Sergio PettisJay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC Fight Night 103 in Phoenix, Arizona. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsBreaker.com.

Cyril Asker vs. Dmitri Smoliakov

Asker: Once he was able to secure the takedown, he dominated this fight. He maneuvered well to full mount and secured the position with strength to throw strikes until the referee was forced to stop the bout. Upgraded from F to D-

Smoliakov: He looks physically strong, but he struggles with conditioning and he didn’t show any answers once taken to the ground. Poor performance and likely will be cut with this defeat. Downgraded from D to F

Joachim Christensen vs. Bojan Mihajlovic

Christensen: He fought very cautious in this bout, not putting himself in danger at all. He’s smart in that he’ll combine range striking and then find his way into the clinch controlling the exchanges wearing his opponents down with knees. He just doesn’t possess the explosion necessary to beat the better light heavyweights on the roster. If he made his way to the UFC earlier, I think he could of creeped to close to the Top 15 of the division. Unfortunately at 38, it is too late for him for that kind of surge. Downgraded from D+ to D

Mihajlovic: A very poor performance. Even moving down to light heavyweight, he is undersized. Poor movement and his only semblance of offense is winging punches. I can’t see him winning a fight in the UFC. Downgraded from D- to F-

Walt Harris vs. Chase Sherman

Harris: Perhaps his best performance in the Octagon. Harris took his time and wasn’t overly aggressive in the striking exchanges. He used a nice mix of punches and kicks to inflict damage before landing a devastating left to floor Chase Sherman. Grade remains D

Sherman: His movement was solid in this fight as he has the type of workout that could do well in the heavyweight division. His problem is that he doesn’t have the punching power, and more importantly lacks the head movement to avoid his opponent’s power strikes. Until he improves his head movement, he will struggle in the UFC. Grade remains F

Nina Ansaroff vs. Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger

Ansaroff: Speed was a major difference in this fight, as she was the first to engage. However, she showed a nice ground game by getting her opponent to the ground and controlling for large portions of this fight. A dominant win for Ansaroff. Grade remains C-

Jones-Lybarger: Looked sluggish in this fight. A tough weight cut may have played a part in performance. She was too easily put on her back and showed zero ability to get back to a standing position. With three straight losses, it’s difficult to see her getting another chance in the UFC. Downgraded from C- to D+

Tony Martin vs. Alex White

Martin: He fought smart going to his bread and butter of grappling. He forced White against the cage and was able to secure takedowns throughout the fight. He avoided lengthy striking exchanges and therefore White’s striking power to win an easy decision on the scorecards. Grade remains C-

White: The move up to lightweight was a tough one, as he was forced to face a big fighter in that weight class that is grappling first. White just didn’t have the physical strength and takedown defense to force Martin into a standing exchange where he would have an advantage. Grade remains D+

Oleksiy Oliynyk vs. Viktor Pesta

Oliynyk: Looked old and sluggish, but then he secured a choke while being mounted. First time I’ve ever seen that in the UFC. He certainly is a one-trick pony, but his submission game is very slick. Grade remains D

Pesta: He’s a young heavyweight, so he certainly has time to develop, but this isn’t the first time where he looked good early and then was caught as the fight progressed. Experience is something he really needs and could use some time outside the UFC to get it. Downgraded from D to D-

Augusto Mendes vs. Frankie Saenz

Mendes: A very good overall performance against a solid veteran. He’s known for his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but was unable to hold his opponent on the ground, although he had surprising success in the striking exchanges. The fight went to a split decision, but he ultimately got his hand raised. I’d like to see him take on a better striker for his next test. Grade remains C

Saenz: He forced Mendes to dig deep and fight strong over 15 minutes. It was a dog fight, and he was hurt a few times in this fight. He recovered well but just wasn’t able to land enough big strikes to get his hand raised. Saenz is 36 years old, and it seems he may be on the downside of his career. He’s taken a lot of damage in his last few fights. Grade remains C

Drakkar Klose vs. Devin Powell

Klose: Athleticism played a key part in this fight. He was able to bull rush Powell and push him against the cage. He dominated in the clinch and was never in trouble in this bout. He should have pushed for a finish, but still this was a clear victory for him. Upgraded from D to D+

Powell: He’s certainly tough, but the rest of his skill set simply isn’t good enough to have a successful run in the UFC. Grade remains D-

John Moraga vs. Sergio Pettis

Moraga: He was outstruck on the feet and took far more damage in this bout compared to Pettis. He was able to score a couple takedowns late in the fight but was unable to do much with them. With three straight losses in the UFC, it’s likely his last fight in the promotion. Downgraded from C+ to C

Pettis: His striking was strong early in this fight, rocking Moraga in the first round. He needs to work on putting a consistent 15 minutes in the Octagon. Too many times, he takes his foot off the gas. His win at Fight Night 103 was his best in the UFC and should move him close to a Top 10 ranking. Upgraded from C+ to B-

Court McGee vs. Ben Saunders

McGee: His work rate is still strong, but his inability to consistently land with power made it difficult for him until Saunders slowed down in the third round. This fight was close on paper and on the scorecards. Grade remains C-

Saunders: He landed the bigger strikes early in the fight, but the tide began to turn as he grew tired late in the fight. He snuck out a win on the scorecards but could easily have lost a decision as well. Grade remains C-

Marcin Held vs. Joe Lauzon

Held: He had a lot of success with securing takedowns and maintaining top position in this fight. He didn’t inflict much damage when he secured those takedowns, leaving the fight to the judges. Given the controversial nature of the loss, I believe he deserves another opportunity in the UFC. Grade remains C

Lauzon: He was able to land with regularity in the standing exchanges but struggled with defending takedowns. Despite being outworked on the ground, the judges gave him a surprising decision. His takedown defense was a real flag in this fight. Downgraded from C+ to C

BJ Penn vs. Yair Rodriguez

Penn: Yes, Penn was facing a rising prospect, but he was never in this fight. Speed was a real issue, and he faced a significant amount of head kicks with little ability to defend. This was a mismatch. Penn has no business competing in the UFC again. Downgraded from C- to D+

Rodriguez: A complete mauling from start to finish. His leg kicks were sharp, and Penn had no idea where and when they were coming from. Rodriguez landed big kicks throughout the fight and was able to finish Penn in the second round for a signature win on his resume. A Top 10 opponent is next for the rising featherweight. Upgraded from C+ to B

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ToutMaster 2017 (presented by MMAOddsBreaker.com and TheMMA-Analysis Podcast) kicked off with UFC Fight Night 103 in Phoenix, Arizona.

This is the third year of the ToutMaster competition with Kyle Marley the winner in 2015 and Wes Reynolds the 2016 winner. ToutMaster continues to grow with 189 entries in 2017 (up from 117 entries in 2016.)

The payouts for ToutMaster 2017 are as follows:

ToutMaster 2017

With the first event now complete, are here are the top 20 standings (including ties):

ToutMaster UFC Fight Night 103

We have a five way tie atop the standings. Each of the leaders picked 11 of the 12 fights correctly, including the only underdog to win on the night (Augusto Mendes). As was to be expected after the first event, there’s a log jam at the top of the standings with the Top 17 overall separated by one point or less.

To check out the 2017 standings, click the following link:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1dTlTYofQ1CHL6bMeIYHW1RCtYU3Nu_630FNKhhH8JN8/edit#gid=1725684060

Some additional notes on the card:

UFC Fight Night 103

  • Favorites to win: 11
  • Underdogs to win: 1
  • Biggest Underdog to win: Augusto Mendes (1.25 points)
  • Biggest Consensus Pick: Drakkar Klose (162) / Devin Powell (27)
  • Biggest Consensus Pick (2017 Record): 1-0
  • Most Contentious Pick: Ben Saunders (108) / Court McGee (81)
  • Consensus Underdog Pick (More contestants picked underdog than favorite): 0-0

The UFC heads from Phoenix to Denver in two weeks for UFC on Fox 23. With a fight card that has more variation in odds, we should see more separation in the standings.

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walt-harrisPrior 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 heavyweight clash between Walt Harris and Chase Sherman at UFC Fight Night 103.

 

Walt Harris (Record: 8-5, -135 Favorite, Fighter Grade: D)

A former college basketball player at Jacksonville State, Harris began competing in MMA in 2010. He’s had two stint in the UFC compiling a 1-4 record in the Octagon. He comes into his UFN 103 matchup off a split decision loss to Shamil Abdurakhimov.

Harris’ MMA game revolves around athleticism. As a former college basketball player, footwork is key to his success as well as explosion into his striking. In addition to his athletic background, he’s also a two state Golden Gloves Champion which speaks to his striking prowess. The southpaw has a very good overhand left and is capable of finishing in spectacular fashion with all of his victories have come by knockout. He trains at a great camp with American Top Team. Harris’ striking output is not high as he averages 2.36 strikes per minute. His chin is a question mark with two knockouts in his career. With his athletic ability, endurance is not his strong suit. He tends to slow down in rounds two and three.

 

Chase Sherman (Record: 9-2, +125 Underdog, Fighter Grade: F)

A student of former UFC middleweight Alan Belcher, Chase Sherman is a former Division II college football player turned MMA fighter. All nine of his professional wins have come by knockout. In his UFC debut against Justin Ledet, Sherman lost by unanimous decision. It was the first time Sherman’s seen the scorecards in his career.

As is becoming more of the norm in MMA is athletes turning to MMA. Sherman fits that bill having played Division II football at Delta State prior to starting a career in martial arts. Physically he’s built to be able to compete in this weight class at 6’4” and a 78 inch reach. He’s got a nice kicking game which is where he tends to do his best work. Despite his knockouts thus far in his career, he doesn’t have big knockout power for a UFC heavyweight. His experience is rather limited in terms of quality opposition. His striking defense is a real question mark as he’s very hittable on the feet. In particular, he tends to struggle against fighters striking from a southpaw stance.

 

Matchup

This should be a fast and explosive heavyweight bout. Of these fighters 17 shared wins, all of them have been by knockout and prior to the third round. While Sherman appears to be the fighter with the better chin, he’s facing perhaps the hardest hitting striker he’s ever competed against in his career. In addition to his power striking, Harris fighting out of the southpaw stance gives him a real advantage in this bout as Sherman has struggled to defend strikes from fighters out of that stance.  I expect both fighters to be able to connect in this bout, but the power difference is the X factor in this fight. Look for Walt Harris to hurt Chase Sherman in the first round and score a first round finish. Given that Harris has only won by knockout in his career, that’s the best way to approach this fight. Harris by KO / TKO (+150) is the most likely result of this fight.

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PriorJoe Lauzon 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 103 as long time UFC veteran Joe Lauzon takes on former Bellator stalwart Marcin Held.

 

Marcin Held (Record: 22-5, -110 Pickem, Fighter Grade: C)

Marcin Held had won seven of his last eight fights in Bellator prior to signing with the UFC in 2016. In his UFC debut in November, Held struggled with the altitude and lost a clear decision to Diego Sanchez. His fight with Joe Lauzon is his second bout in the UFC.

A black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Held is a gifted submission grappler. Earlier this decade he saw real success in international grappling competitions and he’s taken that success to MMA. He’s won 14 of his 22 fights by submission, beating the likes of Derek Anderson and Tiger Sarnavskiy in that fashion. Held is an aggressive grappler and is willing to work for a variety of unorthodox submissions including kneebars and toe holds. He can take down striking-first fighters, but will struggle to gain top position against any fighter who is focused on wrestling. Held’s so confident in his grappling that he’s willing to pull guard and work for submissions off his back. His striking has improved over the past few years, but is used mainly to set up takedowns and work for submissions. If forced into a prolonged standing exchange, he will struggle. The fighters he has lost to had strong wrestling backgrounds and were therefore able to nullify his grappling attempts.

 

Joe Lauzon (Record: 26-12, -110 Pickem, Fighter Grade: C+)

The 32 year old fighter and The Ultimate Fighter Season 5 contestant has been a long-time veteran of the UFC. Dating back to 2015, he’s been exchanging wins and losses in succession. He fought twice in 2016; defeating Diego Sanchez by TKO at UFC 200, but losing to Jim Miller by split decision in August 2016. Lauzon looks to start 2017 right by getting back in the win column.

A 10-year veteran of the UFC, Lauzon will appear in his 23rd fight in the promotion at Fight Night 103. During his time in the organization, he’s fought a who’s who in the lightweight division ranging from Kenny Florian to Anthony Pettis to Jens Pulver. Lauzon has proven to be one of the most exciting fighters in UFC history. He’s shown that by earning 15 bonuses in his career; tied with Nate Diaz for the most in UFC history. Furthermore, his six submission of the night bonuses are the most ever in the UFC. Lauzon, like Held, excels in the grappling exchanges. He’s won 18 of his 26 victories by submission. Variety is his strong suit on the mat and he’s capable of finding submissions from a variety of angles. His offensive wrestling is underrated as he’s averaged a very strong 2.38 takedowns per 15 minutes in the Octagon. He had struggled with endurance earlier in his career, but he’s made significant strides in that arena and has fought a much more consistent pace in his more recent bouts. On the feet, his boxing has become a formidable weapon with his last three victories overall by TKO.

 

Matchup

A very interesting stylistic matchup in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 103 pits American Joe Lauzon against Polish lightweight Marcin Held. The reason it is so compelling is that both fighters have such aggressive submission games. Both guys are capable of fantastic submissions in a grappling exchange on the ground. While Held is dangerous from the onset, Lauzon has faced a who’s who of this division and has seen just about everything this sport has to offer. Furthermore, Lauzon is the much better offensive wrestler and if he has top control Held will a real difficult time seeking out submissions. On the feet, the advantage is also to Lauzon as he has much better boxing technique than Held. He could even bust up Held on the feet. While Held is a threat, the veteran experience of Lauzon and his more well-rounded skill set should be enough to earn a victory in this fight. Lauzon (-105) is worth a small bet.

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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 lightweight Devin Powell as he makes his UFC debut against fellow debutant Drakker Klose at UFC Fight Night 103 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Devin Powell

Hometown: South Berwick, Maine
Age: 28
Height: 6’0”
Reach: 74”
Weight Class: Lightweight
Camp: Nostos MMA
Career Record: 8-1
Key Wins: None
Key Losses: None

Background

Owner and head instructor of his own gym in New Hampshire, Powell has amassed an 8-1 record mainly fighting on the regional circuit in New England. Powell was noticed by Dana White during a taping of his reality show, “Lookin for a Fight” and given an opportunity to fight in the UFC in 2017.

Strengths

  • Long for the weight class
  • Good use of leg kicks to land to the lower part of the body
  • Good submission skill set
  • Opportunistic on the ground looking for submissions

Weaknesses

  • Below average athlete
  • Can be muscled up against the cage
  • Lacks punching power to hurt opponents on the feet
  • Striking defense needs improvement
  • Takedown defense not UFC level

 

GradePowell

 

Matchup against Drakkar Klose

A matchup between two UFC debutants at Fight Night 103 sees Devin Powell square off against MMA Lab product Drakkar Klose. Both fighters have a similar level of experience, but where they excel is completely different. Klose is a dynamic striker that can throw the kitchen sink at opponents: elbows, punches, and kicks. He’s athletic and relentless on the feet. Meanwhile, Powell’s game is kicking focused and he does his best work in the grappling exchanges. For Powell to win this fight, he’s going to have to force this fight to the ground. On the fight, Klose has a big advantage and Powell is susceptible to being dominated in the striking exchanges. I think this is a difficult debut fight for Powell as he’ll struggle to defend Klose’s powerful strikes and eventually succumb to a loss by knockout. Klose is the likely winner in this bout, but it’s difficult to back a UFC debutant at over -200.

UFC Ceiling

Devin Powell has a decent kicking game and is capable at submissions, but the rest of his game is below UFC level. What sticks at the most his athleticism. Speed and agility are below UFC level and he’s going to struggle to compete against UFC athletes. Powell needs to improve his standup and work on his strength if he’s going to have a lengthy stint in the UFC.

Fight Film

Check out Devin Powell in some of his most recent fights:

 

Devin Powell vs. Jeff Anderson

 

Devin Powell vs. Scott Jurgen

 

Devin Powell vs. Jon Lemke (Starts at 1:43:00)

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John MoragaPrior 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 opening fight of the main card, as John Moraga and Sergio Pettis square off in a Top 15 flyweight clash at UFC Fight Night 103.

John Moraga (Record: 16-5, +115 Underdog, Power Ranking: C+)

The eighth-ranked flyweight in the UFC returns to the Octagon for the first time since July 2016. He’s lost two straight fights and is in desperate need of a win to keep his position in the UFC.

The Arizona born and raised Moraga has been fighting in the UFC since 2012 and is one of the longest-tenured fighters in the division. His amateur background is in freestyle wrestling despite averaging just over half a takedown per 15 minutes in the Octagon. On the feet, his output is quite a bit lower than most flyweights. He averages only 2.43 significant strikes per minute. It has been his lack of output that has cost him in the past; particularly in his fight against Brazilian Matheus Nicolau. Moraga really struggles in a prolonged stand-up where his opponent can put him on the back foot. He appeared mystified by Nicolau and simply wasn’t able to be engaged in the fight. Perhaps where Moraga does his best work is in transitions. He’s very opportunistic when it comes to submissions. For example, he’s won a few fights with guillotine chokes in less than ideal circumstances. Moraga is a finisher with four of his five wins in the UFC by stoppage.

Sergio Pettis (Record: 14-2, -135 Favorite, Power Ranking: C+)

Younger brother of former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, the 15th-ranked flyweight looks to extend his winning streak to three when he takes on Moraga. This will be the eighth fight in the UFC for the 23-year-old Roufusport product.

The Milwaukee native became an accomplished striker at quite a young age. He holds black belts in both karate and taekwondo. His striking prowess is evident right from the start. He’s very fluid on the feet with excellent footwork. It allows him to move him in and out of the pocket with relative ease. His striking approach is varied. He counters well with his hands and does a great job to land strikes in combination. Where he’s most vulnerable is in a high-paced fight. Pettis has slowed down in fights before and can struggle against high-energy opponents. Stronger opponents have also been able to push him against the cage and modify his offense by putting him on his back. He’s been taken down by opponents in six of his seven UFC fights.

Matchup

This is an important fight in the flyweight division for two Americans who appear to be going in opposite directions. Moraga is a fighter who started out well in the UFC and has cooled off of late while the much younger Pettis had some growing pains in his early fights and now seems to have turned a corner. In the stand-up, I see a significant advantage for Pettis. He’s a much more active fighter in the striking exchanges, landing over 1.5 more strikes per minute than Moraga. I expect Moraga to struggle with the variety that Pettis brings to table. Moraga has a tendency to not be able to pull the trigger against technical strikers, so that’s something to definitely watch for in this fight. Pettis has made some major mental mistakes in the past that have cost him in fights. This fight is about Pettis showing he’s overcome those mental lapses as much as being offensively capable of beating a longtime veteran like Moraga. The price point is nearly even with Pettis a modest (-135) favorite. Given the direction these two fighters have been going, Pettis should win this bout. However, it’s tough to back Pettis until his performances become more consistent overall.

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Yair RodriguezPrior 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 Fight Night 103 as Yair Rodriguez welcomes back the legendary BJ Penn to the UFC.

BJ Penn (Record: 16-10-2, +385 Underdog, Power Ranking: C-)

The Hawaiian legend and former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion returns to the Octagon for the first since July 2014. Penn has lost his last three fights in the UFC and hasn’t won a fight overall since 2010. The UFC Hall of Famer returns to the Octagon once again to see if he can find some of the magic that made him one of the most popular fighters of the last decade.

At Penn’s peak, he had very good knockout ability with a fantastic Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game to go with it. Jiu Jitsu seemed to come naturally to Penn, and he was certainly one of the best, at the time, to implement it in mixed martial arts. It’s very difficult to consider stats when analyzing Penn because he fights so infrequently. That in and of itself deserves thought as Penn has only fought two times in the last five years. In both of those fights, Penn fought elite fighters and was significantly outclassed. His speed has diminished since his peak, and the level of athletes that have entered the sport this decade are superior to the ones Penn had success against earlier in his career. The one positive for Penn in this fight is that he has trained at Jackson’s MMA for this camp. It’s easily the biggest camp he has ever trained with for a full camp.

Yair Rodriguez (Record: 8-1, -485 Favorite, Power Ranking: C+)

The featherweight champion on the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, Rodriguez has been on a tear since making his debut in the UFC, winning all five of his fights in the promotion. At just 24 years of age, Rodriguez is a budding star in the UFC’s loaded featherweight division and currently ranked 10th in the weight class.

El Pantera brings his taekwondo-based approach into his second straight main event inside the Octagon. Rodriguez uses a rather unorthodox approach and has an extremely aggressive on the feet with no fear of trying new attacks and coming forward at various angles. When Rodriguez fights, there’s a possibility one may see a maneuver never attempted in a UFC fight before. Whether it’s a type of spinning attack or a new type of kick, Rodriguez brings that kind of athleticism and excitement inside the cage. With each fight, Rodriguez has gained experience and looked more impressive. He’s out-struck his opponents by a wider margin in each successive fight. Furthermore, he’s proven very difficult to hit absorbing just 2.12 significant strikes a minute. Rodriguez has an underrated wrestling game too, securing takedowns in all five of his UFC bouts, averaging over 1.5 takedowns per 15 minutes. He’s capable of winning on the feet as well as controlling opponents on the ground. That’s why he’s already surged into the Top 15 of the UFC’s featherweight rankings.

Matchup

The headlining fight on the UFC Fight Night 103 card is intriguing on paper. Rodriguez has proven to be one of the most exciting fighters in the sport. Meanwhile, his opponent Penn was considered the most exciting fighter in the UFC during his peak. While many Penn fans are hoping he can turn back the clock and make a late run in his career, it’s difficult to see him winning this fight. Once again, Penn will be the smaller fighter in a bout. He’s three inches shorter than Rodriguez and gives up an inch in reach. Rodriguez is a whopping 14 years younger than Penn. Especially in the lower weight classes, it pays to be younger. Simply put, cardio and athleticism are significantly more important as the weight decreases. It will be difficult for Penn to keep up with Rodriguez in this fight. Now, also take into account how little Penn has fought in recent years. Despite his experience, ring rust is a major issue, and competing against much more athletic opponent who has been active the last few years is going to be a real challenge. Rodriguez has been a finisher during his career, but he struggled to find a way to put away Alex Caceres in his last fight. Penn has been historically hard to finish in his career, so the safest play is to look at the points prop once the line is released and a lean towards over 2.5 rounds (-115).

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Tony-MartinPrior 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 an intriguing preliminary bout between Americans Tony Martin and Alex White at UFC Fight Night 103 in Phoenix, Arizona.

 

Tony Martin (Record: 10-3, -290 Favorite, Fighter Grade: C-)

The Midwest born-and-raised fighter currently trains out of Massachusetts with team Sityodtong. He’s fought five times in the UFC amassing a 2-3 record. Both of his UFC victories and eight of his 10 victories overall have come by submission. This is his first fight in 12 months.

The 27-year old is a fighter who has a decent amount of promise. He’s very long for the lightweight division standing at 6 feet tall with a 73.5 inch reach. His striking is certainly not his strongest attribute. He has decent hands, but he is hittable on the feet and is susceptible to leg kicks. Where he is at his best is in the grappling exchanges. He secures over 1.5 takedowns per 15 minutes in the Octagon. His strength is underrated and once he has top control he is very dangerous. His submission game is well above average for MMA and he has submitted jiu jitsu black belts in the past. He has long limbs and that works in his favor in latching submissions. During his time in the UFC, he has beaten the fighters he was supposed to beat and has been beaten by ranked opponents.

 

Alex White (Record: 11-2, +245 Underdog, Fighter Grade: D+)

The Missouri born UFC fighter has fought four times in the UFC; splitting wins and losses. White hasn’t fought since February 2016 when he beat Artem Lobov by decision. Prior to that fight, White had last fought in December 2014.

White developed a perfect 9-0 record fighting on the regional circuit in his native Missouri. He is a very upright fighter in the stand up. He has decent hands and his output is above average for the featherweight division, but the rest of his striking game is rather static and he doesn’t move his head, making him vulnerable to counter striking. His wrestling game is rather poor with a takedown defense is a lackluster 50 percent. He’s been in trouble on the ground to below average grapplers and has been fortunate to not be submitted.

 

Matchup

Tony Martin and Alex White square off on the opening fight of the televised prelims at UFC Fight Night 103. Like nearly any fight he will be in at lightweight, Martin will be the longer fighter. Martin’s size is a significant advantage as it allows him fight from range and then when there’s space he can look to secure takedowns. White is typically a large featherweight but is taking this fight as a lightweight on short notice so he should be at a major size disadvantage overall. In a prolonged standup bout, White will have his most opportunities as his output is quite a bit higher than Martin’s. However, Martin is a much better wrestler and should have success early and often in securing takedowns. On the ground, Martin is a much better submission grappler. White has made mistakes in previous fights both defending and looking to secure submissions. This will provide openings for Martin to latch in a submission and win this fight. Martin by submission is the most likely result of this fight and a prop I’ll be eyeing once lines are released. I lined Martin as a -200 favorite in this bout. I was surprised to see the line skyrocket to -290 given how Martin tends to slow down as his fights progress. If White keeps the fight standing, he has the ability to win, but still the most likely result is Martin submits him relatively early in the fight.

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toutmaster-beltIf you are looking to compete against other individuals as opposed to your local or online sportsbook, MMAOddsbreaker.com and TheMMA-Analysis have you covered. The third edition of ToutMaster kicks off on Sunday, January 15 with the first UFC event of 2017: UFC Fight Night 103 in Phoenix.

For those unfamiliar with ToutMaster, TheMMA-Analysis Podcast hosts organized a contest at the start of 2015 to determine the top MMA prognosticator. The rules are simple, pick a winner for every single fight in the UFC in the calendar year. If the “favorite” in the fight wins, a person gets one point for picking that fight correctly. If the underdog wins, the person who picked the underdog gets underdog points for that fight. For example, if a fighter is a +200 underdog and wins, a person who chose him in ToutMaster would be awarded two points. At the end of the year, whomever has the most points wins the pool.

In the 2015 edition of ToutMaster, Kyle Marley (@bigmarley3) won the inaugural competition against 46 other competitors.

The 2016 edition of ToutMaster saw a significant uptick with 117 entries. Wes Reynolds (@wesreynolds1) won the contest to become the second ever ToutMaster champion.

In addition to a significant prize pool, the winner each year will receive The ToutMaster Championship Belt (pictured above). Each year, the winner’s name will be engraved on the championship and the belt will move year to year to be held by the current reigning champion.

Contest entry is $50 and the deadline to enter is Sunday, January 8. At time of publication, there are already over 100 entries for the 2017 contest with the expectation to exceed the number of entries and prize pool of 2016.

For more information on either competing in or becoming an official sponsor for the 2017 ToutMaster Contest, please contact Jay Primetown (Email: JayPrimetown@gmail.com or Twitter: @JayPrimetown).

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TJ DillashawWith UFC 207 behind us, there were many noteworthy performances which saw fighters’ stock rise. Jay Primetown takes a look at the key performers and what’s next for them.

TJ Dillashaw

Overview: Having previously lost to former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, Dillashaw needed to put on a dominant performance to convince the UFC brass that he should get a potential rematch with the Alliance MMA fighter. Tasked with fighting heavy hitting second-ranked bantamweight John Lineker, Dillashaw put in some of his finest work. He avoided the heavy hands and secured takedowns regularly in this fight dominating Lineker on the mat. He not only won all three rounds of this fight, but all three judges scored the second round 10-8 to give him a 30-26 win on all three scorecards. In what appeared to be a No. 1 contender fight, it’s hard to win more dominant than that without a finish.

What’s Next: The best thing for Dillashaw had nothing to do with his specific fight at UFC 207. In the fight directly after Dillashaw, Cody Garbrandt dethroned Cruz as bantamweight champ. With Dillashaw previously training at Team Alpha Male, there’s a built-in storyline of previous Team Alpha Male king against the new one. To me this is a new brainer fight to make next.

Cody Garbrandt

Overview: There was a lot of talk prior to his fight with Cruz if this was too big a moment too early for Garbrandt. He had never faced anyone as experienced or with the movement that Cruz possesses. While others had struggled with Cruz’s foot movement, Garbrandt appeared to embrace it. He not only out-landed Cruz in this bout, but he gave the now former champ a taste of his own medicine. Garbrandt’s footwork was excellent, as he was even showboating at times in this bout. It was a well-deserved win and puts him in the elite class of fighters in the sport.

What’s Next: While Garbrandt has said he’d welcome a rematch with Cruz, the fight to make is the one with Dillashaw. In my eyes, Dillashaw and Garbrandt are currently the two best fighters in the bantamweight division. Given the bad blood when Dillashaw left Team Alpha Male, this is an exciting fight between two great fighters. It’s the fight that should be made.

Amanda Nunes

Overview: Despite Nunes having headlined a bigger card (UFC 200) in her previous bout, her UFC 207 main event against Ronda Rousey was the biggest fight of her career. This fight was a real opportunity for Nunes to make a name for herself given that there would be a lot of eyeballs watching to see Rousey’s return to the sport. Not only did Nunes win the fight, but she did so in spectacular fashion, knocking out the former longtime champ inside of one minute. As soon as she landed her first clean punch in this bout, it was clear Rousey could not handle Nunes’ striking power. It was as impressive a win as Nunes could have hoped for.

What’s Next: Nunes has now finished former champions Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate in consecutive fights. She’s proven to be the division’s most dangerous striker and a fighter that needs to be feared. The UFC has made a No. 1 contender fight between Julianna Pena and Valentina Shevchenko. Of those two fighters, I see Shevchenko being the more difficult and intriguing fight. When the two fought in early 2016, Nunes was able to secure takedowns in the first two rounds, but she slowed down significantly in the third. If they square off in a five-round fight, Nunes will need to show improved endurance to hold onto her championship.

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