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UFC on FOX 16: Return of the Baron

UFC on FOX 16: Return of the Baron
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UFC on FOX 16: Return of the Baron

The highly anticipated rematch between TJ Dillashaw and Renan Barao has finally descended upon us, and it’s all free on FOX! Well on FS1 too, for the prelims I guess. Anyways, Dillashaw shocked the world by completely dominating Renan Barao to steal the bantamweight title from his grubby hands with masterful usage of feints, footwork, movement, and above all – a completely new and revamped TJ Dillashaw that no one had ever seen. His Dominick Cruz-like movement was confusing to Barao, leading to moments of frustration for the ex-champion and getting blasted in the 1st round. Since then, Barao beat up a solid BW in Mitch Gagnon, then pulled out of an eventual rematch versus TJ Dillashaw. Joe Soto stepped up as Barao’s replacement, only to be smacked around by Dillashaw’s frenetic fight style, with Dillashaw landing 151 sig strikes and a finish in the 5th! The next re-rematch was doomed as well, as Dillashaw had to pull out due to a rib injury. So NOW we have the re-re-rematch live on FOX! Can the former Baron reclaim his lost crown? Oh, also there’s some other fights on the card. Some good, some bad. You should still watch it anyways. Why? Because someone might get knocked into a coma in the Barboza/Felder match-up! YEAH!

Dominique Steele (+245) vs Zak Cummings (-290)

Our 1st short notice fight of the evening. Dominique Steele replaces Antonio Braga Neto on 2 weeks notice against a fan favorite to boo against in Zak Cummings. Both Steele and Cummings are big welterweights with middleweight experience and both guys tend to be involved in clinch matches. Cummings enjoys making a fight boring and bully his opponents up the cage, but once it’s on the ground Cummings is actually pretty entertaining when he goes for submissions. Can Steele stop Cummings from being able to push him around at will?


  • Big and strong welterweight, has fought at MW before like Zak Cummings
  • At range counter-striker with powerful hooks and uppercuts
  • Likes to catch kicks for the take-down and land some GnP but mostly a stand-up fighter
  • Decent take-down defense if he uses underhooks and uses his strength to stymie attempts and turn them into half guard/full mounts
  • Willing fighter to get dirty up the cage and clinch up his opponents
  • Short notice fight and Steele already fought a month ago, so possible huge gas tank issues especially considering Cummings is going to tire him out by bullying him up the cage
  • 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
  • Faster strikers can catch Steele off guard without too much worry about being countered – too bad Cummings isn’t fast at all
  • Gives up his back too much during sprawls and on scrambles, which is a bad thing in the match-up
  • 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


  • Big welterweight, has fought at MW and LHW before (fought Ryan Jimmo)
  • Brown belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu, 9 wins by submission
  • Not going to show much in combinations, but he does has some power in his hands and can land a hard straight/overhand out of his southpaw stance if they’re not careful
  • Bulldozes his way through his opponents, uses his size to bully them up the cage and get the take-down – usually double leg/bodylock take-downs
  • Once it’s on the ground, good luck getting him off you as he’s a rock from top with timely GnP and good amount of passes
  • Obviously he’s going to look for the submission as soon as possible, but he generally doesn’t set them up and just goes with the flow but is very opportunistic with his submission attempts
  • Stand-up isn’t the greatest, as he wants one thing and one thing only, get the fight up to the cage and into the clinch where he can fight dirty and tire them out into the mat for the submission
  • Leaves his chin high and has some striking defense deficiencies
  • If he can’t get the take-down from up the cage, he will literally simply hold his opponents up until the ref breaks it up so it’s a bad thing for fans, not for him I guess
  • Sticks his neck out on take-down attempts which opens himself to guillotine choke attempts – Gunnar Nelson was able to threaten with one that eventually allowed him to take Cummings back and RNC him

2 weeks short notice for Steele, he just fought a month ago, and he struggles against bigger guys who can be better wrestlers? This fight stinks of a 3 round hugging match, but Cummings should be able to handle Steele on the ground for some submission chances. Realistically speaking, Steele’s only chance to beat Cummings is to knock him out, which he does have the ability to. Cummings is a tough guy though even if he does leave his chin high, and he almost certainly will meet Steele up the cage. It’s just a matter of whether or not Cummings can quickly get it to the ground and finish the fight with a submission, especially the RNC since Steele does give up his back. Take Cummings at your own risk because he doesn’t mind holding his opponents up for the full 15 minutes.

Cummings via 3rd round RNC

Elizabeth Phillips (-165) vs Jessamyn Duke (+145)

Ah, Jessamyn Duke. Fool me once shame on me, fool me twice shame on you! I really thought Duke could turn out to be something in the division with her long frame and learning under the tutelage of Ronda Rousey. Sure, she does have some tools that can be fine tuned into a killing machine with her ground skills and ability to catapult women into the floor. She still has no sense of striking defense nor does she understand what a game plan is. Duke also already defeated Phillips back in 2012 with a guillotine choke. 3 years ago you say? WHATEVER. SHOW ME SOMETHING DUKE! STOP FOOLING ME! Oh, you want to know about Phillips? SCROLL DOWN THEN.


  • Decent power in her hands, goes for the 1-2 combo early and often if she isn’t trying to implement the jab right away
  • Decent usage of leg kicks, mostly goes for random headkicks here and there but main focus of her game is to keep moving to her left and swing for the homerun
  • Fairly strong, can hold her opponents up the cage and overwhelm them into take-downs – was able to get Dudieva’s back often and even reversed her on the ground
  • Once on top on the ground, she’s hard to get a grasp of as she’s able to stifle most guard advancements/submission attempts
  • Struggles against pressure, tries to be elusive and land the jab against those who don’t try to pressure, but against those who do she will swing wildly and get countered badly – brawler’s mentality
  • Longer/lanky fighters who can reach her with jabs give Phillips fits as she generally short arms her punches – 65 inch reach will be a disadvantage
  • Doesn’t check leg kicks, got abused by Elizabeth Letourneau’s body kicks
  • While she seemed to do fine against Dudieva grappling wise with reverses, she was on her back a lot against her and was susceptible to the hip toss out of clinch – already has been submitted by Duke in ’12
  • Generally just average everywhere, stand-up isn’t polished and consists mostly of wild hooks/straights in an effort to knock them out if they push forward – will cover up and try for a take-down/push up the cage to stop the “bleeding”


  • One of the Four Horsewomen made famous by Ronda Rousey, but all of them are pretty shoddy outside of ya know, Ronda
  • Tall bantamweight at 5’11 with 72 inch reach, will have 7 inches on Phillips
  • Has studied under the tutelage of Eddie Bravo (purple belt under him) and Ronda Rousey, so her grappling/ground skills are fairly sound
  • Likes to use her long reach with plenty of jabs and low kicks as she tries to circle around and land high amount of strikes
  • Lands a good amount of kicks from low/body/headkicks with good mixtures as her long frame allows Duke to be a decent enough long range striker, and can pile up the sig strikes (123 sig strikes against Peggy Morgan and 54 sig against Correia despite being beat to the punch early and often)
  • Good out of the clinch with hip tosses and leg sweeps that allow Duke to quickly advance into a dominant position that turns into a submission attempt
  • Has an active guard that lets Duke set up triangle attempts and try to turn things into an advantageous position for her to either get back up on the feet or set up some more submission attempts
  • Has already faced and submitted Phillips in an amateur fight back in 2012
  • Boy, oh boy. Duke still hasn’t learned what head movement is, as her striking defense is nonexistent at this point (so far) as she gets hit and countered at an alarmingly high rate – Correia landed 90 sig strikes and Leslie Smith blew Duke to smithereens in the 1st round
  • Needs a better variety in her striking arsenal, as she’s pretty one dimensional standing with the 1-2 combo and the occasional kick, especially since she’s not reactive enough to be a consistent threat on the feet without hurting herself in the long run
  • In that same sense, she needs to find a way to gauge her own range and become a more effective long range striker especially with her Muay Thai background potentially helping her in the future
  • Would really like to see more emphasis on take-downs and utilizing her seemingly solid and strong ground game, as her long frame does allow her to be able to land submissions easier on shorter opponents
  • Relatively inexperienced in the pros as she has 6 career professional fights, not including her time on TUF
  • Seriously, move your damn head Duke!

I’ve been fooled by Duke twice already, albeit I didn’t think Correia was all that anyways (and Ronda will prove that soon enough). However, this is Phillips we’re talking about here. She got some early success against Letourneau after breaking her orbital bone in the 1st, then got shellacked by Letourneau’s pressure/kicks to the body to the tune of 104 sig strikes landed on Phillips! Duke’s length and reach advantage should be a boon for her in the match-up even if she does stink at being a long range striker. Phillips could possibly hold Duke up the cage and do stuff, maybe just go nuts with swinging hooks when Duke tries to strike back as is usual for Phillips, but I dunno. Phillips is just so average to me that even with Duke’s big flaws, I think Duke beats Phillips everywhere even if she’s likely to get blasted by those wild swinging punches. Potential for oodles of sig strikes on both sides here, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Duke just went for the hip toss and gets the armbar win. Fool me thrice…….uh that’s really nice?

Duke via 1st round armbar

Andrew Holbrook (+125) vs Ramsey Nijem (-145)

Andrew Holbrook will be the 2nd of 4 replacement fights on the card, replacing Eric Koch on less than a month’s notice. He owns an undefeated 9-0 record with all wins by submission and all but 1 ending in the 1st round. Holbrook doesn’t get an easy opponent as he faces wild but entertaining wrestler in Ramsey Nijem, who was one punch away from winning TUF against Tony Ferguson. Can the Indiana product pull off the upset and take advantage of Nijem’s wild striking and questionable chin?


  • Undefeated prospect at 9-0, all wins by submissions (2 were due to punches) and all but 1 were finished in the 1st round
  • Long and strong build for a lightweight at 5’11”
  • Mixes up his strikes well, throws looping hooks and body kicks/headkicks and sprinkles in some body punches as well – southpaw stance
  • On the ground is where he is at his best, looks to pass the guard at every chance he gets to get into dominant positions so he can GnP them into submission or force a mistake for the choke
  • Also has an active guard, long legs allows Holbrook to be able to attempt triangles with ease and escape from bottom
  • Recently won a Golden Gloves tournament so he has some boxing experience
  • Mediocre wrestling, doesn’t have any real take-down offense other than using his own large frame to take opponents down
  • Speed deficiencies striking-wise, does have a good arsenal of attacks but in a killer lightweight division, his speed issues will be taken advantage of badly
  • Can be overwhelmed in the clinch, inexperience and lack of real competition also big issues for Holbrook
  • May have to end up hoping Nijem takes Holbrook down so Holbrook can do some damage from guard and get a reverse/submission attempt


  • Strong wrestler for a lightweight, was a NCAA Div. I wrestler
  • Powerful hands, willing brawler who can throw out random strikes such as flying knees, headkicks, overhands into take-downs, whatever you can think of
  • More about brute strength than technique, Nijem can be a frustrating wrestler due to his persistence once he latches on a leg for the single/double leg take-down
  • Strong top control with decent usage of ground and pound
  • Has 8 UFC fights under his belt, and some were against the best the LW division has to offer, such as Myles Jury, Beneil Dariush, and Tony Ferguson  – a true test for Holbrook to test his legitimacy as an UFC fighter
  • Very questionable chin, has been knocked out in 3 of his 5 losses and has been rocked badly in other fights as well
  • Wild striking style does his chin no favors as he is very susceptible to counters
  • Sticks his neck out on take-downs, almost guillotined several times by Joe Proctor and several others
  • Little bit of gas tank issue if he focuses on wrestling as his game plan rather than striking
  • Respectable on top, but very average off his back, tends to be passive and can be goaded into giving up dominant positions to his opponents which eventually gets him submitted

Nijem isn’t some bottom level lightweight that Holbrook can take advantage of as he’s done to his dented cans on record. Holbrook isn’t going to beat Nijem with his wrestling nor will he be able to fend off Nijem’s take-down attempts. Holbrook very well could test Nijem’s chin with well timed headkicks and hooks, but with Nijem’s frenetic, almost Clay Guida-like strike-wrestling, Holbrook looks destined to be stuck on the ground. Nijem has strong enough top control and fight IQ to be able to stave off any submission attempts from Holbrook’s guard. Holbrook might be a decent dog play if he can tighten up his striking and lands something that rocks Nijem badly to allow Holbrook to pounce on him for the sub win. I’m sticking with the veteran who’s faced way better competition than Holbrook.

Nijem via unanimous decision

Daron Cruickshank (-160) vs James Krause (+140)

The immensely talented but inconsistent kickboxer, Daron Cruickshank, gets a tasty match-up for the division against the tall James Krause. Both men should keep it standing with some fireworks along the way. Krause occasionally does go for the take-down, but I doubt he can corner the always elusive Cruickshank long enough to notch a successful take-down attempt. Krause is usually involved in firefights, so I’ll be eagerly watching a vicious headkick KO win for Cruickshank. Christmas isn’t here yet, but Santa Krause might make Christmas come a few months early inside the octagon!


  • Always one of the better lightweights with an impressive striking arsenal including some gorgeous kicks that Daron can land from anywhere – 9 of 16 career wins by KO/TKO
  • 2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo, likes to use a wide stance with heavy emphasis on his lead leg
  • Uses his footwork and movement to help keep space between him and his opponents so he can go to work with his powerful kick-centric offense – moves laterally away from his opponents and forces them to close the distance
  • Very good counter-striker as he can ignite a headkick in an instant before you get a chance to blink
  • Not combo-heavy but he has adequate boxing that’s mostly used as a punisher with hard straights and the occasional left hook
  • Not too many people realize that Cruickshank is also a pretty good wrestler, which comes in handy in stuffing take-down attempts and landing some round-sealing take-downs of his own – mostly catching his opponents off guard with a quick shoot in and trapping their legs from under them
  • Sequence of kicks that Cruickshank likes to throw out/land generally goes as such: low kick, move, body kick, move, move, counter-headkick that puts them to sleep, move, move, ref calls it while Cruickshank’s still moving, move some more
  • He’s one of those guys that sometimes you just can’t explain why he did something, like going for a take-down against a submission guy, or being too passive if he has someone hurt
  • Speaking of being too passive, Cruickshank needs to be more proactive on the feet in utilizing his sheer power and great Taekwondo rather than just simply being a counter-striker – those who are long range strikers tend to frustrate Cruickshank since they’re not in the knockout zone of Cruickshank’s
  • When Cruickshank decides to go for a take-down and is unsuccessful, he has a very bad tendency to leave himself exposed to submission attempts as he gives up his back or worse, gets reversed into a bad spot  on the ground– Beneil Dariush and  Jorge Masvidal took full advantage of Daron’s mistakes


  • Tall lightweight at 6’2”, 6 inches taller than Cruickshank
  • Brown belt in BJJ, goes for the submission if it’s there such as guillotine chokes but primarily an at range striker
  • Long range striker who wants to establish the jab and push kick to keep his range and opponents away from pressuring Krause
  • Good usage of quick 1-2 combinations and mixture of low leg kicks and using push kicks to deny opponents from posturing on him standing
  • Can rack up the sig strikes when not facing pressure, body kicks start to add up during fights – 87 sig versus Valmir Lazaro and 96 against Sam Stout
  • Long frame also helps Krause keep an active guard which makes it risky to take him down unless opponent has strong top control
  • Struggles against pressure fighters, often backpedals against flurries or tries to dodge them and ends up eating a knee/headkick
  • Better counter-strikers such as Cruickshank can punish Krause’s 1-2 combinations, Jorge Masvidal was able to frustrate Krause early with his counter-boxing
  • Average take-down defense, gets overwhelmed at times by stronger opponents who can take out his legs
  • Not really a threat on take-down attempts, mostly tries to catch kicks and get the single leg take-down, clinch work is average at best

On one hand we have a vicious kickboxer who heavily depends on being an effective counter-striker and will often keep circling away from his opponents in an effort to frustrate them into throwing out a random strike. On the other hand, you have a long range striker who doesn’t really push forward and likes to keep battering his opponents with quick succession jab/straights and push kicks. Cruickshank could very easily land a devastating headkick KO against Krause’s weak counter defense, but I have a feeling this is going to be a fairly boring fight. Cruickshank is going to have plenty of space to roam and circle around Krause, while Krause isn’t really going to push forward, so there’s going to be long periods of inactivity for both. Krause could possibly win on points using his length and avoiding a firefight with Cruickshank. I’m still going with the “Detroit Superstar” but won’t be expecting a knockout, so no early Christmas presents for us unfortunately.

Cruickshank via unanimous decision

Bryan Caraway (+125) vs Eddie Wineland (-145)

Man, it’s good to see Eddie Wineland back in action after his massive, massive upset loss to Johnny Eduardo. Eduardo was a well over +800 underdog against Wineland before knocking him out flat in the 1st round after 2 years away from the sport. Yikes. Wineland faces off against Miesha Tate’s boyfriend, which is about all Caraway is known for these days. Wineland’s superb striking/feint game against Miesha Tate’s boyfriend’s BJJ black belt and laughable stand-up! Who wins? Hopefully Ronda Rousey does.


  • BJJ black belt with 17 of 19 wins by submission
  • Throws a lot of swinging hooks (usually leads with a left hook) and 1-2 combinations as he ducks and lunges forward, which also helps sets up take-downs for Caraway as it puts himself into his opponent’s faces most times to clinch up
  • Tough and persistent wrestler, will do plenty of level changes and shoot in for the single/double leg take-down
  • Good out of the clinch with knees and uppercuts and trip take-downs mixed in
  • Has a propensity to get opponent’s back on the ground, very good grappler who knows what he needs to do to get the proper submission – if they’re on the ground with Caraway on top, it’s probably over for them
  • As you would expect out of a great grappler, his guard is very good and Caraway also can catch his opponents in neck chokes from anywhere especially on take-down attempts (yes, people do try to take Caraway down)
  • One dimensional, against better strikers/boxers Caraway struggles mightily if he can’t get them to the ground, Assuncao landed 75 sig to Caraway’s 29 in their last fight!
  • His lunge forward striking styles opens Caraway up to knees and headkicks as Caraway is usually ducking under
  • Again, he’s one dimensional with basically 2 attacks on the feet – lunge forward with a lead hook/straight finisher, a jab/leg kick combo


  • Has long been one of the better bantamweights in UFC/WEC with 21 wins, 11 by KO/TKO 5 by submission
  • Unique fighting style using plenty of feints with his hands/elbows that give opponents fits being unable to pinpoint his next move
  • Very good technical boxing that obviously is aided by his feints as he’s able to constantly mix up his attacks with no real pattern behind them
  • Powerful straights followed by his crisp left hook, will throw the overhand here and there but crux of his game is keeping his opponents off guard with feints and landing various 1-2 combinations and uppercuts
  • Also very adept at landing the body punch in bunches that start to take its toll late in fights
  • Decent defensive wrestling skills, can stave off most predictable take-downs
  • Can land some power bomb take-downs if he’s up the cage and land some quick GnP
  • While his fighting style does help keep Wineland unpredictable and hard to gauge his gameplan, he has a fundamental flaw in his striking – leaves his chin high and on an island on almost every punch he throws + can leave his hands low at times
  • Chin is not good enough to continue leaving it on an island, was upset by Johnny Eduardo (+800 underdog) due to both of the above weaknesses
  • Struggles against strong wrestlers who use top control as Wineland isn’t good off his back and can be stuck in closed guard rather than being active and trying to scramble back up – doesn’t have the best sprawls/lack of underhooks
  • More on that weakness – 4 of 10 career losses by submission because Wineland was taken to the ground and ultimately put into a bad position to be subbed, a very big glaring weakness that Caraway will be looking to take full advantage of

It’s probably going to be a finish in this fight with either Wineland completely dominating Caraway on the feet with his superior boxing and good power, or Caraway notching a take-down and grabbing Wineland’s back for the RNC win. Wineland probably should be able to stay away from Caraway’s take-down attempts as long as he doesn’t have Erik Perez’s idiotic gameplan which involved taking down Caraway for whatever odd reason. As I’ve said before, Wineland does struggle against strong wrestlers who can just simply overwhelm him with power take-downs, but Caraway isn’t exactly in that mold. He’s more of a level change guy/duck under a strike with some clinch work sprinkled in. Caraway’s lunging striking style will eventually get him inside Wineland’s range and allow him to clinch up quickly if he wants. He’s a good underdog with his elite grappling skills and great groundwork, but Wineland is a very hard opponent to prepare for with his feints. Should be a good win for Wineland if he can stay away from the take-downs.

Wineland via 2nd round TKO

Ben Saunders (-110) vs Kenny Robertson (-110)

I really love this fight for one reason only: They’re gonna try their damnedest to finish the other off in some shape or form. Kenny Robertson is a wood shop teacher. Enough said. Ben Saunders is 6’3. ENOUGH SAID. Calf slicer vs the omoplata! WHO WINS?????


  • Very tall and long southpaw welterweight at 6’3” and 77.5” reach
  • Knows how to finish a fight by either KO/TKO or submission, 18 wins with 9 by KO/TKO and 6 by submission
  • Black belt in BJJ with an excellent guard due to his absurd length
  • Decent boxing that’s mostly counter-based with quick and effective straights and right hooks
  • His left kick is what sets everything up for Saunders’ offense, loves to mix between numerous body kicks and headkicks with devastating results
  • Superb out of clinch as he rains down knees with every intention to crush their head, ribs, and soul at the same time
  • Guard is tops in the division due to his long length, loves to go into rubber guard which helps set up whatever he wants on the ground – used rubber guard to set up triangle which he then turned into an omoplata, a very impressive submission he pulled off
  • Saunders doesn’t really have any take-down offense of any note, as he’s a stand-up fighter who generally gets most of his subs if he gets taken down
  • Does get taken down pretty easily but due to his excellent guard it’s usually not a big deal unless facing an elite top control guy
  • His high usage of the left kick exposes Saunders’ chin to quick counter-punches and his overall defense isn’t great – has been knocked out in 3 of 6 career losses albeit 2 were to a great striking WW in Douglas Lima


  • Much like Saunders, Robertson knows how to finish a fight with 7 KO/TKO and 6 submissions wins out of his 15 career wins
  • Long time wrestler including some excellent NCAA Div I wrestling
  • Aggressive nature allows Robertson to stay wild and unpredictable, often ending up grabbing his opponents and throwing them down to the ground with a bodylock take-down or a trip
  • That aggressive nature also usually forces opponents to sprawl quickly and sometimes give up their back as they try to recover back up – Robertson very quick to realize that and get a back take most times
  • Has good ground and pound with timely passes as he’s both an aggressive submission hunter and applying pressure while on top
  • Has power in his hands but all of his strikes are erratic and unpolished, but hey, they get the job done – wild overhands and headkicks lead the way for Robertson
  • Unique mindset on submission attempts, tries for crazy looking submissions from anywhere, even if his opponents have his back – he will not give up in any fight and will demand 100% effort from his opponents
  • His wild and erratic striking style opens up Robertson to counters against better polished, technical strikers who can sprawl against Robertson’s take-down attempts
  • Ditto for his aggressive submission hunts from disadvantageous positions, and against a better grappler in Saunders that’s probably not a good thing
  • Better wrestlers also dominate Robertson from top, but Saunders doesn’t fit that bill at all so no worries here

This is going to be a pretty entertaining fight both on the feet and on the ground as both men love to be aggressive and throw a ton of headkicks. Saunders is the more competent grappler with an even better guard, while Robertson will have a big edge in the wrestling department and should be able to get Saunders down quickly. The problem with that is does Robertson really want to test Saunders’ guard? I think he will, since he doesn’t really give a fudge about anyone and their skills. Hell, Robertson might just get himself triangled and somehow turn it into an advantage for him! Fun fight no doubt but I think Saunders wins by submission of some sort unless Robertson finds a way to knock him out before that happens either by GnP or a wild punch. Man, I love violence.

Saunders via 1st round triangle

Danny Castillo (+110) vs Jim Miller (-130)

The 3rd replacement fight of the night! Danny Castillo was supposed to fight Rustam Khabilov, but Khabilov’s constant visa issues kept him out of the fight. Thankfully, much to the disdain of Castillo, Jim Miller accepted the fight on short notice. Now instead of what would have likely been a boring wrassling match, we just might get to see Castillo fend off 500 submission attempts by Jim Miller, or even better, get knocked out by Miller’s high volume striking! Or…..another wrassling match? NOOOOOOOO!!!!


  • A strong wrestler with some good power in his hands and a BJJ black belt, generally a grinder – has 10 finishes by KO/TKO/Sub but also has 7 decision wins including being involved in 8 decisions out of his 12 UFC fights
  • Has plenty of UFC experience with 12 fights and 25 career fights
  • Throws powerful looping overhands and a hard right straight but not much else though he claims he’s been working on his stand-up more lately
  • Strong wrestling skills with some decent grappling, powers through his opponents with double leg take-downs or goes for level changes/duck and shoots to set up some GnP on the ground
  • Likes to push his opponents around and hold them up the cage as he jockeys for positions/tires them out, good way to stifle an explosive offensive opponent
  • Questionable chin, has been knocked out or badly hurt in his fast few losses
  • Relies on his wrestling/grinding style to get wins over better opponents, especially those who are much faster and better overall standing, which both makes for a boring fight and opens up Castillo to some bad striking exchanges if he’s unable to impose his will
  • Not really a threat on the feet as far as combinations go, he’s gonna throw some hard rights and try to land that 1 punch KO with some weird looking random kicks, avoid that and opponents can take advantage of Castillo’s chin
  • Despite being a black belt in BJJ and having a strong top control game, Castillo occasionally does leave glaring holes in his grappling that can be taken advantage by a better grappler such as Miller


  • Always one of the more underrated lightweights in the division despite being a long time veteran with one of the best BJJ/grappling skills – owns 13 submission wins
  • Black belt in BJJ (duh) and in Taekwondo (though you wouldn’t know it)
  • High energy/high volume oriented striker with a ton of fast jabs and low kicks mixed in with well timed take-downs – has solid counter-hooks as well
  • Goes with the flow of the fight, if he’s having success standing he will keep it going and rack up the sig strikes, if he struggles on the feet then he will take it to the ground in some way, even rolling into kneebars
  • Has a good wrestling pedigree, very stubborn when he sets his mind on taking the fight to the ground, will use any method such as single/double leg, trips, rolling into kneebars, jumping on their back, slap their face and make them mad (OK maybe not that)
  • On the ground is where Miller truly shines, with impressive passes that look easy as pie, sets up armbars, leg locks, and has quick back takes into RNC that he sets up beautifully if given the chance to – his brother has a killer guillotine that he’s passed on to Miller as well
  • Has good movement, moves laterally for majority of the fight standing and doesn’t usually stay in one spot, hard to consistently punish Miller unless you’re just a badass like Donald Cerrone
  • Not the biggest lightweight, can be dominated by physical wrestlers
  • While he’s not bad striking and is pretty solid in his own right, when he faces someone who knows range and mixes up their attacks well, Miller can struggle at times during exchanges and gets countered trying to counter their counter! Hmm….that doesn’t sound right
  • Miller does go for some risky submissions, and versus a strong grappler such as Beneil Dariush, that puts Miller in dangerous spots to get himself submitted – Castillo not on Beneil’s level though

The fight likely hinges on Miller’s stand-up against Castillo’s power take-down/top control game. Miller should be able to pick apart Castillo on the feet with his speed and better polished striking, while staying away from Castillo’s power shots and the take-down attempts that are sure to come. Even if Castillo is able to get Miller down to the ground, I don’t think he has the skill-set to keep Miller from getting up quickly or reversing positions with Miller’s excellent and aggressive guard. As much as Miller does struggle against stronger wrestlers, I’m not so sure Castillo has enough to give Miller fits grappling wise. It just feels like a bad stylistic match-up to me with Miller ticking the boxes both standing and on the ground. It wouldn’t surprise me if Miller either knocked out Castillo or submitted him with a guillotine.

Miller via 2nd round guillotine choke

Gian Villante (-235) vs Tom Lawlor (+195)

The return of the Filth! Tom Lawlor makes his octagon return after 2+ years away from the sport and gets his chance to beat up my sworn enemy in Gian Villante. This guy single-handily….no, you know what? I refuse to explain my hate. “Filthy” Tom Lawlor is a pressure wrestler who wants to get the fight to the ground ASAP, while Villante could be mistaken as a Walking Dead extra with his zombie chin and an already half empty gas tank. Does Lawlor have enough dirt on Villante and crack his impregnable chin? I say…..TO BE CONTINUED.


  • One of the feared “zombie chins” of the UFC, impossible to knock Villante out without breaking your hands and your soul
  • Big physical LHW at 6’2” with athletic ability as he was a former football player/wrestler who’s been improving his striking over the last year – 8 of 13 wins by KO/TKO
  • Utilizes the low kick early and often, leads with jabs and ends with overhands that could destroy a polar bear (don’t call PETA!)
  • Combined with his zombie chin and improved striking, Villante lately has been involved in bare knuckle brawls with oodles of sig strikes landed on both sides
  • Has average take-downs, mostly using his strength and size to bulldoze his opponents to the ground, where he can resemble a sloth at times on top but hey it gets the job done
  • Due to his size, his take-down defense is pretty solid most of the time but….well, just scroll down
  • Has had serious gas tank issues, fades badly at the end of fights especially if he tries to wrestle his opponents early
  • Very, very bad off his back and looks lost at times on defending passes
  • Due to his zombie chin, Villante seems to disregard striking defense and head movement in favor of landing whatever the hell he wants – last 3 opponents landed 100+ sig strikes!
  • It does seem to have gotten better, but his striking is nothing special, relies on a fairly quick jab/straight combination with the occasional hook/overhand that’s given me nightmares still to this day (don’t ask why….please don’t), gets countered easily due to being telegraphed


  • He works with Front Row Brian, which makes him like totally cool
  • Purple belt in BJJ, has 4 career sub wins
  • Likes to stay busy standing with jab/straight combinations with low leg kicks mixed in from southpaw stance before shooting in for the take-down
  • Majority of his fights are fought up the cage and in the clinch after Lawlor gets a feel for his range standing, will be very persistent in nabbing the double leg take-down in some way, shape, or form
  • Strong top control with timely GnP, doesn’t go for submissions unless opponent scrambles back up and ends up giving up his back – also an opportunistic guillotine choker
  • Likely at a size disadvantage, has fought mostly at middleweight and will be 2 inches shorter against a big LHW
  • 1st fight in over 2 years, ring rust may be a factor
  • Does not do well if facing a better wrestler/someone with actual take-down defense, ends up on his back more often than not in grappling exchanges against better guys
  • If fight goes his way, the fight may end up being a hugging match so again, not fun for the fans

At 1st glance I thought this was going to be a mismatch for Villante considering Lawlor’s gameplan usually consists of taking his opponents down and GnP’ing them to death/getting a submission chance. However, after looking into the details a little deeper, I’m afraid I have to give the nod to Villante, as long as he’s able to keep himself upright. Villante is going to be the much bigger man and already has some wrestling prowess. Considering Villante’s lack of striking defense, maybe Lawlor would rather keep it standing and gobble up all the sig strikes against Villante. Of course, Villante could just take Lawlor down and laugh at us. Gas tank woes may also affect Villante if he’s stuck up the cage for long periods of time. Either way, I’ll probably avoid this fight altogether.

Villante via unanimous decision

Joe Lauzon (-365) vs Takanori Gomi (+305)

The always entertaining Joe Lauzon gets an interesting match up against longtime Japan fan favorite and long time overall fan favorite in the “Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi. Sure, Gomi ain’t what he used to be, a fun brawling, crazy Super Saiyan looking fighter who could take the damage and dish out his own to any fool who dared face him. He’s still kinda the same crazy fighter, just with a bad chin nowadays. Joe Lauzon and his black belt have racked up a billion FOTN/POTN/SOTN/whatever “Of The Night”s over his UFC career, as his terrible striking defense and propensity in being involved in violence usually leads to incredibly entertaining fights. Can the Fireball Kid finally get over the hump and start a winning streak on his likely last run as a recognizable name?


  • Longtime UFC veteran and owner of a billion fight awards for his entertaining fights even in his losses
  • Brown belt in BJJ, owns 17 submission wins and is a certified BJJ teacher with his own camp
  • Bit of a lanky build, likes to throw a ton of jab/straights with the occasional leg kick
  • Average take-downs, mostly depends on level changes and his opponents trying to take him down for whatever reason, also solid out of the clinch with trip take-downs
  • Excellent on the ground both on top and off his back, you give him a chance to choke you out or break a limb and he will do it
  • Loves a stand-up war, his chin can take a ton of punishment and Lauzon has the will and soul of a warrior even if he gets bloodied up, so they better bring it
  • His striking defense is pretty bad and I’ve made it a point to call it the Lauzon defense – he covers up and backs up against flurries rather than moving away or circling out which results in massive sig strikes landed on Lauzon
  • Looks for a stand-up war more than anything and is willing to keep it that way if the other guy wants it that way, which doesn’t favor his strengths
  • Doesn’t go for the take-down enough, dude is really good on the ground but just doesn’t utilize it enough – probably cuz he wants to be a crowd pleaser and his take-downs are pretty mediocre anyways
  • Not the most advanced striker or the quickest, pretty basic all around in all striking phases but his iron chin does allow Lauzon to swing wildly and land glancing blows despite getting battered at times – still gets countered quite a bit
  • Skilled strikers who know range and can move away from Lauzon can keep him at bay and land barrages of strikes – Michael Johnson landed 116 sig strikes to Lauzon’s 25!
  • Not always the case but if Lauzon gets taken down and struggles to use his BJJ skills, he can be pounded into submission by top control wrestlers due to his lack of defense and willingness to go for risky subs


  • A fan favorite, The Fireball Kid has 35 wins under his belt with majority of those going to the decision or a knockout win for Gomi
  • Likes to switch stances here and there but power stance is his southpaw where his powerful left hand resides
  • Sets up the power left hand with protruding jabs and sits at range awaiting for his opponents to come forward and meet Hiroshima
  • Usually a counter-striker, but is a willing brawler if his opponents wants it to be, and Lauzon will want it to be
  • Will throw the power hooks as his counter-punch when within range, dangerous opponent to get too close by
  • Decent wrestling if he needs a quick take-down, but otherwise negligible
  • Not the Takanori Gomi of old, as old age has literally made him old at 36 years of age
  • Past punishment has also caught up to him as his chin is very brittle these days, his brawling mentality is not such a good thing anymore
  • Weak against competent wrestlers who can get within range and avoid his left hand to plaster Gomi on the mat
  • Pretty shoddy defense off his back, susceptible to most submissions – 6 of 10 losses by submission as he isn’t very cognizant of his opponent’s passes and often gives up dominant positions with ease

I get it. Gomi is old and doesn’t seem to have a chin anymore. Lauzon has one hell of a chin and loves a brawl. Still, -365??? That’s absolutely ridiculous considering Gomi still has some power left and Lauzon isn’t exactly Myles Jury or Nate Diaz even. Lauzon also doesn’t really have threatening take-downs or wrestling, but I suppose he could maybe catch Gomi off guard with a level change since Gomi does leave himself open to such things during exchanges (for example watch Clay Guida fight….oh wait, no you won’t, so just believe me). I understand Lauzon’s a nasty submission guy and passing Gomi’s guard is as easy as the popular girl on prom night. Too much? Sorry. A brawl is inevitable in the match-up, and if Lauzon had a smidgen of power in his hands, I’d definitely favor him quite a bit, but alas, he does not. Either Gomi shoots himself in the foot and goes to the ground for some inexplicable reason, or we get a fun stand up war with both guys getting plenty of sig strikes. I’m sticking with the Fireball Kid unless Lauzon is secretly Godzilla in disguise. Yeah, I like stereotypes.

Gomi via unanimous decision

Edson Barboza (-145) vs Paul Felder (+125)

This fight is one of those rare cases where both original fighters pulled out and actually gave us an even better match-up on paper. Anthony Pettis was slated to face Myles Jury before pulling out due to injury, with Barboza being his replacement. And then Jury decided to pull out as well due to injury, and the good ol’ “Irish Dragon” stepped up to the plate as a late replacement. All I have to say about this fight is VIOLENCE! SHEER UNADULTERATED VIOLENCE! BLOOD WILL BE SPILLED FOR THE VIOLENCE GODS! DON’T YOU DARE BLINK!


  • An elite lightweight coming off a loss to Michael Johnson, one of the few fighters in UFC history to own complete knockouts by a kick
  • Black belt in Taekwondo and black prajied in Muay Thai, purple belt in BJJ
  • 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/power
  • 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 though he’s more of a counter-striker with his punches
  • 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
  • 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


  • Undefeated 10-0 record with 7 KO/TKOs
  • 2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo and Karate
  • Very technical pure striker with a plethora of strikes at his disposal, from the hard low kick and spinning kicks, to his favorite tool from what I’ve seen in his usage of knees
  • Not combo heavy outside of the usual 1-2 combos, but his at range striking keeps Felder busy with single precise strikes that hit their target the majority of the time with devastating results – mixes up his attacks so well I can’t even tell you what he likes to do other than plenty of knees
  • Likes to throw knees as a deterrent against take-down attempts and as a counter-poke to certain low strikes
  • Good head movement and almost is never out of place on any strike thanks to great footwork
  • Has a good sprawl since he’s able to stay out of range most times and still be an efficient striker
  • Great countering ability due to his speed and technical prowess, very dangerous to run at him haphazardly
  • May struggle against an opponent who utilizes hard kicks to lead leg constantly, something Barboza enjoys employing such tactics
  • Level of competition isn’t quite what you’d expect out of a great pure striker, Barboza his biggest test to date
  • Also has never fought someone on the level of Barboza’s striking arsenal, so his defense and chin will be tested
  • Struggled against Saggo due to his constant barrages of take-down attempts and jockeying for position up the cage even if he was able to get back up most times– no need to worry about that against Barboza as this will be a war on the feet

What a tough fight to call. Barboza has long been one of the deadliest strikers in the division, only to be held back by his striking defense deficiencies that exposes his toilet paper chin. He will surely test Felder’s ability to handle leg kicks to his lead leg and also will throw out many unique strikes that maybe Felder hasn’t had the experience of defending against. Felder is as technical and powerful as they come, with a good feel for the flow of the fight and usage of whatever single strike he throws out. Nothing is a wasted movement for Felder, and he rarely puts himself on an island on kicks. Barboza struggles against pressure fighters who cut off the cage, and Felder could possibly emulate Johnson’s game plan, but that doesn’t really fit his style as he’d rather stay back and force the issue. I’d be really surprised if this fight went past the distance as both guys are explosive as all hell with thrilling aerobic displays of…well, striking! Barboza may be too much for Felder if he can’t handle all of those darn leg kicks. I’ll be putting Felder in some lineups regardless.

Barboza via 2nd round wheel kick KO

Jessica Eye (+175) vs Miesha Tate (-210)

Jessica “Evil” Eye is coming off a nasty doctor’s stoppage TKO win over Leslie Smith in which Eye literally punched Smith’s ear off her face. Pretty gruesome, and it’s a fate Miesha Tate may succumb to as well. Miesha Tate had a rousing comeback win over huge bantamweight Sara McMann, overcoming an early 1st round knock down and stealing back the 2nd/3rd round with some submissions that came very close to finishing McMann. Two of the better bantamweights in the division get to face off and shake the rankings up a little bit, with Eye trying to get back into the upper echelon of the division after some disappointing losses/drug tests failures. Tate has been looking to prove that her stand-up game can be good enough to strike with the elite of the division, aka Eye. IT’S A GIRL FIGHT DAMN IT!


  • Underrated bantamweight in a division begging for actual competition, has already faced some of the best in Kaufman and Alexis Davis
  • Boxer with good footwork and continually circles out and controls the octagon, also uses head movement as she moves around
  • Jab sets up all of her combos, multiples of 2/3s jab/straight combinations are the norm for Eye – piles up sig strikes like they’re on sale
  • Has the speed to keep most away from her and land several combinations at once, will be the key to frustrating Tate from getting too close to Eye
  • Decent countering ability, better as an aggressor
  • Likes to get into the clinch against pressure, stands strong and pushes to the cage then breaks away to continue on her boxing attack
  • Generally speaking, she can sprawl and get ready to defend take-downs from range
  • While she circles out and does use head movement prior to striking exchanges, much like the majority of the women in the division Eye leaves her chin high while countering back – Tate not exactly a world class striker so a non-issue
  • From what I could see in limited film against actual competition, her take-down defense was all right, but Alexis Davis was able to catch a kick and get the easy take-down, also got a late round take-down with a quick level change that was defended pretty badly
  • Seems to always prefer grabbing her opponents into the clinch when faced with pressure, Tate is adept out of the clinch and would most likely try to set up a take-down from that position so seems like a bad idea in this scenario for Eye to continue that habit especially considering the possible size disadvantage
  • While she’s not bad off her back (HUSH) she is pretty passive and will keep a closed guard while not doing much else, wants the ref to stand them up rather than take matters into her own hands


  • Has long been one of the top women’s bantamweights from her StrikeForce days
  • Purple belt in BJJ, 6 career submission wins
  • Decent stand-up with jabs and low kicks, main strengths are her wrestling/grappling skills
  • Goes for different kind of take-downs, from power blasts to back trips/hip tosses that seem way too popular among the women in the UFC – good out of the clinch
  • Uses strong top control with timely guard passes, likes to set up the armbar and looks to get back mount quickly
  • Solid guard as Tate is fairly active off her back with triangle attempts and not allowing her opponents to gain any advantageous positions on her
  • Wants to prove her stand-up is just fine and dandy, when in reality it’s just mediocre at best due to her average striking defense – McMann was able to pierce Tate’s defense for a knockdown/almost finish in the 1st round and McMann isn’t exactly the best of strikers
  • While she is excellent on top (hush) and has a serviceable guard, she does struggle against better grapplers who can stifle her advance attempts and can get reversed
  • Main problem I see in the match-up is Tate handling Eye’s speed and footwork/techniques without over committing to the take-down as Tate’s stand-up just isn’t good enough to stave off the pressure of Eye – might end up being a punching bag for Eye

I’m surprised this is the co-main event instead of Barboza/Felder as that’s going to be one hell of an entertaining fight. Oh well. Classic wrestler vs striker match-up, even if Tate disagrees with that assessment. If Eye doesn’t throw too many leg kicks and doesn’t fall into her habit of getting into the clinch when it isn’t necessary, she should be able to play keep away against Tate and pile up all the sig strikes thanks to her crisp jab/straight combos. Tate realistically wins this fight if she’s able to get it to the ground, and if she’s successful in doing that, it’s most likely ending in a submission. Tate may be the bigger girl (hey, that’s not a fat joke!) but I got the EVIL EYE!

Eye via unanimous decision

Renan Barao (+210) vs TJ Dillashaw (-250)

The highly anticipated rematch between surprising new BW champion, Dillashaw, against former 33 fights without a loss streak holder, Renan Barao, will be a true test for Dillashaw and his critics alike. Barao will have a full camp to prepare for Dillashaw’s new fighting style that threw a curveball into Barao’s initial game plan that resulted in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history (Dillashaw was an astonishing +710 underdog). Barao won’t be caught off guard this time around, so can the Dominick Cruz-like style of Dillashaw still be an advantage against Barao for the champ? Let’s find out!


  • Was riding a 33 fight streak without a loss (32-0 with 1 NC), 8 KO/TKOs and 15 subs before his loss to Dillashaw
  • Black belt in BJJ, but only really uses it if opponent is rocked or tries to take him down – primarily a stand-up beast
  • One of the fastest/strongest bantamweights, miniature version of Aldo with some flaws that Dillashaw took advantage of
  • Trains at vaunted camp Nova Uniao alongside with Aldo, which is why you might see similarities between the two
  • Likes to be a counter-striker but won’t wait for his opponents to start exchanges, nasty hooks and a straight/hard kick combinations gets things started for Barao

  • Excellent take-down defense, good luck taking him down and not getting subbed by his guard
  • Utilizes the jab/straight well when he isn’t pressured, has a nice left hook for counters
  • Complements his boxing with good usage of kicks to keep opponents from pressuring him and has a good sense of his range – also mixes in spinning kicks to the body/head alongside with his hard low kicks

  • Serious knockout power that’s aided by lightning speed, which isn’t unusual for 135’ers, but it is a rare combination nonetheless – finished his last 4 opponents not counting Dillashaw

  • Good take-down offense whenever the opportunity presents itself, double leg take-down is his usual play
  • Struggles against fighters who use feints and awkward movements, gets startled and starts swinging wild hooks instead of keeping his punches compact with jab/straight combos – leaves himself open to counters which Dillashaw took full advantage of

  • Has a tendency to run backwards against pressure instead of circling out like his fellow training partner in Aldo does
  • Has had issues with weight cuts as of late, had to pull out on the 1st try for the rematch due to a bad weight cut, so something to keep an eye on during weigh ins
  • Has a good gas tank overall, but with recent weight cut issues and a cardio monster in Dillashaw, it might be a bigger issue now


  • Has undergone a massive change in his fight-style from a quick, athletic wrestler who had some decent striking and movement to a clone of Dominick Cruz and improved striking to the point he catapulted himself into the elite category
  • Unique movements + constant stance changes lets Dillashaw set the tone standing, very shifty and elusive as he hunts for the perfect striking angle

  • High wrestling pedigree that’s been incubated by his Team Alpha Male camp, known for their fantastic wrestling
  • Excellent level changes with single/double leg take-downs the norm for Dillashaw, now with his increased movements and feints, his level changes are off the charts
  • High volume oriented striker which really fits his new fighting mold, landed 150+ sig strikes against Joe Soto before ending his life in the 5th round (GIF down below!)
  • Became a pretty good counter-striker overnight, lands a plethora of strikes including increased usage of kicks and a lead uppercut

  • Just as fast and quick as Renan Barao is, with less power but more high octane, high energy strikes that land in bunches
  • A solid grappler, not a huge threat on the ground but he can handle himself enough to not be worried against black belts
  • Hard to tell what his weaknesses are now since he’s come so far as a fighter – from a wrestler with decent striking, to an elite movement-based high volume striker, but looking at his past he did get countered a little too much (KO’d by Dodson but who hasn’t Dodson KO’d anyways?)
  • His new fighting style does leave Dillashaw’s chin hanging quite a lot during striking exchanges, which wasn’t an issue against Barao, but with a full camp of preparing for the new Dillashaw? That may be Dillashaw’s downfall even if Dillashaw has shown huge improvement in his reaction time and countering skills
  • Barao may want to get the fight to the ground and test Dillashaw’s ground defense which up to this point hasn’t really been tested, but in general wrestlers do struggle off their back especially against strong grapplers/black belts like Barao

What an interesting rematch this fight is! We’ve seen two fights of the brand new TJ Dillashaw so there’s a good sense of what he should/can do against anybody, including Barao. Can Barao’s camp prepare him against Dillashaw’s movements and feints? Can Barao overcome his bad habit of wild swinging hooks against pressure/feints? Is his weight cut still an issue? Is TJ Dillashaw just a complete monster now? All of these questions will be answered in full no doubt, but if I had to venture a guess, I would probably lean with Dillashaw, just because he seems more poised to rise up to the challenge and corrected his past mistakes. He also has the wrestling capabilities to fend off any possible Barao take-down attempts to try and take advantage of Dillashaw’s inexperience off his back. You couple that with his high volume striking and the likelihood of a long battle between two of the elite strikers in the division, and Dillashaw just might get 150+ sig strikes regardless of what happens. Well, unless Barao knocks him out or subs him. Still….

Dillashaw via unanimous decision

That’s it for this week! See you guys next week when we finally get to see Ronda Rousey tease us yet once again! If you don’t know what I mean, then you’ll never know! MUAHAHAHAHAHA! Also, here’s a video to get pumped up for the rematch! Don’t forget to follow me at @4000Pounds! Seriously, I’m getting lonely on there.


  1. Lu

    July 24, 2015 at 9:26 am

    LOL at the video

  2. bigcrip

    July 26, 2015 at 12:38 am

    just wanted to say great detailed breakdown