Gabriel Benitez (18-4))
- Height: 5’8″ Age: 27 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 71″
- Last Fight: Decision win / Clay Collard (6-13-15)
- Camp: Team Entram (Mexico)
- Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
- Risk Management: Fair
- Overall Fight Grade: C+
+ Regional MMA Titles
+ TUF LATAM Alum
+ 9 Submission wins
+ 9 first round finishes
+ 6 KO victories
+ Training at AKA (CA)
+ Hard Left body & leg kicks
+ Good knees from clinch
+ Accurate straight left
+ Competent TD defense
+ Dangerous Guillotine choke
^ Will gamble position for it
+ consistent pace & pressure
– Gives position off aggression
– right hand tends to lower
Andre Fili (14-3)
- Height: 5’11” Age: 25 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 74″
- Last Fight: Submission loss / Gogofredo Castro (3-21-15)
- Camp: Team Alpha Male (Sacramento)
- Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
- Risk Management: Fair
- Overall Fight Grade: C+
+ Regional MMA Titles
+ Piano Key Belt in Joe-Jitsu
+ 7 KO victories
+ 3 Submission wins
+ 5 first round finishes
+ Underrated counter wrestling
+ Favors double-legs
^ Times well in the open
+ Active & attacking guard
^ Excellent sweeping abilities
– Hands slightly low & head upright
+ Improved head & overall movement
+ Aggressive pressure & pace
+ Angles well of attacks
+ Long & accurate left hook
In the midst of the preliminary action is a potential “Fight of the Night” candidate, as Featherweights Gabriel Benitez and Andre Fili are set to square off. Fill draws a road game here as he’ll look to get his first consecutive win in the UFC against an underrated regional player. As one of Mexico’s more promising prospects, Gabriel Benitez has moved shop to AKA in San Jose since his stint on TUF LATAM. In attempts to maximize his potential he’s made clear efforts in sharpening his submission game and overall counter wrestling to support his striking based style. With both men being aggressive strikers, Gabriel’s more technical straight-forward application of it will serve him best standing.
With Fili’s propensity to lower his hands and keep his head upright, Benitez’s accurate left hand could to play a factor in swaying momentum his way. In fact his overall straight punch pressure with hard left kick follow-ups could play well to Andre’s more wide and looping attacks. That said, Fili shows ever improving footwork and movement as his defenses heavily rely upon it. Displaying improved boxing and a solid kicking variety, it’s Andre’s ability to angle off attacks that make him effective. This technique will be crucial to this fight as it gets him off-line from his opponent, and on-line for more of his own offense. Benitez also shows defensive liabilities of his own as his right hand tends to lower during & exiting exchanges.
Gabriel will have to mind this opening, as Fili’s most accurate & effective punch is his left hook. Using the aforementioned angling, Andre will usually attach a right cross to follow up his hook nicely. For my money, the factor that edges these men apart is there ground game. Benitiez has showed a very competent submission game coupled with improving take-down defense(especially against the cage). It’s in the open where Gabriel has struggled to defend take-downs as his aggressive nature tends to expose him in this space. Luckily for Andre Fili, his most impressive take-down is his well timed double-leg in the open(something he scores consistently with). With underrated counter wrestling of his own, Andre’s ability to change scenery & offensive gears will be huge in this fight.
Though I don’t feel his recent submission losses are condemnations of his skills or defenses, Fili will have to mind Benitez’s ever evolving Guillotine choke as he enters for his take-downs. I’m sure he’s seen many in the practice rooms of Team Alpha Male, but we’ve also seen that turn into a false sense of security in his recent fights as he’s been threatened consistently. Gabriel Benitez shows solid durability & recoverability that makes him a very live dog in this fight, but I feel Fili’s wider range of skill-sets will keep him ahead as the favorite here. With both men’s current stage of their career, expect the fight-to-fight improvements be the intangible factor at play here. I wouldn’t bank on a finish with either of these chins as I expect maturity to be the deciding factor here.
Official Pick: Fili – Decision
TUF Finale Predictions
- Enrique Marin def. Erick Montano
- Horacio Gutierrez def. Enrique Barzola
Preliminary Card Predictions
- Taylor Lapilus def. Erik Perez
- Bartosz Fabinski def. Hector Urbina
- Scott Jorgensen def. Alejandro Perez
- Andre Fili def. Gabriel Benitez
- Valmir Lazaro def. Michel Prazeres
- Vernon Ramos def. Alvaro Herrera
- Cesar Arzamendia def. Polo Reyes
Fantasy MMA Picks
High Tier Picks:
Low Tier Picks:
Pieces for your parlay:
Props worth looking at:
-Gastelum – Inside the distance
Fights to avoid:
-Escudero vs. Silva
UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event
Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.
Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.
He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.
In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.
UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from MMAFighting.com, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.
The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.
Marco Reyes Flagged for Potential Anti-Doping Policy Violation
Earlier today, UFC officials announced that Lightweight, Marco Reyes was flagged for a potential UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation. The potential violation hails from a sample collected on March 8th, 2018, in an out-of-competition test.
Reyes made his way into the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, season 2. Competing in the lightweight bracket, Reyes defeated Christhian Soto by 2nd rd. TKO of a preliminary round bout. He then went onto to face Horacio Gutiérrez, in the semifinals of the tournament. Gutiérrez defeated Reyes in the opening round by TKO.
Following his elimination from the tournament, the Mexican fighter met Cezar Arzamendia on the series finale, The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale. Reyes impressively defeated Arzamendia, whom was the first overall pick for Team Gastelum, by 1st round KO.
From there, Reyes defeated Dong Hung Kim (rd. 1, KO), and Jason Novelli (Split Decision) respectively, before falling to rising contender James Vick. Most recently, the Lightweight fighter dispatched Matt Frevola in the opening round, ruining the Long Islanders promotional debut. His bout against Frevola took place at UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi, on January 14th of this year.
The UFC statement on the matter reads as follows:
The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Marco Reyes of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on March 8, 2018.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Reyes. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
Dillon Danis to make Pro debut against Kyle Walker at Bellator 198
Mixed Martial Arts officially adopted another incredibly talented jiu-jitsu practioner today. Bellator officials announced today the long-awaited debut of Dillon Danis, whom the promotion had signed in the year previous. After zero amateur and countless jiu-jitsu matches, Danis makes his debut at Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, against Kyle Walker.
Kyle Walker enters the match up also making his Bellator debut. Walker recently made a resurgence in 2016 after taking off, almost exactly, 3 years. Since returning to the professional scene his record is 0-3, losing each fight by stoppage (2 Sub, 1 KO).
Walker looks to snap his streak yet, his opponent could provide a major challenge. In terms of advantages for Walker, he has a massive and obvious one. His experience. Walkers opponent fights for the first time in the sport of MMA. While Danis competed in many top-level jiu-jitsu tournaments and matches, comparing the competition would stop and end upon examining the rule sets. It is quite obvious, the difference. Danis will have a bit of adversity to overcome, in that respect.
In spite of this, Danis’ team, he trains out of the highly regarded SBG Ireland. Even before his MMA training, he trained under Marcelo Garcia. He earned his black belt in April of 2015, following an incredible 2014. In that year, Danis became UAEJJF World Champion, winning gold in the 82 kg (181 lb.) Brown belt category.
The prospect of what that could look like inside the cage is exciting. He may have developed some striking techniques but, the lack of time dedicated to that training in undeniable. Experience and time is required to develop skills of any kind.
Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, takes place on Saturday, April 28th from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Bellator 198 features the third of four preliminary bouts in the promotions Heavyweight Grand Prix, Fedor Emelianenko takes on Frank Mir. It serves as the nights main event. Other bouts on the card feature; Emmanuel Sanchez against Sam Sicilia, Neiman Gracie faces Javier Torres, Rafael Lavato Jr. vs. John Salter, and more.
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