Sean Strickland (17-1)
- Height: 6’1″ Age: 25 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 76″
- Last Fight: TKO win / Alex Garcia (2-21-16)
- Camp: Millenia MMA/Team Quest (California)
- Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
- Risk Management: Moderate
+ King Of The Cage MW Title
+ Brown Belt BJJ
+ 8 KO victories
+ 4 Submission wins
+ 9 first round finishes
+ Consistent pace & volume
+ Good distance management
^ Deceptively dictates range
+ Excellent jab
^ Accurate / stays long
+ Underrated wrestling ability
^ Improved takedown entries
+ Fundamentally sound top game
– Head often upright
^ Overhand/counter opportunities
Tom Breese (10-0)
- Height: 6’3″ Age: 25 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 73.5″
- Last Fight: Decision win / Keita Nakamura (2-27-16)
- Camp: Tristar Gym (Canada/UK)
- Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
- Risk Management: Moderate
+ BAMMA Welterweight Title
+ Brown Belt BJJ
+ 3 KO victories
+ 6 Submission wins
+ 6 first round finishes
+ Continual striking improvements
+ Effective straight puncher
^ Long & accurate jab-cross
+ Hard kicks from the left side
+ Strong over-hooks inside clinch
^ Looks for knees & trips
+ Solid transitional grappler
^ Uses leg-locks to scramble
+ Dangerous guard game
^ Superb hip & leg dexterity
– Sometimes struggles against the fence
Serving as the headliner for UFC Fight Pass is a tightly contested matchup at welterweight, as Sean Strickland welcomes the undefeated prospect Tom Breese into his backyard. Breese is coming off a hard-fought victory over Keita Nakamura earlier this year, where we saw Tom taken out of his element early and tested. Continuing his training with Tristar gym in Canada, Breese will look to make up for his past performance with an impressive showing here. Set to play the spoiler is Sean Strickland, who is coming off his most impressive win yet as he stopped Alex Garcia earlier this year. Looking to keep the momentum for his camp Millenia MMA, Strickland will attempt to take out another Tristar-trained fighter.
In what is the tightest matchup on paper, I feel this bout between two patient fighters may come down to who can shift gears first. Strickland is more of the counter fighter as he will consistently circle while actively striking & stifling with his jab. Usually having a length advantage over his opposition, this method allows Sean to force striking exchanges onto his terms. Although Tom is two inches taller, Strickland should be the longer fighter in regards to reach and frame.
If Sean can establish his jab first, we may see him stifle Tom and sway the momentum of this fight. However, we have seldom seen Strickland strike against southpaws as his outside foot awareness will be crucial in this contest. A technically sound southpaw, Breese has consistently made fight-to-fight improvements in his standing tools. Working behind a stiff jab of his own, Tom will stalk forward with feints to draw out his opposition’s attack.
With both men traditionally looking to counter, it will be interesting to see who can successfully create and capitalize on the chaos of exchanges. Although both men are more than capable of taking the other out, I give Breese the advantage standing as his stalking style scores well with judges and his defenses are much more fundamentally sound. Strickland tends to keep overly upright in his approach, as we have seen this cost him in exchanges with seasoned strikers like Santiago Ponzinibbio & Luke Barnatt.
I imagine this matchup will touch the mat on multiple occasions, which will likely make wrestling a key factor amongst two talented Brazilian Jiu-jitsu brown belts. Despite Breese being the more accoladed grappler with a wider range tools, I feel Strickland can pose some serious problems for Tom should he get topside. Although Breese bears a base in freestyle wrestling, the Englishman prefers to operate from the clinch as he emphasizes strong over-hooks to open up his knees and trip takedowns.
However, we saw in his last fight against Nakamura that his comfort inside the clinch can be used against him if turned to the cage. With over-hooks naturally giving way to the body-lock, Strickland could use these opportunities to his favor, especially since the fence area is Sean’s preferred space to attempt takedowns. Showing no fear in being grounded, Breese will parlay his over-hooks immediately into his guard game. Displaying superb hip & leg dexterity, Tom puts his long frame to good use on the floor as he will constantly chain submissions attempts into scramble opportunities.
Tom will need to be sharper than a sword to keep his edge and cannot afford any lackadaisical lulls in transition. Sean Strickland is a very underrated grappler who demonstrates a sound positional game as he is consistently active with pressure. Most importantly, Strickland displays an excellent ability to posture just outside of his opponents reach as he rains down shots from the top. Sean awareness of posture may shut down the over-hook based game of Breese and force him to work in a way favorable to Strickland.
With takedown agenda’s being this fights key intangibles, I feel the man on top should have a stylistic & scorecard advantage. It will be interesting to see both fighter’s game plans as this will be another opportunity for each camp to crack the proverbial code. Although I am siding with Breese’s technical prowess to get it done, I would not be surprised at all to see Strickland’s criminally underrated skill set steal the momentum of this fight. With this being the closest fight on paper and the hardest to breakdown on the card, I preach caution in plays as I instead encourage you sit back and enjoy this prospect showdown on Fight Pass.
Official Pick: Breese – Decision
Preliminary Card Predictions
- Ortega def. Guida
- Dariush def. Vick
- Penne def. Andrade
- Miller def. Caceres
- Breese def. Strickland
- Wilson def. Da Silva
- Mutapcic def. Casey
- Kim def. Reyes
UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov – Breakdown and Predictions
What better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than with some afternoon, mid-level UFC fights. Sure, it isn’t the most stacked card we’ve seen all year, but it’s far from a dud. The main event features two of the heavyweight division’s most talented fighters, former UFC Heavvyweight Champ Fabrício Werdum and 8th ranked contender Alexander Volkov, squaring off for a shot at the belt. The co-main features a rematch between light heavyweight veterans Jimi Manuwa and Jan Blachowicz, both looking to assert themselves in the 205 pound division. It’s a pretty good card by Fight Pass standards, and is definitely one not to miss.
Leon Edwards vs Peter Sobatta
The good thing about these daytime Fight Pass cards is you get to see all those fighters you haven’t heard from in a while. And believe it or not, Edwards and Sobatta have both been fairly successful as of late. Edwards is currently riding a 4-fight win streak, which includes victories over Bryan Barberena and Albert Tumenov. And following a loss to Kyle Noke back in 2015, Sobatta has won 2 straight, most recently TKO-ing Ben Saunders last year.
The welterweight division is one of the UFC’s deepest, and a win here is crucial if either man wants a shot at the belt. Overall, it just seems as though Edwards is the more complete fighter. Sobatta is a great finisher, but Rocky’s technical striking should be enough to keep Sobatta at bay. And let’s not forget this fight is taking place in the UK, Leon’s backyard. English judges aren’t always the fairest when it comes to outsiders.
Prediction: Leon Edwards by Decision
Tom Duquesnoy vs Terrion Ware
Can’t say I saw this one coming. Tom Duquesnoy scored an impressive stoppage in his UFC debut against Patrick Williams, then dropped his next fight to Cody Stamann (which doesn’t look so bad given Stamann’s recent success). Despite this small setback, Duquesnoy is still a decent prospect. The same cannot be said for his opponent, Terrion Ware, who is 0-2 in the UFC.
I really don’t know what to say here. Clearly, this looks like an attempt by the UFC to get Duquesnoy back on the winning track. Terrion Ware is by no means a bad fighter, but this is not a match-up that favors him. Duquesnoy is better at just about everything, and while it may not be completely one-sided, I just can’t see Ware getting his hand raised. Hopefully he can get some better matchmaking in the future.
Prediction: Tom Duquesnoy by Decision
Jimi Manuwa vs Jan Blachowicz 2
Ouch. Was really hoping for Jan vs Shogun. At the age of 35, Jan Blachowicz is currently on the best run of his UFC tenure. With back-to-back wins over Devin Clark and Jared Cannonier, Blachowicz is finally starting to look like a real contender. However, his opponent Jimi Manuwa’s résumé speaks for itself, with 16 finishes in 17 wins. And who was that one decision win against? Jan Blachowicz. As weird as it looks on paper, this rematch actually has some sense to it.
Being a fan of Blachowicz, I wasn’t as quick to write him off as some other people were, but I really don’t see this going his way. Manuwa has some of the crispest striking in the division and more often than not Blachowicz is just there to be hit. If he looks to wrestle early I can see him grinding out a decision, but Blachowicz loves to strike, and I can see that being his downfall in this fight. Caveman-like toughness can only get you so far, and against a slugger like Manuwa, it just ain’t enough.
Prediction: Jimi Manuwa by Round 2 KO
Fabrício Werdum vs Alexander Volkov
Fight Pass exclusives aren’t always the most talent-rich cards, but as far as main events go, this one’s rock solid. Both men are angling for a shot at Miocic’s title, and an impressive performance on Saturday all but guarantees it. Werdum has looked impressive since losing the belt to Stipe, with his only loss being a razor-close decision to Alistair Overeem. He currently holds a 2-fight winning streak, most recently defeating Marcin Tybura last November. Volkov on the other hand has yet to taste defeat in the octagon, scoring victories over Stefan Struve, Roy Nelson, and Tim Johnson.
The big question here is how will Werdum fair in the striking. While Werdum has certainly made vast improvements in the striking game, Volkov is a different animal in that department. He’s long, he’s powerful, and most importantly, he’s precise. Werdum hasn’t exactly been a takedown wizard lately, so if he can’t hang on the feet, Volkov could run away with this.
Of course if the fight does hit the ground Werdum has a decided advantage over Volkov. His submission game is still one of the best in the division. But ‘Drago’ has displayed some formidable takedown defence as of late and I can’t imagine it’s in his game plan to try and grapple with a jiu-jitsu world champion. What we have here is a classic Striker vs Grappler match-up, and if the striker can keep it standing, it’s gonna be a rough night for the grappler.
Prediction: Alexander Volkov by Decision
UFC 222, Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya Post-Fight Breakdown
Dare I begin this way but, I think I would be remiss to talk about the presence of a one, Adalaide Byrd, cage-side for UFC 222. To any whom watched the broadcast from beginning to end (or at least tried too), you may already understand this. In addition, no outcome was drastically altered in the vein of deep controversy. But, it goes without saying, her presence among any scored competition should alert the senses.
Looking at her actual scores for the night, I can only say the scores were questionable and only in two of the three fights she scored.
For Dodson vs. Munhoz, I wouldn’t have given a 30-27, but I still thought Dodson won so, I am essentially picking hairs but that is a bad score card. The second score is by most accounts questionable. 29-28 in favor of Yoder, again, not the way I scored it but I am not a judge and the fight was fairly close until the final two minutes or so. Again though, not a good score card.
In no way am I condemning, Adalaide Byrd. I don’t know her, I don’t know much about the extremely controversial score card she submitted at Canelo vs. GGG, but I am aware of her and I believe most should be, if we want to avoid a heart-attack.
With the formalities out-of-the-way, I thought UFC 222 was an entertaining card. As I stated in the Pre-Fight Notes, I thought the card turned out pretty well. Fight fans were given a wide range of emotions last night. Each section of the card (Fight Pass Prelims, FS1 Prelims, Main Card), had at least one can’t miss match-up. Mike Pyle making the walk for the final time in his career against Zak Ottow was a moment most did not want to miss. In reality, it was hard to watch.
Not entirely, because the opening round began typical of two strikers clashing. Then, a couple of minutes went by and Zak Ottow landed an overhand right, knocking Pyle down. From there, it was not a pretty sight. The fight was essentially over but Pyle managed to tie up Ottow for a brief moment before his opponent resumed striking and Herb Dean stopped the bout.
— UFC (@ufc) March 4, 2018
Zak Ottow calls his shot and gets a big win. ‘The Barbarian’ lost his previous fight against Li Jingliang by 1st round TKO. He held a 2-2 UFC record before last night, with two split decision victories.
The FS1 prelims fulfilled the seemingly scheduled controversy that comes with the current climate of MMA. CB Dollaway made his octagon return but in not many desire or could imagine. The opening fight of the prelims gave an entertaining opening round between Dollaway and his opponent, Hector Lombard. Unfortunately, it ended with excruciating confusion. Watch and judge for yourself.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) March 4, 2018
The disqualification is warranted. Both those punches are thrown after the bell sounds, and the damage Dollaway sustained was more than apparent.
Next, the biggest star of the FS1 prelims, was most likely the least known on last nights pay-per-view (PPV) card. Alexander Hernandez made a name for himself after stepping in short notice and defeating the powerful, Beneil Dariush. Not only winning by KO but a 42 second KO.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) March 4, 2018
Hernandez is now someone to watch in the UFCs incredibly deep, Lightweight division.
Another star and headliner of the FS1 prelims, Mackenzie Dern, won her bout against Ashley Yoder. Dern vs. Yoder, was a closer match-up than most thought, especially Vegas. Odds-makers had Yoder as +375 (Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com). Of course, Dern was not a massive favorite but the fight could have gone to Yoder if just one more judge agreed with Adalaide Byrd.
In this fight, it came down to the first round. The second and third had clear winners while the first didn’t. Yoder scored a huge knockdown in the second round. She didn’t get much of an opportunity to capitalize or find a finish as Dern rose to feet quickly after and chasing a BJJ practitioner at the level of Derns to the ground, could prove foolish. Dern clearly won the third round. The Brazilian-American finally got the take-down and swarmed Yoder on the mat, eventually she transitioned to Yoders back. She nearly got the finish but time proved to be her enemy. The bell rung with the two deeply entangled with each others arms, Dern attempting to sneak her arm back underneath the chin of her opponent, and Yoder attempting to pry them away.
Moving onto the main card of the PPV, Cat Zingano vs. Ketlen Vieira, Stefan Struve vs. Andrei Arlovski, and Sean O’Malley opened the final leg of the event with three consecutive decisions. In the case of first bout (Zingano vs. Vieira), Ketlen Vieira won via split decision, the final split decision of the night. Andrei Arlovski scored his 16th UFC victory, with the split decision on Satuday night. His 16 wins ties him with Frank Mir, for most wins in the UFC Heavyweight division history. Finally, the last decision was in favor O’Malley, in what proved to be another extraordinarily odd bout.
After clearly winning the opening two rounds, Sean O’Malley was well on his way to a second UFC victory. But a fluke injury off a thrown kick left O’Malley one footed, no ability to plant on the injured leg, and exactly then is when confusing began arising. Soukhamthath began to bring pressure and take-downs once he saw his opponent injured.
That was the WORST decision making in a fight I have ever seen!! He took down a LIMPING AND INJURED OPPONENT who couldn’t stand up🙄
— Jimmy Smith (@jimmysmithmma) March 4, 2018
The decision cost Soukhamthath the fight. If he forced O’Malley to stand and move towards him, the referee would have seen that the fighter clearly could not continue based on the injury. To further clarify, fights will be stopped if it becomes clear that one athlete is injured to the point they can not defend themselves. An inability to walk is classified as such. A similar situation took place at Bellator NYC last June, in the promotions Lightweight title bout between, Michael Chandler and Brent Primus. Chandler injured his leg and visibly could not walk correctly, if at all. The referee stopped the bout, called the cage-side physician in and ultimately, declared the bout over.
The final two fights of the evening, ended quickly. In the co-main event, new blood boiled to the top. Brian Ortega vs. Frankie Edgar was the byproduct of losing Max Holloway. It was deeply saddening to see the title challenge match-up crumble to pieces for the second consecutive time. But in the end, a new #1 contender is born.
Brian Ortega emphatically yet calmly stopped Frankie Edgar by KO in the opening round.
— UFC (@ufc) March 4, 2018
The majority of the first round belonged to Edgar. He seemed to move better, going in and out, landing the better strikes on Ortega. But it was counter elbow from Ortega off a faint from Edgar that really put the New Jersey veteran in trouble. Edgar fainted the right hand then threw a left uppercut that lands on Ortega. Off the fainted right hand, Ortega came in with the elbow and clipped him.
After the elbow, Ortega slowly stalked him down. They ended up in close quarters as Edgar looked like he attempted to get the clinch. Ortega separated moving backwards to set up a huge uppercut that dropped Edgar.
— UFC (@ufc) March 4, 2018
After the uppercut, Ortega added a couple of hammer fists to Edgar on the ground before the referee stepped in but the uppercut ended it. Last night was Frankie Edgars 29th pro fight. It is well noted that in the previous 28 fights, Edgar never lost by finish. 27-year-old, Brian Ortega is the first man to do it.
Finally, the main event. As inevitable as a finish could be. Although the finish was as predicted, the opening minute didn’t go without surprise.
— UFC (@ufc) March 4, 2018
Kunitskaya eats a vicious overhand right the begin the action against the fence. She responds by grabbing a single leg and taking Cyborg to the mat. Such a method might prove less damaging but is equally ineffective for Cris Cyborg is a highly skilled grappler. Eventually, Cyborg found her way up and began to unload on Kunitskaya.
— UFC (@ufc) March 4, 2018
Kunitskaya used a lot of front kicks, as expected. It looked like she wanted to stay in kicking range and try to grapple when Cyborg came in close. The problem she ran into was the power and strength of Cyborg. Especially in the right hand, which consistently landed. The Russia couldn’t control the grappling exchanges even when she was on top. Kunitskaya didn’t land many, if any, strikes from the top. She spent the entire time attempting to hold Cyborg there.
This is a problem we are accustomed to seeing. Even in the case of Cyborgs previous victory, over Holly Holm. Holm had the toughness, footwork, and technique to challenge Cyborg. But, it was the power and strength which largely had Cyborg dominate Holm over the course of 5 rounds. The obvious reason why many women are extremely overpowered by Cyborg is because they don’t belong in her weight class. The women’s Featherweight champion is yet to fight a Featherweight in the UFC.
It remains to be seen if Megan Anderson ever challenges Cris Cyborg for the divisions title, but what Anderson represents is the first legitimate Featherweight on the roster besides Cyborg. Rational thought brings forth the notion that Anderson must eventually fight Cyborg. Otherwise, having her on the roster is for nothing.
UFC 222 – Breakdown and Predictions
Well, it was a bumpy ride but we’ve finally reached UFC 222. Sure the loss of Holloway-Edgar was a heart breaker, but at least we got Edgar-Ortega out of it. And a heavy betting favorite, in form of Cris Cyborg, is a welcome addition to any card. Throw in a couple of fading veterans and untested youngsters and you’ve got yourself a Fox Sports looking Pay-per-view.
It’s far from perfect, but after what this card has been through it’s amazing that it’s happening at all. Good on the UFC for putting together a solid night night of fights despite the circumstances. And now, onto the breakdown.
Cat Zingano vs Ketlen Vieira
Zingano’s last win came over current Women’s Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes, which is impressive. That was over three years ago, less impressive. Cat’s most recent bout was a loss to Juliana Peña back in 2016.
Since then her opponent, Ketlen Vieira, has strung together 3 wins inside the octagon, most recently an arm-triangle submission over Sara McMann back in September.
Zingano is in desperate need of a win, but she picked a hell of an opponent to come back to. Vieira is a well-rounded fighter with an excellent submission game. But what seals the deal for me is the recent inactivity of Zingano. Ring rust is a bitch, and with only 15 minutes of fight time in the past 2 years, Zingano can expect a rough welcome back to the cage.
Prediction: Ketlen Vieira by Decision
Stefan Struve vs Andrei Arlovski
Well better late than never I suppose. Andrei still has a top 15 spot in the UFC’s brittle heavyweight division, but his best years are surely behind him. As for Struve, I can’t tell if his prime has yet to come or has already happened. Hell, this might be his prime.
This fight is a good measuring stick for where these two currently stand. If Struve can’t beat an already busted Arlovski then I don’t see this kid getting anywhere near the title. Likewise, if Arlovski can’t beat the inconsistent Struve, the Pitbull’s days as a contender are just about over.
Durable is not a word that is used often when discussing these two. Arlovski’s chin has always been a cause for concern, and Struve’s certainly no Iron Man with 7 knock-out loses of his own. Basically what I’m saying is whoever lands the first big shot is probably going to win. Struve is bigger, longer, younger, and a bit more powerful than the former champ at this stage of his career, so I’m going with him.
Prediction: Stefan Struve by Round 1 KO
Sean O’Malley vs Andre Soukhamthath
How is this a main card fight? Sure O’Malley and Andre are both decent fighters, possibly future contenders, but isn’t this a bit premature? ‘Sugar Sean’ only has a single UFC fight to his name and Andre is 1-2 with the promotion. Nevertheless, it’s an intriguing match-up. Both fighters are competent strikers, so expect this one to stay standing for a majority of the bout.
What makes this a hard fight to call is that we have very little to go off of. These two have a combined 4 fights in the octagon, none of which against anyone of note. One thing I have noticed though, is that Andre has a tendency to let fights slip away from him. Given Sean’s aggressive, come-forward style, that’s definitely something to look at. On paper, it’s a close fight between two young fighters looking for a break-through performance. Let’s see who shines under the bright lights.
Prediction: Sean O’Malley by Decision
Frankie Edgar vs Brian Ortega
I was very much looking forward to Holloway vs Edgar, but as far as replacement fights go, this one’s top notch. Holloway beat plenty of great fighters during his meteoric rise to the top, yet somehow missed these two along the way. The winner of this fight has a better chance of ripping the belt from the hands of the Hawaiian than anyone else in the division, no doubt.
There’s no debating that Frankie Edgar is one of the best to ever put on the gloves. His exceptional title reign at 155 closed the book on that discussion. Ortega however still has something to prove. Wins against Cub Swanson and Clay Guida are certainly impressive, but the best way to prove he’s ready for a shot at the title is by beating someone who’s been there. Frankie is that someone, but beating him is not an easy task.
Stylistically, this is a close fight. Both men are capable in the stand-up, but I’d give a slight edge to Frankie due to his speed and movement. The ground is where things get interesting. Frankie has a suffocating top game and possesses some of the best ground and pound in the division. Ortega on the other hand is dangerous from just about anywhere thanks to his other-worldly Jui Jitsu game. It’s a tough call, but I think ‘T-City’ gets it done. Frankie is no slouch on the mat, but when Ortega sees an opening he pounces, and I believe this will be the case on Saturday. Sorry Frankie.
Prediction: Brian Ortega by Round 3 Submission
Cris Cyborg vs Yana Kunitskaya
I’m not even gonna pretend this is a real fight. Cyborg is without a doubt the greatest female fighter of all time. With dominant wins over Holly Holm, Gina Carano, and Marloes Coenen (twice), Cyborg has cemented her legacy as the most dangerous woman to ever step inside the octagon. Yana meanwhile has won just 2 of her last 5, all of which being contested in the Bantamweight division, 10 lbs below the Featherweight limit. I think you can all see why I’m so quick to count her out.
It’s amazing that despite fighting in an imaginary division, Cyborg defends here belt as much, if not more, than any other champion. And defending her title on such short-notice shows just how confident she is in her abilities (even if her opponent is completely over-matched.) I could go on about how good Cyborg is for hours, but instead I’ll just cut to the chase. Yana is in trouble. A LOT of trouble.
Prediction: Cris Cyborg by Round 1 KO
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