their way into the clinch
  • Ground and pound is vicious with hellbows and attacks from any position, but that’s not to say he can’t make guard passes into dominant positions for the submission victory

  • Overall, just one of the most complete fighters in the UFC who doesn’t stick to one particular fighting style or gameplan, and is willing to adapt to the flow of the fight

Weaknesses   

  • He could get DQ’d with an illegal elbow or several eye pokes
  • Seriously though, his lone weakness is really fighting against those who can defend his numerous ways of getting the fight to the ground and staying away from Jones’ clinch, winning the fight with crisp, strong at range striking – see Gustafsson’s almost victory (some may say he did actually beat Jon Jones)
  • Maybe his chin? I personally think he ate enough power shots from Teixeira that would have put away some LHWs, so I think his chin is just fine

OVINCE ST PREUX

Strengths

  • Big, powerful southpaw with power in both hands, holds a 19-7 record with 9 KO/TKO wins and 5 others by submission
  • Much like Jon Jones, OSP is a long, rangy striker at 6’3” and an 80 inch reach
  • One big difference is OSP is primarily a counter-striker who tries to use his length/reach to his advantage and land the knockout punch
  • Stays back at range and bides his time to land a straight left or a counter-right hook, will mix in the left body kick and set up the headkick

  • Quick reaction time and overall athleticism helps OSP stay ready on his feet against anything, landed a very nice uppercut to knock out Patrick Cummins despite back-pedaling
  • Has a little bit of a wrestling background, but doesn’t go for take-downs often, and if he does it’s usually the garden variety kind
  • Surprisingly very strong from top, strong grappling and GnP skills – actually broke Ryan Jimmo’s arm during a submission!

Weaknesses   

  • Struggles against quick combinations that don’t allow OSP to land the counter-left straight, lack of other attacks also puts him at a disadvantage against other at range strikers – extremely predictable with his 2-3 strikes
  • Average take-down defense, Teixeira was able to completely dominate him with any power take-down he wanted and also take advantage of OSP’s mediocre ground defense with unblocked GnP attacks
  • Bad gas tank especially against wrestlers, Ryan Bader and Teixeira were able to drain his stamina just by being physical with him using constant pressure and take-downs
  • Leaves himself open when he goes for a body/headkick by leaving his hands down, opens himself to counters and take-down attempts since he isn’t able to quickly sprawl

OSP has to land the knockout punch as soon as possible, otherwise it’s going to be a real long day for the former Texas Longhorn. Jon Jones has all the strengths to dominate OSP and his obvious weaknesses. It could be a wrestling clinic, an at range striking clinic (Jones has said he wants to stay in southpaw and strike with OSP all fight to prove a point), or a clinch clinic. Basically what I’m saying is Jones can win this fight any way he wants. His strengths far surpasses anything OSP really has, and the only thing OSP has is true power. Jones has the length (actually, more length than OSP has ever seen) to match OSP’s, so I don’t anticipate him getting caught by a random OSP punch. Could be a fun fight for a while but in the end, it’s all Jon Jones. Welcome back Bones!

Jones via 1st round RNC

I can’t believe what’s happening with Conor McGregor and the UFC. It saddens me to see the sport of MMA is such a volatile one, with 13 main/co-main event changes already this year! I will do my best to keep up with the ever-changing world of MMA and gather all the information for you degenerates! Next PPV will be one of the best in a long time, as it is set to take place in a freakin’ soccer stadium! UH VAI MORRER!

MMA

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