Connect with us

breakdown

UFC 207: Nunes vs Rousey Breakdown

Dan Tom

Published

on

 

Amanda Nunes (13-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’8″ Age: 28 Weight: 135 lbs Reach: 69″
  • Last Fight: Submission win / Miesha Tate (7-9-16)
  • Camp: American Top Team (Florida)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   UFC Bantamweight Champion
+   Brown Belt Judo
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   Multiple Grappling Accolades
+   9 KO victories
+   3 Submission wins
+   10 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Underrated footwork
+   Improved jab
+   Dangerous right hand
+   Hard leg kicks
+   Strong inside the clinch
^   Good hip awareness
+   Solid top game
+   Devastating ground striker
^   Hard elbows & punches
+/-Aggressive pace & pressure
^   Propensity to fade as fight progresses

 

Ronda Rousey (12-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’7″ Age: 29 Weight: 135 lbs Reach: 68″
  • Last Fight: KO loss / Holly Holm (11-14-15)
  • Camp: Glendale Fight Club (California)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Boxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC Bantamweight Champion
+   2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist (Judo)
+   Black Belt Judo
+   Multiple Judo World Titles
+   3 KO victories
+   9 Submission wins
+   11 first round finishes
+   KO power
^   Heavy right hand
+   Relentless pace & pressure
+   Strong inside the clinch
^   Diverse trips & throws
+   Effective from top position
^   Favors scarf holds (Judo side-control)
+   Excellent positional awareness/scrambles
^   Hits submissions in transition
+/-Aggressive in exchanges
–    Head often upright
^   Counter availabilities

Summary:

The main event for UFC 207 is a battle between two of the most physical females in the game as Amanda Nunes defends her bantamweight title against the returning Ronda Rousey. A longtime dark horse in the division, Amanda Nunes finally got her chance to fight for gold at UFC 200 earlier this year. Ending up as a last minute main event, Nunes seized the moment as she would upset Miesha Tate en route to earning the belt. Now, granted another great opportunity, Nunes will get a chance to welcome Ronda Rousey back to the Octagon in her first title defense.

After seeing a star implode before our eyes in Australia last year, we have not seen or heard much from the former champion, Ronda Rousey. Aside from TMZ-like press coverage that felt like a cross between gossip columns and the Patterson footage, there is little information out there in regards to any new developments or potential improvements of the former champ. Although I hate to speculate on the mental status of a human being that I do not know personally, the general sample-size of Ronda’s behavior leads us to believe that her mental state of mind will likely be this fight’s key intangible. That said, I will exercise my usual protocol of keeping all speculations limited and relevant, as I attempt to dive into the technics of this matchup.

Starting off on the feet, both ladies possess heavier hands than their contemporaries, but I give a decent edge to Nunes. Training boxing since the age of 16, Nunes has steadily developed a Muay Thai arsenal since entering MMA. Initially storming into exchanges and producing quick results in doing so, Amanda has slowly sharpened her game and adjusted her approach. Most notably, Nunes has improved her footwork as she will now circle just outside of range as opposed to rushing right in. Showing signs of intelligence in the direction in which she circles and angles, Amanda’s shot selection and accuracy have also inherently improved as this makes her power more potent.

Another recent development to Amanda’s game has been the presence of her jab. Utilizing it in a measuring fashion, Nunes will now set up her patent cross-hook combinations more efficiently. The Brazilian has also shown a taste for throwing hard leg and body kicks. However, Amanda will sometimes throw them naked(without strikes for setup) as this has gotten her countered in the past. Considering that Rousey has a knack for catching kicks and countering, Nunes could get herself into trouble by kicking anywhere other than her opponent’s head. Despite Amanda being more technically refined and having a bigger toolkit on paper, the striking exchanges will ultimately depend on the impending rush of Ronda Rousey(or lack thereof).

Although we do not know what Rousey has spent her time doing in the past 13-months, it is hard to imagine that is was spent developing a long-range striking game. Considering that Rousey is still working with Edmond Tarverdyan, the safe assumption is that they are trying to shore-up the fundamentals in boxing range that would suit Ronda’s game. Despite optimism on Tarverdyan’s coaching abilities being understandably low, I do not fully subscribe to the narrative of putting the bulk of responsibility on him. In his defense, Ronda has shown measurable improvements to her overall striking since entering the UFC.

Even though Rousey’s upgrades to her clinch striking and boxing were not necessarily potent with promise, they are particularly impressive when you consider that she had to develop these skills on the world’s biggest MMA stage. Rare then, and especially rare now, there are very few fighters who have found themselves having to do the bulk of their developing underneath the UFC spotlight. Although there have been a successful few such as Matt Mitrione or Amir Sadollah, none have had the success or pressures of a Ronda Rousey. Comparisons of growth and potential improvements aside, Rousey’s game will likely still hinge on her ability to close the distance.

With everything being so apparent in hindsight, it will interesting to see if Ronda has adjusted her defensive tendencies as a lack of head movement may cost her against Amanda. Even though Nunes is not necessarily known as a counter striker, I feel that her fundamental improvements(particularly in her jab) will help hedge her bets against an oncoming Rousey. That said, the key factor for both fighters will undoubtedly take place inside the clinch. Although Amanda has more grappling and striking options on paper, I give a slight edge to Rousey in this space as it is seemingly second nature to her.

However, there are small intricacies in Amanda’s game that tell me she may fair better than most suspect when it comes to the technical realm of clinch fighting. Despite not carrying the same credentials as Ronda, Amanda’s base as a brown belt in Judo has been present in her game since she started fighting in MMA. Maintaining a solid-sense of balance when not recklessly engaging, Nunes has also shown subtle signs of grip and positional awareness. Even when going back to watch her fight with Alexis Davis back in Strikeforce, you can see Amanda thwart Davis’ grips with immediacy anytime the two would lock up.

Although the young Lioness would eventually be grounded and defeated by Davis, her initiatives were in the right place as she has only improved since then. Working with MMA Masters shortly after her Strikeforce stint, and now working with American Top Team, we have seen Nunes make marked improvements to her wrestling and overall MMA grappling. In her fight with Sara McMann last year, we saw a glimpse of Amanda’s growth as she showed excellent fundamentals in defending a deep shot from the former Olympian.

Even though Nunes ended up on bottom in the third round of her fight with Valentina Shevchenko(another underrated clinch fighter), she arguably found herself there due to her propensity to fade in fights. Despite most of us forecasting an early finish due to the volatile nature of this matchup, things will certainly get interesting should this fight progress into later rounds. Although Ronda may show signs that she could potentially fade as well, I feel that her competitive drive and stubbornness serve her well in scenarios involving attrition.

The most general misconception I see on paper is that ‘whoever ends up on top will win this battle.’ Although I feel you may be able to apply that generalization to Amanda’s game(based on her history), I do not think that equation accounts for transitional grapplers like Rousey. Similar to the Slinky sensation, Ronda Rousey embodies a grappling style that is almost entirely dependent on momentum. Whether she is throwing her opposition overhead or hitting her roll-through/cartwheel variations to protect her position(as well as her neck), you can start to see the direct comparison between the two.

Similar to the expansion and retractions of a Slinky, you will see Ronda immediately elevate her hips and attack as she parlays her missed attempts into reverse shoulder-rolls that allow her to get back to her feet without missing a beat. Although Amanda can do devastating damage with her notorious elbows from topside, she is more of a positional player who needs to be well-established before she can be effective. Even though there is nothing wrong with a grappler who has process, I feel Amanda may be slightly behind in transitions given her step-by-step problem-solving approach. If she is going to out-grapple Rousey, then she will likely need to do so by killing her momentum early.

Though it is obvious that a human is harder to stop than a Slinky, the theory of stopping a transitional-grappler remains true despite my silly analogy. That said, Amanda may be playing with fire anytime she scrambles with Ronda as she may elect a game plan of avoidance. Despite it being hard to deny Rousey’s chances of closing the show anytime they clinch or grapple, I have a hard time being confident in Ronda’s chances of establishing her terms without taking too much damage in the process. Couple that with the potential flags of Rousey’s looming psychological status, and it seems like Ronda will almost need an undeterred approach to find success here. In a fight that has too many intangibles to play confidently, I suggest you enjoy what it is a pivotal battle for the landscape of female fighters, as well as the current stable of UFC superstars.

Official Pick: Nunes – Inside the distance

 

Dominick Cruz (22-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’8″ Age: 31 Weight: 135 lbs Reach: 68″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Urijah Faber (6-4-16)
  • Camp: Alliance MMA (San Diego, CA)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   UFC Bantamweight Champion
+   WEC Bantamweight Title
+   Wrestling Base
+   7 KO victories
+   1 Submission win
+   5 first round finishes
+   Consistent pace & pressure
+   Excellent distance management
^   Good footwork & feints
+   Utilizes Darts & Crouches
^   Allows misdirection/directional changes
+   Superb economy of movement
^   Weight transfers & phase changes
+   Well-timed knee-tap takedowns
+   Intelligent & effective scrambler
^   Solid positional rides & transitions
+   Accurate uppercut & counter hooks
+/-Low standing guard
^   Relies heavily on head/overall movement

 

Cody Garbrandt (10-0)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’7″ Age: 25 Weight: 135 lbs Reach: 65.5″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Takeya Mizugaki (8-20-16)
  • Camp: Team Alpha Male (Sacramento, CA)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Title
+   Multiple Wrestling Accolades
+   32-1 as an Amateur Boxer
+   9 KO victories
+   7 first round finishes
+   KO power
+   Fast hand & foot speed
^   Attacks well off of angles
+   Improved head movement
+   Accurate left hook
^   Checks, attacks, and counters
+   Dangerous right hand
+   Underrated kicks
+   Explosive power double takedown
^   Changes level well
+   Demonstrates good grappling IQ
+   Gets up/scrambles well
+/-Willingness to exchange
^    Sometimes engages emotionally

Summary:

The co-main event for UFC 207 is another a bid for bantamweight gold as Dominick Cruz defends his title from Cody Garbrandt. Widely considered one on the best pound-for-pound fighters in the game, Dominick Cruz’s comeback story has been arguably as impressive as his technical game. Already defying the odds on the multiple occasions, the athletic outlier that is Dominick Cruz will be tested once again as he faces the oncoming storm ahead. A knockout artist like few the division has seen, Garbrandt has quickly followed in the footsteps of his Sacramento stablemates as the young gun has no doubts in his direction. Now at the doorsteps of greatness at just 10-fights into his career, Garbrandt will attempt to cross the threshold of fire into the bantamweight elite.

Starting off on the feet, we have a battle between two strikers who have the same purpose in spirit but go about their objectives in completely different ways. For example, both men use pressure to create openings that allow them to capitalize on terms that favor their skill-set. Going about this in a more traditional fashion, Garbrandt utilizes feints and forward pressure to bait exchanges as he will subtly and slightly move off center to execute his combinations. Although Cody will usually enter off of his renown right-hand, he now does a lot of his cleanup-hitting with his left hook as I feel that punch may serve him well in this fight.

Since working with Brandon Gibson, we have seen measurable efforts and improvements to Garbrandt’s head movement and angle awareness. A longtime cross-hook connoisseur, we will now see Cody roll appropriately behind his crosses to avoid check-hook counters as he comes up with hooks of his own. That said, Garbrandt’s brawling sensibilities often show themselves in his fights as Cody’s inherent aggression and emotional engagements remain his outlying intangible. Should Garbrandt get reckless in his left-to-right pocket punching pursuits, the young lion may find himself playing into the hands of Dominick Cruz. Although Cruz is renown for this footwork that is broken down beautifully by BJJ Scout, the champion executes other shifts that I see serving him well in this fight.

As we saw in his fight with TJ Dillashaw(and as was stated in my breakdown prior), Cruz will utilize a style of shifting to counter aggression referred to as “opening the gate” in traditional martial arts. Often from the crouch position, Dominick will swing his lead foot back as this will not only switch his stance but change the overall terms of the exchange. Done in a way that lends a false sense of perception to his opponent, this technique flows fluidly into Cruz’s check hooks which counter aggressive on-comers as this was apparent in his last few outings. When not exercising this option of his flow chart from the crouch, Cruz will typically dart out to his left with a right cross for cover.

Against Garbrandt, this technique will ideally slip Dominick just outside of any oncoming crosses and away from Cody’s left hook follow-ups. Although Garbrandt can catch Cruz with a sweeping high kick to that side, the young gun’s propensity to punch and come forward will likely give Cruz the edge in these exchanges as Cody could find himself chasing from disadvantageous angles. Technical advantages aside, Cruz will still be playing with fire anytime he baits Garbrandt as the heavy-hitter needs only one shot to change the trajectory of a fight. Considering that Cruz often carries his hands low, it is not hard to see where things could potentially go awry. That said, I feel there are some pros to the champion’s approach that are hard to account for on paper.

Having, in my opinion, the best economy of movement in the sport, Cruz does a superb job of flowing with the natural weight transfers of his motion. Moving, striking, and slipping all at the same time, Dominick creates an environment that allows him to change direction(or his level) on his opposition. Despite his defenses being tied heavily to his head and trunk movements, Cruz’s consistent pocket, and overall awareness shows itself as the champ seemingly sees and moves with the shots that do touch him. Although that is a dangerous game to play with Cody, it is worth being noted in regards to the criticisms of Cruz’s defense.

On paper, Garbrandt’s chances of landing a show closer will lessen as this fight progresses. That said, Cody is no slouch athletically as he has shown stopping power and stamina as late as the third round. Given that Cruz has more a motive to grapple, I suspect he may exercise his on paper advantages here to hedge his bets standing. Working off of the weight transfers from said movement, Dominick will display his impeccable timing by hitting beautiful knee-tap takedowns mid-motion. Though some may critique the champions groundwork by pointing to his lack of finishes and control time, there is a lot to like about the intelligent and subtle tactics of Cruz.

Embodying a more conservative style of catch wrestling, Cruz demonstrates solid positional awareness as soon as he hits the floor. Intelligently transitioning topside, Dominick will appropriately manage the risk in his ride choices as he effectively sees out the storm of some of the sport’s best scramblers. Whether he is killing space to avoid grappling entanglements or spiraling out his opposition to advance his riding position, Cruz could at the very least effectively make Cody work should he ground the Team Alpha Male standout. Although Garbrandt’s wrestling accolades were apparently more potent than what is on paper, it would still not surprise me to see his aggression play into the timing and terms or Dominick’s game. Even the wrestling prowess of TJ Dillashaw showed to be penetrable enough to suit Cruz, as we saw the champion use his patent takedowns to score on Dillashaw and inevitably edge out rounds.

Although Garbrandt has shown competent in attacking and scrambling from his back, he will probably need to be harboring something close to a high-level ground game if he means to get anything done offensively against Cruz. That said, I imagine Cody’s wrestling background and scrambling sessions at Team Alpha Male will more than likely keep him safe during ground stanzas, as I do not expect long durations of grappling in this contest. Even though Cody’s athletic intangibles of hand and foot speed give him much more than a puncher’s chance, I feel his inherent aggression will eventually guide him into the same fires the drive him as I see Cruz surviving an early to storm to make a statement late.

Official Pick: Cruz – Inside the distance

 

TJ Dillashaw (13-3)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’6″ Age: 30 Weight: 135 lbs Reach: 68″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Raphael Assuncao (7-9-16)
  • Camp: Elevation Fight Team (Denver, CO)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Swtich-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC Bantamweight Champion
+   3x NCAA Qualifier (Wrestling)
+   6 KO victories
+   3 Submission wins
+   4 first round finishes
+   Consistent pace & presssure
^   High-volume striker
+   Superb feints & footwork
^   Effectively shifts stances
+   Pulls & returns punch combinations
^   Punctuates w/deadly kicks from Southpaw
+   Excellent wrestling abilities
^   Supreme athleticism & agility
+   Solid scrambler/transitional grappler
^   Always looks for back
+/-Willingness to play within range
^   Heavily reliant on head movement

 

John Lineker (29-7)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’2″ Age: 26 Weight: 135 lbs Reach: 67″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / John Dodson (10-1-16)
  • Camp: OCS Jiu-jitsu/ATT (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Title
+   13 KO victories
+   4 Submission wins
+   8 first round finishes
+   KO power
+   Persistant stalker
^   Deceptively closes distance
+   Good cage-cutting & pressure
^   Improved feints & footwork
+   Devastating R. hand—L. hook
^   Variates well to the body
+   Underrated wrestling ability
+   Dangerous Guillotine choke
–    Struggles off of back
+/-Willingness to trade
^   Counter availabilities
+   Solid chin/physically durable

Summary:

In a bantamweight thriller, the former champion TJ Dillashaw takes on the oncoming storm that is John Lineker. Coming off of a storied rise to the title, TJ Dillashaw started off his 2016 on a down note as the former Team Alpha Male fighter would lose his belt to sitting champion, Dominick Cruz. Now, looking to end the year on the up-and-up, Dillashaw will attempt to cement his case for a title shot with a win here. Seeking to spoil the party is John Lineker, a Brazilian flyweight who has seemingly made waves since his move up north to bantamweight. Riding a 4-fight winning streak in his current division, Lineker could be a statement away from earning himself a shot at gold.

Starting off on the feet, we essentially have a conundrum between Lineker’s plotting pressure and power punching versus Dillashaw’s multi-directional and technical aggression. Although Lineker is the more dangerous man on paper, Dillashaw has shown the progression and variety to his technique that justifies his spot as the betting favorite here. Initially entering the sport as a wrestler, we saw TJ steadily evolve out of the scrambling, submission grappler mold that was influenced by his environment. Embracing the teachings of Duane “BANG” Ludwig, we would see the NCAA qualifier transition into a skilled-striker over the past few years.

Like many fighters who are naturally orthodox but switch to Southpaw, TJ Dillashaw will conduct traffic largely off of his right hand. Whether he is setting up left crosses and power kicks from Southpaw or favoring his uppercuts and overhands from Orthodox, it is Dillashaw’s check right hand/jab that is most impressive and a key to his offense. Using it to off-beat his opponents offensive rhythms, TJ will add to the disarray by incorporating subtle but effective shifts that change the stance and even angle of his attack. As much as I could pontificate on the shifting brilliance and technical progressions from TJ, it is the measured nature of his aggression that allows everything to come together. If you listen to Dillashaw’s corner, you will often hear his head coach, Duane Ludwig, instructing TJ to “Touch, pull, and return.”

“Pulling & Returning” is a Boxing term that refers to a general method of drawing out attacks with the intent of creating openings for offense of your own. Touch: As previously stated, TJ wields a quick right-hand(darting from orthodox or more typically conducting from southpaw) that he uses to establish his range or set up a perceived range to his opponent. Pull: After initiating contact in hopes of a rebuttal, Dillashaw will drawback and shift his stance so that he can avoid the oncoming counters with the intent to set up counters of his own. Return: After avoiding the counter attack, TJ will then return with an even heavier wave of offense, assuming that he has made the correct angles and anticipations. As brilliant as that all sounds on paper, the looming question in this fight will remain—how will the pressure fighter deal with being unrelentingly pressured?

Enter John Lineker. Similar to when Super Mario acquires the star of invincibility, is John Lineker in the way in which he walks down his opposition with impunity. Despite wielding power that can change the course of a fight in a single shot, it is Lineker’s durability that makes his game so scary. Don’t let his short stature fool you, despite lacking bounce to his step, the Brazilian closes distance deceptively well. Cutting off the cage and feinting forward, Lineker will look to force exchanges off of his pressure. Wielding devastating hooks from both sides to the head & body, John usually enters off his opponents strike retractions as he gets them to initiate.

Although Lineker’s right-hand is his preferred method of body crushing and cleanup hitting, I feel that his left hook will be the key punch to look for from the Brazilian. Often initiating, or even punctuating with it, Lineker’s left hook is arguably his most accurate punch as it usually sets up his kill shots. Considering that Dillashaw’s aggressiveness has often cost him left hooks as he leaves or enters exchanges, this strike could likely serve Lineker well. That said, Lineker will be the more defensively vulnerable man on paper as the Brazilian is not without pocket liabilities of his own. Unabashedly throwing hooks from left to right with little regard for defense, we have seen Lineker eat punches with no signs of getting full.

Ridiculously durable chin aside, Lineker cannot be too liberal in his acceptance of shots here as he is also playing with fire. Not only does Dillashaw own a higher output and landing percentage, but TJ also wields a nasty head kick that I feel is worth watching for in this fight. In Lineker’s last fight with John Dodson, we saw the Brazilian eat multiple head kicks throughout the contest. Considering that TJ has a few finishes from high-kicks off of the same side, we could see some action here should Lineker continually wade recklessly forward. That said, it is hard to gauge exactly how TJ will react to Lineker’s pressure when you consider the low sample-size of him being the one pressured.

However, when looking back at Dillashaw’s fight history, he has shown to fight smart when he needs to, or when he is not emotionally engaging. Capable of chaining off to multiple takedowns to get the finish, I suspect we will see Dillashaw dust off his reactionary double-leg against an aggressive forward mover like Lineker. Although grappling seems to be the Brazilian’s most deficient area on paper, Lineker has made measurable efforts to improve his wrestling and jiu-jitsu. That said, his best form of offense and defense is the Guillotine choke, which is also the technique TJ Dillashaw has likely seen the most of given his time spent in Sacramento.

Even though Lineker was able to scare off the takedown attempts of Ian McCall, I doubt he will dissuade, much less catch Dillashaw who shows an excellent awareness to this choke when executing and completing his takedowns. The Brazilian also tends to go for leg locks as a Hail Mary option from the bottom, but his acumen there is not strong, nor does he use these opportunities to scramble as he is often content to fight from his back. Although fighting from his back could cost the Brazilian in more ways than one, giving his back would be even worse as Linker will need to mind his sacrifices in the scramble.

Although the Brazilian is not necessarily known to turtle out and give his back while standing, TJ does a deceptively good job of encouraging his opposition to roll over or unwittingly expose themselves positionally. If Lineker is not careful or composed, the persistent ground striking and positional riding of Dillashaw could force an unfavorable opening for the Brazilian. If Tj fights smart, then I feel that the submission prop will be more than worth a look here. But, if Dillashaw falls into his emotional sensibilities and brawls, we will likely see the conundrum from the Dark Knight answered regarding—”What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?”

Official Pick: Dillashaw – Decision

 

Dong Hyun Kim (21-3-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’1″ Age: 375 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 76
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Dominic Waters (11-28-15)
  • Camp: Busan Team M.A.D. (Korea)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Boxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Judo Black Belt
+   Multiple Judo Titles
+   Grappling Accolades
+   9 KO victories
+   2 Submission wins
+   4 first round finishes
+   KO power
+   Consistent pace & pressure
+   Improved overall striking
+   Strong clinch game
^   Trips, body-locks, & takedowns
+   Superb top game
^   Solid transitions & positional rides
+/-Aggressive in exchanges
^   Will throw self out of position

 

Tarec Saffiedine (16-5)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 30 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 70.5″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Rick Story (5-29-16)
  • Camp: Tristar Gym (Canada)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Strikeforce Welterweight Title
+   Black Belt BJJ & Karate
+   Amateur Kickboxing Experience
+   1 KO victory
+   5 Submission wins
+   5 first round finishes
+   Good footwork
^   Moves well laterally
+   Effective jab from both stances
^   Conducts tempo/sets up kicks
+   Superb leg kick timing
+   Underrated counter wrestler
^   87% Takedown defense
+/-Consistently fights along fence
–    Sometimes vulnerable off the break

Summary:

In a welterweight meeting between perennial Top-15 contenders, Dong Hyun Kim draws Tarec Saffiedine on his return fight. Kept from the Octagon for just over a year due to injury and scheduling conflicts, Dong Hyun Kim will look to continue his forward momentum by adding a quality name to his resume. Seeking to spoil the Korean’s plans is Tarec Saffiedine, who is also coming off of a schedule shuffling as he was originally slated to face Matt Brown. Now, granted a slot on the main card, Tarec will attempt to make a statement with this showcase spot.

Starting off on the feet, we will likely be privy to a battle between distance management versus pressure. Providing the pressure part of the equation is Dong Hyun Kim. Criticized early in his career for his slow burn approach of grappling and grinding, Kim has come out in subsequent years like a man on fire. Working diligently with the blossoming Busan Team M.A.D. in South Korea, we have seen Kim make improvements in his overall striking game as he has turned his aggression up to a 10. Slipping his head offline as he throws his power shots, Kim will also unabashedly spin as he strikes off the breaks.

Dong’s improvements aside, Saffiedine will have the clear on paper advantages in the striking realm. One of the most proficient stance switchers in the UFC, Tarec will effectively fire off jabs from both sides as this allows him to dictate and disrupt striking tempos. With Tarec’s patent leg kicks usually coming behind his straight punches, Saffiedine’s approach should be straight forward against an aggressive, looping puncher like Kim.

With Saffiedine possessing the advantages at range, he will likely be trying to avoid pocket exchanges with his Korean counterpart. However, Tarec will need to be careful when exiting the pocket as his last three knockdowns(or times he was clearly stunned) have all come off the break. Since Kim is most dangerous when striking off the break, I suspect this will be a key factor in this fight. Even though Saffiedine has more than enough skill and stamina to stick & move, he habitually finds himself operating from the outside which could be a detriment in this fight.

A persistent pressure fighter by nature, Kim has a knack for getting the fight to the fence for better or for worse. Even when the South Korean fails to complete a takedown, he does a deceptive job of stifling his opponent’s offense and stalling out the action in his favor. Although Saffiedine’s takedown defense and counter-grappling are underrated, he may find himself inadvertently playing into Dong’s game should he not effectively break the clinch and create space.

It will also be interesting to see how Kim’s variety of upper-body throws and trips measures up to Tarec’s defenses, which are accustom to defending more traditional shot entries to the lower body. Should the South Korean ground his opposition, Tarec could find himself behind on the scorecards as well as the positional scrambles. Despite lacking the submission finishes that many would like to see, there is a lot to like about the Judoka’s game. An excellent transitional grappler, the beauty of Kim’s grappling comes within technical tightness from his flows to his rides.

Maintaining his base through proper weight distribution, Dong will explode when necessary while still killing space when he needs to. Often trapping arms in transit, Kim shows no mercy when able to establish a gift wrap or crucifix position on his opposition. Although I feel there is much more to Saffiedine’s grappling than meets the eye, he may still end up losing rounds just by the nature of playing within Kim’s terms. That said, I suggest avoiding any major plays on what is an intangible-filled affair.

Official Pick: Kim – Decision

 

Louis Smolka (11-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 25 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 69″
  • Last Fight: Submission loss / Brandon Moreno (10-1-16)
  • Camp: Hawaii Elite-MMA (Hawaii)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Brown Belt Kenpo Karate
+   Brown Belt Judo
+   4 KO victories
+   5 Submission wins
+   3 first round finishes
+   Consistent pace & pressure
^   Well-composed & conditioned
+   Accurate shot selection
^   Excellent check hook
+   Improved takedown game
+/-“Gives to get” positionally
+   Relentless transition game
^   Thrives inside the scramble
–    Head often upright
^   Counter availabilities

 

Ray Borg (9-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’4″ Age: 23 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 63″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Justin Scoggins (2-6-16)
  • Camp: Fit NHB/Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Title
+   Wrestling Base
+   1 KO victory
+   6 Submission wins
+   4 first round finishes
+   Aggressive pace & pressure
+   Steadily developing striking game
^   Improved movement & technique
–    Struggles striking from range
+   Excellent takedown ability
^   Solid level changes & chains
+   Superb transitional grappler
^   Floats & rides smoothly
+   Strong from front headlock
^   Always looks for back

Summary:

Kicking off the main card is a fun flyweight fight as Louis Smolka squares off with Ray Borg. As one of Hawaii’s top prospects, Louis Smolka has given fans a lot to get excited about when talking potential contenders at 125-pounds. Looking to bounce back from an upset loss in Portland earlier this year, Smolka will have no easy comeback trail as he meets Ray Borg. Another one of the division’s dark horses, Borg will look to deliver here as seeks to put his loss to Justin Scoggins behind him.

Starting off on the feet, Smolka should have the clear striking edge on paper. Coming from a Kenpo Karate base, Louis displays the distance management and darting attacks that you would expect from that style. However, the Hawaiian will now put his punches together more fluidly, as he promises to show an evolved version of his striking for this fight. That said, I feel that the potential improvements of Ray Borg will be the key intangibles standing. Though the grapple-heavy fighter has shown to struggle when striking at distance, he has spent multiple camps this year at Jackson-Wink MMA working with the likes of Mike Winkeljohn and Brandon Gibson.

Regaredless of Borg’s potential striking upgrades, I am not sure that I see that striking stanzas lasting long. Even though Smolka carries tools that can pose problems for Borg standing, the Hawaiian has still not shown us the footwork or takedown defense to bank on him getting things done on the feet. Between Borg wasting little time in shooting and Smolka’s propensity to play into takedown attempts early, I suspect we will see Borg assume the pole position to start the match as this is usually accustom in a Louis Smolka fight. That said, if Louis is not careful, he could get more than he bargains for with Borg. A wrestler who embraced catch wrestling sensibilities early on, there is a lot to like about Ray Borg’s ground game.

Like his nickname would suggest, Borg works for positions and passes with the intensity of a marauding Tasmanian Devil. Although his torrid pace can sometimes catch up with him later on in fights, Borg’s hunger for the finish often helps him complete his objectives. Working particularly well from the front-headlock, Borg will distract his opponent’s with submission threats as he ultimately sets up back takes in the blink of an eye. A grappler who can truly transition and choke symbiotically, Borg can close the show if Smolka makes the same mistakes he showed in his last time out. That said, I feel that Smolka’s game will provide some interesting problems to an aggressively engaging Borg.

Anytime a fighter entangles with Smolka, the Hawaiian stays two-steps ahead as he uses his long frame as an active blanket of non-disseminating offense. Although Smolka has thankfully shown less head & arm throws, Louis still tends to give his back when attempting tosses and takedown variations. Despite finding the back being Borg’s aforementioned strong suit, he may ultimately end up taking a deeper step into the quicksand if he is not careful. We saw proven back takers in Paddy Holohan and Ben Nguyen struggle here, as they ended up losing the exchanges as well as positions. If Borg fails to close the show early or effectively stop the Hawaiian’s momentum, he may fall into the downward spiral that is Louis Smolka’s scramble game.

An interesting dichotomy of grappler, Smolka possesses the technical flow chart of a black belt that is fueled by the offensive eagerness of a white belt.Whether he is sweeping, standing, shucking or sitting out, Smolka is snake-like in the way that he denies his opposition complete control. Although I could pontificate on the positional wherewithal of Smolka’s grappling for days, the essence of his game comes down to his give-to-get mentality. Smolka has no problem succeeding the small battles to win the war, as that is what I suspect may happen here. That said, I caution any major plays as these competitive flyweight scraps are usually accompanied by pendulum swings that are often unpredictable.

Official Pick: Smolka – Decision

Preliminary Card Predictions:

  • Magny def. Hendricks
  • Vettori def. Carlos Jr.
  • *Pyle def. Garcia (*=stated bias)
  • Thatch def. Price
  • Means def. Oliveira

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

breakdown

UFC 216 Breakdown: Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee

Published

on

As a fight fan, you can’t ask for a much better match up than Tony Ferguson vs Kevin Lee.

This match up is easily one of the most fascinating ones of the year, and with the interim lightweight title on the line, the stake doesn’t get much higher. But the bigger meaning of the fight lies in that fact that a clear number one contender will be determined to virtually guarantee a future opportunity at the current champion, Conor McGregor.

The talks of McGregor next facing rival Nate Diaz next have been circulating for the past few weeks, but once this fight between Ferguson and Lee concludes, and someone walks out of the arena on Saturday with that interim championship around their waist, they will be very hard to deny for McGregor.

Although this fight is a very exciting match up, on paper, it may deceive some people as a mismatch, since Lee’s resume of wins doesn’t include too many top contenders. His biggest win was against Michael Chiesa in June of this year, Chiesa was ranked 6th at the time. But let’s look deeper into it and see what makes this one a must-see fight.

Where Ferguson Flourishes

Ferguson and Lee may be stylistically two completely different fighters, but their ground games and grappling are both extremely high level, possibly the top 3 in the division, a list that can’t leave out Khabib Nurmagomedov. In the grappling department, it is hard to decide a winner here.

Even about five months ago, I would have leaned towards Ferguson, but watching Lee take control against a high level grappler like Chiesa the way he did was beyond belief to be honest. Ferguson will have his hands full if the fight hits the canvas, and likewise for Lee. However, if there is one thing that Lee needs to watch out against Ferguson, it is the unorthodox style he brings, even in the grappling.

“El Cucuy” is a bizarre fighter, but in a good way. Watch him fight against Edson Barboza and do a couple of imanari rolls. Watch him roll while on the bottom against dos Anjos. It is mind-blowing how good he is with such peculiarity and Lee can’t overlook that.

With that being said, advantages for ‘El Cucuy’ are quite clear: Stand-up, cardio and experience. Ferguson showed time and time again what a well-rounded fighter he is, and his record shows it too. Out of 17 finishes on his win column, 9 of them are by knockout and 8 are by submission. He really is a fighter who can do it all.

Tony Ferguson defeated Rafael dos Anjos via Unanimous Decision in November of 2016 at UFC Mexico City.

We also know that his cardio is exceptional, this was displayed in his fight against Rafael dos Anjos, where he went five hard rounds with the former champion in Mexico City, at an altitude of 7,382 feet. Just to give an idea of how high that is, Colorado’s altitude is 6,035 feet.

Ferguson knows what it is like to be in the deep waters. But when a fairly young fighter such as Lee reaches the later rounds, nobody knows how he will respond to the situation, so Ferguson has his advantages in the experience department laid out clearly.

Don’t Count Out Kevin Lee

‘The Motown Phenom’, on the other hand, is a completely different fighter with different strengths. He possesses advantages in the physical department, career mileage, and in the fact that he has less pressure going into the fight. The physical advantage is the most obvious one for Lee. He has spoken before on the fact that he cuts from about 180-pounds, where Ferguson has talked about him being capable of making 145-pounds.

Ferguson may be taller, but it is not difficult to see that Lee is bigger when they stand next to each other. Lee’s second advantage comes from the fact that he is not as battle-tested. In a way, it could be a disadvantage, but he has taken considerably less amount of damage throughout his career compared to Ferguson. The last advantage for Lee listed was explained more specifically on my article ‘Tony Ferguson can’t afford to lose at UFC 216’. Feel free to go and check it out.

Kevin Lee defeated Michael Chiesa by first round submission (rear-naked choke) at UFC Oklahoma City in June 2017.

Now that both guys’ assets are laid out for this fight, it’s time to make a prediction.

Time and time again leading up to this fight, I’ve heard people say that this fight is going to end in a submission, and most say it’s going to come from Ferguson. I would agree with that but here’s one thing. As previously mentioned, Lee’s grappling is top-notch and he is brilliant defensively. This was evidenced when he was on the bottom against Michael Chiesa, a position in which he was easily able to escape.

I don’t believe Lee is a fighter that can be easily submitted. But here’s what I agree with most on: I also see Ferguson winning, because of his experience, cardio, and definitely unpredictability. Kevin Lee, while he is a very talented fighter, I believe it is just a tad bit too early for him at this moment.

Prediction: Tony Ferguson def. Kevin Lee via TKO (punches) in the 5th round.

 

Onnit Primal Bells
Continue Reading

breakdown

UFC 216 Breakdown: Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg

Published

on

If Demetrious Johnson is able to defend his flyweight title this Saturday at UFC 216, it will be an attempt to break a major record, as he will then have defended his belt for the 11th consecutive time.

It is a remarkable record that he attempts to break, which is currently being held by Johnson and the former middleweight champion Anderson Silva, at 10.

When this fight was first announced for UFC 215, the reactions from the fans were not exactly what the UFC hoped it would be. There were two possible reasons for this, and maybe even both:

1) The talks of Johnson defending his title against T.J. Dillashaw was roaming around at the time, which got fans excited, only to disappoint them in the end when it wasn’t finalized.

2) Ray Borg is not necessarily a fighter that fans are dying to see yet, mainly because he is not the most marketable fighter and he is very young, which made us ask, “Is he ready for this opportunity?”

However, there is one thing we must keep in mind when looking at a fight between a dominant champion and a young rising contender: Expect the unexpected. We saw it last December when Dominick Cruz fought Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207. Who would have ever thought that Garbrandt would be able to outclass Cruz the way he did?

Cody Garbrandt provided yet another shock title change when he defeated Dominick Cruz at UFC 207 in December of 2016.

But don’t get it mistaken. ‘Can’ doesn’t mean ‘will’. And although Borg could shock the world in this fight, it is way more reasonable to lean towards Johnson. After all, if we are being honest, ‘Mighty Mouse’ is the closest thing to a perfect fighter. The only times he lost was to Brad Pickett, which was seven years ago, and to Dominick Cruz, who unlike ‘DJ’ is a natural bantamweight.

This is a tough fight for Borg. The only way for him to win is either catch Johnson with a big shot and finish him or keep up a ridiculous pace for 5 rounds straight and outmatch the champion with skills.

Borg is at a couple of disadvantages here, one being his cardio. “The Tazmexican Devil” has previously shown that he often has a tough time making the 125-pound weight limit, and if you add that to the fact that he never fought past three rounds, his cardio is in question. Whether he will be able to keep up with Johnson, who can put on a ridiculous pace for 25-minutes straight, remains to be seen.

Also, we never know what is going through a fighter’s head, so it will be interesting to see how Borg performs under pressure. He’s never had a title shot, and Johnson has been in the same spot 12-times in his career, so experience also goes to Johnson.

Ultimately, I’m leaning towards the champion in this fight. I do like Borg and what he brings to the table, however, too many questions are unanswered about Borg at this point to pick him over Demetrious Johnson.

Prediction: Demetrious Johnson def. Ray Borg via Unanimous Decision.

Onnit Primal Bells
Continue Reading

breakdown

UFC 215 Main Card Breakdown

Published

on

The UFC makes its return to Canada as current flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson looks to break the record for most successful, consecutive, title defenses, against Ray Borg. Also on the card is a women’s bantamweight title fight between champion Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko, Gilbert Melendez makes his featherweight debut against power puncher Jeremy Stephens, Ilir Latifi looks to bounce back against Tyson Pedro, and Rafael dos Anjos looks to continue his welterweight journey against Neil Magny. Let’s take a look and see how it each fight plays out.

Jeremy Stephens vs Gilbert Melendez

Gilbert Melendez is a fighter who has built his career on being a talented boxer and being incredibly strong both in the clinch and the ground. For years he has been a monster for most lightweights to deal with. However, since having joined the UFC from Strikeforce he has gone just 1-4. In his last couple of fights, he has found himself slowed down due to unchecked leg kicks and opponents who are quicker than him. In an attempt to resurrect his career ‘El Nino’ has dropped down to featherweight and will meet former lightweight, himself, Jeremy Stephens. Stephens has made a career out of hitting hard, knocking opponents out with either hands, legs, or even his knees. Stephens is a fighter who excels in the pocket and has the durability to stand toe to toe with almost any opponent. In his last five fights, he has gone 2-3 due to his opponents being quicker than him and keeping him on the end of their punches.

How the fight will go

Gilbert will come into the fight as the stronger fighter with the better grappling game and better control of the Octagon. His excellent boxing will match-up well with Stephens. However, Stephens will come in as the faster fighter, harder puncher, and will already be used to cutting down to 145. Melendez will need to gain control of the Octagon early and keep Stephens against the cage both in the clinch and on the ground, in order to tire out “Lil Heathen”. If he can use his boxing to keep Stephens at the end of his punches, control the Octogan, and stay out of the pocket, it’s his fight to lose. Stephens does his best work in the pocket and although he’s slow for a featherweight he will have the advantage speed wise in this match-up. If he can keep his back off of the cage, gain control of the Octagon, land his powerful leg kicks, and mix up his powerful strikes, then he will have a dog in this fight and can very well pull off the upset.

Prediction

Gilbert Melendez fights very similarly to the way he fought in the Pettis fight. He keeps Stephens’ back against the cage and forces him to the ground every chance he gets in order to tire him out. Stephens occasionally finds success using his speed and power in the pocket but eventually finds himself too tired to stop the stronger Melendez from imposing his game plan. Assuming Gilbert’s first cut 145 goes well, he beats Stephen’s via a close but clear decision to put his career back on track and start his journey at featherweight on the right foot.

Ilir Latifi vs Tyson Pedro

Ilir Latifi is coming off of one of the most brutal knockout losses of 2016. He ate a huge knee from Ryan Bader in the second round of their fight and has not returned to the Octogan since. The Swedish ball of muscle looks to bounce back against the undefeated Australian Tyson Pedro. Tyson Pedro is a fighter who has never experienced anything beyond a first round stoppage win, his fight against Latifi represents his biggest test yet. Latifi is a fighter with a game centered around his incredible strength and power. He is a fighter who brings a calm energy in the cage and an interesting physique. He is only 5’10, the same height as former featherweight Anthony Pettis, what he lacks in height he makes up for with muscle. His muscle alone makes him one of the strongest and most powerful fighters in the UFC. Pedro is one of the tallest fighters in his division, coming in at 6’3 he’s used to being the stronger, taller fighter and likes to smother his opponents both on the ground and in the clinch.

How the fight will go

A lot of Pedro’s advantages come from being the taller, stronger fighter. He likes to keep his opponents at range, eat them up with oblique kicks, clinch up, take them down and find the stoppage. Latifi’s strength means clinching and takedowns won’t be easy. He can over power most opponents and avoid trouble in those areas. Latifi does have a tendency to get stuck on the outside and eat leg kicks, his tendency to rush in can lead to counters, like in the Bader fight. Latifi is an excellent wrestler but has trouble taking his opponents down, often expanding a lot of energy in the process. Pedro has been hurt before by his lack of head movement and that can lead to him taking big shots, Latifi can always find a big shot early on and take the Australian out.

Prediction

This fight will all depend on how the first round goes. If Latifi can find his range early on he can land the knockout shot and finish the Australian. If he can’t, he will find himself on the outside where Pedro will pick him apart with body kicks and oblique kicks and hold him against the fence where the Swede will tire himself out. If Pedro stays patient he can tire out Latifi and score the finish. Pedro scores the upset and finishes an exhausted Latifi in the third round by TKO.

Neil Magny vs Rafael dos Anjos

Rafael dos Anjos looks to win his second fight at welterweight as he faces long time contender Neil Magny. Dos Anjos is coming off of a well-fought decision win against Tarec Saffiedine in a fight that helped him discover how he stacked up against a real welterweight and how his body would hold up. He brings into this fight excellent body and leg kicks that he uses to break down his opponents and slow down their movement. He has a game that is perfectly suited for his height as he uses a lot of pressure and forward movement to make sure he stays on the inside. His excellent ground game has carried over to 170 as he uses his top pressure to smother his opponents. Neil Magny last fought against Johny Hendricks in a fight where he used his long range better and showed a new technique with his kicks to create range. Magny’s game uses excellent cardio, as well as good footwork and movement. He’s starting to better understand how to use his long and tall body. He also uses his long legs to create triangle attempts from the bottom.

How the fight plays out

If Magny can use his height and reach correctly he can leave Dos Anjos stuck on the outside, as well as using his footwork to ensure he doesn’t take too many shots. His cardio will keep him fresh throughout the three rounds and he can use that to his advantage if dos Anjos tires out. Dos Anjos will look to use his leg kicks to stop Magny’s footwork as well as use his powerful body kicks to sap his cardio. Dos Anjos’ pressure based game could very well negate Magny’s reach advantage and his smothering top game would keep Magny from using his reach.

Prediction

Although Magny has the tools to beat dos Anjos, the Brazilian remains an elite fighter even at welterweight. Dos Anjos uses his leg and body kicks to slow down Magny as well as using his wrestling to tire the American out. Dos Anjos has fought tall opponents in the past and knows how to use his forward pressure to remove the reach advantage, as he did against Donald Cerrone and Nate Diaz. The former lightweight champion takes a decision win and moves to 2-0 at welterweight.

Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko

Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko meet for the second time after fighting each other at UFC 196. The first fight ended in a close 29-28 decision win for the now champion Nunes. Nunes is a long and rangy kickboxer who likes to fight at range, where she uses her jab and cross keep her opponents back. She has been known to finish most of her fights early on, however, if she fails to do so she has a tendency to get tired, gas out, and get finished herself. Shevchenko, although undersized at 5’5, has been beating her opponents using her ever evolving ground game and her excellent Muay-Thai. Her patience and forcing her opponents to lead has brought her victories over top contenders like Holly Holm and Julianna Pena.

How the fight plays out

Amanda Nunes used her strength on the ground to beat Shevchenko in the first two rounds the last time they fought. Nunes didn’t have a whole lot of success on the feet as she was overpowered in the clinch and found herself having trouble with Shevchenko’s patience and lack of counter opportunities. Nunes’ ground game, while she was still fresh, was very dangerous last time out, nasty ground and pound as well as multiple submission attempts. However in the third round of their fight Nunes gassed and found herself too exhausted to overpower her opponent like she had done in the first rounds and found herself eating a lot of shots on the ground and in the clinch. If early on she can force Shevchenko to the ground and use her strength, she can find a submission or a ground and pound TKO. However, if she can’t, she’ll find herself getting tired in the later rounds and seeing her window for victory closing. This fight, being five rounds, heavily favors Shevchenko and her ever evolving game.

Prediction

Much like in their first fight Shevchenko will stay patient and lose the early rounds. Her lack of activity hurt her last time out as well as Nunes’ aggressive ground game. If Nunes can use her strength early on, she can take Shevchenko down and have her way with her as she looks for the early finish. If Shevchenko can weather the early storm, she can take advantage of her tired opponent and finish her late. Shevchenko will force Nunes to lead and although she’ll have to weather the early storm, her patience will eventually pay off as her opponent tires herself out. Valentina Shevchenko finishes an exhausted Amanda Nunes in the fourth round by TKO to become the new women’s bantamweight champion.

Demetrious Johnson vs Ray Borg

Current flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson takes on Ray Borg in an attempt to break the record for most successful consecutive title defenses. His 11th title defense comes against skilled wrestler Ray Borg and his ever evolving striking. Johnson brings to the Octagon one of the most well-rounded games in all of MMA. His excellent stand up paired with his world class grappling has not failed him at 125. His excellent footwork has always troubled his opponents and his lack of clear weaknesses means it’s difficult to exploit problems in his game. Ray Borg started his career as a world class grappler who would immediately take his opponents down and smother them until the fight was over or he was able to find a submission. His striking used to be a big weakness in his game until he started training with Brandon Gibson.

How the fight plays out

Ray Borg used to start his fights by immediately taking his opponents down and smothering them. Now that his striking improved he’s content with staying on the feet and striking with his opponents. This is where he will have problems against Johnson, Johnson is the much quicker fighter out of the two and will keep Borg on the outside. Borg’s incredibly short reach of 63” means he will need to cover a lot of distance, something he struggles with. Borg is not the quickest of flyweights and is a lot slower than Johnson. While Johnson has the bigger advantage on the feet, the wrestling is where it gets tricky. Borg’s ability to find the takedown and stay on his opponent is something he will need to use to tire out Johnson and force him to make a mistake. Johnson’s patience on the ground means he won’t panic if he goes down with Borg and has shown in the past he can easily get back up or even grapple with the best of them. Borg’s gas tank will be a problem in this fight, as Johnson never seems to tire out and is used to going five rounds. If Borg tires, Johnson will completely take over the fight.

Prediction

Borg starts the first round on the feet and ends up getting frustrated as he finds Johnson too quick and gets stuck on the outside. He eventually finds the takedown and forces Johnson to go through some scary moments. Johnson survives the early storm on the ground and starts to run away with the fight in the third round as Borg starts to tire. Although the fight will be close on the ground, it’s obvious Johnson has all the advantages in the standup. Demetrious Johnson beats Ray Borg by unanimous decision to break the record for most successful title defenses in a row.

Onnit Primal Bells
Continue Reading

Trending