The UFC is back again just three days after their last event, this time with The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir finale. There are some solid matchups sprinkled throughout the card as well as some fights that will determine who will stay in the UFC from this season and who will be cut to work their way back up through the minor leagues. Plus, which two fighters will win the six-figure contracts? We’ve got the answers, ladies and gentlemen, so let’s do the damn thing.
Phillipe Nover vs. Efrain Escudero (Lightweight Finals)
Adam Morgan: This is the ideal matchup for Nover as Escudero is a wrestler who wants to prove to the world that he can strike. He did an okay job against Junie Browning but he won’t have the luxury of fighting and unconditioned fighter when he steps in against Nover. Nover is a complete fighter all the way around and as long as he’s able to stay off his back he should have Efrain beat anywhere else. Ideally Nover will keep the fight standing and pick Efrain apart on the feet. Nover will be the contract winner in the lightweight division, no doubt. Phillipe Nover via TKO, round two.
David Andrest: Well rounded fighter vs. wrestler. Escudero appears to be a nice enough guy, and after this loss he will get the tougher road to stardom of the two. Winner: Phillipe Nover Sub Armbar Round 1.
Cory Brady: Both of these guys are very well put together fighters. there has been a lot of noise made about Nover being the next Anderson Silva and I expect for him to be the favorite coming into this one. Do not count Escudero out. There is no area of the game that Nover is gong to overwhelm him in. Escudero is an experienced wrestler with a well rounded submission game with constantly improving stand up. With that said. I expect Nover to walk away with the victory tonight. His striking is on another level than Escudero’s and he was recently awarded his black belt in jiu-jitsu. This one will be more competitive than most people think. Winner: Nover TKO Round 2
Ryan Bader vs. Vinny Magalhaes (Light Heavyweight Finals)
Adam Morgan: Vinny already has some of the best jiu jitsu in all of MMA and certainly in the light heavyweight division. He is one of the most decorated grapplers competing in MMA today. Bader will want the fight on the ground. So will Vinny. But Bader can’t be content to just lay on Vinny like he has some of his previous opponents. Vinny has far too many ways to win, especially if the fight is on the ground. Bader’s best bet would be to test Vinny’s standup but I doubt that will happen. His natural instinct is wrestling and that will ultimately be his downfall. Magalhaes is just far too talented. Vinny Magalhaes via submission, round two.
David Andrest: I really do not know what Bader can bring into this fight that Vinny hasn’t seen done already and done better. Vinny being the former BJJ instructor at Team Quest and now training with Xtreme Couture has never been at a loss for top level training partners with a wrestling background. Word on the street is Bader will use his wrestling to keep the fight standing because he feels he is the better striker of the two. Bader had better keep it on the feet as that is his ONE way to win. With only one way to win i can not pick him. Winner Vinny Magalhaes sub round 1.
Cory Brady: This is the one fight on the card that has me going back and forth the most. I truly believe that the result of this fight will depend on where it ends up. If Bader can dictate where the fight goes i feel he has the more crisp, powerful striking. I could see him catching Vinny in the second round or winning a decision if he decides to keep it on the feet which I think he is very capable of doing. Obviously Vinny’s strengths are on the ground and I think it will be extremely difficult for Bader to either finish Vinny or grind out a decision on the mat. All in all I expect Bader’s wrestling to be the key factor in the fights outcome. He will keep the fight standing and show that he is not as one dimensional as some would believe. Winner: Bader TKO Round 2
Kevin Burns vs. Anthony Johnson
Adam Morgan: As long as Johnson can stay out of eye poke territory he should be able to lock this one up. Burns is a gamer and showed that he can hang in there in their last fight but ultimately Johnson is too much of an athlete with a lot of power and a growing overall game. Burns has some decent jiu jitsu and okay standup but Johnson will be too much for him over the course of three rounds. I don’t think Johnson finishes the fight but he will do enough to win. Anthony Johnson via unanimous decision.
David Andrest: Anthony Johnson was the better fighter the first time, and nothing has changed. Burns is a good fighter but Johnson is just a notch better everywhere. Winner: Johnson KO Round 2
Cory Brady: Johnson will come out on fire in this one and stop Burns Early. Burns presented many problems for Johnson outside of the eye poke in the pairs first meeting but this fight will look very differently. Johnson has been completely focused during his training camp with Cung Le in this one and he should add another clip to his hilghlight reel in what will be a grudge match Winner: Johnson KO Round 1
Jason McDonald vs. Wilson Gouveia
Adam Morgan: Jason MacDonald is one of the best gatekeepers in all of MMA and this is a good test for Gouveia in his second fight at middleweight. MacDonald possesses a strong jiu jitsu game but Gouveia is no slouch on the ground either and has the better striking. MacDonald is a gamer and isn’t easily finished but Gouveia has too many weapons for MacDonald to deal with. Add that to the fact that he should be the bigger fighter going into the fight and the chips are stacked in his favor. Wilson Gouveia via TKO, round three.
David Andrest: Jason MacDonald is the BEST gatekeeper in MMA. He wins the fights he should win, and the top guys find their way past him. Wilson Gouveia just hasn’t impressed upon me that he is elite, and those are the guys that get past “The Athlete” Winner McDonald Decision
Cory Brady: An interesting match up between two very well rounded middleweights. MacDonald will have the advantage in the wrestling department while Gouveia will hold the edge in the submissions with both men considered to be threats standing. This is one of those fights that really depends on where it goes. I feel as if Gouveia will hold a slight edge in most areas. If it goes to the ground, Gouveia is a threat to submit anyone and on the feet he has shown that he can end the fight in a blink of an eye. It will be a closely contested match up until the end. Winner: Gouveia Submission Round 2
Junie Browning vs. Dave Kaplan
Adam Morgan: There are a lot of questions surrounding this fight, specifically whether or not Browning’s conditioning has improved since the show. According to everything that Browning has been saying he has been training non-stop since the show and hopes to put on a good show come the finale. Kaplan is a known commodity in the fight, however, and has a good chin along with a well-rounded game, especially on the ground. There are too many unknowns surrounding Browning coming into this fight which makes him a hard pick. Dave Kaplan via submission, round two.
David Andrest: Here is what I know. We have never seen Junie Browning in shape. I’ve been told by reliable sources that Junie is in incredible shape, has the best footwork they have seen in such a young fighter. Davd Kaplan is training with Frank Mir, which immediately makes me question his cardio. I have no doubt that Mir will have Kaplan convinced he is smarter than Browning. Fortunately, a right hook couldn’t care less what the capital of Guam is. Winner Junie Browning KO round 1.
Cory Brady: These guys both have very similar styles. Both like to stand and bang and neither is afraid to go to the ground. Browning never trained at a traditional striking camp before his appearance on the show and has since hooked up with Shawn Tompkins at Xtreme Couture. Look for Tompkins to bring out all the raw talent that is inside of Browning and the cardio will not be a problem. Kaplan’s a good fighter but Browning has the potential to be a great fighter. Winner: Browning TKO Round 1
Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Shane Primm
Adam Morgan: Soszynski has a future inside the UFC. Primm does not. Soszynski has good hands, good wrestling, and serviceable jiu jitsu. Plus he comes from a good camp. He should take Primm out with ease. Krzysztof Soszynski via TKO, round one.
David Andrest: Soszynski has NO future in the UFC, Primm is young and has room to grow. Soszynski has good hands? Good Wrestling? and servicable jiu jitsu? what would give me that idea his record…. 15-8-1 . Yeah he has played the sacrificial lamb to some big names, but he has multiple losses to people you have and will never hear of. He looked slow and sluggish each time I’ve seen him, and being knocked out 4 times in his career, perhaps he should decide he doesn’t like getting punched in the face. Primm also comes from a good but young camp, and if the fight hits the ground I expect him to win. Winner Shane Primm via Armbar Round 3.
Cory Brady: Soszynski is a well rounded fighter but I feel as if Primm has the potential to be a serious force in the future at 205. His dimensions, striking and submissions could present some serious problems for a lot of guys at light heavyweight. The question is, is Primm ready for a guy of Soszyniski’s caliber yet? I think so. Winner: Primm Submission Round 2
Eliot Marshall vs. Jules Bruchez
Adam Morgan: Jules Bruchez seems to have some decent heart but showed the least amount of talent of anyone at light heavyweight on the entire show. Marshall’s length and jiu jitsu game should be enough to overwhlem Bruchez, especially once the fight hits the ground. Bruchez will be outclassed and out of a job. Eliot Marshall via submission, round one.
David Andrest: Eliot Marshall has been given a gift. A win on the TUF 8 Finale, will he take it? Jules, as Adam said showed good heart, but he simply isn’t at the level he needs to be at to compete at this level. Winner Eliot Marshall via sub round 1
Cory Brady: Bruchez has a lot of potential but Marshall is already starting to recognize his. I don’t see many ways for Jules to win against the more well rounded Marshall. I feel like Marshall dictates where this fight goes and decides how he wants to win. Winner: Eliot Submission Round 1
Kyle Kingsbury vs. Tom Lawlor
Adam Morgan: Kingsbury is the better athlete, comes from the better camp, and has more fight experience. Lawlor will want to take the fight to the ground and if he gets it there he could smother Kingsbury. Kingsbury should want to keep this thing standing and trade punches with Lawlor but he could very well get taken down. Close call, but I like Kingsbury due to the intangibles mentioned above: better athlete, better camp, more experience. Kyle Kingsbury via unanimous decision.
David Andrest: I’d like to just copy paste again and switch names, that is exactly how I feel, I’ll save everyone the reading. Winner Tom Lawlor via unanimous decision.
Cory Brady: This is a very well matched fight. This could very well end up being one of the best fights of the night depending on how long it lasts. I see these guys trading for a good chunk of the fight in a bout where I could almost flip a coin to determine the winner. Winner: Lawlor TKO Round 2
Shane Nelson vs. George Roop
Adam Morgan: Shane Nelson is a very talented fighter that we unfortunately didn’t get to see a whole lot of on the show due to his early exit against Efrain Escudero. Nelson has a very strong jiu jitsu game and what he lacks in skill he makes up for in heart. Roop was one of the last picks in the house for a reason. He’s not on the level that Nelson is on. The only thing going for Roop will be his size advantage and his reach. Once the fight hits the ground, though, Nelson should dominate. Shane Nelson via submission, round two.
David Andrest: This has the potential to be fight of the night. This is the best matched fight of the evening. In my mind this is a rare situation where I think both fighters are better than we witnessed on the television show. I like them both, and would love to see them go to the WEC and better their respective games. Winner George Roop via decision
Cory Brady: This is another fight that has the potential to be extremely exciting. Nelson is very well rounded but Roop will be able to control where the fight goes. He has the more crisp striking and more powerful wrestling. Roop could out strike Nelson or punish him on the ground. The choice is his. Winner: Roop TKO Round 2
Rolando Delgado vs. John Polakowski
Adam Morgan: Based on the only two fights I’ve seen out of these guys I like Delgado a little better. He fought hard against Junie Browning and took some of his best shots and kept coming forward. Polakowski will wilt under that kind of pressure. Roli Delgado via unanimous decision.
David Andrest: From the little I was able to see of Roli Delgado, I just don’t think he is on par with Polakowski. Polakowski is an absolute warrior in the true sense of the word, anyone who has seen his previous fights in the WEC knows the only way Delgado wins this fight is by killing Polakowski. Winner John Polakowski via KO round 2.
Cory Brady: Polakowski will show how tough and exciting he is in this one. He has a tenacious style and can go full force for the entire 15 minutes. He won’t have to go fifteen minutes in this one but it will be exciting while it lasts. Winner: Polakowski KO Round