Preview by Anthony Springer Jr.
After all the drama between The Ultimate Fighter season 16 coaches Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin, not being able to see the two punch each other in the face tomorrow may be a bit… disappointing to say the least. If you’re a fight fan, however, Carwin’s replacement, Matt Mitrione basically ensures that the dynamics of the original bout are still firmly in place. Mainly 1) there will be a lot of face punching and 2) one of the two men will likely get knocked out.
With the TUF finale on deck and a couple of likely brawls slated, let’s break down the main card.
Roy Nelson vs. Matt Mitrinone
The pair of heavyweights know each other fairly well, as both men were cast mates on season ten of the show. Mitrione, who had his first pro-fight on that season’s finale is 5-1. Nelson has gone 4-3. Don’t be fooled by the records. Nelson has dynamite in his overhand right hand and a chin that can’t be cracked. He’s gone 15-minutes with current heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos. Nelson gives as good as he gets – and what he often gives results in a brutal knockout (ask Dave Herman). Mitrione could use his range to outpoint Nelson, but the odds are that at some point, he’ll be caught standing in front of “Big Country” and catch a big punch.
Prediction: Nelson via KO
Mike Ricci vs. Colton Smith
The calbur of talent this year is on display by who isn’t on the main card: fighters from the show. Smith has a wrestler’s chance of winning this fight. That is, he’ll need to get the bout to the ground quickly. Riccci is a product of Canada’s Tri-Star gym (Georges St-Pierre and Rory MacDonald). This writer thinks the team has more than prepared him to stop a takedown.
Prediction: Smith becomes the next Ultimate Fighter and drops to lightweight
Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner
The last time you’ve seen Melvin Guillard or Jamie Varner in lack luster fights was… as close to never as you’re going to get. If this bout stinks up The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel, it’ll be an anomaly of epic proportions. Guillard and Varner are both power punches, with Varner being far more technical. Picking a winner here is a proverbial crap shoot or flip of a coin, as the first man to connect will likely win the fight.
Prediction: The fans win. But Varner rolls to victory on a TKO or KO.
Pat Barry vs. Shane Del Rosario
Barry is another guy who hasn’t had a bad fight. Rosario will bring the pain as well. Don’t blink, this shouldn’t last too long.
Prediction: Del Rosario via TKO
Dustin Poirier vs. Jonathan Brookins
Brookins is a durable fighter, but Poirier has played on bigger stages against tougher competition. “The Diamond” will be too much for Brookins if the fight hits the mat and will have a slight edge standing as well.
Prediction: Poirier via submission.
The TUF finale airs Friday at 9 p.m. EST.
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Coming up next: UFC on FX: Sotiropoulos vs. Person airs Friday, December 14, from Gold Coast, Queensland at 6 PM PT/9 PM ET. Click here for more info.