The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale: Nelson vs. Mitrione Preview – The Most Boring Season Ever
My preview of The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale, which has some good fights because it features actual fighters and not the terrible guys who were on TUF this season.
Roy Nelson vs. Matt Mitrione: I was high on Mitrione, then he did absolutely nothing in a loss to Cheick Kongo. He’s light on his feet and has solid striking, but I feel like nothing he can do over the course of 25 minutes will really faze Nelson, who is as tough as they come. Nelson on the other hand as a heavy overhand right and very good grappling. Mitrione’s best chance is to stay on the outside and pick apart Nelson, but that’s going to be pretty tough to do for 5 rounds. Nelson on the other hand just needs to land one big right hand or get a takedown and he can end this thing. Mitrione’s takedown defense is getting better but Nelson has good trips from the clinch and even though Mitrione is semi-active off his back, I doubt he’ll catch Nelson with his telegraphed triangle. Mitrione is pretty tough, but by the third round, when both fighters will be pretty tired, I figure Nelson can put him away on the ground with strikes.
Prediction: Nelson, TKO, Round 3
Mike Ricci vs. Colton Smith: I don’t remember a single Smith fight from the show and I wouldn’t have remembered a Ricci fight had he not finished his semi-finals opponent. I also remember Ricci because he got KO’d by Pat Curran and he’s friends with Rory MacDonald. In fact, MacDonald is the reason I’m picking Ricci because I’m afraid of him and Ricci should be afraid of what might happen to him should he lose.
Prediction: Ricci, TKO, Round 1
Pat Barry vs. Shane del Rosario: I really want Barry to succeed, but it’s becoming more and more obvious that that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Rosario lost his last fight, but they were under tough circumstances and I do think that he’s better than what he showed in that fight. If it stays standing, obviously Barry has the technical advantage, but I doubt Rosario will want to stay on the feet too long given his superiority on the ground. Even if Rosario can’t get a takedown, it’s possible that he’ll pull guard and work from there. If Barry can keep the fight standing, he can definitely win, but I’ve given up on him keeping any fight standing at this point.
Prediction: Rosario, Submission, Round 1
Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner: Guillard fights usually go one of two ways: he catches his opponent early and manages to finish them or he catches his opponent early, doesn’t finish them, and then gets submitted. I’m gonna go with the former here, just because Varner is a pretty flakey fighter as well. If Guillard has Varner hurt, I don’t trust Varner’s survival skills, so I think Guillard is able to put him away. Of course if Guillard doesn’t finish Varner, there’s a great chance that Varner gets a takedown, gets the back, and then chokes out Guillard. I’ll put my faith in Guillard and prepare to look stupid come Sunday.
Prediction: Guillard, TKO, Round 1
Dustin Poirier vs. Jonathan Brookins: Poirier was close to a title shot, but he lost to The Korean Zombie and Brookins hasn’t done much of anything since winning whatever season of TUF. Brookins is very good in the clinch and has some underrated grappling, but the dude has zero striking defense. Poirier is a solid, albeit a tad overrated, striker with good takedown defense. That means he should be able to hit Brookins with every strike he throws and avoid the takedown. Brookins will do his fair share of clinching but it’ll lead to nothing and he’ll picked apart on the feet. Brookins is a tough dude so I don’t think he gets finished, but he’s on the wrong side of a clear decision.
Prediction: Poirier, Decison
Mike Pyle vs. James Head: Pyle is a good veteran who will beat mediocre guys or worse but won’t advance too far past that level. Since I don’t think Head is anything but mediocre, I favor Pyle in this fight. Head showed good takedown defense against Brian Ebersole, but Pyle is a much better wrestler than Ebersole. He’s also a better striker and has found power from some MMA God in last few fights. Head is a decent striker, but I don’t think he’ll be able to keep the fight on the feet very long as Pyle will be able to land consistent takedowns en route to a grinding victory.
Prediction: Pyle, Decision