TUF 19 Finale: Fox Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass Prelims Preview

TUF 19 FinaleIt’s going to be hard for any of the 22 fighters on tonight’s TUF 19 Finale card to top what Chris Weidman, Lyoto Machida and Ronda Rousey were able to do last night (July 5, 2014) at UFC 175, but they’re certainly going to give it a go. While coaches Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn are the big attraction on the main card and the two TUF titles will be on the line in the bouts just below it, the six-fight undercard also features some intriguing fighters. The final fight on the Fox Sports 1 prelims (before the Fox Sports 1 main card, of course) is in the lightweight division between Kevin Lee (7-1) and Jesse Ronson (13-4). Combined these fighters are winless in the UFC going 0-3, so the loser of this bout could be looking for new employment next week. Lee is currently the favorite to find a victory in the UFC at -230 (bet $230 to win $100) at Several Bookmakers. Ronson has been matched rather unfavorably in his UFC run, facing fighters who have been able to neutralize his grappling, and Lee is capable of the same. If Lee comes out an grapples in this fight he should find success, but Ronson is the better striker so the longer things stay on the feet, the trickier it will be for him. Making his UFC bantamweight debut after a very disappointing featherweight outing, Jumabieke Tuerxun (14-1) takes on Leandro Issa (11-4). Both of these fighters are winless in the UFC as well, and given their relatively poor debuts another loss could result in a pink slip. For Tuerxun, this is a difficult matchup as grappling is his biggest strength and Leandro Issa is a world-class jiu-jitsu practicioner. Neither fighter offers much on the feet, so this should hinge on who gets top position, and if it’s Tuerxun, can he deal with Issa’s sweeps and submissions? Bettors are currently torn, as Issa is a slight -120 favorite, while the comeback on Tuerxun is even money, +100 (bet $100 to win $100). Third fight from the top of the prelims, and we finally get a fighter who has had his hand raised in the Octagon, and expectations are that he will again. Adriano Martin (25-7) is the third biggest favorite on the card at -370, with the debuting Juan Manuel Puig (11-2) at +310. The line illustrates what many people have pointed out about this fight: Martins seems like the better striker, grappler, and wrestler in this fight, in addition to having more experience against a higher level of competition. Puig has shown some submission acumen on the regional circuit, but that is also Martins’ best attribute, so things aren’t looking good for the newcomer. The first bout on Fox Sports 1 features a couple of fighters the dozen or so viewers of this season of TUF will recognize. Dan Spohn (8-3) and Patrick Walsh (4-1) both made it to the semi-finals of the TUF 19 light heavyweight bracket before being bounced by Matt Van Buren and Corey Anderson, respectively. Spohn showed a more well-rounded skill set on the show and seems a more natural light heavyweight, while Walsh looks like a slightly better wrestler. Betting lines currently favor the overall skills of Spohn, who is a -240 favorite. On UFC Fight Pass a pair of women’s bantamweights will be making their official UFC debuts at a 143lb catchweight. Sarah Moras (3-1) was a competitor on TUF 18 who showed some promise with her grappling game, but she will be in tough against the debuting Alexis Dufresne (5-0) who has looked the part of legitimate prospect thus far in her career, mowing through each of her opponents inside the first half of the first round. Moras will be the toughest test of Dufresne’s career, and the circumstances of Dufresne missing weight (but the fighters agreeing to a catchweight) mean we should learn what the young fighter is made of. The odds still favor Dufresne however, as she is -210 to Moras’ +175. The proverbial curtain jerker is another bout featuring two UFC newcomers. Abu Dhabi and Mundials gold medallist Robert Drysdale (6-0) brings his submission game to the UFC looking to make himself seven for seven in first round submission victories. Standing in his way will be Keith Berish (5-0) the reigning Ring of Combat middleweight champion. That designation is well-earned, but this is a light heavyweight fight and Berish not only has the size factor to contend with, but but also the fact that his best attribute in the cage also happens to be grappling. That makes Drysdale somewhat of a stylistic nightmare for Berish, and the -800 odds reflect it. The Ultimate Fighter 19 Finale kicks off with two fights on UFC Fight Pass at 6pm ET, then moves up to Fox Sports 1 for four more preliminary bouts at 7pm before the main card hits the same network at 9pm.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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