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UFC 204: Bisping vs Henderson 2 Breakdown

Dan Tom

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Michael Bisping (29-7)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’2″ Age: 37 Weight: 185 lbs Reach: 75.5″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Luke Rockhold (6-4-16)
  • Camp: RVCA Gym (California/UK)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Excellent

Supplemental info:
+   UFC Middleweight Champion
+   TUF 3 Winner
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Multiple Grappling Accolades
+   18 KO victories
+   12 first round finishes
+   3 Submission wins
+   Excellent feints & footwork
^   Manages distance well
+   Consistent pace & pressure
^   Good cardio & conditioning
+   Accurate left hook
+   Underrated wrestling
+   Good guard retention & get-ups
–    Dropped in 3 of last 5 fights

 

Dan Henderson (32-14)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’1″ Age: 46 Weight: 185 lbs Reach: 74″
  • Last Fight: KO win / Hector Lombard (6-4-16)
  • Camp: Team Quest (Temecula, CA)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Pride MW & WW Title Holder
+   2x U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team
+   Multiple Greco-Roman Accolades
+   Strikeforce Light-Heavyweight Title
+   16 KO victories
+   15 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Strong inside the clinch
+   Devastating right hand
^   Sometimes throws self out of position
+   Solid top game
^   Dangerous ground striker
+/-Willingness to trade
^   Counter availabilities
–    Dropped/stopped in 5 out of last 11

Summary:

The main event in Manchester features an epic rematch for the middleweight title as Michael Bisping defends the crown from Dan Henderson. The word “epic” can often be overused, but it is highly appropriate when describing the two roads that each man took to get here.

Michael Bisping, who many had written off to challenge for the title, has had one the best years of his career at 37-years of age. Now, he will not only get to defend his newfound championship belt–but also get a chance to avenge one of the most notorious knockout losses in UFC history, as he gets another crack at Dan Henderson.

Despite having one of the most accoladed careers you could ask for in MMA, Dan Henderson finds himself on the other side of the coin coming into his second meeting with the Count. Although his support from fans and fighters have not dwindled, Dan’s mileage has finally started to show as he is the oldest fighter on the roster at 46 years of age.

Numbers aside, they say that power is the last to go–as I give my take on how these two stack up this time around. Spending most of his storied career sharpening the effectiveness of his forward pressure, we have steadily seen Dan round out his approach. From his left-handed paws–to his patent inside leg kick, Henderson has kept his setups consistent for his right-hand. This forward-pressure approach worked great for Dan in their first meeting, especially when you consider the way Michael used to move.

Coming from more of a kickboxing base, Bisping was still in the process of learning how to sit down on his punches as he had a tendency to keep upright, particularly on his exits. Although his then habit of circling to the left did not help Michael, it was his overall defensive posture that made him so vulnerable. Since then, we have seen Bisping improve upon his hand and head positioning. Though his high-output approach still makes him hittable by nature, we have seen Michael minimize these scenarios since joining forces with Jason Parillo.

A striking coach with strong boxing roots, Parillo has helped many great fighters grow, including the lightweight legend, BJ Penn. In turn, we now see Michael move much more fluidly with his footwork as it fuels his pulls & returns. Applying angles appropriately, Bisping will also change his level more, which opens up his options and makes him harder to hit. What is most impressive about the Englishmen’s renaissance is the fact that he is largely doing it with one eye. Shortly after a loss to Vitor Belfort, Bisping sustained an eye injury that required surgery, albeit not corrective.

Although initially struggling in his return fight against Tim Kennedy, Michael has since shown a heightened urgency and awareness in regards to exiting exchanges. Much better about retracting his right hand, Bisping will also look to exit safely from right crosses or clean-up hitting hooks. Due in large part to his angle awareness and foot placement, Michael is most successful when punching his way out of the exchanges, as that is how he was able to drop the likes of Luke Rockhold and Anderson Silva.

However, Bisping will still often pull back from exchanges without punching, and in turn exposing his head. Even if you go back to Bisping’s wins over Dolloway and Leites, you will see that this was apparent during the times he was in trouble. Considering that the counter game has deceptively been the quiet improvements to Henderson’s offense, these spaces will likely be the American’s best path to victory. Since Dan will more than likely be on the wrong side of the speed equation, his feints will be crucial in opening up his opportunities.

A key in equalizing speed advantages, feints are also useful in drawing out “stick & move” fighters, especially ones who have a habit of preemptively parrying. Although Henderson has shown to incorporate feints since his most recent return to the UFC, he has struggled to find success with them as Dan’s tightness tends to turn them into preemptive plots that give away his attacks. We saw multiple examples of this in his fights with Shogun Rua and Vitor Belfort, as both men were most successful when catching Henderson coming in.

That said, we may see Henderson look to flip the script and counter Bisping. As we saw in his fights with Tim Boetsch and Hector Lombard, Dan’s “H-Bomb” is just as effective moving backward, as this will be the looming threat to Bisping’s onslaughts. Although right hands have been the common culprit in 6/8 of Dan’s recently sustained knockdowns(due to his low lead hand), the left-hand of Bisping may be his biggest problem. Naturally leaning heavily to his right side, Henderson also has a tendency to lean dangerously forward on his approach.

With these two habits in mind, Dan could very well run into Michael’s jabs and hooks. “Left Hook Larry” moniker aside, Bisping’s left-hook has developed into one of his more accurate shots as it often punctuates exchanges. That said, Dan has an underrated left hook of his own that often follows failed right hands. When it comes to the grappling advantages, I would have to side with the former U.S. Olympian on paper. However, Bisping may have a quiet edge here that could unfold depending on the circumstances.

As Henderson has gotten older, we have seen him call upon his wrestling less and less. In fact, we have only seen the two-time Olympic team member offensively wrestle when hurt or threatened in the heat of exchanges. Considering how difficult Bisping’s movement can be when it comes to setting up a shot, I would not be surprised to see seldom attempts from Dan. That said, Bisping has an improved reactive double-leg that could see the light of day if executed on an overwhelmed Henderson.

Although the middle ground known as the clinch game should also be an on-paper edge for Dan, the real action will take place on the separation as each man diligently strikes off of the breaks. Should Dan get the Englishmen grounded, I am not certain he will be able to keep him down given Bisping’s butterfly and under-hook acumen. Ultimately, I see this fight’s fate being decided on the feet and off the breaks, where I believe the sharper man will thrive. Even though I will be rooting for Dan Henderson to win the one trophy missing from his case, I suspect that Michael Bisping will finally have his revenge in Manchester.

Official Pick: Bisping – Inside the distance

 

Vitor Belfort (25-12)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 39 Weight: 185 lbs Reach: 74″
  • Last Fight: TKO loss / Jacare Souza (5-14-16)
  • Camp: Team Vitor Belfort (Florida)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC LHW Champion
+   UFC Heavyweight Tournament Winner
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   18 KO victories
+   3 Submission wins
+   19 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Accurate left hand
^   Often sets up left kick
+   Superb killer instinct
–    Will succeed bottom
–    Struggles w/grappling pressure
+/-20+ years of fighting experience

 

Gegard Mousasi (39-6-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’1″ Age: 31 Weight: 185 lbs Reach: 76″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Thiago Santos (2-9-16)
  • Camp: Red Devil International (Netherlands)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Former Strikeforce & Dream Champion
+   Amateur Boxing Champion
+   8-0 as a Pro Kickboxer
+   Black Belt Judo
+   22 KO victories
+   10 Submission wins
+   29 first round finishes
+   Manages distance well
+   Active & accurate jab
+   Solid defensive fundamentals
+   Underrated wrestling ability
+   Good ground strikes & submissions
+   Crafty guard retentions & sweeps

Summary:

The co-main event for UFC 204 features a middleweight fight between Vitor Belfort and Gegard Mousasi. Coming off a tough loss to Jacare Souza back in May, the long-tenured Belfort will look to once again ride into glory. Ahead of the Brazilian legend is a tough task as he draws MMA’s lone wolf, Gegard Mousasi. A veteran that has also seen it all, Mousasi will attempt to score another scalp as he seeks title contention.

At this stage of his twenty-year-plus career, it is no surprise that Vitor Belfort comes in as the underdog in this spot. Despite Belfort’s inconsistencies since his controversial testosterone use, the Brazilian will have clear and tangible paths to victory in this fight. A noted first round fighter, Belfort could conceivably get the jump on Gegard, who often starts slow. More specifically, Mousasi’s defensive tendencies could play right into Vitor’s most potent strikes.

Stalking forward in a measured fashion, Mousasi will steadily pressure opponents through jabs and feints. However, when Gegard looks to defend, he tends to lurch forward as he leans/slips to off to his right-side. Against a southpaw in Lyoto Machida, we saw Mousasi struggle to find his jab as he ate left-sided counter kicks and punches. That said, Machida has a knack for throwing off the best of strikers with his unorthodox style, so that should be kept in mind as this was Gegard’s only UFC southpaw sample-size.

Although Vitor is not as fast as Machida, nor as fleet-of-foot, his left cross and kick are still lethal. Belfort also throws a nice uppercut off his check hook that could find it’s home through Gegard’s lurching guard. That said, I expect Mousasi has improved since his Machida bout as he has shown to more efficiently pressure inside the Octagon. Even though Mousasi seems uninterested by the look on his face, he is subtly searching for defensive tells and openings. Gegard also has some underrated leg kicks that could see some light in this fight.

However, as heavy as Mousasi’s leg kicks can be, they may also open him up to explosive counter shots from the Brazilian if he is not careful. Where the road of possibilities begins to narrow for me, is when looking at Mousasi’s reactive shot. Although he is not an active wrestler by any stretch, Gegard’s abilities are solid here as he knows just when to take his opponents down. Even though Vitor initially displayed improvements to his takedown defense in his last outing, he still showed to succumb to grappling pressure within the first round.

Although Belfort will have moments of veteran savvy inside the scrambles, he will also still pull guard or succeed to the bottom. Once underneath his opposition, Vitor has shown surprisingly little hip-awareness, much less the urgency to stand or submit. Not only is Gegard technically sound enough to keep down a grounded Belfort, but he is also intelligent enough to know that this is his path of least resistance. Although Vitor has slightly more than a puncher’s chance, his do-or-die sensibilities will likely see him stopped before the final bell.

Official Pick: Mousasi – Inside the distance

 

Ovince Saint Preux (19-8)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’3″ Age: 33 Weight: 205 lbs Reach: 80″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Jon Jones (4-23-16)
  • Camp: Knoxville MMA (Tennessee)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Blue Belt BJJ
+   10 KO victories
+   4 Submission wins
+   12 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Accurate left hand
+   Hard left body kick
+   Improved footwork
^   Shows intelligent shifts
+   Underrated submission game
+   Solid reactive shot
+   Good get-up urgency/ability
–    Struggles w/wrestling pressure

 

Jimi Manuwa (15-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 36 Weight: 205 lbs Reach: 79.5″
  • Last Fight: TKO loss / Anthony Johnson (9-5-15)
  • Camp: All-Stars Training Center (Sweeden/UK)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Purple Belt BJJ
+   13 KO victories
+   1 Submission wins
+   10 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Solid footwork
+   Accurate left hook
+   Dangerous right hand
+   Dynamic kicking game
^   Especially off lead foot
+   Competent takedown defense (69%)
?   Questionable overall ground game
–    1 fight in 18 months

Summary:

In a light-heavyweight affair, Ovince Saint Preux takes on Jimi Manuwa. Coming off a short notice fight against Jon Jones, Saint Preux will look to right his ship after going the distance with the former champion. Standing in his way is England’s own, as Jimi Manuwa looks to make his return from an inactive 18 months.

Starting off on the feet, Saint Preux is dangerous, but Jimi is arguably the superior striker. Despite only doing martial arts since 2008, the 36-year old Manuwa looks to be one of the most refined technicians in the division. Keeping a classic defensive-guard, Jimi mixes in fundamentally sound strikes with traditional techniques like hook kicks. That said, Manuwa tends to throw his kicks nakedly, which could allow for counters.

I feel that Manuwa’s left hook may serve him well in this fight. Although Jimi does not have a huge sample size against southpaws, he shows good foot placement in his footwork that allows him to place his punches appropriately. Throwing his left hook coming forward or off of the counter may be Manuwa’s best chances of catching the elusive southpaw. One of the most natural athletes to compete in the UFC, we have seen Saint Preux steadily attach technics to his strong base.

Despite being one of the bigger men in the division, Ovince is also one of the most fleet-of-foot in regards to the way he moves. Displaying a shift variation referred to in traditional martial arts as “opening the gate“–the southpaw will swing his lead foot backward into an orthodox stance. These deceptive stance-switches change OSP’s attack range as well as his opposition’s perception of it. It will also allow Saint Preux to keep his left-hand in play as we saw this depicted in his fight with Shogun Rua(I also refer to this technique in my Cruz-Dillashaw Breakdown as Cruz has been masterfully doing this for years).

Even though Ovince’s left side is dangerous in regards to his punches and kicks, I believe his uppercut may be most potent in this matchup. Although the shell defense Manuwa employs can often expose the body, Jimi has shown a good job in defending body kicks in his fights with Ryan Jimmo and Jan Blachowicz. However, the shell guard can also make one open for attacks up the middle–like knees or uppercuts. Considering that those are strikes that Jimi has traditionally struggled with, this could be the punch to look for from OSP as his finish of Patrick Cummings shows his potential there.

Where the road of advantages begins to split for me, is when I look at each man’s grappling prospects. Regardless of how things go on the feet, OSP should always have the option of taking this fight to the floor as the superior wrestler, and arguably superior clinch fighter. Manuwa can strike well from the clinch as his leg dexterity lends itself to some nice knees inside. However, his efforts inside have largely been to anti-clinch as he faced a higher level of opposition. Both men have a good aptitude in striking off the breaks, but Saint Preux’s ability to changes levels for a shot should make the difference here.

Once on top, Ovince has been looking for fewer submissions and showing more positional awareness. Although that does not initially sound ideal, it is a sign of growth and maturity as this has also allowed OSP’s ground striking and control to become more efficient. I do not mean to discount Manuwa on the ground, but what little we have seen from him has not been the best account. Despite being a natural learner with excellent leg dexterity, we have seen no sign of a developing guard, much less the utilization of butterflies to stand. Unless Jimi can unveil some new skills he picked up from All-Stars Training Center, then I see OSP being able to control this fight.

Official Pick: Saint Preux – Decision

 

Stefan Struve (27-8)

Staple info:

  • Height: 7’0″ Age: 28 Weight: 265 lbs Reach: 84.5″
  • Last Fight: KO win / Antonio Silva (5-8-16)
  • Camp: Blackzilians (Florida)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Title
+   8 KO victories
+   16 Submission wins
+   17 first round finishes
+   Strong teep kicks
+   Hard leg kicks
+   Accurate right hand
+   Improved takedown defense
^   Off cage & inside clinch
+   Moves/scrambles well on top
+   Dangerous submission game
^   Favors triangle chokes
–    Overhand availability
–   Traditionally takes damage
+/-6/8 losses in the first round

 

Daniel Omielanczuk (19-5-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 34 Weight: 242 lbs Reach: 74″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Alexey Oleynik (7-13-16)
  • Camp: S4 Fight Club (Poland)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   3 KO victories
+   9 Submission wins
+   9 first round finishes
+   Good footwork
^   Outside foot awareness
+   Heavy hands
^   Dangerous L. hand-R. hook
+   Hard left kicks
^   Body & head
+   Strong inside the clinch
^   Deceptive base & balance
+   Solid top game
–    Struggles from bottom
–    Fighting on short notice

Summary:

In a heavyweight battle, Stefan Struve will take on Daniel Omielanczuk. Originally slated to face Ruslan Magomedov, Struve will now face another Eastern European striker in Daniel Omielanczuk. Coming in on two weeks notice, Omielanczuk will put his 3-fight winning streak on the line as he looks to score the upset.

With both fighters technically skilled, the standing exchanges should tell us the most about this fight’s trajectory. Although Struve was preparing for one of the division’s more technical strikers, Daniel Omielanczuk is a different kind of fighter as he seldom sits back to counter. A deceptive distance closer, Daniel shows solid footwork for a heavyweight as he maintains an outside-foot-awareness. Although he has Muay Thai experience, his overall movement has a nod to his traditional background in Wushu Sanda.

Despite having an affinity for head kicks, Omielanczuk may not have many realistic looks against a foe who is a foot taller. That said, the body should be open all day long as I suspect the liver kick will be the shot to look for from the Pole. Although Stefan has traditionally struggled to keep his distance, he has made steady improvements to his game in the past few years. Dusting off his jab with more consistency, Stefan will also lean on his long teep kick to assist his efforts of distance management.

However, Struve will need to be careful when throwing it as Omielanczuk has a knack for countering kicks. In his UFC debut against Nandor Gueimino, Daniel was able to counter the Austrian’s teep kick with a thunderous left-hand that dropped him flat. Granted, Nandor did throw the same kick three times consecutively, but Struve will need to respect Omielanczuk regardless.

Although Daniel has the propensity to push into the clinch, he does not show a strong takedown game that I see giving Struve trouble. Daniel primarily attempts his takedowns against the fence, an area where Stefan has shown marked improvement. Despite an aging Minotauro Nogueira not being the best measuring stick as far wrestling goes, Struve did show some real technical improvements in not just defending takedowns, but also killing clinch engagements and circling out.

Although Struve’s fight with Rosholt was seemingly stranger, we still saw Stefan show these improvements as he was able to defend and adjust as the fight went on. Despite that being one of the more painful fights of recent memory, I do not feel it is a condemnation of Struve’s potential career. That said, his 16-second victory over Bigfoot Silva last May was not the best sample-size either. Never the less, Struve is training with quality coaches down in Florida as I suspect to see his improvements should this fight hit the floor.

Working with Blackzilian’s ground-marshall, Neil Melanson, Stefan has had the tutelage of one the best MMA grappling coaches in the game. A triangle choke specialist at 6’7″–250 lbs., Neil makes for an ideal coach to the man known as the Skyscraper. Moving his hips exceptionally well for a big man, I suspect that Struve will be able to give Daniel an unusual look that will likely cause him fits. Even when failing on initial attempts, Struve has shown to parlay his efforts into scrambling scenarios that serve him well.

With neither man possessing an aggressive takedown game, it is hard to forecast how much of this fight will take place on the mat. That said, I have to give an advantage to Struve as he will be the more dangerous man from top or bottom. Although Struve is the deserved favorite coming into this fight, Omielanczuk has all the intangibles of an underdog as he has a knack for dishing out unfavorable dog fights. Although Daniel is not the biggest finishing threat, he is physically durable with a deceptive gas tank attached. Considering that Omielanczuk has yet to be stopped, the safe play may be the over in what I feel is a heavyweight coin toss.

Official Pick: Struve – Decision

 

Mirsad Bektic (10-0)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’8″ Age: 25 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 70″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Lucas Martins (5-30-15)
  • Camp: American Top Team (Florida)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Title
+   6 KO victories
+   1 Submission win
+   4 first round finishes
+   Excellent footwork
^   Manages distance well
+   Fundamentally sound striker
^   Accurate jab-cross
+   Strong hips & base
^   100% Takedown defense
+   Natural wrestling ability
^   Superb reactive shot
+   Fights well in-close
^   Good head positioning/hand fighting
–    1 fight in 17 months

 

Russell Doane (14-6)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’7″ Age: 30 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 69.5″
  • Last Fight: Submission loss / Pedro Munhoz (7-7-16)
  • Camp: Hawaii Elite MMA (Hawaii)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   6 KO victories
+   5 Submission wins
+   7 first round finishes
+   Improved footwork
^   Stance shifting attacks
+   Heavy hands
+   Hard body kicks
+   Underrated wrestling ability
^   Quick shots & solid chains
+   Scrambles & rides well
^   Good grip & lever application
+/-Turtles out to stand
^   Struggles w/back take availability
–    Fighting on 5 days notice

Summary:

Kicking off the main card is a fun featherweight fight between Mirsad Bektic and Russell Doane. Originally slated to face Arnold Allen, Bektic will yet again deal with an opponent change as the Bosnian is eager to make his return. Saving the show and stepping in on five days notice is Hawaiian fighter, Russell Doane. Coming up from bantamweight to take this fight, Russell will put his 3-fight losing skid aside and look to upset an undefeated fighter.

Even though the odds are strongly against Doane to do it, the Hawaiian will bring some interesting intangibles to the table. Although he is the smaller man, Russell is one of the better movers Bektic has faced on the feet in his short UFC tenor. Despite the fact that Doane has struggled to show the same potential standing as he did in his bouts outside the UFC, the Hawaiian showed signs of his improvements in his last fight with Pedro Munhoz. Similar to his stablemate Max Holloway, Russell came out southpaw as he would shift his stances and attack

Firing accurate left-hands and body kicks in a continuum, the fast starting Hawaiian looked to be controlling the fight early. Although Doane ended up losing to Munhoz(via a beautiful boa choke), his quick starts standing could be his best shot here. Even though Mirsad is no slouch in the striking department, he has not competed in well over a year as strike timing can be the hardest adjustment initially. That said, Bektic shows disciplined defenses and is also fleet-of-foot, as he circles off and angles appropriately.

Where the rubber meets the road in this fight is within the wrestling exchanges. Both men show preternatural hip awareness and strength but go about their games differently. Bektic employs an excellent reactive shot that is reminiscent to a prime GSP when attached to his jab. Doane, on the other hand, will rely on his quickness to get in on shots as he works more of a chaining takedown game. Although Russell has the technical ability to create his moments here, I suspect that the bigger man’s high-percentage game will eventually take over.

However, bigger is not always better when it comes to grappling matchups. A technical grappler can do well against bigger opponents but struggle against the smaller ones, as scrambling plays a huge factor in forcing a control player to work. Since most top game players who have a size advantage seldom stray from trying to control the action, things could get interesting should Russell force Bektic to play his game. That said, the Hawaiian’s game is a double-edged sword as his scrambles often get him burned as well.

Like many wrestling based grapplers, Russell tends to turtle out when he stands which always runs a risk for back takes. Despite Doane having superb submission defense, his is too comfortable in fighting from bad spots as this has cost him crucial rounds in the past. Mirsad plays an air-tight, and patient top game where he will use his pressure to open up his advances. Although he is not as flashy a scrambler as Russell, the Bosnian will smoothly snatch a back at the appropriate times.

Even though a layoff is not as troubling as a short-notice fight, I would go easy on expectations for Bektic, as I predict a measured approach from the Bosnian. Although Russell is a bantamweight, he has heavy-hands and a submissions game that Bektic will need to respect. Although I would not mind seeing the scrappy Hawaiian score an upset, I will be siding with Bektic as I see him getting back on his horse and riding out the storm.

Official Pick: Bektic – Decision

Preliminary Card Predictions:

  • Pickett def. Alcantara
  • Font def. Entwistle
  • Grant def. Stasiak
  • Tumenov def. Edwards
  • Roberts def. Perry
  • Martins def. Santos
  • Diakiese def. Sajewski

Recommended Plays:

Draft Kings recommended rosters:

 

Team #1: $50,000.00

-Gegard Mousasi ($9,400.00)
-Michael Bisping ($9,100.00)
-Marc Diakiese ($9,000.00)
-Brad Pickett ($7,900.00)
-Daniel Omielanczuk ($7,700.00)
-Ian Entwistle ($6,900.00)

Team Summary:

For my Draft Kings recommended roster, I went with the high-tier picks of Gegard Mousasi, Michael Bisping, and Marc Diakiese. Gegard Mousasi is the fighter I favor most on this card to find a finish for the reasons stated in the breakdown above. A versatile finisher who is facing a do-or-die fighter, Mousasi is well worth the price of $9,400.00. Secondly, I went with Michael Bisping as he is also one of the more favored fighters to find a finish on this card. As main event participant in a five-round fight, the Count is well worth his price tag of $9,100.00.

Lastly, I went with the newcomer Marc Diakiese to score a knockout over Lukasz Sajewski. Although Sajewski’s well-rounded attack and forward pressure present a tough test, Diakiese demonstrates a larger athletic upside, as well as the proper tools for the job. Wielding a dangerous right-hand, Diakiese has stunned his last handful of opponents with his precise shots over the top. As we saw in Sajewski’s last fight with Gilbert Burns, his low-handed stalking nature makes him vulnerable to overhands. In what has the makings of an action fight, Diakiese could pay off big for the price of $9,000.00.

For my lower-tier dog picks, I elected to go with Brad Pickett, Daniel Omielanczuk, and Ian Entwistle. Brad Pickett is my most confident dog pick on the card as he faces Iuri Alcantara. Although Alcantara is a dangerous veteran fighter, Pickett has the output advantages to outscore Alcantara, who often strikes in singles and from the same side. In fact, Alcantara has become less successful banking on big shots as he has gotten older. Even though the Brazilian is an excellent back taker, Pickett has an underrated wrestling and scrambling ability that should help him dictate the action and stay safe. Although it can be hard to count on Pickett to land his one punch, the Englishmen could prove himself a solid dog pick for the price of $7,900.00.

Secondly, I went with Daniel Omilanczuk despite officially siding with Struve. Not only are heavyweights solid underdog picks by nature, but I honestly believe the Omielanczuk is live in this spot for the reasons listed in the breakdown above. As a durable southpaw with a gas tank, Daniel Omielanczuk makes a solid dog pick at $7,700.00. Finally, I went with Ian Entwistle despite officially siding with Rob Font. Although Font has more ways to win this fight on paper, Entwistle has more of an upside in regards to potential points as all his finishes are in the first round. For the price of $6,900.00, the leg-lock artist could round out your roster nicely.

Props worth looking at(5Dimes.eu):

-Saint Preux by Decision: +550 (0.5 Unit)
-Pickett by Decision: +230 (.25 Unit)
-Struve/Omelianczuk over 1 1/2: -145 (1 Unit)

Playable favorites for your parlays:

-Gegard Mousasi
-Albert Tumenov
-Adriano Martins

Fights to avoid:

-Rob Font vs Ian Entwistle
-Davey Grant vs Damian Stasiak
-Danny Roberts vs Mike Perry

For the complete analysis of future & past UFC events visit MixedMartialAnalyst.com and for future breakdowns & your latest in world-wide MMA news, stay tuned & follow @MMALatestnws MMALatestNews.com

Onnit Primal Bells

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UFC on Fox: Emmett vs Stephens – Breakdown and Predictions

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UFC returns to Fox with an exciting card full of up-and-coming talent, crafty veterans, and a main event featuring two of the featherweight division’s most powerful punchers. While the card seems to lack some star power, it holds some interesting and exciting match-ups. The co-main event features two of the best women’s 115ers in the world both vying for a shot at the title as Jéssica Andrade takes on Tecia Torres. In the main event, knock-out artist and division staple Jeremy Stephens takes on the young and hungry Team Alpha Male product Josh Emmett. A great main event to head off a solid Fox card, and now onto the breakdown.

Mike Perry vs Max Griffin

This fight should be fun for as long as it lasts, but don’t bet on it lasting too long. Mike Perry is one of the hardest hitters in the UFC’s welterweight division. Griffin can bang too, but Perry’s just a different animal in that department. The good news for Griffin is that there’s already a pretty decent blueprint on how to beat Perry; pick him apart from the outside and don’t brawl with the guy. The bad news is Griffin is a brawler at heart, which isn’t gonna do him any favors against a superior striker like Perry.

Mike Perry is one of the most marketable guys in the UFC’s crowded 170 pound division. Priority number 1 for the UFC is to get Perry back on the winning track. And Max Griffin is the perfect man for the job. Both men will come forward throwing heaters until someone goes down, and chances are that someone is gonna be Griffin. Perry is just too powerful, and unless Griffin can keep Perry on the outside early it’s gonna be a short night for ‘Pain’.

Prediction: Mike Perry by 1st Round KO

Ovince Saint Preux vs Ilir Latifi

Nobody has ever beaten Ovince Saint Preux. OSP beats himself. He’s sloppy, has terrible technique, and is almost always behind on the scorecards. Yet somehow he continues to score victories over the 205’s elite, most of the time in spectacular fashion. It is insane. Latifi is a more complete fighter, with solid boxing and a strong wrestling game to fall back on. Latifi tends to favor the stand-up, but against a big, powerful guy like OSP, that might not be the best idea.

The big question here is; how is Latifi going to approach this one? Striking with the big man is risky due to his monstrous power and 7 in. reach advantage. Wrestling is a safer option, however Ovince is not an easy man to hold down. Latifi’s best bet is to make it ugly. Grind Ovince up against the fence and dirty box the s**t out of him. Then once he’s good and tired, take him down to ice the round. Sure it’s not the most entertaining style, but if it works it works.

Prediction: Ilir Latifi by Decision

Jessica Andrade Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Jéssica Andrade vs Tecia Torres

After seeing her completely demolish two-time title challenger Cláudia Gadelha, I was confident picking Andrade over anyone in the division (not named Joanna of course). But after giving it some serious thought, I think Torres might just be the one to bring down the Brazilian brawler, think about it. Joanna was able to keep Andrade away with her jab for the better part of 25 minutes. And while Torres is no Joanna, she’s still an excellent striker with wins over some solid opposition.

Andrade has made vast improvements since her loss to then champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk. This was evident in the Gadelha fight. The same can be said for the ever-improving Torres, whose only loss in mma was to current champion Rose Namajunas (a woman she’s beaten in the past). This truly is one of the most high-level women’s match-ups in recent memory, but I believe the kickboxing of Torres will be enough to keep Andrade on the outside, securing Torres her fourth straight win and possibly a title shot.

Prediction: Tecia Torres by Decision

Josh Emmett vs Jeremy Stephens

Josh Emmett made waves last year, knocking out perennial contender Ricardo Lamas on short-notice in Winnipeg. While impressive, it’s worth noting that this was the first finish of Emmett’s UFC career and he missed weight for the bout (weighed in at 148.5). Stephens on the other hand just scored a vicious knock out over featherweight prospect Doo Ho Choi. This was Stephens’ first finish since July of 2015 when he flying knee KO’d Dennis Bermudez. On paper, this looks like it will be a barn-burner, on paper.

Stephens has struggled against good wrestlers in the past, most recently Frankie Edgar at UFC 205. And Frankie is small for the weight class, unlike Emmett who fought the majority of his career up at lightweight. I give Jeremy the edge in the striking department, but Emmett has some wicked power at 145. If it stays on the feet it’s anyone’s guess what will happen. But if Emmett does the smart thing and takes Jeremy down often, we just might have a new top contender in the UFC’s stacked featherweight division.

Prediction: Josh Emmett by Decision

 

 

 

 

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GLORY: Redemption – Breakdown and Predictions

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Glory returns to pay-per-view today with a stacked card, featuring some of their greatest fighters. Among them are reigning champions Rico Verhoeven and Alex Pereira, as well as the return of former title holder Nieky Holzken.

In the main event, Rico puts his heavyweight title on the line against the very dangerous Jamal Ben Saddik, who defeated him 6 years ago. Rico comes into the fight riding an impressive 14-fight Glory winning streak.

The co-main event features a rematch of the 2016 Fight of the Year between light heavyweight veterans Michael ‘The Dreamcrusher’ Duut and Danyo ‘Dibuba’ Ilunga. The card is a must-see for kickboxing fans, as well as those who just love a good scrap. And with that out of the way, here’s a breakdown of some of the more interesting fight’s on Saturday’s super-card. Enjoy.

Nieky ‘The Natural’ Holzken – Credit: GLORY Kickboxing

Nieky Holzken vs Alim Nabiyev

Nabiyev came into Glory with a decent amount of steam behind him, but following his bout against short-notice opponent Jimmy Veinot, I honestly don’t see it. Nieky’s reign as champion was one of the best, and despite two close losses to the equally talented Cédric Doumbé, he’s still one of the best welterweights in the world today. With wins over Raymond Daniels, Joseph Valtellini, and current champion Murthel Groenhart, it’s hard to imagine Nieky having much of a problem with Nabiyev.

Expect plenty of pressure from Holzken early on. Coming off two straight losses Nieky will want to make a statement, and prove that he’s still the man to beat at 170. The liver shot will do it. Holzken will just be too much for Alim. Nabiyev has  potential and could be a contender in the future, but right now Holzken is on a whole ‘nother level. Nieky is back, and he wants that title.

Prediction: Nieky Holzken by 1st Round TKO

 

Alex 'Po Atan' Pereira

Alex ‘Po Atan’ Pereira – Credit: GLORY Kickboxing

Alex Pereira vs Yousri Belgaroui

Pereira’s win back at Glory 46 came as a shock to me. Simon Marcus has proven himself to be one of the best fighters in the division, and while Pereira is a solid kickboxer in his own right, I fully expected Marcus to win that one pretty easy. I was wrong. Pereira was the better man, and is now the Glory middleweight champion. But don’t expect it to last. Yousri completely shut Pereira down in there last meeting at Glory 40. And based on his last performance, a first round TKO over former champ Jason Wilnis, he’s only getting better.

Pereira’s path to victory is pretty simple, strike hard and strike early. The deep waters are not a place where Alex thrives. His cardio has been questionable in the past and his vaunted knockout power diminishes as the fight goes on. If Pereira can’t put Yousri on the back foot early it’s hard to see him taking this one.

The last fight was a fairly decisive win for Belgaroui. Alex was unable to score on Yousri and was picked apart after gassing out late into the fight. Pereira is a talented striker with some serious power, but Belgaroui’s well-rounded game and superior cardio should be enough to win him the championship.

Prediction: Yousri Belgaroui by Unanimous Decision

 

Michael Dreamcrusher Duut

Michael ‘Dreamcrusher’ Duut – Credit: GLORY Kickboxing

Michael Duut vs Danyo Ilunga

Last year these two stole the show, putting on one of the greatest fights of the year, maybe of all-time. But can they do it again? It’s hard to say. Consistency is not a strong suit for either of these men. Following his thriller with Ilunga, Duut went on to lose his next Glory contest by disqualification due to excessive clinching, then later won a contender tournament in less than a minute (48 seconds to be exact).

Duut’s incredible power and brawler style make him a dangerous fight for just about anyone in the light heavyweight division, but his lack of defence make him an easy target. Unfortunately, Ilunga hasn’t hit a bullsye in quite some time.

Danyo comes into this fight on a whopping 7 fight losing streak, and hasn’t won a fight in Glory since 2014. On the bright side, all 7 losses have come by decision so his chin has held up. Plus Duut isn’t the most durable guy in the world, so it’s possible that Ilunga could knock him out. But I don’t see that happening. Duut is just too powerful and Ilunga isn’t the same fighter he used to be. Hopefully the fight is as great as the last one was, but don’t expect it to go to a 4th round this time. Ilunga’s on a slippery slope, and Duut’s about to cause an avalanche.

Prediciton: Michael Duut by 3rd Round KO

 

Rico The King of Kickboxing Verhoeven

Rico ‘The King of Kickboxing’ Verhoeven – Credit: GLORY Kickboxing

Rico Verhoeven vs Jamal Ben Saddik

Despite being the main event this was one of the easier fights to pick. Rico has looked unstoppable lately, and as much as people hate to give him credit for anything, he really is the best heavyweight in the world right now. That doesn’t mean a whole lot considering how weak the division is at the moment, but Rico is champion for a reason.

The rest of the heavyweights just aren’t on his level. ‘Big Ben’ included. Jamal’s last fight against Guto Inocente was a total snoozefest, and if not for his rivalry with Rico he probably wouldn’t even be in the title picture. Badr Hari better get his act together cause Rico’s running out of opponents.

The only advantage I see Jamal having is his power. Rico is faster, more precise, and his striking is more diverse. Again, this is a heavyweight contest so anything can happen, but Jamal hasn’t KO’d a world-class opponent since he fought ‘Braddock’ 2 years ago. Since then, Rico has knocked-out Benjamin Adegbuyi, ‘Braddock’, Bigfoot Silva, and broke Badr’s arm earning him a TKO victory. Rico’s the better fighter, simple as that. And no amount of chest hair is going to change that.

Prediction: Rico Verhoeven by 5th Round KO

All images used in this article are accredited to GLORY Kickboxing

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UFC 218: Holloway vs Aldo 2 Main Card Predictions and Analysis

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Image result for holloway vs aldo

The passing of the torch. A usual occurrence in combat sports. There comes a time when the old guard has to step down and let the new generation take its place. UFC 218 is all about the passing of the torch. Holloway-Aldo 2, Overeem-Ngannou, Alvarez-Gaethje, the card is chock full of young hungry fighters looking to make a statement against their aging counterparts. But don’t expect the old lions to give up without a fight. Aldo is still a world-class striker and Eddie’s still got some tread on the tires. And at the age of 37, Overeem is still one of the most dangerous heavyweights in the world today.

Max Holloway is a perfect representative of the new generation. He’s scrappy, well-rounded, and will fight whoever you put in front of him. He’s got the fire. So do Ngannou, Gaethje, and the rest of the young guys. Aldo hasn’t had that fire in a long time. Sure he’s still a great fighter,‌ but in his last few fights, he’s lacked that burning passion he used to have. Aldo has all the tools to beat Holloway, but does he have the drive? Does the fire still burn, or was it put out long ago? That’s what we’re going to find out come Saturday.

 

Tecia Torres vs Michelle Waterson

This is such a weird fight. Torres’ climb to the top has been impressively mediocre. She has wins over quality opponents like Angela Hill, Felice Herrig, and Paige VanZant. However, with just a single finish to her credit, Tecia hasn’t given the fans a reason to pay attention to her. Waterson is the complete opposite. She has only gone to decision twice and is one of the more popular fighters in the division. However, injuries and losses have prevented Waterson from gaining any real momentum.

As far as the fight goes I really don’t know what to expect. Waterson is fairly inconsistent and Torres is so consistent it hurts. My assumption would be that Waterson has the better ground game, so if anyone’s going to take it to the mat it will be her. Torres has the better overall stand-up game but doesn’t possess the same finishing ability of the Karate Hottie. My guess is that this one stays on the feet with Torres pushing the pace early, then getting caught by a powerful strike from Waterson that puts her down for good.

Prediction: Michelle Waterson by 2nd Round TKO

 

Eddie Alvarez vs Justin Gaethje

How the hell did Cejudo-Pettis get billed higher than this? Alvarez vs Gaethje has the potential to be the Forrest-Bonnar of the modern era. Both men are aggressive brawlers on the feet and strong wrestlers on the mat. I’d give the submission edge to Eddie, but that’s about it. Gaethje’s striking game is more diverse than Eddie’s is, and his youth is definitely something to consider. With 34 fights to his credit, Alvarez is certainly no spring chicken. He’s not nearly as durable as he used to be, and against a dangerous scrapper like Gaethje, that’s not a great quality.

I really wanted to go with Alvarez on this one, but facts are facts. Gaethje is younger, tougher, and most importantly, better for business. Eddie already lost to the biggest draw in the game. Money-wise he doesn’t have much to offer. Gaethje, however, is a promoters wet dream. He’s durable, dangerous, and damn fun to watch. Basically, everything Eddie used to be. Why does any of this matter? Because the judges work for the UFC. If the UFC brass wants Gaethje to win, then he will. Simple as that. Is it right? No, but business is business. And Justin Gaethje is good for business.

Prediction: Justin Gaethje by Split Decision

 

Henry Cejudo vs Sergio Pettis

This feels like too big a step up for Sergio, which is weird considering he’s ranked #4 and Cejudo is ranked #2. After Cejudo’s fight with Mighty Mouse, I wrote him off as nothing more than a sacrifice to the flyweight king. But his close fight with perennial #1 contender Joseph Benavidez and his vicious knockout over veteran submission artist Wilson Reis have shown me that Cejudo is more than just a big-headed wrestler. Henry is one of the best. If anyone in the division is taking the belt off Mighty Mouse it’s him.

Sergio is a talented kid, no doubt. Give him a few more years to develop and he could be champion one day. Unfortunately for him, the UFC doesn’t have time for that. They need flyweight contenders. If that means a few prospects have to bite the dust then so be it. I just hope Sergio doesn’t get completely outclassed and is able to make a good showing, but against a guy like Cejudo, I’m not holding my breath.

Prediction: Henry Cejudo by Unanimous Decision

 

Alistair Overeem vs Francis Ngannou

Call me crazy, but I’m still not completely sold on Cheick Kongo with dreadlocks. His only quality win is a knockout over what’s left of Andrei Arlovski. Overeem, on the other hand, has fought nothing but quality contenders in his climb back to the top, with his only loss coming against reigning champion Stipe Miocic (although some would argue they saw the tap). On paper, this is Overeem’s fight to win. Unfortunately, paper is what Overeem’s chin is made of.

Ngannou may not be as technically sound as Overeem is, but he hits just as hard, maybe harder. One good shot from the Predator and Overeem could drop like a sack of horse meat. Combine that with Overeem’s uber-cockiness and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Picking Overeem is always a gamble, but I’m willing to roll the dice on this one. It’s not gonna be pretty but Overeem’s in-and-out kickboxing and “run like hell” defensive style should be just enough to win this.

Prediction: Alistair Overeem by Unanimous Decision

 

 Max Holloway vs Jose Aldo 2

Holloway TKO’d Aldo about 6 months ago. Max is in the best form of his career. Aldo is taking the fight on short notice. I really can’t think of a good reason to pick Aldo on this one. Sure his striking is still some of the best in the division, but at this point, he’s writing checks his body can’t cash anymore. His chin has degraded significantly and his patented leg kicks are nowhere to be found. It pains me to say this because Aldo is an incredible fighter, but it’s starting to feel as though the sport is passing him by. Aldo is the past, Max is the future.

Despite just winning the title this summer, Holloway has effectively cleaned out the division. Swanson, Lamas, Stephens, Pettis, all fell to the young Hawaiian. Hell, since his loss to McGregor nobody’s even come close to beating Holloway. This doesn’t mean Max is invincible though. Frankie is still a huge threat to Max’s title, and those who sleep on Aldo are often put to sleep themselves. The road ahead of him is not an easy one, but something tells me Max is going to do just fine. It is what it is.

Prediction: Max Holloway by 2nd Round TKO

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