The Ultimate Fighter: Tournament of Champions (also known as The Ultimate Fighter 24 and Team Benavidez vs. Team Cejudo) will be cemented December 3rd where we see tournament finalists Tim Elliott take on Hiromasa Ogikubo.
On May 11, 2016 the UFC announced that the 16 competitors for the season would be made up of flyweight fighters from various locations who are champions in their respective organisations around the world, with the winner being expected to have a chance to fight for the UFC Flyweight Championship.
The coaches for the season are former flyweight title challengers Joseph Benavidez and Henry Cejudo. However whats more surprising than the UFC deciding to do a flyweight tournament format for this years Ultimate Fighter is that this season has been very entertaining.
ULTIMATE FIGHTER 24 FINALE official main card
|Flyweight Championship||Demetrious Johnson (c)||vs.||TBD|
|Flyweight||Joseph Benavidez||vs.||Henry Cejudo|
|Welterweight||Jake Ellenberger||vs.||Jorge Masvidal|
|Light Heavyweight||Ion Cutelaba||vs.||Jared Cannonier|
|Women's Bantamweight||Sara McMann||vs.||Alexis Davis|
|Flyweight||Brandon Moreno||vs.||Ryan Benoit|
|Featherweight||Gray Maynard||vs.||Ryan Hall|
|Bantamweight||Rob Font||vs.||Matt Schnell|
|Women's Strawweight||Kailin Curran||vs.||Jamie Moyle|
|Middleweight||Josh Stansbury||vs.||Devin Clark|
|UFC Fight Pass|
|Middleweight||Elvis Mutapcic||vs.||Anthony Smith|
|Lightweight||Dong Hyun Kim||vs.||Brendan O'Reilly|
fight previews, picks & betting tips
This weeks Fight Night card is certainly lacking star power but in the main card we see some excellent match ups outside outside of the Main and Co-Main events. Most notably between Jorge Masvidal and the hard hitting Jake Ellenberger which we look at in this weeks featured preview.
Quick bet tips
Rob Font vs Matt Schnell
Look out for the slick stand up stylings of Rob Font as he looks to put on another great performance against Ultimate Fighter season 24 stand out Matt Schnell. Font has the type of stand up that is beautiful to watch and whilst he lost in his most recent bout to John Lineker he displayed good awareness and defence in the pocket whilst occasionally sneaking his own shots in.
Matt Schnell also possesses good stand up but he is not at technical as Rob Font and will pay for it in this fight. Look for Rob to draw out his opponents strikes and capitalise with accurate counters.
The pick is Rob Font by decision or TKO @ odds as high as +1.38 at any of youbetyah sportsbooks.
Gray Maynard vs Ryan Hall
In a classic up and coming prospect versing an ageing veteran match up we see Jiu Jitsu ace Ryan Hall pit his skills against the All American division 1 wrestling of Gray Maynard.
Years ago when Gray Maynard was steam rolling through the lightweight division I would have picked him to manhandle the less athletic Ryan Hall on route to a unanimous decision. However after suffering 3 back to back TKO’s at the hands of TJ Grant, Nate Diaz and Ross Pearson you simply cannot count on Grays durability with great confidence. The bully whilst never a small lightweight decided to make the drop to featherweight in an effort to get his career back on track and whilst he did win his 145lb debut it was a less than spectacular performance against a top 30 fighter.
Ryan Hall however skilled on paper hasn’t had a tremendous amount of experience with just 6 professional fights to his name and no notable names on that list either he is an anomaly of sorts. With an incredible BJJ pedigree to his name he hasn’t shown these skills in the cage yet. Halls stand up however is improving quickly and he has shown a good diversity in his striking especially with his kicks, he uses front kicks, body kicks, head kicks and has even landed the odd hook kick. I expect Ryan to neutralise Gray’s wrestling with his BJJ and beat “The Bully” up on the feet on route to a unanimous decision.
The pick is Ryan Hall at odds as high as +1.90 with Paddy Power or Ladbrokes sportsbooks.
Bonus tip: This fight is very likely to go the distance whilst Ryan has good submissions I would be surprised to see him finish Gray on the feet or on the ground. Gray on the other hand has only 2 finishes in his entire career and that unlikely to change Saturday night.
Bonus pick: Try betting this fight to do the distance at odds as high as +2.25 on youbetyah sportsbooks.
Jorge Masival vs Jake Ellenberger fight previews picks & betting tips
Two exciting veterans who have proved there worth at the highest level of the sport but have also shared each others frustrating traits of being consistently inconsistent.
Jake Ellenberger was once touted as the powerhouse of the welterweight division destined to run through all of the seemingly lesser blessed athletes that he faced. However MMA isn’t always that black and white, whilst Jake undoubtedly one of the hardest hitting, fastest, most powerful 170lb fighters on the roster, he seemed to lack technique in his stand up as well as questionable fight IQ.
Jake dropped a close split decision to veteran Carlos Condit in this UFC debut where he rocked his foe numerous times then went on to score six wins in a row with 4 by T/KO. After suffering a shock TKO loss to kickboxing stand out Martin Kampmann he began to alternate wins and losses to the point we wondered if ‘The Juggernaut’ would ever regain his aggression and killer instinct.
Since then he has won just two out his last seven fights where he has often times looked unmotivated and deflated. Now the timing of USADA simply cannot be ignored as Jake started his career as the quintessential move forward wrestle-boxer who would eat shots to land his own more devastating shots. More often than not seemingly unfazed by his opponents offence he would patiently stalk his opponents before exploding with wild hook combinations that would catch his opponent at awkward angles.
Jake Ellenberger routes to victory
As displayed in his latest fight against durable Muay Thai based brawler Matt Brown, Jake Ellenberger showed that he more than has enough in the gas tank to compete at the elite level. Although one could argue Matt Brown stacked up as a favourable match up for Ellenberger this would certainly be in hindsight as few picked him in that fight.
Nonetheless Jake displayed effective boxing rocking Matt Brown with a huge overhand right in the opening stanza which the ever durable Brown recovered from quickly, however he was quickly floored again from a huge power body kick from Ellenberger, showing a new wrinkle to his arsenal.
Jake needs to show this aggression early on against Masvidal who isn’t necessarily a slow starter but he definitely gets more dangerous as he finds a rhythm. Whilst Masvidal certainly has shown incredible boxing defence, with his upright stance he is also susceptible to body kicks. Ellenberger also needs to be more consistent with his offence as Masvidal can certainly slow down in the later rounds.
Masvidal has shown to noticeably limit his offence when a takedown has been threatened as evidenced in his loss to Benson Henderson. In order for Jake’s stand up to be effective against the more technical boxer in Masvidal he absolutely must threaten with these take downs. Though Masvidal has shown great submission defence, with Jake’s all American division two wrestling credentials he is more than capable of snatching a neck during a scramble. This isn’t his only method of victory as his KO power is always a weapon that strikes fear into his opponents and whilst Masvidal’s boxing defence and recovery is elite his chin has certainly been checked in the past.
A veteran of the fight game inside and outside of the cage Masvidal has been made infamous from his back yard brawls featured in Kimbo’s undercard no less, though this is where his backyard comparisons end. His slick boxing and incredible defence have always been elite and will have to be in full display come Saturday night against the hard hitting Ellenberger.
(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
An experienced fighter with over 40 fights to his name Masvidal has taken relatively little damage in such a long career which has enabled him to develop a well rounded and diverse skill set. Whilst his slick hands have undoubtedly always been his strong point its his wrestling, most noticeably his defensive wrestling, that have improved the most in recent years.
Masvidal has had great success with his stand up and its hard to think of a time he was ever soundly out struck on the feet except for against maybe Lorenz Larkin who has proved to be a contender in his own right. Masvidal uses an upright stance which helps him to keep a less powerful yet more fluid boxing style. His focus is on keeping his distance which he performs exceptionally behind a long jab demonstrated expertly against Ross Pearson most recently.
Although he has crisp technique in all aspects of his game I believe its Masvidal’s natural timing that gives him the edge in his fights. On the feet he uses a series of feints, continuous circling and level changes to draw out his opponents attacks.
When his opponent leaves himself open is where Masvidal shines, hitting his opponents with clean yet vicious 1-2 combinations often punctuated with a hook to the body.
Jorge Masvidal Keys to victory
The issue with Masvidal has always been tendencies to coast in certain fight. He will often fight to the ability of his opponents. This has time and time again left him susceptible to losing decisions in fights he really should have won. Masvidal must use his expert distance control to thwart the takedown threat from Ellenberger which he will do with a long jab and a sharp 1-2. Whilst on paper he does not have the wrestling prowess of Ellenberger he certainly has enough skills on the mat to threaten him in the grappling department. Whilst he wont have the offensive takedown ability Ellenberger posses Masvidal has proven uncanny ability during scrambles as witnessed in his D’Arce choke victory against Michael Chiesa.
I see this fight going one of two ways for Masvidal either he is taken down or tagged by something big in the opening stanza by Ellenberger and fights conservatively throughout the remainder on route to a decision loss, or he establishes his range early with a long jab occasionally stinging Ellenberger by faking a lead left hook and popping Ellenberger with a hard straight right. Although he doesn’t possess the one punch knockout power of Ellenberger I would not be surprised to see a Masvidal victory by KO.
Jorge Masvidal vs Ellenberger fight pick
Youbetyah pick is 2+ units on Jorge Masvidal by decision or KO at odds of 1.44 on any sports book below
Feeling the underdog? Take Jake Ellenberger at odds as high as 3.00+ on any of our sports books too!
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