A member of the Blackzilians and American Top Team will battle for supremacy when the Ultimate Fighting Championship heads to the MGM Grand Garden Arena for the TUF 21 Finale. Besides bringing a close to the 21st installment of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality TV series, the July 12 event also features a handful of intriguing matchups.
Here are my TUF 21 Finale Predictions:
Jake Ellenberger vs. Stephen Thompson
Ellenberger (30-9-0, 18 KOs) broke a three-fight losing streak with a submission victory against Josh Koscheck during his last outing, but there are still many in the MMA community who feel “The Juggernaut’s” best days are behind him.
The same can’t be said about Thompson (10-1-0, 5 KOs).
“Wonderboy” is one of the more promising rising stars in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He came into the promotion with highly polished striking skills thanks to his karate background, and he’s significantly improved his grappling since then. Thompson has already compiled a 5-1 record in the UFC, and he’ll be highly motivated to add a bigger name like Ellenberger to his resume.
Thompson is clearly the superior striker heading into this contest, but Ellenberger has power in his hands, so he’ll need to keep his wits about him defensively.
Ellenberger is the more decorated grappler, but it’s highly unlikely he’ll be able to ground Thompson for significant amounts of time.
That means a majority of this contest will likely be spent in Thompson’s domain.
Prediction: Stephen Thompson wins via KO.
Jorge Masvidal vs. Cezar Ferreira
Ferreira (8-4-0, 3 KOs) will drop down to 170 pounds to face Masvidal (28-9-0, 10 KOs) at the TUF 21 Finale. Ferreira was huge as a middleweight, and his size will be even more of an advantage if the weight cut to 170 pounds goes well.
He’ll need all the advantages he can get, considering the fact Masvidal, who will be moving up to the welterweight division for this fight, is a well-rounded veteran that has handled himself well against some of the best fighters in the lightweight division.
Masvidal should have the technical advantage standing up, and his grappling skills are more than good enough to keep him safe from the Brazilian’s submissions.
As long as he isn’t overwhelmed with Ferreira’s strength, this should be a rather easy victory for Masvidal.
Prediction: Jorge Masvidal wins via decision.
Remaining TUF 21 Finale Predictions:
Michelle Waterson defeats Angela Magana
Russell Doane defeats Jerrod Sanders
Willie Gates defeats Darrell Montague
Mike De La Torre defeats Maximo Blanco
George Sullivan defeats Márcio Alexandre Jr.
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.
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Don’t forget to check out my TUF 20 Finale Predictions FightPicks shortly before the prelims start. Up +12.85 units so far this year.