After three long, sometimes painful, months, this Friday TUF: Live comes to an end. Many people, myself included, have criticized the show but I like that its still around. The first season’s finale cemented my fandom while at my grandma’s condo I watched
and Bonner slug it out. Griffin
Ultimately, the show does not hurt the brand at all. It provides fans an opportunity to get to know the coaches better and puts the spotlight on up and coming fighters. Although I did miss some of the usual hijinks (the show need more Chris Tickle!) the switch to the live format won me over in the end as the fights felt like they mattered more than years past.
I have to warn you to to pay close attention to the upcoming predictions. I have gone 10-1 on the last two cards and that’s not even counting picking the upset special last week of Jamie Varner.
Now, on to the picks…
Previews and Predictions
Last Week: 5-0
Lawrence, a Strikeforce veteran, was an early favorite on the show James Krause, a two-time WEC veteran, to get in the house. He was the number one overall pick and took out another preseason favorite in Cristiano Marcello in the opening round. His win streak ended in the next round against eventual finalist Michael Chiesa by third round TKO.
does only have three
fights to his record but he comes from a great camp in Blackhouse MMA. Lawrence
Cofer is much more of an unknown. He has a respectable 7-1 record but he does not even have a wikipedia page (seriously!) Three of those wins have come by submission so I expect him to try to ground Lawrence who is the better striker. His only career loss is by TKO and I think he is due for another one.
Both of these fighters are looking to build off disappointing Octagon debuts. Holloway was an injury replacement against featherweight contender Dustin Poirier. Holloway attempted a couple flying knees but was taken down and submitted fairly easily in the first round. Holloway is 4-1 (0-1 UFC) but with 3 of those wins by decision he will need a win to keep his job.
It was the same story, different opponent for Schilling. The full-time Best Buy employee was submitted in the first round by Daniel Pineda in his debut. Schilling did not show anything special in the performance but nerves get to a lot of guys in their debuts. He had finished all five of his opponents before losing to Pineda so he has the same experience level as Holloway, just with more finishing power.
This is a toss up because neither one was that impressive. Holloway is more explosive and has the potential to catch Schilling with a knee but I think Schilling fights a smart fight and ends up getting his arm raised.
Schilling Unanimous Decision (29-28)
Brookins is a guy I doubted throughout his time on The Ultimate fighter and in his subsequent run in the UFC. But to his credit he has proven to be more than the guy who fought Jose Aldo. Since returning to featherweight he narrowly lost to number one contender Erik Koch but bounced back with a first round KO against Vagner Rocha in February.
Oliveira is a young Brazilian with loads of potential. He is one of the guys on the Zuffa roster that I feel is a must-watch whenever he competes. He can end the fight at any moment with his skills. This will be his second fight at featherweight after his reverse calf slicer against Eric Wisely made the Twitter explode with amazement/confusion.
Bronx” has found a
great fit at featherweight; it is hard to imagine he once competed at
welterweight. On any given night I feel he could catch anybody. Brookins is
known for his wrestling base and grinding style. While it may not be the most entertaining
it has proven to be effective for him, just look at his 13-4 record. Unfortunately, Oliveira would love for this
fight to go to the ground and I think he ends it there with another submission
that leaves fans scratching their heads.
Oliveira Submission (Flying Reverse Triangle Arm Bar) Round Two
The TUF final takes place in the co-main event. Chiesa was the story early on in the show as he found out news about his father passing away but stayed in the competition. After watching all his fights there is no doubt that there is not any quit in this guy. He has lost rounds and came back to win the fight, defeated the #1 pick,
and looks to get stronger as the fights go on. Lawrence
The Serra-Longo Fight Team product, Iaquinta, earned Team Faber their first win when he defeated Myles Jury, a guy I liked to go far in the competition. After two more wins he finds himself in the finals competing for the six-figure contract. While Iaquinta was not the most exciting character in the house, his fight skills were as good as anyone. He continuously goes forward and is capable of handling the fight wherever it goes.
There are many similarities in Chiesa’s fights. The first couple minutes he usually spends trying to find his range before ultimately deciding to take it to the ground. In this one I don’t think Iaquinta gives him a chance to get comfortable. And when Chiesa tries to take it to the ground Iaquinta’s wrestling won’t allow it. I have doubted Chiesa too many times though throughout the show to think he will get finished though,
Iaquinta Unanimous Decision (30-27)
This fight pits two of the top welterweights in the company against each other. Ellenberger is on a six fight win streak after dropping a controversial decision to current interim champ, Carlos Condit, in his Octagon debut. This streak is highlighted by a fight of the night war against Diego Sanchez and a first round finish of Jake Shields. The Juggernaut combines heavy hands with great wrestling; his only real question to me is his cardio.
Kampmann came back after getting beaten for 14 minutes to beat Thiago Alves with a last-minute guillotine in his last fight. The Hitman offers a more diverse striking attack than Ellenberger; he is much more accurate although he doesn’t match the Juggernaut’s power.
This is going to be a great fight. Kampmann could easily be on a six fight win streak of his own if the judge’s gave him the nod against Sanchez and Jake Shields (I did in both). I think this fight plays out like the Ellenberger-Sanchez. Ellenberger dominated for nearly three rounds until Sanchez took over. If Kampmann can avoid the KO in the early rounds he can definitely upset Ellenberger and steal his spot in the rankings.Ellenberger Unanimous Decision (48-47)
Who do you have? The Juggernaut or the Hitman?
As an extra bonus I have included the shorter, and error-filled picks of my co-host of Split Decision, Ryan Penney. Back in college, we met and I’d like to take credit for turning him into a MMA fan.
We host a show on http://www.sportsgeeksusa.com/ that covers all the MMA news and plenty of nonsense too. Hope you can like our facebook page, follow us on twitter and leave plenty of comments. Make sure to vote on the poll to the right and enjoy the fights.
Preliminary card (Facebook)
Bantamweight bout: John Albert vs. Erik Perez- I watched John live in his last fight and had the opportunity to interview him after. Great guy, who is an exciting fighter(perfect for this weight class)... I dont know much about Perez, but I think Albert wins this with TKO in RD 1.
Preliminary card (Fuel TV)
Lightweight bout: Jeremy Larsen vs. Joe Proctor- Jeremy didn’t get a ton of love, but he did a guy in the finale(Chiesa) in his only fight. Proctor was an early favorite, who should be able to submit Larsen.
Lightweight bout: Cristiano Marcello vs. Sam Sicilia- Haven’t seen Marcello in a long time, since his loss to Larsen. I love Sicilia's heart, but I think Marcello is a stud who has the smarts and vet skills to win by rear naked choke.
Lightweight bout: Myles Jury vs. Chris Saunders- Saunders was the last pick but excelled a bit and made a short run. Myles has a story of his own, getting hurt in last season and coming back for this season. I was very impressed by Saunders and think he will continue to fight with a chip on his shoulder UD 29-28.
Lightweight bout: Daron Cruickshank vs. Chris Tickle- Chris Tickle is my favorite, because he makes me laugh... simple as that and for that reason I will pick him in the upset of the night.
Main card (FX)
Lightweight bout: Justin Lawrence vs. John Cofer- I think Justin will end up in a lower weight class, and his power will help him do well in the UFC for his size. He shows off his power tonight with a TKO RD 3.
Featherweight bout: Max Holloway vs. Pat Schilling- Both guys are coming off losses in there UFC Debuts, with Holloways coming thanks to Dustin the Diamond Poirier. I think this will be a huge fight for both, hoping not to go 0-2 in the big show. I think Holloway dominates this fight, then makes a mistake and Shilling catches him and submits him via Triangle choke in RD 2.
Featherweight bout: Jonathan Brookins vs. Charles Oliveira- I thought Oliveira was the future of the LW, but he struggled a bit and now I think he will make a run in the featherweight division. Brookins looked great in his last fight, but I don’t think he matches up well with Charles. UD 30-27.
TUF: Live Lightweight Tournament final bout: Mike Chiesa vs. Al Iaquinta- I have been a huge Chiesa fan since day one, but he doesn’t fight with a ton of urgency at times and I don’t think he can match Iaquinta's power. This thing might go well if it goes on the ground and stays on the ground but I put my money on mild mannered calm assassin that is Iaquinta. Iaquinta wins TKO rd 2.
Welterweight bout: Jake Ellenberger vs. Martin Kampmann- I think Jake deserves a shot against Condit or Hendricks.... He proves that tonight in an absolute war with Kampmann-- RD 5 Armbar submission