Friday, December 4, 2009
TUF 10 Live Finale: Main Card Predictions
My overall prediction record was battered a bit by UFC 105 and 106, but all I can do now is dust myself off and try to learn from my mistakes. With that in mind, I'm here to breakdown the main card of Saturday's T.U.F. 10 Live Finale. My overall prediction record now stands at 118-71 (%62.4), and 14-5 (%73.7) in main events.
Ranked Fighters Include (USA Today/SBN Poll):
Roy Nelson (#25 HW), Jon Jones (#15 LHW), Matt Hamill (#20 LHW), and Frankie Edgar (#5 LW)
Roy "Big Country" Nelson (-250) vs. Brendan Schaub (+190)
Heading into T.U.F. 10, most hardcore MMA fans saw Roy "Big Country" Nelson (13-4) as the clear favourite. Everyone else probably thought he looked more like a competitive-eating champion than a high-level mixed martial artist. There's just no way around it, Nelson looks nothing like a prototypical fighter. Then again, it's also impossible to deny either his career successes or how easily he ran through the T.U.F. 10 field. That said, Nelson faces a stern challenge in Brendan Schaub (4-0) who will try to keep the fight standing where he feels he has an advantage. I expect Nelson will eventually want to take it to the ground looking for his trademarked belly-to-face crucifix. It pains me to pick Roy Nelson because I believe that Schaub's size and raw talent may one day enable him to deal handily with the likes of "Big Country." Right now though, Nelson is too well-rounded, while Shaub's takedown defense remains too shaky.
I'm taking Nelson as my straight-up pick, but that didn't stop me from laying a bit of cash down on Schaub. Mostly because I see his odds line as the only one worth wagering on at this event.
Nelson By Unanimous Decision
Jon "Bones" Jones (-325) vs. Matt "The Hammer" Hamill (+250)
Speaking of live underdogs, many argue that Matt Hamill's (7-2) wrestling ability could neutralize Jon Jones (9-0) en route to an upset victory. Besides, they say, there's no way Jones' flashy,unorthodox style can work on everyone. Those arguments would be more convincing if Jon Jones hadn't also enjoyed a successful amateur wrestling career, which should greatly diminish Hamill's only apparent advantage. Also, Hamill's wrestling base is Freestyle while Jones' is Greco-Roman. Meaning that, if Jones can stuff some of Hamill's double-leg attempts, and I think he can, he should have a significant advantage in the clinch and along the fence. As for Jones' creativity being a liability-- I guess I'll have to believe that when we see it. So far, all I have ever seen is that Jones is much faster than Hamill, with a wider array of effective strikes, and a significant reach advantage.
I'll take Jonny "Bones" in this one-- think Franklin vs. Hamill from UFC 88 only with more spinning-back-elbows.
Jones by TKO, Rd. 2
Houston "The Nebraskan Assassin" Alexander (-295) vs. Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson (+235)
First, strip away all the "Kimbo Slice" (3-1) hype. Now, forget about how many fair weather fans Houston Alexander (9-4) has lost since his last octagon win at UFC 75. What you're left with is a pair of powerful, one-dimensional, strikers meeting to determine who is really better at what they do. Both will look to finish the other quickly and brutally, which is a likely outcome since neither possesses a particularly stalwart chin. The difference is that Houston Alexander is in better health and has a vastly larger arsenal of strikes. The presence of arthritis in "Kimbo's" knees was well documented throughout the second half of T.U.F. 10, and is exactly the type of information you wouldn't want leaked to a proficient Muay Thai striker like Alexander. On top of that, "Slice" has repeatedly complained to the media about the difficulty he had in cutting down to their catch-weight of 215lbs. "Kimbo" will come out looking to trade shots, but he might just end up getting picked apart.
Houston should use leg kicks to weaken "Slice" before unleashing knees from the clinch, but he can likely hold his own in a brawl, too, since he only really has to avoid "Kimbo's" hands.
Alexander by TKO, Rd. 2
Frankie "The Answer" Edgar (-650) vs. Matt Veach (+450)
Frankie Edgar (10-1) is easily among the world's best lightweights with wins over Tyson Griffin, Spencer Fisher, Hermes Franca, and former UFC champion Sean Sherk. His wrestling has always been top-notch and he has silenced questions about his strength and striking ability in recent fights. "The Answer" was set to fight fellow contender Kurt Pelligrino at the T.U.F. 10 Live Finale before "Batman" pulled out with an injury. As a result, "The Answer" was forced to settle for lesser-known Matt Veach. Veach trains at Matt Hughes' HIT Squad Gym and could have a shot if Edgar foolishly underestimates him. Another powerful wrestler, the undefeated Veach has only been to decision once in his entire career, while Edgar is certainly not known as a closer. That could give Veach plenty of time to look for a finish.
A value bet on Veach makes some sense here if you like slim-chance gambles, but Edgar's game is most likely too refined for an inexperienced prospect to cause him many problems.
Edgar By Unanimous Decision
Marcus "The Darkness" Jones (-340) vs. Matt Mitrione (+260)
These two both went deep into the T.U.F. 10 tournament, but only Marcus"The Darkness" Jones (4-1) truly endeared himself to the fans. So much so that the entire MMA-nation seemed to shed a collective tear for "Big Baby" when he was bludgeoned into unconsciousness by Brendan Schaub in the semi-finals. The grudge aspect of this fight makes so little sense that it's almost not worth mentioning. Basically, Jones was furious because Mitrione hurt Scott Junk while the two were fighting. Go figure that one out. The fight itself is an interesting stylistic match up that pits the formidable striking of former-NFL scrub Matt Mitrione against the highly-technical Jui-Jitsu of former NFL first-round draft pick Marcus Jones. Marcus has a size and strength advantage that should make the difference in this fight, not to mention that Mitrione has about as much of a gas tank as an electric car.
Look for "Big" Marcus to utilize one of his bear-hug takedowns to haul Mitrione to the canvas. If Matt's fight with James McSweeney taught us anything, Mitrione won't last long from there.
Jones by Submission, Rd. 1
I realize I picked all favourites on this card. I usually try to avoid doing that just for the sake of sport, but there weren't any underdogs I could quite pull the trigger on this time. I think the main event is the closest fight on the card, though, which is exactly the way it should be.