TUF 21 Finale Fight Breakdown: Stephen Thompson vs. Jake Ellenberger

StephenThompson_Headshot The main event of the TUF 21 Finale is a five-round welterweight bout between Stephen Thompson and Jake Ellenberger. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Thompson is a -220 favorite (bet $220 to win $100) while Ellenberger is a +180 underdog (bet $100 to win $180). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Thompson at -190 and Ellenberger at +150, and the majority of betting action has gone in Thompson’s direction. This should be a competitive fight but I lean towards Thompson to win the fight. Here’s why. Thompson (10-1) is trying to climb into the top 15. The 32-year-old American comes from a karate and kickboxing background and is not surprisingly one of the top strikers in the UFC welterweight division. He uses a variety of unique kicks in his attacks and comes from different angles, and not many fighters in the division can deal with it. He is currently 5-1 in the UFC with withs over the likes of Patrick Cote, Robert Whittaker and Chris Clements, and his only loss came to Matt Brown three years ago. He got outwrestled by Brown, but since then has been working on his takedown defence. Still, he’s a one-dimensional fighter. But that one dimension is elite. There are very few fighters who can stand and trade with Thompson in the division. His wrestling, though, needs work. If he can keep his fights standing, he’ll win the majority of them. But if he gets taken down, he can be grinded out. We’ll see this weekend just how much he’s improved that aspect of his game when he takes on the top-10 ranked Ellenberger. Ellenberger (30-9) is one of the top-1o welterweights in the UFC. The 30-year-old American is 9-5 overall in the UFC with wins over the likes of Josh Koscheck, Nate Marquardt, Jake Shields, Mike Pyle, and Diego Sanchez, with his losses all coming against elite fighters in Kelvin Gastelum, Rory MacDonald, Robbie Lawler, Martin Kampmann and Carlos Condit. Ellenberger is primarily a knockout artist who comes from a wrestling background. He likes to sprawl-and-brawl and keep his fights standing and knock his opponents out. He has 18 knockout wins in his career, so it’s clear he can knock opponents out on the feet. In his last fight against Koscheck, he showed a new wrinkle in his game as he won by submission. The biggest issue with Ellenberger in his fights has been him freezing up. It must be confidence issues, and he’s talked about how he’s had to improve his focus. When he is confident, he can finish most welterweights. But when he freezes up, he tends to be inactive and can get finished. He’s a talented guy, but he’s been very inconsistent in the last few years. Perhaps he’s turned the page, but until we see it against an opponent better than Koscheck, that remains to be seen. I think Thompson is going to be able to stuff Ellenberger’s takedown attempts, keep this fight standing, and batter him on the feet. Thompson’s takedown defence has most likely improved working with UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman during his training camp and if he can keep this fight on the feet he’s a far superior striker. Ellenberger does have knockout power, though, so Thompson will have to be careful, but as long as he doesn’t get caught on the chin he should win. Having said that, I think the odds are bit too high given we don’t know how Thompson will fare in a five-round fight, so I’ll pass on a bet, but I will be picking Thompson to win this fight by T/KO.

Written by Adam Martin.

Leave a Reply

UFC 189 Betting Q & Anik

Invicta FC 13 Reactions from Press Row