480Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests each week in mixed martial arts In the latest installment, we look at the main event of Invicta FC 22 Tonya Evinger defends her bantamweight title as she takes on Yana Kunitskaya in a rematch of their bout from Invicta 20.

 

Tonya Evinger (Record: 18-5, -210 Favorite)

The Invicta FC Bantamweight Champion was stunned at Invicta FC 20 by Yana Kunitskaya, but the final result was later overturned to a no contest. Evinger has amassed one of the longest unbeaten streaks in MMA. Her last loss was back in 2011 to Sara McMann. With a victory on March 25, her impressive run would stretch to 11 straight fights.

A collegiate wrestler at Missouri Valley College, Tonya Evinger has developed into one of the top bantamweight fighters in the world. Evinger is a veteran of the sport and it took her some time to come into her own. Her pace is very difficult for her opponents to deal with. She imposes her will on her opponents utilizing her backbone of amateur wrestling. Evinger is an excellent wrestler that is capable of taking even the best fighters in the division to the mat. From there, she uses her size and stature to put weight on her opponents wearing them out with strikes and control. It’s a very similar approach that fellow bantamweight Julianna Pena utilizes against opponents. The one area Evinger is vulnerable is with submissions. Four of her five career losses have come by submission and that doesn’t even include the no contest loss. On the mat, she can put herself in some tenuous situations and that’s an area opponents can exploit.

 

Yana Kunitskaya (Record: 9-2, +160 Underdog)

The child of two professional athletes, Yana Kunitskaya was pushed into sports at a young age in her native Russia. She was a talented taekwondo martial artist winning competitions already by the age of 12. She fought professionally from 2009 to 2012 before announcing her retirement from MMA. She returned in 2016 and has compiled a 1-1-1 record including overturned victory to a no contest against Tonya Evinger.

The Russian bantamweight is first and foremost a striker. She has a well-developed stand up game combining punches and kicks. She lands well in combination and can connect with power. Seven of her nine career wins are by knockout which is a rarity in this division. Her defensive wrestling is certainly a hole in her game and she can be taken to the mat regularly in fights. She has shown an ability to transition on the mat, but is certainly at an overall disadvantage in a ground fight.

 

Matchup

In a rematch for Invicta FC bantamweight gold, Yuna Kunitskaya will once again try to defeat Tonya Evinger for the championship. In their first fight, Kunitskaya was announced the winner after submitting Evinger early in the first round. However, the result was later overturned after it was ruled the referee incorrectly called an infraction on Evinger which led to her being submitted. While the first bout was quick, it was clear that Evinger was able to get Kunitskaya to the ground with relative ease. Evinger certainly put herself in a tough situation while on the ground, but the offensive wrestling wasn’t an issue. What I think happens is that Evinger takes a more cautious approach on the mat. She knows she can secure takedowns throughout the fight and there’s little reason to be aggressive in the grappling exchanges. Look for the champion to secure takedowns in each round winning the fight from start to finish for a wide decision on the scorecards. The shock result of the first fight has seen an overreaction to the line (currently -210) which I think is a good number to at least consider in a small parlay. If the line drops further to under -175, then I will be looking at a moneyline play on the bantamweight champion.

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ToutMaster 2017 (presented by MMAOddsBreaker.com and TheMMA-Analysis Podcast) continued last Saturday (March 18, 2017) with UFC Fight Night 107 in London, England.

Here’s the updated Top 20 leaderboard:

ToutMaster UFC Fight Night 107

With the conclusion of UFC Fight Night 107, we are a quarter of the way through the 2017 calendar year. The Unicorn continues to lead the competition with 76.5 points. One of last year’s contenders WillMartinMMA finds himself once again contending in 2017. He has moved all the way up to second place with 73.6 points. Right behind WillMartinMMA, there’s a two-way tie for third place as adamdabeast and McDuckMMA are at 73.3 points.

The top score for the event was 11.40 points by pricanitalian. He went 10-1 on the event. The only fight he picked incorrectly was Brad Pickett over Marlon Vera, a fight Pickett was leading on the scorecards prior to a third round knockout loss.

To check out the full 2017 standings, click the following link:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1dTlTYofQ1CHL6bMeIYHW1RCtYU3Nu_630FNKhhH8JN8/edit#gid=1725684060

Some additional notes on the UFC Fight Night 106 card:

  • Favorites to win: 6
  • Underdogs to win: 5
  • Biggest Underdog to win: Francimar Barroso (1.60 points)
  • Biggest Consensus Pick: Lina Lansberg (141) / Lucie Pudilova (29)
  • Biggest Consensus Pick (2017 Record): 7-1
  • Most Contentious Pick: Jimi Manuwa (94) / Corey Anderson (78)
  • Consensus Underdog Picks: Arnold Allen
  • Consensus Underdog Picks Event Record: 1-0
  • Consensus Underdog Picks in 2017 (More contestants picked underdog than favorite): 7-4

The UFC takes its annual spring break and will return on Saturday, April 8th for UFC 210 as Anthony “Rumble” Johnson tries for the second time to beat Daniel Cormier and win the UFC light heavyweight championship. When the UFC returns from its break, will The Unicorn be able to hold on to his lead in ToutMaster 2017? We will find out in a few weeks!

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Jimi ManuwaWith UFC Fight Night 107 behind us, there were many noteworthy performances which saw fighters’ stock rise. Jay Primetown takes a look at the key performers from London and what could be in store for them later this year. 

Marc Diakiese

Overview: The Englishman came into the UFC with a lot of fanfare. At just 24 years of age, he was looked at as a future star in the sport because of high level athleticism and his ability for the spectacular. He won his first two fights in the UFC, the first by knockout, and a win at Fight Night 107 would set him up nicely for a run in 2017. Diakiese was tasked to fight fellow European Teemu Packalen. Diakiese not only won the fight, but he did so in just 30 seconds. After a couple of spinning kicks to put his opponent on the back-foot. Once he did, he landed a spectacular punch that stunned Packalen and sent him crashing to the canvas for an instant stoppage. Diakiese was rewarded with a ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus moved to 3-0 in the UFC.

Outlook: Diakiese is certainly a rising fighter in the lightweight division. With a three-fight winning streak and an exciting style, the youngster will continue to be booked in 2017 against opponents that will allow for him to show off his striking talents. I expect Diakiese to continue to be booked for European events and for him to jump up to the main card of events as his reputation continues to grow. It’s possible Diakiese gets booked for the May 28th card in Stockholm, Sweden, but more likely the Glasgow, Scotland event on July 16th where he can be featured prominently.

Jimi Manuwa

Overview: The light heavyweight contender entered his first UFC main event on the back of the biggest win of his career. Not only did he beat Top 10 ranked light heavyweight Ovince St. Preux, but he knocked him out in devastating fashion. Tasked with fighting another Top 10 foe in Corey Anderson at Fight Night 107, Manuwa was able to back up his St. Preux performance with a one-punch knockout. With back-to-back ‘Performance of the Night’ bonuses resulting from Top 10 wins, Manuwa is surging towards the top of the weight class.

Outlook: Manuwa somewhat jokingly called out boxer David Haye to a boxing match for the mythical Mayweather vs. McGregor super-fight card. While that bout seems unlikely, what Manuwa will be doing is keeping a close eye on what happens on April 8th when champion Daniel Cormier takes on challenger Anthony Johnson in a rematch at UFC 210. If the winner of that fight comes out unscathed, it’s very likely that the next defense will be during International Fight Week in July. Depending on the availability of former champ Jon Jones (suspension is up in early July), Manuwa could be in a situation where he is next in line for an opportunity at the title. Manuwa will be rooting for Cormier, as he was previously knocked out by Johnson in September 2015 and will less likely be given an opportunity against Johnson due to that prior loss.

Gunnar Nelson

Overview: Iceland’s best-ever mixed martial arts fighter and training partner of Conor McGregor has shown that SBG is not a one-man gym. Nelson was coming off his best victory to date in dropping talented striker Albert Tumenov, and then torching him on the ground once he had hurt the Russian. At UFC Fight Night 107, he was tasked with a similar opponent in Alan Jouban. The American is a bit more well-rounded than Tumenov, but the result was nearly identical. Nelson landed a beautiful combination that hurt Jouban in the second round, and then he quickly wrapped up the victory by putting him in a guillotine before he had a chance to recover. Nelson has shown the welterweight division that he’s not just a submission artist, but an all-around fighter capable of hurting opponents in a variety of ways.

Outlook: The ninth-ranked welterweight has solidified a position for himself in the UFC’s Top 10 rankings with his back-to-back win over talented strikers. This is an important year for Nelson, as he looks to make a push into the division’s Top 5 and potentially into title contention. I expect Nelson to fight twice more this year, once in the summer time against Top 15 welterweight opposition, and then again in the fall when Conor McGregor returns to MMA to fight on the same card. Look for Nelson to take at least one fight against a proven wrestler, which will be a major test for him as he attempts to prove he’s worthy of title consideration.

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Jimi ManuwaJay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsBreaker.com.

Lina Lansberg vs. Lucie Pudilova

Lansberg: She controlled the first two rounds with clinch work and dirty boxing along the fence but slowed down dramatically in the third round and took a lot of damage. She got the win on the scorecards but took a lot of damage late in the process. Downgraded from C- to D+

Pudilova: Her fundamentals require some work. Her footwork is slow and she’s too willing to be pushed against the cage. She put forth a strong effort in round three, but it was too late to earn the win. Grade remains D

Scott Askham vs. Brad Scott

Askham: He started slowly in this fight and was bothered by leg strikes from his opponent, but he came on nicely landing leg kicks of his own and working in the jab. It was a Pick’em fight at the final bell, and he lost a split decision. I wouldn’t mind seeing a rematch as the fight was quite entertaining. Grade remains D+

Scott: His power strikes stood out in this fight as it was a difference between power and volume. This was a good return fight for Scott, who was able to get his hand raised. Grade remains D+

Marc Diakiese vs. Teemu Packalen

Diakiese: Breathtaking performance from Diakiese. A few spinning strikes followed up with a brilliant punch that floored Packalen. As good of a performance as one will see in the Octagon. Upgraded from C- to C

Packalen: He was tasked with fighting a buzz-saw and never stood a chance. Not sure he gets another opportunity in the UFC despite the difficult matchup in this fight. Grade remains D

Leon Edwards vs. Vicente Luque

Edwards: He was taken down early in the fight, but he made adjustments in round two to focus on the body. He landed heavy punches and kicks to the body which really slowed down his opponent. This was a big win for Edwards over a talented fighter. Grade remains C

Luque: His conditioning did not hold up in this fight as he was getting worked to the body by his opponent. He simply couldn’t strike with any volume in round three which was why he didn’t get his hand raised. There’s still plenty of time for the 25-year-old New Jersey-born welterweight to turn it around. Downgraded from C to C-

Timothy Johnson vs. Daniel Omielanczuk

Johnson: Struggled early on with his opponent’s speed, but was able to find a way into the bout by pushing Omielanczuk against the cage out landing him along the fence. It wasn’t a pretty win, but he got the job done. Grade remains C-

Omielanczuk: He fought pretty well in this bout getting the better of Johnson from range striking and being able to move out quickly with his speed for the division. The problem for Omielanczuk is that he is undersized and the bigger fighters can control him against the cage. Upgraded from D to D+

Francimar Barroso vs. Darren Stewart

Barroso: He’s one of the slowest fighters in the weight class, but he’s pretty durable and that will earn him some victories in the bottom of the division as it did at UFC Fight Night 107. Grade remains D

Stewart: He started off well but slowed down significantly in round two. Without having the kind of power to finish fights quickly, he’s going to struggle in the UFC with his level of endurance. Grade remains D

Joseph Duffy vs. Reza Madadi

Duffy: An excellent all-around performance from the Irishman.  Once he reversed the position on the ground, he was able to generate a big cut on the head of his opponent. On the feet, he had a major speed advantage and mixed his strikes well for a comprehensive decision win. Upgraded from B- to B

Madadi: He landed a few decent punches in this fight, but his inability to secure and hold takedowns made this a very tough fight for him. In the standing exchanges, he was outclassed by a superior fighter. Grade remains C-

Arnold Allen vs. Makwan Amirkhani

Allen: His conditioning was excellent in this bout and it was pivotal for him as he needed that energy to reverse positions throughout the fight. This was the biggest win of his career. Upgraded from C- to C

Amirkhani: His grappling was good early on and he had a couple of dangerous submission attempts, but he had nothing to offer in the stand-up. As he got tired, so did his momentum and ultimately the fight. It’s hard to see him advancing much more in the UFC without developing his striking game. Grade remains C-

Brad Pickett vs. Marlon Vera

Pickett: In his final MMA fight, Pickett put in a solid 10 minutes of work and was likely headed to a decision win before getting hit flush with a head kick that changed the complexion of the fight. Pickett got a chance to fight for the final time in his hometown, and that is something he can cherish. Final grade is D

Vera: He was in a very competitive fight that he could have lost on the scorecards. Instead, he landed a big head kick with a minute to go in the fight and was able to put away Pickett for the biggest win of his career. Upgraded from D- to D

Alan Jouban vs. Gunnar Nelson

Jouban: He wanted to bait Nelson into a firefight, but Nelson is just about the last guy who can be lulled into that type of situation. This was a difficult fight for Jouban, and he was soundly beaten by a better fighter. Grade remains C

Nelson: A beautiful performance from Nelson. He did well to secure a takedown and kept heavy pressure on Jouban in round one. In round two, he landed a fantastic straight punch that wobbled Jouban and then snatched a guillotine to close out the fight. Grade remains B

Corey Anderson vs. Jimi Manuwa

Anderson: He was doing well in the first couple minutes of moving and giving Manuwa different looks, but he simply doesn’t have the chin to contend with the top fighters. Downgraded from B- to C+

Manuwa: Possesses one of the best left hooks in MMA and made Anderson pay. Outside of Anthony Johnson, he has the best fight-ending power in the division, and it may get him all the way to an opportunity to compete for the title. Grade remains B-

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Corey AndersonPrior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at the main event of UFC Fight 107 as Top 10 light heavyweights square off with Corey Anderson taking on Jimi Manuwa.

Corey Anderson (Record: 11-2, +120 Underdog, Power Ranking: B-)

The former collegiate wrestler debuted in the UFC as a cast member for The Ultimate Fighter 19 and ended up winning the light heavyweight season of the show. Anderson has gone 6-2 during his time in the UFC and is coming into his first UFC main event on the back of a knockout win over Sean O’Connell.

The 27-year-old Top 10 light heavyweight has quickly jumped up the rankings. He’s done it mainly through one of the best offensive wrestling games in the division. He averages a whopping 4.44 takedowns per 15 minutes in the Octagon. He’s a strong, athletic fighter that excels in getting opponents to the mat. In four of his last five UFC fights, he’s had at least four takedowns, including a fight against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. On the feet, his length does cause some opponents problems. He has fairly decent boxing, but the stand-up is certainly the area where he is most vulnerable. He has solid striking defense at 58 percent, but his chin is a question mark, and his ability to take damage certainly comes into question. From a technical standpoint, he has a ceiling of a Top 5 fighter in the weight class, but there are uncertainties of whether or not he can withstand the power punching of the heaviest hitters in the division.

Jimi Manuwa (Record: 16-2, -140 Favorite, Power Ranking: B-)

Great Britain’s top light heavyweight, Manuwa has become one of the most feared fighters in the UFC. He’s gone 5-2 in the UFC with all but one of those victories coming by stoppage. He’s riding high on confidence coming off a knockout of former title challenger Ovince St. Preux.

Manuwa entered the UFC in 2012 without much fanfare, but he quickly made a name for himself by punishing opponents. His first three victories in the UFC all came via strikes and were due to injuring his opponent. Manuwa has very heavy leg kicks that he whips to the legs of his opponent. His output is above average for the division at 3.64 significant strikes per minute, but it’s his accuracy that stands out with a whopping 59 percent of strikes landed. In addition to the leg kicks, he’s one of the best in this sport at taking aim to the body. He did a tremendous job against St. Preux at slowing down his opponent with hooks to the body, which allowed him to ultimately finish in round two. Everything Manuwa throws is heavy and done with fight-ending intentions, which makes him so intimidating. His ground game does leave a lot to be desired though. He was taken down twice in each of his last two fights, and his takedown defense is just 63 percent overall.

Matchup

An intriguing contrast of styles pits the American Anderson against England’s Manuwa. This fight is the classic striker vs. grappler matchup. The home country fighter is a knockout artist with heavy leg kicks and a penchant for landing shots to the body. Anderson is an athletic light heavyweight who does an excellent job of forcing his opponents for the mat. The first few minutes of this fight will be difficult for Anderson, as he’ll be weary of Manuwa’s heavy strikes. It’s clear Anderson will need to get this fight to the ground to win, and that’s something he should be able to do. The longer this fight goes on, the more it favors the American.  The best way to bet Manuwa is in Round 1 (+250). He can certainly clip Anderson early and finish. If he’s unable to do so, Anderson will at a minimum run away with a decision, if not win by late stoppage via ground-and-pound. Given the small window for Manuwa to win, I’m siding with Anderson to survive the storm and rely on takedowns to get his hand raised. It’s an important fight for this weight class, with the winner in prime position for an opportunity at a title shot, so the stakes are high and my expectation is for Anderson (+120) to play it safe to secure the win.

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Gunnar NelsonPrior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 107 as Alan Jouban takes on Gunnar Nelson.

Alan Jouban (Record: 15-4, +290 Underdog, Power Ranking: C)

The Lafayette, Louisiana born and Los Angeles-trained fighter enters his ninth fight in the UFC on a three-bout winning streak. He enters his highest-profile fight to date on the back of the biggest win of his a career, a decision win over surging welterweight Mike “Platinum” Perry.

The Black House-trained fighter is one of the most entertaining fighters in the UFC. He started training in Muay Thai at the age of 23 before moving into mixed martial arts. With his striking background, it’s no secret that Jouban is an action-first fighter. He likes to press forward and strike with volume. He lands a whopping 5.16 significant strikes per minute and does so in a variety of ways, including kicks and elbows. As he’s willing to strike in the pocket, he will take some damage. His chin is decent, but he is susceptible to being hurt in a prolonged fire fight. Grappling is not his strong suit, as he was taken down by undersized welterweights in two of his last three fights. Furthermore, his takedown defense is only 64 percent overall, so that’s certainly an area of weakness.

Gunnar Nelson (Record: 15-2, -350 Favorite, Power Ranking: B)

The Icelandic Jiu-Jitsu standout headlines his second career UFC event on Saturday. This is his first bout in 10 months. In his last performance, he dominated Russian Albert Tumenov, submitting him in the second round. Overall, he holds a 6-2 record in the UFC.

Nelson is one more the calm and collected fighters in mixed martial arts. He doesn’t strike with a lot of volume (2.02 significant strikes per minute), but when he does he has a high level of accuracy of 57 percent. Nelson has made strides in his striking in recent fights, in particular earning a knockdown against talented striker Albert Tumenov. However, his striking is all built to setup takedowns. Nelson has a very crafty takedown game, and once he’s in top control, he’s one of the best submission artists in the UFC. He’s won five of his six fights in the UFC by submission and is a threat to do so in every one of his fights. Outside of Demian Maia, there’s no fighter in the welterweight division that has a clear submission grappling advantage over Nelson.

Matchup

As much as Nelson’s striking has improved, he’s not in Jouban’s class in the striking department. Jouban can land on the feet, but Nelson has a good chin and shouldn’t be finished by a singular strike. This fight simply comes down to can Nelson get Jouban to the ground. The answer is yes. Jouban hasn’t proven he can completely nullify takedown attempts even against inferior and undersized opponents. Nelson secures 64 percent of his takedown attempts and should be able to latch one up in this bout. Once Nelson has Jouban nullified on the ground, he should be able to advance position and secure a choke to earn the win. Nelson by submission (+250) is a bet that I recommend for this bout given his ability to get opponents to the mat and dominate. It’s the most likely result of this fight.

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Brett JohnsPrior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at a preliminary bout between Englishman Ian Entwistle and Welshman Brett Johns.

Ian Entwistle (Record: 9-3, +350 Underdog, Power Ranking: D)

The Accrington, England native has fought three times in the UFC, compiling a 1-2 record. All 12 of his professional fights have ended in the first round. Seven of his nine career victories have been by submission.

Entwistle is as one-dimensional of a fighter as there currently is on the UFC roster. His stand-up game is non-existent, and he’s unable to compete in a prolonged standing exchange. He has a tendency to dive at his opponent’s feet to grab ahold of a leg and look to lock in a submission. His last five victories have come within the first two minutes of the opening bell. If he’s unable to secure a submission, he eventually succumbs to strikes. He leaves himself exposed when attempting submissions, therefore taking damage in an effort to lock in the submission. It has worked in his lead up to the UFC, but on two of three occasions in the UFC, the strategy backfired. Win quickly or lose trying sums up Entwistle’s strategy inside the Octagon.

Brett Johns (Record: 13-0, -440 Favorite, Power Ranking: C)

The undefeated Welshman had an impressive UFC debut when he dominated talented prospect Kwan Ho Kwak in November of 2016. Of his last six fights, Johns has won five of them by decision. He’s shown to be a fighter who can control opponents from start to finish.

The first fighter from Wales to debut in the UFC, Johns has the weight of a nation’s success in the world’s biggest MMA promotion on his shoulders. On the feet, he’s got good hands. In particular, he’s got a sneaky good left hook. He’s willing to box with opponents, but where he does the majority of his work is on the ground. He has a variety of takedown techniques in which he can get opponents to the mat. Once on the mat, he has a very high work rate and does a good job of controlling components. Historically, he’s not been a finisher.   He’s relied on his conditioning to consistently outwork opponents from round to round.

Matchup

No matter who is in the cage against Entwistle, his fights go one of two ways. He either latches on to a leg to help secure a quick submission or he loses. These two fighters are nearly polar opposites of each other. Entwistle comes out strong with an all or nothing approach while Johns fights at a consistent pace and has no issue controlling a fighter for 15 minutes. In this bout, it comes down to whether Entwistle can get a quick leg lock. The problem is Johns knows it’s coming and was able to develop an entire training camp to defend it. Look for Johns to stifle Entwistle’s submission attempts. Then once Entwistle tires, look for Johns to beat up his opponent with ground-and-pound to earn a stoppage. All of Entwistle’s fights have ended in the first round. Johns Inside the Distance (-300) is more than I’d want to consider, but the under 1.5 (-185) likely hits in this bout. It also allows for a shock submission win by Entwistle. I’ll also be looking at the Johns Round 1 prop once the line is released.

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Timothy JohnsonPrior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at the lone heavyweight fight scheduled at UFC Fight Night 107 as American Timothy Johnson takes on Poland’s Daniel Omielanczuk.

Timothy Johnson (Record: 10-3, -155 Favorite, Power Ranking: C-)

The 32-year-old heavyweight has fought four times in the UFC dating back to 2015. He’s fought credible competition, including a win over 15th-ranked Marcin Tybura, compiling a 2-2 record overall. He enters UFC Fight Night 107 coming off a controversial split-decision loss to Alexander Volkov.

Weighing in right at the 265-pound limit, Johnson is one of the biggest fighters in the UFC. Thus far in the promotion, he’s proven to be quite durable. He’s willing to engage with opponents, where he’s capable of landing heavy shots as he moves forward. He combines that with a solid chin and durability. Johnson does well to use his size to push opponents against the cage and to make his fights ugly. He’s not a flashy fighter, but his style is generally effective. In terms of grappling, he’s a former Division II wrestler, and that has translated into him securing 1.5 takedowns per 15 minutes in the Octagon. In top control, he has heavy ground-and-pound capable of a finish.

Daniel Omielanczuk (Record: 19-6-1, +135 Underdog, Power Ranking: D)

Known as the “Polish Bear,” Omielanczuk has been fighting in the UFC since 2013. He has had seven bouts inside the Octagon, compiling a 4-3 record. His last fight in the promotion was at UFC 204, when he was finished for the first time in the UFC in getting submitted by Stefan Struve.

A three-time Polish Muay Thai champion, the 35-year-old is a dangerous fighter on the feet. He likes to move forward, firing off leg kicks both to the legs as well as to the upper body. Striking from the southpaw stance, he’s had some success in the UFC, landing those kicks from awkward angles. Against smaller heavyweights, he has used his weight to push them against the cage, but when tasked to fight the bigger fighters in the division, he’s been unable to find that control. An area where Omielanczuk has struggled is on the ground. He’s successfully defended only 47 percent of takedown attempts. In four of his seven UFC bouts, he’s been taken down a minimum of two times.

Matchup

A battle of Top 15 heavyweights pits Johnson against Omielanczuk at UFC Fight Night 107. This is an interesting matchup, as Omielanczuk is a better technical striker while Johnson is more of a brawler. If distance was a key to this bout, I would give the advantage to Omielanczuk. However, Johnson does well to close distance and fight ugly. He has a three-inch reach and 20-pound weight advantage. It’s that size differential that will make for an advantage for the American. His size and strength are major factors for him to be able to land the heavier punches and to push his opponent against the cage. Once on the cage, Johnson will be able to use his strength and NCAA Division II wrestling ability to secure takedowns on Omielanczuk. The Polish fighter has struggled to defend takedowns throughout his UFC tenure, and Fight Night 107 should be no exception. In top control, Johnson will use his size to maintain control as well as deliver powerful ground-and-pound strikes. It will be difficult for Omielanczuk to survive 15 minutes if Johnson is landing from top position. The advantages for Johnson, either standing or on the ground, are here in this fight. He can push Omielanczuk to the cage in a standing exchange and land better from close range or use his size and strength to out grapple his opponent. Johnson is one of my most confident plays on this fight card. At just -155, he’s worth making a sizable bet on. I had Johnson handicapped as a -225 favorite, so I see significant value on him compared to the betting line.

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Prior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at the Czech Republic’s Lucie Pudilova as she makes her UFC debut against Lina Lansberg at UFC Fight Night 107 in London, England.

Lucie “Bullet” Pudilova

Hometown: Pribram, Czech Republic
Age: 22
Height: 5-foot-11
Reach: NA
Weight Class: Bantamweight
Camp: KBC Pribram
Career Record: 6-1
Key Wins: None
Key Losses: Lina Lansberg

Background

Fighting professionally for just three years, Czech Republic’s Pudilova has fought mainly in the Czech Republic as well as in Scandinavia. Pudilova’s only career loss was when these two fighters met in 2015.

Strengths

  • Long for the weightclass
  • Has a nice jab and mixes in front kicks
  • Good takedown defense
  • No fight ending ability on the feet
  • Well-conditioned and fights at a consistent pace

Weaknesses

  • Slow in reacting to opponents moving forward
  • Can be controlled in the clinch
  • Tendency to put her back against the cage
  • Moments of inactivity on the feet

Fighter Grade

Offensive Striking: D
Striking Defense: D
Knockout Power: D
Athleticism / Speed: D
Footwork: D+
Chin: C
Offensive Wrestling: D-
Takedown Defense: C
Submissions: D
Conditioning: B-
Intangibles: D

Overall Grade: D

Matchup with Lansberg

Lansberg and Pudilova match up for the second time, but for the first time in the UFC at Fight Night 107 in London. It has been two years since their first meeting, but I expect Lansberg’s game plan to remain the same. Pudilova is stunningly slow in reacting to opponents pushing forward to close the distance. Once Lansberg closes in, she’ll grab a hold of her opponent where she has a strength and skill advantage. Lansberg does well in controlling opponents against the cage and Pudilova has had a tendency throughout her career of being backed up and making a minimal effort of untangling herself from her opponent when pushed against the fence. Instead, Pudilova has relied on the referee to pull the fighters apart from inactivity and bring them back to the center of the cage. I have no reason to believe this fight will be different than the first. Lansberg will fight smart and control the clinch which ultimately controls how the fight plays out. Pudilova does not have any weapons that can alter the fight, so expect to see one way traffic with Lansberg getting her hand raised. Both fighters are pretty durable, especially Lansberg, who is one of the few fighters in recent memory to make it out of the first round against Cris Cyborg. Pudilova has a good chin and has never been finished. Add to the fact how the first fight played out, and the Over 2.5 rounds total of -220 is worth strong consideration. Furthermore, I’ll be waiting for props and taking a look at the Lansberg by decision prop.

UFC Ceiling

Pudilova is a young fighter that has very good size for the division. However, she hasn’t shown yet that she’s ready for the UFC. Her output isn’t high enough to beat opponents, and her tendency to be pushed against the cage will make it difficult for her to win fights in the UFC. Pudilova is only 22 years old and has time to be make adjustments, but at this point, I think she will struggle to win fights in the UFC.

Fight Film

Check out Lucie Pudilova in some of her most recent fights:

Pudilova vs. Lansberg (first meeting)

Pudilova vs. Suvi Salmimies

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ToutMaster 2017 (presented by MMAOddsBreaker.com and TheMMA-Analysis Podcast) continued last Saturday (March 11, 2017) with UFC Fight Night 106 in Fortaleza, Brazil.

Here’s the updated Top 20 leaderboard:

ToutMaster UFC Fight Night 106

After last Saturday’s entertaining card, we have a repeat leader atop ToutMaster 2017. The Unicorn once again is in first place in the contest with 68.45 points. He holds a 1.9-point lead over seanfinerty. Teamxbladz holds steady in third place 2.45 points out of the lead. WillMartinMMA continues his strong 2017 form, as he sits in fourth place with 64.8 points. Rounding out the Top 5 is McDuckMMA with 64.45 points.

The top score for the event was 11.25 points by bigmac29175. He went 10-1-1 on the event. The only fight he picked incorrectly was Rani Yahya over Joe Soto.

To check out the full 2017 standings, click the following link:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1dTlTYofQ1CHL6bMeIYHW1RCtYU3Nu_630FNKhhH8JN8/edit#gid=1725684060

Some additional notes on the UFC Fight Night 106 card:

  • Favorites to win: 7
  • Underdogs to win: 3
  • Pickem to win: 1
  • Fights to end in a draw: 1
  • Biggest Underdog to win: Alex Oliveira (2.10 points)
  • Biggest Consensus Pick: Paulo Henrique Costa (158) / Garreth McLellan (23)
  • Biggest Consensus Pick (2017 Record): 6-1
  • Most Contentious Pick: Rony Jason (94) / Jeremy Kennedy (89)
  • Consensus Underdog Picks: Ray Borg
  • Consensus Underdog Picks Event Record: 1-0
  • Consensus Underdog Picks in 2017 (More contestants picked underdog than favorite): 6-4

The UFC heads across the ocean for UFC Fight Night 107 in London, England on Saturday, March 18th. It is the final event of March before the UFC takes its annual spring break before returning on April 8th for UFC 210 in Buffalo, New York. Can The Unicorn continue to lead the standings, or will somebody unseat him as the first quarter of the year comes to a close?

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