Two cards in two days baby! Friday night we’ve got what should be a card full of fireworks in The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, live and free on FS1. Then Saturday we’ve got a stacked PPV card featuring Nunes vs Shevchenko and Romero vs Whittaker, make sure to check out Big Buck Hunters predictions. Now, let’s dive into my predictions for TUF 25 Finale!
First I want to touch on a fight I won’t be betting on, Marc Diakiese vs Drakkar Klose.
I’m not betting here because Diakiese has absurd odds at -285, and for a 24 year old prospect with no big name victories that’s a scary bet. But Diakiese is one of the most exciting prospects on the UFC roster. He’s a freakish athlete with knockout power that is unfathomable for a lightweight, as he’s finished 3 of his last 5 fights by KO in under 36 seconds. This is an absolute must watch fight!
Elias Theodorou vs Brad Tavares:
These this the most important fight of both men’s careers. Both men are 29 and right outside the top 15 of the middleweight division.. now is the time for both men to make their run at the top of the division, starting with this fight. The winner could land a massive fight with someone like #5 Jacare Souza or #8 Derek Brunson, while the loser takes a massive step backwards. Tavares is a 7 year UFC vet with a solid 9-4 record in the UFC, while Theodorou has a 5-1 UFC record in his 4 years with the promotion. This matchup favors Tavares quite significantly in my opinion as he has a massive power advantage and a huge advantage in the wrestling game, as the only man to top him on the ground was Olympian, and #1 middleweight, Yoel Romero. I think Tavares cruises to a decisive decision victory. Tavares at +115.
Jesse Taylor vs Dhiego Lima:
I’m going to be all over Taylor here after what he did to James Krause in the semi-finals . This is a classic striker vs grappler fight, with Lima holding a huge striking advantage, while Taylor is a boa constrictor on the mat. Taylor showed on the show though that he has no problem getting men to the ground, as a massive welterweight he’s able to manhandle guys once he gets a hold of them. Lima is a solid fighter, but doesn’t excel in any aspect. Taylor at -200.
Michael Johnson #5 vs Justin Gaethje:
We’ve got an absolute fire fight set for our main event tomorrow as Michael ‘The Menace’ Johnson welcomes highly touted newcomer Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje in his first UFC fight. Let me say that just a few days ago I was set on picking Gaethje, especially since he’s the dog (and I won’t blame you if you do take him). Gaethje is a confident, well spoken, undefeated former WSOF champion that holds a 17-0 record with a whopping 14 KO’s. It wasn’t until Johnson pointed out the sloppiness that Gaethje fights with that I decided to really dissect his film, and Johnson wasn’t bullshitting… Gaethje often has his hands down and throws wild looping fast balls that connect on the C level talent he faces.. but against a guy like Johnson who’s ranked #5, a 16 fight UFC vet, and that has wins over top level talent like Tony Ferguson, Edson Barboza, Dustin Porier and Joe Lauzon, that shit is unlikely to fly. I think Johnson, who has 8 KO’s to his credit is the sharper and crisper striker.. and should be able to slip Gaethje’s bombs and rip him with his own shots.. eventually dropping and finishing the newcomer. Johnson at -150.