TUF 24 Finale: Johnson vs Elliott- “Midnight Struck, Glass Slipper Crushed”

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So close, much closer than most expected in fact, did Tim Elliott come to upsetting the soon to be most successful champion in the history of the UFC. The early action of the main event had MMA fans recalling the opening round of GSP/Serra, that saw a TUF tournament winner defeat a highly regarded champion. Nonetheless, “Mighty Mouse” is still champ, Joseph Benavidez is still the #1 contender, there is a returning challenger in the Women’s Bantamweight division, and a tweak to the rulebook is required. Let’s take a look at Saturday Night’s action.

Notes from the Prelims
  • After a complete wipeout in round one, Anthony Smith got back to his feet and put it on Mutapcic before stopping him. Smith has a tools and is a fun action fighter with top 15 potential.
  • In a bloody back and forth affair, Jamie Moyle picked up a victory in her UFC debut. Her ability to land strikes in the clinch and put Curran on her back was the key to her success.
  • It was a high risk/ low reward fight for Rob Font, but he made the most of it showcasing his improving grappling skills and dangerous striking attack.
  • It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. Ryan Hall demoed a vastly improved kicking arsenal combined with the constant threat of his unorthodox grappling to neutralize the attack of Gray Maynard. The former title challenger was clearly frustrated, but was still unwilling to engage Hall on the mat and struggled to mount much vertical offense leading to a loss on the cards.
Notes from the Main Card
  • Building on this upset debut win, Brandon Moreno picked up a second UFC win. While the end result was a split decision, Moreno appeared to be ahead on the cards for the majority of the fight. Benoit landed some decent power strikes, but Moreno outpaced him on the feet and controlled the action on mat for the duration. While it might be too much too soon for a young fighter like Moreno, he is swimming with sharks and holding his own.
  • A new/old contender appears to be making a second run in the UFC, with Sara McMann picking up the biggest win of her UFC career. The opening round seemed to be more of the same, with McMann struggling to mount much offense from top position and fending off Alexis Davis’s attack from the bottom. McMann appeared dazed and alluded to facial damage in her corner, but her second round response was impressive. She once against took Davis down, avoided her guard and forced the BJJ Black belt to tap with a very tight arm-triangle. With the win, Davis re-enters her name as a legit contender in the division. She probably needs another win or two to get a shot at the title, but she is headed in the right direction.
  • The Light heavyweight division is getting a bit of a showcase in the final month of the year and Jared Cannonier made a massive impressive. After dropping the opening round, Cannonier opened up and began to wear down Ion Cutelaba with both the damage he could put forth and the damage he could absorb. The former Heavyweight waded forward in the final minute of the fight with his hands down, taking the best his opponent could toss out, and not flinching. While Jared suggested a moved to 185 is possible, remaining at Light Heavyweight could see him fast tracked to the Top 15 and beyond
  • One of the oddest finishes in UFC history, saw referee Herb Dean step into call “timeout” when Jake Ellenberger’s foot appeared stuck in the cage. Jorge Masvidal was unloading on the downed opponent and had nearly finished him moments earlier, but the stoppage seemed out of place. A timeout and restart for Jake on account of a cage malfunction seems more fitting for the situation. Masvidal was clearly winning the round and the finish could have very likely materialized, but Ellenberger was doing what he could to “intelligently defend himself. Big win for Masvidal, setting up some fun fights going forward and possibly Top 15 ranking.
  • In a battle of the next two best Flyweights behind the TUF 24 Finale headliner, Joseph Benavidez got his hand raised in an entertaining and fun scrap. Cejudo started strong and appeared to stun Joe during an early exchange, but a pair of low blows cost him a point in the opening round. While the former Olympian remained a threat, Benavidez found his rhythm and put together a strong finish to the fight to edge out a split decision win. Benavidez could campaign for another shot at the title on the strength of this win, but a rematch with Cejudo would be the more appropriated next venture.
  • The improbable almost became reality as the collective breath of the MMA world was held with unheralded title challenger Tim Elliott clamping down on a couple of tight submission attempts early in round one of the main event. After appearing to hurt the champ late in the same frame, Elliott was off the start he needed. Unfortunately for the TUF champ, Demetrious Johnson remained composed under fire and rallied to take back control of the action. While Elliott put forth a valiant effort and thwarted the attempts of the champ to secure a finish, the title remained firmly around the waist of “Mighty Mouse”. With the win, Johnson tosses aside yet another challenge set forth in front of him and once again raise the questions “What’s Next?”.
Final Thoughts

The main event was entertaining, to say the least and showed that the TUF Tournament of Champions had a degree merit, by sending forth a challenger that went the distance and even stole a round from the champion. The fallout of the event could, but most likely won’t, create some interest in possible future (non-reality show related) tournaments.

The cage issue that cost Ellenberger a further beating, needs to be resolved. That fight probably would not have gone the distance, but it should not have been stopped under those circumstances. Had Ellenberger been ahead and a cage malfunction occurred costing him the fight, the uproar would be far greater.

I went 7-5 overall, finishing the night with a nice little profit in my Big Risk/ Big Reward Parlay bundle and winning a couple of bets in my Big Bank Roll Bundle, but falling 1-leg short on trio of key parlays. The system has potential, just need to work out a few bugs. We get a pair of events next weekend. My quest to win 300 fights in a calendar year is still possible, requiring 36-wins over the final 4 events.

 

Parlay Header

Depending on your betting style, you can select the Big Bank Roll Parlays which employs a betting strategy focussed on straight and 2-leg parlays that limit the risk and offer a decent return based on your financial commitment. If you are willing to take a little more risk and aren’t interested in putting as much cash in play, but still want a shot at a big return- then the Big Risk/ Big Reward Parlays are for you. Playing both of these strategies together is not recommended.

 

 

 

Draftkings Line up

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Kamikaze
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Fighter 1: Ion Cutelaba $8900 
Fighter 2: Brandon Moreno $8500 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 3: Rob Font $8700 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 4: Jamie Moyle $7600 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 5: Dong Hyun Kim $8300 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 6: Josh  Stansbury $8000 
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Salary Remaining:
 
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Subs
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Fighter 1: Alexis Davis $7800 
Fighter 2: Elvis Mutapcic $8100 
Fighter 3: 
Fighter 4: 
 
 
 

 

Demetrious Johnson -901 vs Tim Elliott +702 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Clearly a No Play here. DJ should win this fight, but not need to have a Serra/GSP style moment cracking your bet card. I will look at a prop option.

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Usually, I like playing Johnson and I like playing a main event fighter because of the extra 2-rounds. A finish, most likely by submission is an option here but I am going to pass. DJ is a little out of my price range and he will most likely be a popular pick. If he goes to decision, that price won’t be worth the return.

Henry Cejudo +174 vs Joseph Benavidez -188 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Cejudo is coming off of his first career loss which is a scenario that usually sees a fighter rally in. He is also coming off of a one-sided title defeat, which can result in a letdown as the fighter deals with recovering from a failure to win the strap. Benavidez has lost to just 2 fighters, Cruz and Johnson. Cejudo’s MMA wrestling hasn’t look that sharp and his cardio is bit of a question mark. I see him struggling to keep up with Joe and falling behind as the fight progresses. I like Benavidez as part of my Gold pack across the board.

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Benavidez can finish, but I feel Cejudo is good enough to force this fight to a decision. I’m looking for a little less name recognition and a lot more finishing potential. Pass.

Jake Ellenberger +226 vs Jorge Masvidal -227 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Ellenberger needed just 2 strikes to temporarily save his MMA career. The stoppage of Brown was impressive, but doesn’t do much to convince me that he still isn’t the same down trending fighter. Masvidal is incredibly frustrating, but I see him as more capable fighter in a better spot of his career. Ellenberger lacks the activity level to keep up with Jorge and while Masvidal has been dropped multiple times- his chin is pretty decent. I don’t like the side bet here, simply because Masvidal’s style of fighting can keep fights closer than they need to be. Pass.

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Masvidal’s lack of urgency and higher end price tag trumps the recent durability issues of Jake. The guys putting Ellenberger down were fire throwers, I will pass.

Ion Cutelaba -205 vs Jared Cannonier +196 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

We are being picky so far, but the betting options will come. Cannonier is no slouch, but fading the weight cut is the proper play here. I had this line closer than what it currently sits at. I was looking for something closer to -170. Both guys throw heat and one shot can change the face of the fight. Don’t sleep on the ground game of Cannonier either. Possible counter bet, but it is a pass on Cutelaba at this price.

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I am going to take a shot on Ion for my Fantasy lineup. He has stopping power and a whole pile of opening round finishes. Cannonier was dropped by Jordan in round 1 and if his cardio doesn’t hold up the pace of Cutelaba will lead to a finish. Add him.

Alexis Davis +160 vs Sara McMann -165 

Davis is coming back from a long layoff and a pregnancy. Those are pair of big question marks. Simply put, I am not impressed with McMann. Her win over Eye was largely based on Eye’s lack of output on the feet and struggles off her back. Davis offers a pretty decent striking game and she is a good grappler. Both Tate and Nunes had a lot of success against McMann on the floor, putting her in some positions that a wrestler isn’t comfortable with. I expect to see McMann falling short on her strikes early and Davis battering her legs to take away the push on her TDAs. I considered Davis as a Silver play, but she probably will slip to the Bronze section based on the layoff.

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Nothing here from Davis. She is cheap, so I could consider her an option as a sub, but I expect this fight to go the distance. Her best chance for a finish is to catch Sara in a sub. Not impossible, but certainly difficult.

Brandon Moreno -125 vs Ryan Benoit +120 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Now we are getting into some bettable options. Benoit’s the type of fighter that either gets finished or completely outclassed when he loses. His wins are the product of big moments. That is not the type of fighter you want to back. Additionally, his cardio is pretty subpar, so the potential for those moments to occur later in the fight is diminished. Moreno is pretty scrappy and is a capable ground fighter. Even if Benoit holds his own early, Moreno will take advantage of the slowdown in rounds 2 and 3. Moreno is coming off a big win over a more noteworthy opponent, he needs to keep motivated here. Silver play.

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I do like Moreno in my DK lineup. He is a capable finisher on the mat and will capitalize on the mistakes that Benoit is known to make on the floor. Benoit has been submitted before and Moreno has the skills to add to that total.

Gray Maynard +108 vs Ryan Hall -115 

Here we go again with Maynard. I wasn’t that impressed with his FW debut, but after watching Hall’s last fight and his TUF loss- he looks tailor-made for Maynard to grind out. Halls lacks the wrestling to put Gray on his back and will most likely pull guard, which is a mistake against Maynard. Gifting him top position would be a huge error. There is still concern about his chin, but Hall’s striking isn’t good enough to bank on scoring the finish. Maynard’s price is good for facing a fighter coming off a big layoff like Hall with the skill set he has. In my Big Risk/Reward parlays, Maynard is a Gold Parlay leg. In my Big Bank Roll section he shifts to a Silver play; either a single leg or part of a 2-leg parlay.

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Nothing here. I expect to see a lot of top position play and a decision from Maynard. Vintage Gray.

Matt Schnell +236 vs Rob Font -260 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Font was supposed to face Perez, which I would have picked him in. The odds would have been more favourable, but this is still workable. Schnell is coming in on short notice, debuting, and moving up a weight class. Those are tough scenarios without even including the fact that he is facing the toughest opponent of his career. Font has sound TDD and a good striking. He will keep Schnell off the ground and force him to exchange. I expected this line to be closer to -300 based on all the factors and overall stylistic matchup. Gold Play.

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Font has power and should be able to deploy it with regularity against Schnell. This is a mismatch in my opinion, so look for a finish. Add him.

Jamie Moyle +130 vs Kailin Curran -132 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

This could be one of the better deals on the card. Curran is a capable but flawed fighter. She struggles against aggressive active fighters and will give up position on the mat. Additionally, I don’t trust her ability to deal with damage in a long drawn out fight. Moyle is debuting, but she cut her teach in Invicta. She has a decent wrestling background and isn’t afraid to exchange. Look for her to land some hard knees to the body when in the clinch and nice push kick down the middle when at range. Curran’s volume is her best option to win this bout, but I expect to see Moyle stay active with her own striking and mix in TDs when needed. She will offer a similar attack to what Kagan did without slowing down. Good value here! Silver parlay leg for my BR/BR Parlays and a Single bet int he BBR play.

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Moyle won’t get much attention because she has a lot of decision wins on her record and as a debuting WMMA fighter- she isn’t high on most player’s priority list. I love her on my DK lineup. Her submission game both from top and bottom position is decent and Curran has been subbed twice in the UFC and finished on the floor in all 3 of her losses. Add her.

Brendan O’Reilly +118 vs Dong Hyun Kim -125 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Kim has put quite a lot of effort into his 2 UFC fights and got nothing in return. The guy is a willing striker and pretty good in the clinch. I don’t see O’Reilly being able to match him on the feet with volume or stop him with a single strike- unless that last fight took a lot out of DHK. O’Reilly gets most of his takedowns from the clinch and Kim is pretty decent there himself. I think it will be a wash and that will force. The Aussie to rely on his striking, Kim outpaces him. Silver play.

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Kim can finish and O’Reilly is coming off a knockout loss. Even if we don’t get a stoppage here, the volume will produce points. I don’t see Brendan holding up under the violent barrage of offense that Kim offers. A lesser known fighter with finishing skills, sign him up.

Anthony Smith -112 vs Elvis Mutapcic +123 

I went back and forth on this fight and feel like the odds are an accurate representation of how this fight could go. Smith should use a wrestling heavy attack mixed with a lot kicks and jabs to keep Mutapcic on the outside. His cardio could be a question mark here, as he tends to slow down. His durability has been good of late, but he has been finished a lot. Mutapcic’s a more accurate striker and will find success once Smith closes the distance to fight in the clinch, like he normally does. As Smith starts to slow down, Mutapcic will pick up the pace and out strike him. Close fight, Bronze/Wildcard section or potentially a No Play in the Big Bank Roll section.

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At $8100, Mutapcic just missed out on my lineup. He is affordable and Smith is finishable. I’ve got him on my sub list.

Devin Clark -112 vs Josh Stansbury +103 

This should be an interesting fight. Lots of scenarios in play here. Both men coming off their debuts. Clark coming off his first career loss and getting another shot at cutting to 185 pounds. Stansbury is cutting to 185 for the first time, but making his first step outside of the TUF realm. I like the size and more technical approach of Stansbury to carry better in this fight. Superior grappling will take away Clark’s ground attack and a more active striking game will give him the edge on the feet Bronze Play for the Big Risk section or a No Play in the Big Bank Roll plays.

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Stansbury gets the final spot in my lineup. Clark went down in the opening round of his last fight. If he tries to power Stansbury to the mat, look for him to counter with a whizzer and jump into a superior position where he can start looking for the sub. With LHWs opening the card, I like the chances for a finish here.

 

1. Demetrious Johnson -901 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

2. Rob Font -260 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

3. Joseph Benavidez -188 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

4. Jorge Masvidal -227 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

5. Brandon Moreno -125 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

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6. Gray Maynard +108 

7. Dong Hyun Kim -125 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

8. Jamie Moyle +130 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

9. Alexis Davis +160 

10. Ion Cutelaba -205 

11. Elvis Mutapcic +123 

12. Josh Stansbury +103 

1. Gray Maynard +108 

2. Jamie Moyle +130 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

3. Elvis Mutapcic +123 

4. Alexis Davis +160 

5. Josh Stansbury +103 

1.  Jared Cannonier +196: 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med Debuting in a new weightclass that requires a cut of upward to 30-pounds is a lot and kept me from back Cannonier straight up, but I feel the line here is a little off.

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bETTING SCENARIOS

 

Exclusive Bet Pack Information.

 

Prop Bets

 

Demetrious Johnson to Win by Submission +160 

Johnson has 3 submission wins over his last 7 victories. He is pretty strong on the mat and will most likely look to take Elliott down at some point in this fight. Elliott has been subbed twice in his career and isn’t afraid to go to the mat either. Johnson wears him out on the floor and locks up an arm for the victory.

Joseph Benavidez to Win by Decision +159 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

These two fighters matchup well, but Benavidez is the more proven and battle-tested fighter. My expectation is that he pulls away in 2nd and 3rd round after Henry starts to slow down a bit. Benavidez has gone the distance in 4-straight fights, he makes it 5 here at plus money.

Jorge Masvidal to Win by Decision +162 

I am fading an “Expert” MMA handicapper with this play. Of Masvidal’s last 11 wins, 9 have come by decision. He subbed Chiesa and KOed the paper chinned Ferreira. The explanation for playing Masvidal inside the distance given by this “Expert” was that Masvidal is motivated to get the finish. He feels the company has told him he needs to finish fights. Masvidal is 11-fights into his UFC run, while he could finish Ellenberger, I don’t expect him to just flip a switch and start smashing guys. Ellenberger has been finished on multiple occasions, but guys like Lawler and Thompson aren’t just any joe walking the street. Masvidal on the cards.

Ion Cutelaba/Jared Cannonier Total Rounds Over 1.5 +105 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

I can see a finish occurring in this fight, but it might take until the second half to materialize. With Cannonier making his divisional debut, I expect him to come out a little cautious to avoid gassing too quickly. Cutelaba can finish, but he has yet to show those stopping skills in the UFC. I would expect he is more likely to rely on volume and the accumulation of damage over a single strike- that takes time. Play the Over.

Gray Maynard/Ryan Hall 

See the Betting Scenario Section.

Jamie Moyle/Kailin Curran Doesn’t Go to Decision +130 

Curran has yet to go the distance in her 4 UFC fights. She fights to finish and in the process opens herself up to getting stopped as well. Moyle has a pretty decent wrestling game and has shown signs up a submission game. Look for her to overwhelm Curran on the feet and capitalize on a mistake once they hit the mat to lock up a RNC. Conversely, with Moyle making her debut she could find herself overwhelmed by the pressure of Curran early on. I like the odds here and the extra half a round could be key.

Brendan O’Reilly/Dong Hyun Kim Total Rounds Under 2.5 +105 

Kim has gone to absolute war in both of his UFC appearances. He has a high rate of finish and came close to putting Reyes away on a couple of occasions. O’Reilly is coming off of a stoppage loss and will struggle to match the intensity or output of his opponent. Play the Under.

Anthony Smith/Elvis Mutapcic

See the Betting Scenario Section.

Devin Clark/Josh Stansbury

See the Betting Scenario Section.

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