by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
middleweight champion Evan Tanner takes on Ultimate Fighter 3 winner Kendall
Grove. Tanner has a 32-7 record and is a freelance fighter out of Nevada. Grove
has an 8-5 record and trains out of Cobra Kai with Joe Stevenson.
Tanner comes off
a knockout loss to Yushin Okami at UFC 82, while Grove also comes off a
knockout loss to Jorge Rivera at UFC 80.
are at crossroads at this point in their careers. Neither can afford a loss
because it may spell the end for their UFC tenure. With that being said, look
for these two to fight with little caution as they look to continue their UFC
strengths lie in his wrestling ability and his dirty boxing while in the
clinch. Grove will want the fight on the ground, where he has a distinct
advantage with submissions. No doubt that Tanner will look to exploit Grove’s
chin, which has been exposed for not being all that strong in his past couple
of fights. Grove’s best chance will be getting the fight to the ground and
working a submission from the top, where he has had success in the past.
These two need
to fight with a sense of urgency, being that the loser will more than likely be
out of the UFC. Tanner should be able to use his ability in the clinch to work
over Grove, setting up the takedown and pounding out a decision over Grove.
Evan Tanner by decision.
Diego Sanchez vs. Luigi Fioravanti
1 winner Diego Sanchez faces off with former U.S. Marine Luigi Fioravanti.
Sanchez has an 18-2 record and trains out of the University of Jiu-Jitsu with
Saulo Ribeiro. Fioravanti has a 12-3 record and trains out of the American Top
Team with Jorge Santiago.
off a much needed stoppage victory over David Bielkheden at UFC 82, while
Fioravanti won a decision over Luke Cummo earlier in the night.
This is an
interesting style match-up. Sanchez will push the pace of the fight and
Fioravanti will look to slow it down. Either way expect an entertaining fight
that should please the crowd.
Sanchez has the
edge on the ground with submissions and aggression, that aggression also helps
him on the feet. On the other hand, Fioravanti is the better striker when it
comes to technique and his top game on the ground is one of his strengths.
Sanchez is going
to come out full bore, taking the fight to Fioravanti and not letting him get
settled. Once it hits the ground expect Sanchez to pound on Fioravanti, which
will open up a submission for the victory.
Diego Sanchez by submission in the first round.
Fisher vs. Jeremy Stephens
lightweight Spencer Fisher takes on young Midwest lightweight Jeremy Stephens.
Fisher has a 20-4 record and trains out of the Miletich Fighting Systems with
Jens Pulver. Stephens has a 13-2 record and trains out of Iowa.
Fisher comes off
a decision loss to Frank Edgar at UFC 78, while Stephens finished Cole Miller
with strikes at UFC Fight Night 12.
This is one of
the most anticipated fights of the night as lightweights always bring the
action and excitement. One sure thing is that these two will bang it out on the
are well accustomed to fighting on the feet. Fisher is the more powerful
striker, while Stephens is the more technical striker of the pair. One thing that
Stephens enjoys doing is pounding his opponents from the top, so it wouldn’t be
surprising to see him take the fight to the ground.
For Fisher to
win, he needs to stay off his back and tag Stephens on the feet with power
shots. These two are evenly matched, resulting in a close fight, but Stephens
should win a close decision by putting Fisher on his back just enough to squeak
Jeremy Stephens by decision.
Fighter 7 Finals Bout:
vs. CB Dollaway
Amir Sadollah takes on the brash CB Dollaway for the title of the seventh
Ultimate Fighter. Sadollah will be making his MMA debut, outside of the reality
series, and is a freelance fighter out of the United States. Dollaway has a 6-0
record and trains out of Arizona Combat Sports with Jesse Forbes.
This will be a
rematch of the last semi-final of The Ultimate Fighter 7. Sadollah was
originally supposed to face Jesse Taylor in the final, having defeated
Dollaway, but Taylor, who had defeated Tim Credeur, was removed due to his out
of ring antics. As a result, the original losers of the semi-final battles,
Dollaway and Credeur, were brought back to battle it out to give Sadollah an
opponent. Dollaway won a close decision, catapulting him into the finals.
These two know
each other very well and they should put on an exciting fight as they match up
Dollaway is the
better striker and wrestler of the two fighters, while Sadollah, as he showed
on the television series, is the better submission fighter. Dollaway needs to
use his size and wrestling ability much like he did in their first fight before
tiring and getting submitted. Sadollah will work well from his back and again
look to catch Dollaway in a submission.
I expect this
fight to go very much like the first with Dollaway using his size on the feet
and the ground to muscle the smaller Sadollah. The only difference in this
fight will be a much better conditioned Dollaway, who won’t get caught again
like in the first fight, taking home a decision victory.
CB Dollaway by decision.
vs. Matt Riddle
Jiu-Jitsu fighter Dante Rivera faces off with young prospect Matt Riddle.
Rivera has a 10-2 record and trains out of Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with Renzo
Gracie. Riddle will be making his MMA debut and is a freelance fighter out of
the United States.
comes off a stoppage victory over Nissim Levy at the IFL World Semi-Fianls
2007, while Riddle will be making his official MMA debut.
the better striker of the two and is the stronger. If the fight hits the
ground, expect Rivera to be all over Riddle, who isn’t as experienced on the
ground. Rivera will be looking to use his experience advantage over the younger
Riddle, who hasn’t fought in front of a crowd of fans.
will get his shots in on the feet, but Rivera will be able to get the fight on
the ground, attack with submissions and strikes en route to a decision.
Although Riddle isn’t ready for the UFC just yet, he does have the tools to be
a great fighter and with some experience we’ll see him make waves in the
Dante Rivera by decision.
The under card
is filled with veterans and several fighters off Ultimate Fighter 7 who are
looking to earn a spot on the elusive UFC roster.
welterweight fight, Josh Burkman and Dustin Hazelett will look to get back on
the winning track; former ADCC champion Dean Lister rematches with journeyman
Jeremy Horn; in a battle of strikers, Muay Thai fighter Marvin Eastman takes on
boxer Drew McFedries; and Rob Yundt gets a second crack in the UFC against
newcomer Rob Kimmons.
Fighters Matt Brown and Matt Arroyo meet for a second time and semi-finalist
Tim Credeur takes on former teammate Cale Yarbrough.