Thursday, June 22, 2006

TUF 3 Finals, thoughts & predictions

The TUF 3 finale is this Saturday and it's time for some thoughts and analysis on the two fights for the contracts; Ed Herman vs Kendall Grove and Michael Bisping vs Josh Haynes.

First lets look at Ed and Kendall... A lot of commentators have been saying don't judge Ed by the fights you saw during the show, which I was not impressed with. Really, if you look at the guys he fought Rory ended up being an uptight prissy in the ring as well as the house and Danny who does have some potential just didn't have the skill set to win against Ed and was outmatched.

A closer look at Ed's fight history reveals a modest 10 and 3 record (Sherdog) most telling though is that all 3 losses came via submissions. That could bode badly for Ed against the lanky Kendall who has won the majority of his professional fights via submission. By the same token Ed is also a good submission fighter in his own right and won via submission 6 times out of 10 wins.

With all that being said I find this fight hard to call, I believe both fighters are evenly matched. In the end I'm going with Kendall for the win via strikes/tko either late in the 2nd or early in the 3rd round. I think Kendall's height and reach advantage along with some great kicking ability will be the deciding factor in this fight.

Now for Michael and Josh... Josh was definitely the sleeper fighter of this competition. I wasn't too sure what to think of him at first as he just didn't seem to fit in that fighter "mold" that we are all accustomed to.

But once he did the interview prior to his first fight against Tait Fletcher where he poured his heart about why he's there doing this, and what he's fighting for I gained a ton of respect for him. Josh fights his heart out for his family, particularly for his son Thor who has fought the toughest fight, the one against brain cancer and one he is winning.

I was also impressed with his fight against Fletcher, he just kept at it and at it never gave up and came away with the decision. Despite the fact that Jesse dominated him for all of round one he stayed cool fought of the choke attempts and won the fight early in round two via standing guillotine. This guy has tons heart and simply will not quit.

Michael Bisping is equally impressive but for different reasons. Bisping is the kind of guy that has a clear plan on what he wants to accomplish and will work as hard as he can to meet his goals.

Overall Bisping has the most definitive MMA skill set of any fighter on the show. Training in Jiu Jitsu since the age of eight his ground skills are solid as are his stand up skills. He has the desire, the cardio, and the drive to win the UFC contract.

This fight I find much easier to call. Despite all my positive comments on Josh and my admiration for his heart I believe that Bisping is overall a much better fighter and I can clearly see him winning this fight.

I think this could go one of 2 ways, a full 3 rounds of battle with Bisping getting the decision, or late in the first possibly early in the 2nd round via some kind of submission. I'd be concerned for Josh if it went to submission because I just don't think he'll tap and I could see a broken arm or some torn ligaments that would keep him away from the fight game for several months.

Josh's heart will surely be a factor in this fight but Bisping will get the contract and go on to be one of the elite fighters in the UFC.

(MMA Fanatic)