The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale Preview
THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER 22 FINALE
December 11, 2015 10PM/7PM ETPT Las Vegas, NV
Kicking off the UFC’s Nine Days of Fury campaign will be The Ultimate Fighter finale which has a short but loaded main card. You’re not going to find a better block of four fights for free. Including three fights with the potential to deliver Fight of the Night worth performances. Let’s break down each match up on the main card and make some predictions.
- Frankie Edgar vs. Chad Mendes
This match up been a long time coming. They’re both top class fighters and perennial title competitors. Fans have been wanting to see how these two match up considering their similarities. Both fighters possess amazing well rounded skill sets but each has a slight edge within each department. For example, both Edgar and Mendes have superb wrestling skills, and the ability to take down any fighter in their division. The difference lies in the execution, where Mendes relies more on his strength as a means of bringing his man down. Edgar sets up his takedowns with his boxing and quickly pounces on his opponent when they’re off balance. I see Edgar shooting for more takedowns than Mendes, landing one in the second round, but I see Mendes stuffing most of the smaller Edgar’s attempts. In the stand-up department both fighters possess amazing hand speed, Edgar in particular uses his movement to find angles, popping off quick combos before moving out of range. Mendes however has one punch knockout power, and with Edgar having been rocked pretty bad in his other fights it shouldn’t surprise anyone if he gets put in trouble by one of Mendes’ right hooks. In the striking department I’ll still give Edgar the nod because he has a much more polished technique that doesn’t rely on landing one big shot, instead he pours on the damage in an onslaught that lasts from start to finish. Edgar’s movement will be paramount to winning the stand-up game. Now in the submission department I must give the nod to Mendes. The Team Alpha Male camp has become notorious for their guillotine chokes and emphasis on submissions rather than ground and pound in order to end a fight. Edgar does have some good submission defense that can prove invaluable in fending off Mendes. Edgar has made a name for himself with his amazing heart, and just sheer will to stay in a fight. However I don’t see him avoiding the power of Mendes for an entire five round main event. Look for Mendes to catch Edgar in the fourth, before securing a rear naked choke forcing Edgar to tap after an entertaining back and forth battle.
- Edson Barboza vs. Tony Ferguson
Tony Ferguson was originally slated to face Khabib Nurmagomedov but an injured rib put Khabib out of commission. Luckily for fight fans the UFC replaced him with the electric Edson Barboza. Ferguson was hoping a win over Khabib would instantly vault him into a title fight, the same can happen here but he’ll have to put on one hell of a performance to really win over the UFC brass. Ferguson had longed for his chance to face the top competition of the division and has strung together an impressive line of victories that make him more than worthy of title considerations. He’s on a six fight win streak, with four stoppages and three Fight of the Night honors. His combination of wrestling and striking is more than enough to power into opponents and end a fight either standing or through one of his brutal ground and pound assaults. He’s just a damn good fighter. Edson Barboza is almost in the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of fight plans. He is perhaps the flashiest striker in his weight class, and his other skills help compliment his striking. Such as his superb takedown defense to keep the fight standing, and if he does find himself on his back his Jiu-jitsu makes him a constant submission threat. But you’ll never mistake him for anything other than a striker. His highlight reel knockout of Terry Etim will live forever. Barboza is going to lay on the kicks, but that will be his downfall. I see Ferguson continue his streak by catching Barboza’s kicks and utilizing that opening to score takedowns and neutralize his opponent’s best offensive efforts. This is probably going to decision with the judges siding with Ferguson, but I don’t expect it to be boring by any means
- Evan Dunham vs. Joe Lauzon
This is a battle of two octagon veterans who have been in a part of some of the bloodiest battles the UFC has ever seen. This fight is going to end in one of two ways. A decision or a second round submission both going Lauzon’s way. It’s not that Dunham will be out classed but it just more likely to see Lauzon take more of an offense based game plan and Dunham drop into a counter attacking shell. Lauzon has 6 Fight of the Night awards, 6 Submission of the Night honors and 1 KO of the Night award. Dunham has 3 Fight of the night honors and 1 KO of the Night award. These guys know how to put on a show and will fight until they are burger. However Lauzon gets the edge here because of his length and amazing finishing ability with the submission.
- Ryan LaFlare vs. Mike Pierce
The event kicks off with a battle of vets. I wouldn’t blame you if you use this fight to go out and get your pizza ready for the rest of the night. Both of these guys are wrestlers first and foremost. Pierce however has the edge in the ground and pound department so he’ll be able to engage more when the fight inevitably goes to the mat. Because of this wrinkle to his game Pierce beats LaFlare via unanimous decision.
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