TUF 21 Finale- Prelim Predictions

 

135lbs- Russell Doane (14-4-0) vs Jerrod Sanders (14-3-0)

In the Bantamweight division, Russell Doane makes his 4th UFC appearance when he meets Jerrod Sanders. Doane is coming off a controversial loss to Yuri Alcantara, ending his 3 fight winning streak. Sanders has gone 0-2 in the UFC, falling via 39 second submission to Pedro Munhoz in his last appearance.

Sanders will stand 1″ taller with a 2″ reach advantage. Doane is 7 years younger.

This bout will be Sanders 2nd cut to 135 pounds, but his first fight at 135 pounds was so short there are still a lot of questions regarding how the cut will impact him.

Doane has finishes in 11 of his 14 wins; 6 by knockout and 5 by submission including an impressive technical sub over BJJ Black belt Leandro Issa in his debut.

This bout will most likely come down whether or not Sanders can take Doane down with consistency.  Doane has been taken down 6 times over 3 UFC fights, but has defended 62% of his opponents’ attempts. He is a good scrambler and has a pretty decent counter wrestling game. Doane will make Sanders work for his takedowns and tire him out in the process. Look for Doane to get the better of the striking and have more success with his own ground game as the fight progressed, my prediction is Russell Doane to defeat Jerrod Sanders by submission.

125lbs- Darrell Montague (13-4-0) vs Willie Gates (11-5-0)

Both men enter the cage in search of their 1st UFC victory as Darrell ‘The Mongoose’ Montague battles Willie Gates in the Flyweight division. Montague has lost to a pair of title challengers in Kyoji Horiguchi and John Dodson- he had won 4 straight prior to entering the UFC. Gates took his debut on short notice and lost in the 3rd round by sub to another former title challenger in John Moraga- he had won 5 straight.

Gates is a big Flyweight and will be 4″ taller then Montague with a 5″ reach advantage.

Montague is a wrestle-boxer type fighter. He has a decent striking repertoire with 5 wins by knockout, but he has struggled in his 2 UFC bouts to implement his wrestling game. His chin is a bit of question mark with 2 knockouts on record and he was badly hurt by Horiguchi.

Gates entered the UFC with 5 straight 1st round finishes, 3 by sub and a pair of knockouts. He showcased fast hands in his debut and offers a varied striking attack. He does have issues on the mat, getting subbed 3 times and his defensive wrestling appears to be a weak point.

The size certainly favours Gates, but it has been speed that has given Montague problems. He will be the faster fighter here and should also be more technically sound. Montague moves well and his leg kicks will aid him in dealing with the reach. The biggest key to his success will be his wrestling. Gates had no answer for Moraga on the mat and Montague showed excellent timing catching Horiguchi coming forward for a takedown. If Gates can land flush he could score the knockout, but my prediction is Darrel Montague to defeat Willie Gates by submission.

185lbs- Josh Samman (11-2-0) vs Caio Magalhaes (9-1-0)

In the Middleweight division, Josh Samman takes on Brazil’s Caio ‘Hellboy’ Magalhaes. Samman has won 3 in a row, including both his UFC fights- most recently KOing Eddie Gordon. Magalhaes’s last 2 wins have taken just 75 second and with back to back knockouts of Trevor Smith and Luke Zachrich- he is 4-1 inside the Octagon.

Samman will stand 2” taller with a sizeable 6” reach advantage.

A BJJ Black belt, ‘Hellboy’ has split his 9 wins evenly between knockouts, subs, and decisions. He has landed just 15% of his TDAs and his SLpM and SApM currently sit event at 2.56.

Samman made his return to action after a 20 month layoff due to a nasty hamstring injury. He is a BJJ Brown belt, but has won 7 fights by knockout compared to just 3 by submission. He picked up a pair of knockouts and a submission on his TUF 17 run.

Magalhaes has been the beneficiary of a couple fortunate scenarios- where he was being beaten and than his adversary self-imploded. He throws primarily stiff power strikes and while it has worked recently, that style doesn’t hold up well over a longer fight. Samman is the superior athlete, the more technically capable striker, and he will be more comfortable without the long layoff. Samman needs to survive the early onslaught, but as the fight progresses Magalhaes will fade and Josh will find increasing success capitalizing on his adversary’s defensive striking issues, so my prediction is Josh Samman to defeat Caio Magalhaes by knockout.

185lbs- Dan Miller (14-7-0) vs Trevor Smith (12-6-0)

The first of 2 Middleweight bouts on the card, Dan Miller returns to the division to take on Strikeforce alumni Trevor ‘Hot Sauce’ Smith. Miller has just 3 wins in his last 9 fights and went 1-1 as a Welterweight losing his last fight to Jordan Mein via TKO. Smith is coming off a KO loss to fellow undercarder Caio Magalhaes and is 2-3 since making the jump from the Hexagon.

Miller has been out of action for 28 months and has only fought twice since mid 2011. Smith is 3” taller and will have a 1” reach advantage.

A BJJ Black belt, Miller has won 9 times by submission. Unfortunately, he has lost the takedown battle in 6 of his last 9 fights- averaging 1.86 TDs for his career. He is 5-7 in fights that don’t involve a sub and is 1-5 in his last 6 fights to go to decision.

‘Hot Sauce’ shares a similar profile; solid grappler, NCAA D-1 wrestler, 9 wins by submission, 3-5 when unable to tap his foe. He showed in the Herman fight he is capable of trading on the feet, but with 4 losses by knockout he is at risk when opting to stand and trade.

For the most part, Smith’s chin has been his undoing- but Miller really hasn’t shown he has the ability to capitalize on it. Additionally, the 28 month layoff is a major concern, even more so when considering that Smith has fought 5 times in that span. Smith should be the busier fighter on the feet and his size and wrestling will give him the edge in takedowns and top control, so my prediction is Trevor Smith to defeat Dan Miller by decision.

145lbs-Maximo Blanco (11-6-1 1NC) vs Mike De La Torre (13-4-0 1NC)

In the Featherweight division, Maximo ‘Maxi’ Blanco battles Mike ‘El Cucuy’ De La Torre. Blanco has won back to back fights over Dan Hooker and Andy Ogle to improve his overall UFC record to 3-3. De La Torre is fresh off his 1st UFC victory, knocking out Tiago Trator- he lost his debut to Mark Bocek and was submitted by Brian Ortega which was overturned to a No Contest.

‘El CuCuy’ will have a 3″ height advantage, while they will have an identical 71″ reach. Blanco is 3 years older.

Averaging 4.08 SLpM, Blanco is a dangerous striker with 7 wins by knockout. He also has a strong wrestling background landing 10 takedowns over his last 5 bouts and defending 63% of his adversaries’ TDAs.

Despite 6 wins by tapout and holding a BJJ Blue belt, De La Torre has had some issues on the floor. He has been tapped out 3 times (unofficially 4 with the Ortega NC) and was taken down 3 times by Bocek and failed to create the adequate separation.

The American is a strong striker with 6 wins by knockout and would be best served by keeping this fight standing. Blanco will be more than willing to engage him on the feet, throwing a lot of unorthodox techniques with significant power. He does tend to get a little wild at times which could create openings to take damage, but it can also make his onslaught difficult to endure. Ultimately, De La Torre has had difficulty with strong wrestlers and Blanco should be able to replicate these issues. By establishing his takedowns, Blanco will also stunt the output of his opponent on the feet, so my prediction is Maximo Blanco to defeat Mike De La Torre by decision.

170lbs- George Sullivan (16-4-0) vs Dominic Waters (9-2-0)

To get the evening’s action started, George ‘The Silencer’ Sullivan returns to the cage against short notice replacement Dominic ‘Sho Nuff’ Waters. Sullivan lost for the 1st time in the UFC, falling via submission to Tim Means which ended his 8 fight winning streak. Waters has won 3 in a row, including bouts under the WSOF and RFA banners.

Sullivan is replacing Marcio Alexandre Jr on just over a week’s notice. He last fought in late March and has already fought twice in 2015.

Waters has a well-rounded record; 3 KO/TKOs, 2 subs, and 4 decisions. He has a decent grappling game, but will most likely rely on his striking in this bout. He is a lanky fighter, but doesn’t use his reach well mostly wading forward behind his combos. His defensive guard appears to have a few holes in it.

‘The Silencer’ is a brute, employing a no-nonsense power striking approach that has resulted in 11 wins by knockout. He has averaged 3.95 SLpM, but struggled to find his range against the talented Means. His power translates well to top position, where he will drop some heavy leather, but he lacks a competent submission game.

The short notice debut is tough to get passed because it provides very minimal prep/camp time for a young fighter to get ready for the biggest fight of his life. Water’s lack of a range game will most likely be his undoing. Sullivan’s ability to come forward throw heavy leather and maintain a pretty steady pace will be difficult for Waters to survive. The newcomer will hold his own early, but the damage will pile up and the debut/short notice factor will take its toll, so my prediction is George Sullivan to defeat Dominic Waters by TKO.


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