WSOF 9 Play: Josh Burkman (-240) vs Tyler Stinson (+220)

Josh BurkmanWSOF 9 Date: March 29, 2014 Arena: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino City: Las Vegas, NV Welterweight bout: Josh Burkman (-240) vs Tyler Stinson (+220) Fight Breakdown: The WSOF 9 main card will feature a welterweight contest between a UFC veteran and a Strikeforce veteran, when the inaugral and former WSOF welterweight champion Josh Burkman squares off against 28 year old striker Tyler Stinson. Burkman is the favorite in this bout at -240 ($240 to win $100), while Stinson is the underdog at +220 ($100 to win $220) at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. Josh Burkman (26-10 MMA, 3-1 WSOF) is coming off his WSOF welterweight title loss to Steve Carl at WSOF five months ago. The loss snapped a five-fight winning streak the 33-year old veteran had strung together, and now looks to bounce back to his winning ways, with his eyes set on gaining the WSOF 170 pound gold. Burkman and Carl faced each other with injuries, and the fight was very close heading into the fourth round of action, where Carl caught Burkman in a triangle from his guard a minute into the stanza. The 10-time UFC and four-fight WSOF veteran throws heavy leg kicks, and likes working both the inside and outside of his opponents legs. He has a variety of them in his striking arsenal. Burkman also loves to employ his knees, especially when he has his opponents against the cage, and he is very vicious with them, always looking to do damage and earn a TKO finish. He has a good chin, and likes to switch stances. The former middleweight is effective on the feet, but he tends to throw one strike at a time, and rarely puts together any combinations. The 33 year old has solid takedown defense, and when his back his put against the cage, he is very good at reversing positions and putting his opponents there, using a combination of strength and technique. Burkman works solid takedowns in his own right, especially with his double-leg, and he sets up his takedowns really well. He is also well-versed in the submission department, both offensively and defensively, and is very good at both securing and defending chokes, even considering the fact that he was choked unconscious in his last bout. The 36 professional fight veteran trains in high altitude at Pit Elevated in Orem, UT under the tutelage of John Hackelman, and he is a well-conditioned athlete who is prepared to go all 15 minutes against Stinson, should the fight go the distance. Tyler Stinson (26-9 MMA, 1-0 WSOF) is coming off a very impressive third round TKO victory over the veteran Valdir Araujo in his promotional debut at WSOF 8 just a couple of months ago. The win made it three in a row for him, all three coming by way of T/KO. He strung together the streak after coming short in back to back decision losses under the Strikeforce banner to current UFC welterweights Tarec Saffeidine and Jordan Mein, respectively. Between beating Stinson and signing with the UFC, Saffeidine captured the Strikeforce welterweight title, and Mein went on to headline the inaugral World Series of Fighting card. The 28 year old is a talented striker who puts together some effective combinations, and likes to be aggressive on the feet, often dictating cage control. He has great footwork, and likes to move forward. His striking defense is good, too, and he has a good chin, not to mention a lot of heart, as he has yet to be defeated via T/KO in his 35 professional fights. That said, he has lost five out of nine bouts via submission, though his submission defense has improved greatly. Stinson generally has a good submission game, both offensively and defensively, which is incredible, considering the fact that he had absoluelty zero grappling experience for the first six months of his professional mixed martial arts career. The Strikeforce veteran prefers to strike, so he rarely attempts takedowns. He has decent takedown defense himself, but when taken down, is very active off his back, constantly attacking with submission attempts and elbows. The 28 year old loves to put his elbows to use, both on the mat and on the feet, and he is ruthless with them. He loves to throw kicks, and has a variety of them in his arsenal he likes to employ, including leg kicks, head kicks, spinning kicks, body kicks, and the push kick. Stinson likes to switch stances, and has a dangerous left hand, which is his best weapon in the cage. He loves to throw left hooks, and the overhand left. Training in high altitude at the Grudge training center in Colorado, Stinson generally has good conditioning, and I believe he will be prepared for a three round battle against the UFC veteran. Gabe’s Prediction: These two have very similar records. Burkman is five years older and has been active for three years longer than Stinson has, but Stinson has just about as many fights under his belt. I give the striking edge to Stinson, but the grappling edge to Burkman. I think this fight is a lot closer than the odds suggest, and could see it going either way. I think the odds are off, as I personally have Stinson capped as a slight -140 favorite in this contest. I think this is a good spot to make a value play on an underdog, and I really like the odds on this one. Money seems to keep coming in on Burkman, so the return on Stinson may be greater by fight time. I could see him stopping Burkman, but I think he is going to keep the fight on the feet and win two out of three rounds on the judges’ scorecards. I think Burkman will manage to win a round with a takedown, but for the most part, I am expecting a striking battle where Stinson will use his height and reach advantag en route to getting his hand raised. Gabe’s Call: Tyler Stinson by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Tyler Stinson (+220) 2u to win 4.4u

Written by Gabe Killian

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