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Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale Preview

Posted by DoTheMMAth Saturday, June 21, 2008 12:00 AM



Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale Preview

Submitted By Matthew Brothers

Welcome to MMAPlayground’s newest feature, a match-by-match preview to help you make up your mind on who you think will win, how they’ll finish the fight, and in what round. By no means do I have a crystal ball, and most of you who are here in the first place already have your minds made up, but for the rest of you, don’t come looking to triangle choke me because you blew all your fantasy money on a long shot underdog parlay pick that I just knew was a lock.

This should be a great night of fights as we have former “Ultimate Fighter” winner Kendall Grove taking on former UFC middleweight champ Evan Tanner in the main event. Both men need a win to stay relevant in the UFC as Grove is coming off of two straight losses, and Tanner looks to rise from the ashes and prove he still has gas left in the tank. Diego Sanchez looks to cement his spot in the title picture when he faces Luigi Fioravanti in the co-main event. We’ll also crown the new “Ultimate Fighter”, in a rematch from this season that has the potential to be another Griffin-Bonnar war of attrition.

Matt Arroyo (3-1) vs. Matt Brown (6-6)

Arroyo and Brown are not strangers to each other. They met in November of ’06 with Brown leaving the victor via TKO in the 2nd round, giving Arroyo his first and only loss thus far in his career. Since then, both men have enjoyed a stint on “TUF”, training with elite level coaches, and perfecting their craft. Arroyo, a jiu-jitsu practitioner, will look to take Brown down and work his submission game to get his revenge. Contrarily, Brown will want to stand and bang and repeat history. Although Brown displayed a bundle of heart with a dash of viciousness in his “TUF” fights, 5 of his 6 career losses have come via submission, and I see this fight ending the same way.

Pick: Matt Arroyo def. Matt Brown via Submission in the 1st round.

Rob Kimmons (20-3) vs. Rob Yundt (6-1)

Rob Yundt had a tough initiation into the UFC being choked out by Ricardo Almeida early in the 1st round. He’ll be looking to erase that loss and dish out some hazing of his own against UFC newcomer Rob Kimmons. Although Kimmons may be new to the UFC, he is certainly not new to the sport, he boasts a 20-3 record with his only losses coming from UFC veterans Marvin Eastman, Ryan Jensen, and Joe Riggs. I would give the stand-up advantage to Yundt and the ground advantage to Kimmons. Neither man has lost via T/KO in their career, so deduction tells me this fight will be won by submission. Octagon jitters aside, I see Kimmons as the favorite in this bout.

Pick: Rob Kimmons def. Rob Yundt via Submission in the 2nd round.

Marvin Eastman (15-7-1) vs. Drew McFedries (6-3)

If you’re at all familiar with either of these fighters, it will come as no surprise to you that I’m calling this a pick’em slugfest ala James Irvin/Houston Alexander. These guys like to come out and throw heavy leather and damn the consequences. McFedries is the more proficient striker, whereas Eastman has a better chance of victory should the fight hit the ground or go the distance, however, don’t expect a technical grappling battle. Although my heart says “Beastman” Eastman, my brain and money say McFedries.

Pick: Drew McFedries def. Marvin Eastman via T/KO in the 2nd round.

Josh Burkman (9-5) vs. Dustin Hazelett (10-4)

Although Dustin Hazelett may have lost his last fight against welterweight juggernaut Josh Koscheck, in defeat he impressed MMA fans with his improved striking and his near finish of Koscheck early in the 1st round. Burkman is coming off of a lackluster performance against Mike Swick in a match he lost by decision. Burkman is extremely explosive and has made life changes of late that he claims have focused him. I see Hazelett as the clear favorite if the fight hits the ground as he has a long and lean body, not to mention he’s a brown belt in BJJ under Jorge Gurgel. Before Hazelett’s last fight, I would’ve said Burkman had the advantage on the feet, but after seeing Hazelett throw some nasty punches and high kicks against Kos, all bets are off for the stand-up advantage. In the end, Hazelett’s superior ground game will carry him to a submission victory.

Pick: Dustin Hazelett def. Josh Burkman via Submission in the 3rd round.

Matthew Riddle (0-0) vs. Dante Rivera (10-2)

Renzo Gracie trained Dante Rivera should make quick work of MMA newcomer Matthew Riddle. Sure, Riddle impressed everyone with his devastating KO of Dan Simmler on the “TUF” season premiere this year, but don’t look for history to repeat itself. Rivera is a veteran of the sport with a 10-2 record and some slick submission skills. Look for Riddle to come out swinging for the fences and shortly thereafter getting taken down and submitted.

Pick: Dante Rivera def. Matthew Riddle via Submission in the 1st round.

Jeremy Horn (79-17-5) vs. Dean Lister (10-5)

Jeremy Horn has had over 100 pro MMA fights, with 49 of his 79 wins coming via submission, and holds notable victories over Josh Burkman, Forrest Griffin, and Chuck Liddell. Needless to say, experience will be on his side in almost any fight. Dean Lister has met Jeremy Horn before, he lost a majority decision to him back in December of ’03. To his credit, Lister has a black belt in BJJ and was a two-time national sambo champion. Sometimes when great grapplers face each other their ground skills cancel each other out, leaving the superior striker to claim victory. I’m not going to lie to you, this is a great match and I’m very unsure of who will emerge the victor. I’m going to pick Jeremy Horn, but only on the merit of experience.

Pick: Jeremy Horn def. Dean Lister via Unanimous Decision.

Spencer Fisher (20-4) vs. Jeremy Stephens (13-2)

In his last bout, Fisher was forced into a wrestling match with Frankie Edgar that had many fans snoozing. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great ground battle, and I have all the respect in the world for Edgar, but I’m sure that in Fisher’s mind he wants to come out this time around and remind everyone why he’s “the king”. Stephens is coming into this match fresh off a win against rising star Cole Miller, in a fight where Miller dominated him until the end of the second round when Stephens turned on the after burners and punched and elbowed a hole in Cole’s head. Both of these men are scrappers and very dangerous strikers. I’d be surprised if this fight didn’t take place standing and I wouldn’t be surprised if these guys had a 15 minute war. I give the ground edge to Fisher should the fight end up there. Stephens is tough enough to walk into 3 or 4 punches just to land a big one of his own, but that might not work with a veteran like Fisher.

Pick: Spencer Fisher def. Jeremy Stephens via Unanimous Decision.

Tim Credeur (9-2) vs. Cale Yarbrough (0-0)

After watching this season of “TUF”, the word that comes to your mind when you think of Tim Credeur should be heart. In his losses to Jesse Taylor and C.B. Dollaway, Credeur displayed a concrete chin and a never say die attitude. Technically speaking, he had impressive striking and great grappling skills. He’ll be squaring off against MMA rookie Cale Yarbrough. Hard to scout Yarbrough having only seen him on the show, although what we did see of him was less than stellar. Credeur needs to soften him up with strikes, take him down and tap him out, in fact, that’s exactly what I think will happen.

Pick: Tim Credeur def. Cale Yarbrough via Submission in the 1st round.

Amir Sadollah (0-0) vs. C.B. Dollaway (6-0)

After watching this season of “TUF”, I’m an Amir Sadollah fan for life. Here is a guy with no pro MMA fights, who gets in the ring with guys with way more experience than him, and beats them up, knocks them down, and taps them out. His victory over Dollaway in the final episode placed him firmly in the category of guys that you can never count out. He has vicious kicking ability and an overall awkward striking style that made it hard for his opponent to stand with him. He clearly has submission skills, as shown in his triangle choke win over Matt Brown, and his armbar victory over Dollaway, who before his fight with Amir was the heavy favorite to take home the contract. Dollaway is an all-American wrestler from Arizona with great takedowns and a smothering ground attack. In his fight against Tim Credeur, he showed he’s not afraid to stand and bang either. This is a tough fight for me to pick, but in the end, as much as I want to believe Amir can do it again, I just can’t pick against C.B. I see Dollaway trying to stand for the first minute or two, before barreling in and taking Amir down. From there, Amir will have to pull another crazy submission out of his hat or he’ll be eating more fists and elbows like he did in their first match. Nothing against C.B., but I hope I’m wrong on this one.

Pick: C.B. Dollaway def. Amir Sadollah via T/KO in the 2nd round.

Diego Sanchez (18-2) vs. Luigi Fioravanti (12-3)

In his last match against David Bielkheden, Sanchez needed a win to get back on track after losing two in a row to nemesis Josh Koscheck and his teammate Jon Fitch. Those two losses were the first of his career, and a fighter as visceral as Sanchez was feeling the sting of defeat. An avid meditator and yoga practitioner, Diego is refocused and ready to make another run at welterweight gold. Luigi Fioravanti knows that Vegas has it in for him on this fight, but the American Top Team standout believes he has what it takes to neutralize Diego’s ground attack and get his third straight win. I definitely give Diego the advantage wherever this fight should go. Luigi would be smartest to keep this fight standing as long as possible, but when it comes to takedowns, Diego usually gets what he wants.

Pick: Diego Sanchez def. Luigi Fioravanti via T/KO in the 1st round.

Kendall Grove (8-5) vs. Evan Tanner (32-7)

What can be said about Evan Tanner that hasn’t already been said? He’s one of MMA’s most mystical personalities for sure. He’s had well documented personal issues and recently returned to MMA after a two year absence with a brutal KO loss to Yushin Okami at UFC 82. However, shortcomings aside, he is the former UFC middleweight champion and holds victories over names like Heath Herring, David Terrell, and Robbie Lawler. He claims to be refocused and back to his old ways. Also having some troubles of late, is Tanner’s opponent, “Ultimate Fighter” winner Kendall Grove. His last two matches have ended with him on his back looking up to the rafters and counting stars. No one ever needs a loss, but this is a perfect case of two guys that NEED a win. The talent pool in the UFC is getting thicker and deeper, and two or three losses in a row and you’re looking at a trip back to the minor leagues for a tune up. Technically speaking both men have both proven stand-up and ground skills, with Tanner being a ground’n’pound guru, and the long and lean grove being able to throw submissions up with his freakishly long limbs. Logic and principals forbid me on betting against Tanner in this fight, he says he’s back in fighting shape and I believe him. Grove has a severely suspect chin and I think Evan can expose him once again. I see this fight being up and down, with Tanner getting the T/KO victory sometime late in the second round.

Pick: Evan Tanner def. Kendall Grove via T/KO in the 2nd round.

Parlay Wager Picks Of The Night:

Rob Kimmons (-125)

Matt Arroyo (-115)

Evan Tanner (-180)

If you’re feeling brave, Dustin Hazelett (-120)

*All fight odds obtained from MMAPlayground

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