The main card of UFC Fight Night 74 features a lightweight contest between undefeated prospect Chad Laprise and Brazilian veteran Francisco Trinaldo. Laprise looks to move to 4-0 in the UFC, while Trinaldo aims for his fourth straight win inside the Octagon. Chad Laprise (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC, -335 favorite) Laprise made a strong impression on fans and critics when he competed on The Ultimate Fighter: Nations in early 2014. Competing as a welterweight, Laprise had three great performances and went on to win the show by defeating fellow Canadian Olivier Aubin-Mercier in the finals. He followed that up by picking up a pair of decision wins over Yosdenis Cedeno and Bryan Barberena. Fighting out of the famed Tri-Star gym in Montreal, Laprise has put together a solid team and will look to keep his undefeated record intact when he fights Trinaldo this Sunday night. The 29 year old Laprise is an excellent athlete that has shown good speed, technique, and movement. The meat and potatoes of Chad’s game is his striking attack, which is extremely fluid and technical. Fighting out of an orthodox stance, Laprise has excellent circular and lateral movement. His advanced footwork allows him to cut angles and get in and out quickly. A crisp jab, straight right hand, and kicks to all levels are staples of his striking attack. Defense is another area where Laprise shines, as he is hard to hit and never stays in one place. While he started his career with five consecutive finishes, he has not finished any of his last five opponents. Laprise is known mostly for his advanced striking game, but he is actually a very competent grappler as well. First off, his takedown defense is very strong. He is adept at winning the underhook battle on the inside and circling away. This is obviously very important because he prefers to strike in most of his fights and he will only be able to do that if he stays on his feet. Additionally, Laprise has shown solid offensive wrestling and top control. One concern I have about Laprise’s game is with his conditioning, as he really slowed down in his last fight. That may have been due to his high output in the first round and Barberena’s constant pressure in the second and third rounds. While it is a concern, it is not a huge one because he has not had conditioning issues in the past. Additionally, Laprise is a smart fighter and trains at an excellent camp so if there was an issue, it’s likely been taken care of. Francisco Trinaldo (17-4 MMA, 7-3 UFC, +275 underdog) Trinaldo was one of the more popular fighters on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, which aired in 2012. He did not win the show, but he was competing as a middleweight, which is two divisions above his natural weight class. Trinaldo has racked up an impressive 7-3 record in the UFC’s lightweight division since the show. He holds notable wins over Norman Parke, Adriano Martins, Leandro Silva, and Mike Rio. The hulking Trinaldo is a physically imposing lightweight that features a well-rounded skillset. Fighting out of a southpaw stance, he is a powerful striker that has good pop in his left hand and rear-leg kicks. While he is not much of a volume striker, he makes up for it with good timing and heavy hands. Much of Trinaldo’s success in the UFC is due to his grappling and wrestling. He shoots a nice double-leg takedown and is very good at working from top position. Additionally, he passes well and has a potent topside submission game. One area where he could improve is with his defensive wrestling, as he has been taken down quite a few times recently and has not shown much of a game from his back. The biggest issue for Trinaldo, however, is with his conditioning. He has gassed out badly in a few fights, especially in fights where his opponent made him work really hard or in fights where he went all out for a finish and did not get it. We have seen some improvement in this area since his loss to Piotr Hallman in 2013, but it is still a big concern going forward. Thoughts I do not think this is a good matchup for Trinaldo. Laprise is the superior striker by a good margin and he also has very good takedown defense. Further, Laprise is younger, faster, and has superior endurance. I do not think Trinaldo wants to get into a technical striking match with the crafty Laprise. He will likely look to take Laprise down and work him over from top position. I just do not see that happening. Laprise is a terrific fighter and he should be able to secure a clear decision win here, if not find a stoppage along the way. The Prediction: Chad Laprise defeats Francisco Trinaldo by unanimous decision.