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UFC Rotterdam: Overeem vs. Arlovski Breakdown

Dan Tom





Alistair Overeem (40-14-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’5″ Age: 35 Weight: 257 lbs Reach: 80″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Junior Dos Santos (12-19-15)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Strikeforce Heavyweight Title
+   K-1 Grand Prix World Champion
+   19 KO victories
+   31 first round finishes
+   17 Submission wins
+   KO Power
+   90% finish rate
+   Accurate striker (landing at 75%)
+   Strong & clever inside clinch
^   Dangerous knees
+   Will switch stances
^   Favors body kicks from southpaw
+   Solid shifting attacks
+/-Requires space to operate
+   Good grip-fighting/ground striking
–    Tends to lower hands
^   Dropped in 4 of last 7 fights



Andrei Arlovski (25-11)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’4″ Age: 37 Weight: 242 lbs Reach: 77″
  • Last Fight: TKO loss / Stipe Miocic (1-2-16)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC Heavyweight Champion
+   Multiple Sambo Accolades
+   17 KO victories
+   3 Submission wins
+   13 First round finishes
+   KO Power
^   Heavy hands
+   85% Takedown defense
+   Accurate right hand
+   Deceptive foot & hand speed
+/-Blitzes in after hurting opposition
^   Open to counter shots
+   Strong inside the clinch
+/-Effectively stalls from bottom
–    Often retreats w/head upright
–    Holds/retracts hands low
^   Dropped/hurt in last 3 fights


UFC Rotterdam culminates in a heavyweight showdown as Alistair Overeem meets Andrei Arlovski in the main event. Coming off an impressive knockout over Junior Dos Santos last December, Overeem will look to further his 3-fight winning streak and make a claim for the title by beating another former Champion. Coming off a disappointing loss to Stipe Miocic earlier this year, Andrei Arlovski was where Alistair is now, as he was seemingly one win away from a title shot of his own. Still in the mix, Arlovski will look to complete his comeback story by upsetting Overeem in front of his home crowd.

To add to the high-level of intangibles that already come in heavyweight fights, these two men have been training in the same facility as one another for the past few years now. Although they are not reportedly friends by any stretch and have spent surprisingly little time training with each other, the nature of this situation may likely produce the unexpected. Often when fighting someone from the same gym, the common knowledge of coaches or the fighters themselves can add a subconscious insecurity to the equation. In other words, when two fighters who are familiar with one another meet, the emotions often take over and usually manifest themselves into boring fights or barn burners.

We saw one part of this scenario play out in Arlovski’s fight with former stablemate Travis Browne. In fact, 3 of 5 of Andrei’s last bouts have come against former Jackson-Wink affiliated fighters(Browne, Mir, & Schaub). Although Overeem is the justified on-paper favorite, facts like that lead me to believe the intangible advantages are with Arlovski. And despite the advancing age of 37, the former UFC Champ still carries the skills needed to win this fight: speed and power.

Keeping a natural spring in his step, Andrei still displays the agile foot & hand speeds that have kept his game going through all these years. Utilizing feints & throwing just enough variety to set up big shots, Arlovski is deceptively accurate with his patent right-hand. That said, Andrei arguably favors his right-hand too often as he has become very predictable in his approach. More troubling than his approach is his retreats, as Arlovski still shows a bad habit of backing up with his head high. Andrei will have to mind this against an accurate striker like Alistair, especially off the breaks as Arlovski tends to retract his hands low.

Andrei’s best chances on the feet will be by applying pressure to Overeem. Alistair has a dangerous & dynamic arsenal at his disposal, but the Reem requires a lot of space to operate effectively. Fortunately for Overeem, Andrei shows a very measured aggression behind his feints as he often repeats the same patterns. Not to mention that this is a 5-round affair and with Arlovski showing a suspect gas tank in recent years, I question how hard he will be able to push Alistair in this fight.

Never the less, there will still be ample opportunity that will likely come Andrei’s way if he can capitalize. Although Alistair’s shifting attacks could especially be effective given Andrei’s manner of retreat, Shifts are by nature an aggressive tactic that leaves the door open for counters. And considering how Overeem will often close distances with low hands, he could get more than he bargains for if he’s not careful with his favored knee entries.

Although Andrei has abandoned offensive grappling long ago, his Sambo roots still hold strong in his clinch game as he stifles not only takedowns but the overall action as well. Regardless of this I still feel that Overeem should have a distinct advantage inside the clinch. Even though Alistair is known for his devastating knees, he has shown effective hip-rotations from the body-lock in recent bouts. In his fight with Struve, we saw Alistair use this to rotate the Skyscraper to the floor where he finished the fight. Whereas in his fight with Roy Nelson, he was able to parlay failed rotations into opportunities by guiding his oppositions weight/direction right into strikes off the break(Similarly to Holm vs Rousey).

Should Alistair get Arlovski down, expect a subtle but important battle in regards to grip fighting. A master staller, Arlovski has no shame in his intentions for over-hooks & collar-ties to avoid damage. In fact, he has consistently earned stand-ups with this method as officials are usually quicker to stand up heavier fighters. That said, Overeem does an excellent job at hand-fighting which in turn makes him so effective in striking from the top. It is hard to see this one going the full 5-rounds, but I said the same thing with Dos Santos & Rothwell. Although I would love to see Andrei score the upset, it is hard to go against the hometown hero in this one.

Official Pick: Overeem – Inside the distance



Antonio Silva (19-8)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’4″ Age: 36 Weight: 265 lbs Reach: 82″
  • Last Fight: KO loss / Mark Hunt (11-14-15)
  • Camp: American Top Team (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   15 KO victories
+   2 Submission wins
+   12 First round finishes
+   KO power
+   Deceptively agile on feet
+   Hard R. leg & body kicks
+   Puts combos together well
+   Dangerous/Aggressive against fence
+   Strong top game
^   Solid ground striker
–    Control susceptibility on bottom
^   Favors deep half-guard
–    Head vulnerable off strikes
^   Hurt/dropped in 6 of last 7 fights



Stefan Struve (26-8)

Staple info:

  • Height: 7’0″ Age: 28 Weight: 265 lbs Reach: 84.5″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Jared Rosholt (11-14-15)
  • Camp: Blackzilians (Florida/Netherlands)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Cage Gladiators Heavyweight Title
+   16 Submission wins
+   7 KO victories
+   16 First round finishes
+   Strong front Teep kicks
+   Hard leg kicks
+   Accurate right hand
+   Improved takedown defense
^   Off cage & inside the clinch
+   Moves/scrambles well on the mat
+   Dangerous ground game
^   Favors triangle chokes
–    Overhand availability
–    Traditionally takes damage
–    6/8 losses in the first round


The co-main event in Rotterdam features a crossroads match at heavyweight, as Antonio “Big Foot” Silva meets Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve. With only three victories between them since 2012, this fight should speak loudly as to where each man is in their career. In what is arguably the most intangible filled fight on the card, I will attempt to highlight what we may be looking at in this contest.

For Stefan Struve, this will be a chance to not only return home but return to the form that earned him the title of prospect. Having a tougher time than most young fighters do when it comes to adjusting to his growing frame, Stefan’s troubles came to be due to a heart-related issue. Thankfully Struve was properly medicated and cleared to return to action, however, we still haven’t quite seen the same fighter as before.

Stefan said on the Anik & Florian Podcast that everything fell apart after his fight with Hunt, as he feared to push his heart back to the same breakneck pace as before. In looking back at his last four fights, you can see that Stefan was struggling to pull the trigger. Genuinely excited and confident for his return home, Stefan promises that he is fully recovered and ready for this fight.

Facing noted health issues of his own, “Big Foot” Silva has struggled in recent years after a TRT ban and multiple failed tests. Demonstrating inconsistent performances and even in-fight durabilities, Antonio’s only official win in over three years was over another fighter who was on his way out. Always a hard worker, Big Foot has doubled his efforts for resurgence as he has been training religiously at American Top Team.

With only 13 takedown attempts between both men’s UFC careers, I am not sure I expect a ground-heavy approach from either fighter. Although, I do feel that Antonio may have more motive to do so, especially given his toolkit and the way they stack up on paper. That said, Silva primarily attempts his takedowns against the fence, an area where Stefan has shown market improvement. Despite an aging Minotauro Nogueira not being the best measuring stick as far wrestling goes, Struve did show some real technical improvements in not just defending takedowns, but killing clinch engagements and circling out.

Although Struve’s fight with Rosholt was seemingly stranger, we still saw Stefan show these improvements as he was able to defend & adjust as the fight went on. Despite that being one of the more painful fights of recent memory, I do not feel it is a condemnation of Struve’s potential career. That said, if Stefan finds himself on the bottom of Big Foot, he cannot afford to be as lackadaisical as he was against Rosholt.

Known more for his knockout power, it is Silva’s ground striking that is truly devastating, as the Black Belt’s positional based game compliments it well. Even though it does not take much to get Antonio going from topside, he may not find the success he is accustom to as he faces the rare opponent who is larger than him. Moving deceptively well for big man, Struve does so by displaying an excellent use of leg dexterity to compliment his length. Also demonstrating solid agility in his hips, Struve has shown to parlay failed submissions and guard-retentions into get-up opportunities in recent fights.

Even though both men may have their chances on the floor, I feel this fight may ultimately be decided standing. There, both men show similarities in style & susceptibilities, from their attack arsenals to overhand availabilities(caused by their height/upright standing guards). Although Silva has shown more consistency in stringing together combinations, he traditionally is only effective when getting his opponents back to the fence. That’s where I see the overall exchanges favoring Struve, who has a solid Teep kick and ability to circle that may dictate the terms of offense.

Heavyweight MMA is insane to try and predict on its own, much less in a fight like this, as I strongly caution any plays here. With both men’s health issues & inconsistencies, I have to believe that the 28-year old fighter has more upside than the 36-year old who has been hurt or dropped in 6 of 7 of his last outings.

Official Pick: Struve – Inside the distance



Gunnar Nelson (14-2-1)

Staple info:

  • Height:5’11” Age: 27 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 72″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Demian Maia (12-12-15)
  • Camp: SBG Ireland (Iceland)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   Brown Belt Karate
+   9 Submission wins
+   11 First round finishes
+   Good distance management
^   Closes it quickly
+   Deceptive wrestling ability
^   Strong from the clinch
–    Low standing guard
^   Counter availabilities
+   Accurate shot selections
^   Well timed cross (both sides)
+   Excellent top game
^   Seamless transitions & passes



Albert Tumenov (17-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 24 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 75″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Lorenz Larkin (1-2-16)
  • Camp: K Dojo (New Jersey)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Master of Sports: Boxing
+   11 KO victories
+   10 First round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Accurate left hook
+   Manages distance well
+   Excellent right hand
^   Creates subtle openings w/angles
+   Dangerous head kicks (both sides)
+   Strong core/counter wrestling
^   Good bridges & scrambles from bottom
–    Body & leg kick vulnerabilities
^   Often baits/catches to counter


In a battle of Europe’s top welterweight prospects, Gunnar Nelson and Albert Tumenov will each be looking to make a statement in Rotterdam. Steadily stringing together wins and creating rumblings amongst hardcore fans, Tumenov will now get his biggest name opponent on his second main card stint. Coming off a tough loss to Damian Maia last December, Gunnar Nelson will look to get back on track with a win over the tough Russian.

Although appearing to be a striker vs grappler matchup at first glance, I feel this fight comes down to distance management. What makes that hypothesis so interesting is that each fighter’s game is dependent on their conduction of distance, as each man will apply their mastery of range through different methods.

Like many Karate or traditional martial arts based strikers, Gunnar Nelson demonstrates a preternatural understanding of space as he uses his wide stance to shuffle in & out of range at will. Accentuating his stance-switching style is Gunnar’s ability to fire lightning fast crosses down the pipe from both sides. Although Nelson’s punches & placements are effective, he struggles when it comes to overall output and follow-up. Despite showing solid head & overall movement, Gunnar’s low-handed approach has cost him at the higher levels. In his fight with Rick Story, we saw Nelson repeatedly hit by left hands from both stances as he failed to adjust. Gunnar will have to mind his low-handed pocket navigations with an accurate counter striker like Tumenov.

Not your typical counter striker, Tumenov will not lay back in wait nor frantically work the outside to achieve his shots. Instead, Albert takes a more technically aggressive approach, as the Russian will antagonize his opposition by stalking forward with firm feints. And like lighting a match in a room drenched with gasoline, all Albert needs is one bite to spark off a maelstrom of technical combinations. Although not as flamboyant in his movement as Nelson, Tumenov does a textbook job of managing range through resets off his feints and an excellent outside-foot-awareness. Albert also does a superb job of subtly stepping-off angle to deliver right hands or in his last bout against Larkin, digging left hooks to the body. However, with Nelson’s aforementioned low-handed approach, Tumenov’s signature left hooks should be key here, as he is accurate offensively and off the counter.

Although Albert should have the on-paper advantage standing, the Russian has a glaring hole in his kicking defenses that may be Gunnar’s best chances on the feet. With most of us remembering Tumenov’s lack of leg checks in his last fight, he also has the propensity to eat body kicks. Often baiting kicks to catch and trip counter, I doubt Tumenov will look to take down the Renzo Gracie Black Belt. It will be interesting to see Nelson’s approach on the feet, but ultimately his best chances are on the floor. With the clear on-paper edge going to Nelson on the mat, the lack of sample size for Tumenov’s ground game makes a counter argument difficult. With that said, here are a few reasons why Gunnar’s ground advantage may be null-in-void for this fight.

Tumenov has been taken down very few times in his UFC tenor, as the few officially scored came off Albert’s aggression allowing him out of position. Since then we have seen Tumenov mature in not only his manner but his aforementioned distancing tactics. With that said, Gunnar’s best chances to ground the Russian would ideally be with a reactive double-leg. However, Nelson does not traditionally attempt those, as all his takedowns in recent years has come off clinch trips & scrambles near the fence. Demonstrating a solid takedown defense in this area at a rate of 83%, I feel Tumenov will make it hard for Nelson to achieve his traditional terms of takedowns. Tumenov treats the cage like an electric fence as his active footwork and sense of urgency makes him hard to get a hold of here.

If Nelson does manage to get Albert down, he has more than enough technical acumen to get the job done against most in the division when on top. Applying a pressure-to-pass type top game, Gunnar will seamlessly flow his way to the mount. If Gunnar gets that far it could be a short night for Albert, however, Nelson will have to mind his floating and respect his opposition in transition. Displaying deceptive core-strength & ground competency, Tumenov has a knack for timing his opponents advances. If Nelson is not careful, Albert will use these opportunities to sweep or scramble back to his feet as he has done before. Although Gunnar grabbing a back in transition could come to fruition, I ultimately feel that his dependency for takedowns and tendency to play on the outside will cost him in this gunfight.

Official Pick: Tumenov – Decision



Germaine de Randamie(5-3)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 32 Weight: 115 lbs Reach: 72.5″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Larissa Pacheco (3-14-15)
  • Camp: American Kickboxing Academy (Netherlands)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   10x Muay Thai World Champion
+   Multiple Muay Thai Accolades
+   2 TKO/KO victories
+   1 First round finishes
+   Excellent footwork
+   Accurate jab-cross
+   Hard leg kicks
+   Strong inside the clinch
^   Dangerous knees
+   Improved wrestling
?    Questionable overall ground game



Anna Elmose (3-0)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’3″ Age: 31 Weight: 135 lbs Reach: ?”
  • Last Fight: KO win / Mara Romero Borella (5-23-15)
  • Camp: Rumble Sports (Denmark)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional Kickboxing Accolades
+   Amateur Boxing Titles
+   3 TKO/KO victories
+   1 First round finish
+   Aggressive pace & pressure
^   High volume combinations
+   Heavy hands
+   Strong inside the clinch
^   Active knees & strikes
+   Good from top position
?   Questionable overall ground game


In a fun clash of Muay Thai strikers, bantamweights Germaine De Randamie and Anna Elmose are set to collide. A 10-time Muay Thai World Champion, Germaine De Randamie is steadily rounding out her MMA game as this will be her fourth appearance in the UFC. Anna Elmose, on the other hand, will be making her organizational debut with only three professional fights. However, like her opponent, Anna also carries a storied striking history as she will look to upset the hometown fighter.

Despite not having an officially listed reach, I suspect the 5-foot 3-inch Elmose will be at a significant length disadvantage to the long frame of De Randamie. That said, Anna is used to this discrepancy as her aggressive nature will often allow her to compensate in the distance closing department. Even though Elmose has demonstrated an ability to move her head competently, her aggression often gets her hit on entries.

If Elmose does not show improvements in her defensive priorities, Germaine’s hard & accurate punches could very well make her pay. De Randamie also has excellent footwork as she works in, and circles out of range effectively. Mixing-in consistent leg kicks, Germaine also times an accurate uppercut that could find a home against her shorter opposition.

Despite the solid striking arsenal and athletic movement, De Randamie has shown she is not impervious to being pushed against the fence. Here, is where I feel Anna will have her best chances in this contest. Displaying deceptive strength inside, Elmose is active in the clinch as she will consistently strike and relentlessly work. Particularly powerful when inside the pocket, Anna is most dangerous when punching off breaks.

Elmose also displays concerted efforts in her takedown game, and could pose problems on top as she shows solid positional awareness. That said, De Randamie demonstrates a much stronger understanding of the clinch and application of under-hooks. Utilizing a gable-grip variation, Germaine displays a unique hybrid of an over-under control and Thai-style clinch. The under-hook allows De Randamie to fight for a better position while the grip leverage assists her in delivering knees.

Although the lack of sample size makes skill progressions hard to forecast on the ground, I feel the clinch should be the key factor in this fight. Even though Anna has the key intangibles for an upset, I feel Germaine’s length, strength, and experience will ultimately be the deciding factor.

Official Pick: de Randamie – Decision



Nikita Krylov (19-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’3″ Age: 24 Weight: 205 lbs Reach: 77.6″
  • Last Fight: Submission win / Marcos de Lima (8-23-15)
  • Camp: Vale Tudo (Ukraine)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair to poor

Supplemental info:
+   Master of Sports: Kyokushin Karate
+   Master of Sports: Submission Fighting
+   2013 ADCC Ukrainian Champion
+   7 KO victories
+   12 Submission wins
+   All wins first round finishes
^   Very fast starter
+   Aggressive pace & pressure
^   Consistent combos & volume
+   Diverse kicking game
+   Dangerous knees
–    Struggles w/positional awareness
–    Questionable defensive priorities
+   Excellent urgency  & recoverability



Francimar Barroso (18-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’1″ Age: 36 Weight: 205 lbs Reach: 75″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Elvis Mutapcic (1-17-16)
  • Camp: Nova Uniao (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Accolades
+   10 KO victories
+   11 First round finishes
+   4 Submission wins
+   Will switch stances
^   Favors L. kicks from Southpaw
+   Hard leg kicks
–    Lacks volume
^   Often throws singles strikes
+   Strong clinch pressure
+   Solid control from top
–    Lacks ground/overall urgency


In an interesting clash of styles, light-heavyweights Nikita Krylov and Francimar Barroso are set to do battle on the main card. One of the fewer heavier weight fighters to come out of Nova Uniao, Francimar Barroso has been steadily searching for a standout performance. Riding a two-fight winning streak, the Brazilian is now tasked with turning away a young lion in Nikita Krylov.

From his aggressively dynamic attack arsenal to his soft-spoken nature, actions truly do speak louder than words when it comes to Nikita Krylov. Although the young Ukranian has shown improvements since entering the UFC, his knack for fast finishing fights has left us wanting to see more. Now faced with an opponent who has the opposite propensities, it will be interesting to see how Krylov deals with Barroso’s ability to slow down the game.

Primarily circling the outside and switching stances, Barroso will look to time his opposition on his or their way inside. Although he favors body kicks from southpaw, the Brazilian packs hard leg kicks from both stances similarly to his Nova Uniao stablemates. The glaring hole in Barroso’s game is his lack of overall volume and urgency. Although his improved takedowns have allowed him to temper blitzing opponents, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt is surprisingly inactive & ineffective from dominant positions.

Opposite from Francimar’s measured approach is the all-offensive minded Nikita Krylov. A well noted aggressive striker, the Ukrainian’s Karate background comes through in his dynamic & dangerous kicking game. His utilization of front kicks and consistent follow-up punches will be key for his offense considering Barroso’s linear approach. Despite Krylov’s lack of defensive priorities, I feel his takedown defense will be his main vulnerability standing in this fight. Although Francimar is not particularly efficient or diverse in his takedown game, he should have the competency to put down Nikita, as I am sure he will attempt to take him to task.

That said, we have seen activity & offense unwind the on-paper advantages of superior positional players when forced to work. Ultimately, that is how I see these two styles stacking up against one another. Nikita should make more than enough mistakes for Barroso to capitalize on this fight, but the Brazilian’s lack of activity & killer instinct may subsequently render him to reacting. There, Nikita’s questionable but aggressive choices will force Fracimar further away from his fight and closer to the fire.

Official Pick: Krylov – Inside the distance



Karolina Kowalkiewicz(8-0)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’3″ Age: 30 Weight: 115 lbs Reach: 65″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Randa Markos (12-19-15)
  • Camp: Gracie Barra Lodz (Poland)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: N/A

Supplemental info:
+ KSW Strawweight Champion
+ Multiple Muay Thai Accolades
+ 1 KO victory
+ 2 Submission wins
+ 3 First round finishes



Heather Jo Clark (7-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’6″ Age: 35 Weight: 115 lbs Reach: 66″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Bec Rawlings (12-12-14)
  • Camp: Xtreme Couture MMA (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: N/A

Supplemental info:
+ TUF 20 Alum
+ Purple Belt BJJ
+ 2 KO victories
+ 3 Submission wins
+ 3 First round finishes


Due to my personal & professional affiliations with Xtreme Couture MMA I have chosen to not break this match down.

Official Pick: No pick.

Preliminary Card Predictions

  • Wade def. Khabilov
  • Cedenblad def. McLellan
  • Tuck def. Emmett
  • Madadi def. Cabral
  • Horiguchi def. Seery
  • Edwards def. Waters
  • Gates def. Sasaki

Recommended Plays

Fantasy MMA Picks

High Tier Picks:

-Alistair Overeem
-Nikita Krylov
-Kyogi Horiguchi

Low Tier Picks:

-Chris Wade
-Reza Madadi
-Antonio Silva

Pieces for your parlay:

-Kyogi Horiguchi
-Germaine De Randamie
-Albert Tumenov

Props worth looking at(

-De Randamie/Elmose – Over: -120 (2 Units)
-Chris Wade – by Decision: +220 (1 Unit)

Fights to avoid:

-Antonio Silva vs Stefan Struve
-Ulka Sasaki vs Willie Gates
-Magnus Cedenblad vs Garreth McLellan

For the complete analysis of future & past UFC events visit and for future breakdowns & your latest in worldwide MMA news, stay tuned & follow @MMALatestnws

Onnit Primal Bells


UFC 216 Breakdown: Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee



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.


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UFC 216 Breakdown: Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg



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.

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UFC 215 Main Card Breakdown



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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