Tomorrow night sees the climax of the 10th season of The Ultimate Fighter, live from Las Vegas. Take a look below to see our breakdown and predictions for the event.
TUF 10 Final: Roy Nelson vs. Brendan Schaub
Even casting aside the obvious physical differences, the final of TUF 10 features two very different fighters. 33 year old Roy Nelson is already a veteran in the sport, being a former heavyweight champion with the now defunct IFL promotion, and currently holding a record of 13-4.
Brendan Schaub on the other hand is a relative newcomer at the age of 26 with just four fights to his name, and a winning record of 4-0. He is confident in his own abilities though, and gives the impression that he won’t be phased by what will certainly be the biggest fight of his career to date.
I think Schaub will struggle to maintain his unbeaten run in this fight though. While he has proven himself to have some of the best stand-up in the current season, there is every likelihood that this fight will end up on the ground where Nelson holds the advantage.
Though he has managed to scramble back to his feet when in danger, the major worry for Schaub is that he his guard has already been passed fairly easily by less skilled opponents than Nelson. With his weight advantage and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills, Nelson will be difficult to shake off if he gets to an advantageous position.
If Nelson wants to stand up with Schaub and put on an entertaining fight to impress Dana White however, then I believe his opponent will be the more likely to win.
Prediction: I think Nelson is old enough and wise enough to know where his best chance of victory lies and one way or another he’ll win on the ground against a game opponent.
Roy Nelson to win by TKO (ground and pound) in the 2nd round.
Matt Hamill vs. Jon Jones
The main event of the evening showcases one of the most exciting up and coming talents in the UFC, Jon Jones. Currently holding a record of 9-0, Jones will be looking to make a statement that he is a serious threat in the light heavyweight division.
Matt Hamill (7-2) has fought all but one of his nine professional bouts in the UFC after breaking into the promotion via The Ultimate Fighter Season 3.
While a solid match-up I believe that this is a fight in which Jones appears to have the edge. Hamill is undoubtedly a very sound freestyle wrestler with the accolades to prove it, but Jones is also first and foremost a greco-roman wrestler which should somewhat neutralize that threat.
Hamill is perhaps the stronger of the two, and it would be interesting to see how Jones would deal with working from his back, but I believe his takedown defense is good enough to keep this fight standing for the most part.
In the striking department Hamill is heavy-handed, but his strikes are generally slow and lack versatility. Jones on the other hand is unorthodox, unpredictable, dangerous and has a generous reach advantage. After working at Greg Jackson’s camp in preparation for this fight he will only have improved in this regard and should now be more technically proficient.
Prediction: Jones has went to a decision twice already in his three fights in the UFC and I think this may be the case again. Matt Hamill is a durable fighter and will prove difficult to finish in regulation time, though I think he’ll take considerable damage in this fight.
I do however expect Jon Jones to add some more eye-catching moves to his highlight reel en-route to a unanimous decision victory.
Houston Alexander vs. Kimbo Slice
Pitched as a battle of the brawlers, this is also very much a ‘do or die’ bout for both fighters. Houston Alexander has taken a year out of the UFC to try to fill in some of the holes in his game after coming undone in 2008 with three defeats in row, leaving his record at 9-4, 1nc.
Kimbo Slice of course is coming off of an embarrassing early TKO defeat to Seth Petrucelli last year, and being smothered for another loss against Roy Nelson in his first fight in TUF 10. The latter bout doesn’t count on his record, leaving him with a current pro record of 3-1.
If this fight were to purely be a stand-up battle then I believe Houston Alexander has the edge. He has proven one punch K.O power, and six of his nine victories have come by knockout. In his most recent fight at Adrenalin MMA 4 in September his victory came largely due to some new-found damaging leg kicks.
While Kimbo Slice has some solid boxing skills, power wise I don’t believe he is as devastating as the hype would lead you to believe. Also he has rarely embraced the other aspects of mixed martial arts striking which will leave Alexander with more ways to win on the feet.
Having said all that, I have a suspicion that Houston Alexander may look to take this fight to the ground, he certainly appears to have hinted that may be the case in his pre-fight interviews, and while he has been vulnerable on the ground in the past I believe he knows enough to deal with Kimbo in this aspect of the fight.
Prediction: I believe that Alexander holds the advantage both in the striking, and on the ground in this match-up. Kimbo certainly holds a punchers chance, but when you factor in that he has ongoing knee problems and has admitted to have strugged to cut weight for the 215lb catchweight bout, things don’t look to good for the former street fighter.
Houston Alexander to win by TKO (ground and pound) in the first round.
Frankie Edgar vs. Matt Veach
This is a dangerous fight for 10-1 lightweight Frankie Edgar. Along with Gray Maynard he is very close to a shot at whoever holds the title after UFC 107’s Penn Vs Sanchez bout. First though he has to navigate past a relatively unknown fighter, Matt Veach, who has an undefeated record of 11-0.
It’s hard to look past the experience factor in this fight. Despite a similar record Frankie Edgar has fought, and won, against vastly superior opposition. At present he claims wins over the likes of Sean Sherk, Spencer Fisher, Tyson Griffin and Hermes Franca.
Meanwhile Veach’s most significant win was against Matt Grice who held a 1-3 record in the UFC, and his record is padded out with a string of fighters who currently hold a losing record.
Edgar is a strong wrestler and has improving stand-up skills – essentially I believe a better version of Veach in those key areas in this fight
Prediction: It will be interesting to see how Veach copes with the step up in competition, but in this instance I have to go with Frankie Edgar who has shown numerous times that he can hang with the best in the division.
I’m going for Frankie Edgar to claim a unanimous decision victory.
Marcus Jones vs. Matt Mitrione
In terms of fan support these two fighters could not be further apart. Matt Mitrione (0-0) did little to endear himself to viewers on the show, while Marcus Jones (4-1) became one of the most likable characters in the history of TUF.
Having had no previous fights prior to his appearance on TUF, we don’t have much to go on in terms of Mitrione’s skills, but from the show we now that he is a powerful puncher, but his technique is lacking. He also lacked cardi o and appeared out of his depth on the ground.
Marcus Jones on the other hand showed genuine promise on the ground with a developing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game. On the feet however it’s a different story. His semi-final fight with Brendan Schaub only added to the evidence that he is not comfortable in this aspect of the game, appearing stiff in his movement and lacking composure when being caught cleanly.
Against someone with strong takedown defense that may be a major concern for Jones, but Mitrione is unlikely to be that fighter.
Prediction: Jones will look to take this fight to the ground early to avoid Mitrione’s power. Once there he should have little difficulty in finishing off his opponent.
I’m opting for Marcus Jones by submission (armbar) in the first round.
James McSweeney vs. Darrill Schoonover
Jon Madsen vs. Justin Wren
Brian Stann vs. Rodney Wallace
Dennis Hallman vs. John Howard
Mark Bocek vs. Joe Brammer