The second card in the UFC’s tripleheader in July has probably gotten the least amount of press, but it is intriguing on several levels. From the best fight that can be made in women’s MMA at the moment, to the debut of a Bellator champion in the UFC, to Gray Maynard cutting off limbs to make it down to 145, the TUF 23 Finale has a bit of everything. Obviously the main event is a fantastic fight, and a rematch of the only truly competitive fight either Joanna Jedrzejczyk or Claudia Gadelha has had in their careers. The current betting line of Jedrzejczyk -130 (bet $130 to win $100) and Gadelha +110 (bet $100 to win $110) reflects the close nature of the fight. Jedrzejczyk got the split nod from the judges in their 2014 meeting, despite most onlookers feeling as though Gadelha had won the fight. After that, Jedrzejczyk went on to become the UFC strawweight champion and defend her belt multiple times in devastating fashion. Gadelha has only competed once since facing Jedrzejczyk, as she won a comfortable decision over former world #1 Jessica Aguilar. The co-main event is fascinating in a different way. After openly being disgruntled with Bellator as the promotion’s lightweight champion, Will Brooks was released from his contract and signed by the UFC. Brooks has suffered just one defeat in his career, a quick TKO loss to Saad Awad which he avenged eight months later. Since then he has reeled off eight straight wins, including a pair over current Bellator champion Michael Chandler. Brooks’ welcome to the UFC will come in the form of Ross Pearson. Taking out a no contest against Melvin Guillard, the TUF veteran has alternated wins and losses in his past nine UFC bouts. Standing at 11-7 overall in the UFC, Pearson should prove a good gauge of where Brooks immediately fits into the UFC’s lightweight picture. The next main card bouts feature some rising prospects. South Korea’s Doo Ho Choi has struggled to get into the cage since the UFC signed him in 2014, but has looked incredibly impressive once there. His two Octagon appearances have taken a combined 1:51 to produce a pair of knockouts. He’ll be taking on someone who is certainly susceptible to being knocked out, but also has a pronounced grappling edge, Thiago Tavares. The other really intriguing bout on this card sees Jake Matthews take on Kevin Lee in an interesting lightweight bout on Fight Pass. Matthews has bounced back nicely from the only loss of his career — a submission defeat at the hands of James Vick — with a pair of stoppage wins. Lee looked a bit shakier coming off of his TKO loss to Leonardo Santos, but still picked up the win against Efrain Escudero last time out. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting odds for all of the fights on TUF 23 Finale except for the yet unknown tournament finals. They can be found at 5Dimes Sportsbook, and below: ——————– MAIN CARD (Fox Sports 1, 10pm ET) Update: TUF 23 Finals have been added “TUF 23” Light Heavyweight Tournament Final Khalil Rountree +145 Andrew Sanchez -185 Over 1.5 -155 Under 1.5 +115 – “TUF 23” Women’s Strawweight Tournament Final Amanda Bobby Cooper +285 Tatiana Suarez -405 Over 2.5 -175 Under 2.5 +135 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD Li Jingliang -350 Anton Zafir +250 Over 1.5 -175 Under 1.5 +135 – Jake Matthews -185 Kevin Lee +145 Over 2.5 -185 Under 2.5 +145 – Update: One bout with TUF 23 fighters has been added to the prelims Cory Hendricks -105 Josh Stansbury -135 Over 2.5 -150 Under 2.5 +110 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: If Ross Pearson struggled with the wrestling of Evan Dunham, Will Brooks is probably giving him cold sweats. Brooks is a better wrestler than Dunham, but also far more active at range. Even if Pearson turns this into a range striking contest, I’m not sure he has much of an advantage, and as soon as he closes the distance Brooks will punish him in the clinch and get the fight down to the ground. I think Brooks makes a decent first impression, and ends up in the UFC title picture shortly. If Thiago Tavares can get this to the ground, he’s going to overwhelm Doo Ho Choi and probably score a submission. The problem for him is that I don’t think he can get past Choi’s hands in order to get him down. Choi has big power, excellent accuracy, and his timing is going to be what really makes the difference here as he will catch Tavares on the way in and that will be all it takes. I’m not sure it’s possible to be less excited about a fight with two undefeated fighters who both have UFC victories. The most memorable thing about these two in their UFC debuts is that most people felt both of their opponents should have won. I think Holbrook is the better wrestler here, but he also doesn’t seem to have a great awareness of what wins rounds in MMA, and is prone to taking himself out of position. He should be able to get on top in most of the scrambles in this fight, but that doesn’t mean he will. Holbrook is the pick, but I’m passing anything but an inflated dog number or a low over 2.5. I think it’s safe to say the Gray Maynard is done. He offered next to nothing against Yakovlev, and has still only won one fight in the past five years, while being knocked out four times. The UFC is being kind to him here though, as Fernando Bruno has never scored a knockout. Either Maynard is able to outwrestle a vastly undersized opponent, or he gets knocked out by the guy who doesn’t knock anybody out. Either way, it doesn’t mean much for Gray moving forward. Only in the flyweight division to fighters constantly get thrown to the wolves like this. Matheus Nicolau isn’t making his UFC debut here, merely his UFC flyweight debut, but John Moraga should not be the place that a 23-year-old prospect starts. I don’t understand the matchmaking, and it’s a similar spot the UFC just put Geane Herrera in a couple weeks ago. It’s going to be hard to develop these kids at flyweight when the UFC seemingly goes out of their way to get them beat. But hey, maybe he surprises me. After all, John Moraga has only been beaten by Demetrious Johnson, John Dodson, and Joseph Benavidez in his career… oh, wait… Cezar Ferreira’s chin is always going to be a problem, but at 185 it’s slightly less of a problem. Anthony Smith can still get to him, but I think if Ferreira can survive the power of Oluwale Bamgbose, he can survive Smith. If this turns into a prolonged fight, that favors Ferreira, especially if he can get takedowns since he has a significant advantage on the mat. I’m going to go against the usual “Ferreira’s Opponent, Round One” approach, and pick Ferreira for the win here. I love betting big props, and one I definitely have my eye on in this fight is Jake Matthews in round three. This fight will be in close quarters and competitive, and that will wear Kevin Lee out. By the third round, Matthews will still be coming at him, and could very likely pick up a finish. Even if he doesn’t, I think Matthews takes a fairly clear decision based on the latter half of the fight. Jingliang Li belongs in the UFC. Anton Zafir does not. Li will be bigger, a better striker, a better wrestler, and he’s more durable. Perhaps if Zafir can get a hold of his back he can sneak a submission, but even then I think Li can survive and get back in control of the fight.