The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale takes place in Las Vegas on Saturday night and you can see our predictions for all the fights below.
Demetrious Johnson vs. Tim Elliott
Since his previous stint in the UFC Elliott has won three times in a row in the Titan FC promotion and now emerged victorious on TUF Season 24, proving that he’s a very capable fighter against a respectable level of opposition.
However, the fact remains that during his 2-4 in the UFC between 2012-2015 he had a habit of coming up short against top contenders like Joseph Benavidez, John Dodson and Ali Bagautinov.
That’s a real problem, as though the aforementioned fighters are all talented, they’ve also all come up short against the champion and top pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, ‘Mighty Mouse’.
Though Elliott’s awkward style can be difficult to deal with, it’s hard to imagine that Johnson won’t end up emerging victorious here, and I think he’ll do it before the fight reaches the championship rounds.
Demetrious Johnson to win by submission in Rd3.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Henry Cejudo
This should be an interesting one between two former flyweight title contenders who both operate at a very high level.
A terrific athlete, Cejudo has taken to the striking game well, but his real strong suit remains his wrestling, and he has an Olympic gold medal to prove it.
Taking a savvy veteran like Benavidez to the mat and keeping him there will be tough though, and overall I feel Benavidez’s many years of experience at the highest level, well-rounded skill set and in particular his level of comfort on the feet and in scrambles will allow him to edge out the younger man here in a competitive co-main event scrap.
Joseph Benavidez to win by decision.
Jake Ellenberger vs. Jorge Masvidal
Ellenberger managed to pull himself out of a dreadful losing streak last time out, but this fight will prove whether that was just a one-off, or if he really has managed to turn a career in his career.
Ellenberger certainly packs the bigger punch in this match-up and is better suited to welterweight than his opponent, but Masvidal is the superior technician on the feet and if he can survive the early artillery then I think he will be able to pick his man apart with his crisp, accurate striking from range.
Jorge Masvidal to win by decision.
Jared Cannonier vs. Ion Cutelaba
Cannonier is coming down from heavyweight for this fight and if his power translates to 205lbs then he’s not someone to be taken lightly.
Cutelaba has proven he can take a punch though, which is just as well as he’s all about offense on the feet and the mat. I think his aggression and ability to keep pushing the pace all fight long will be too his benefit here as he fights his way to a decision win.
Ion Cutelaba to win by decision.
Alexis Davis vs. Sara McMann
This is an interesting stylistic clash, with Olympic wrestling silver medalist Sara McMann being the physically stronger fighter with good control on top and decent power in her strikes.
Meanwhile, Davis is as tough as old boots and a tireless worker, so while she may not have much in the way of punching power, she’ll make up for it with the sheer volume of strikes, while she’ll pose her biggest threat of finishing the fight with submission attempts.
This is a tough one to call as Davis is more consistent, while on the other hand if often feels like McMann is failing to live up to her potential. Nevertheless, I think her wrestling advantage could well be the key to a stifling decision victory here.
Sara McMann to win by decision.
Ryan Benoit vs. Brandon Moreno
A sixth fight sneaks it’s way onto the main card line-up, and Moreno should have too much in his locker for Benoit as he has a far superior ground game and can also hold his own on the feet.
Benoit has already shown holes in his submission defense in the UFC and I believe Moreno will be able to exploit them sooner rather than later.
Brandon Moreno to win by submission in Rd1.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Ryan Hall vs. Gray Maynard
Rob Font vs. Matt Schnell
Kailin Curran vs. Jamie Moyle
Devin Clark vs. Josh Stansbury
Elvis Mutapcic vs. Anthony Smith
”Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim vs. Brendan O’Reilly