Tim Credeur versus Cale Yarbrough
One of the most likeable guys in the TUF house, Tim Credeur has proven himself repeatedly and shown himself to be a skilled fighter. Having made his way to the semifinals, he came close to winning, only to lose to Jesse Taylor by decision. But throughout the season, Credeurâ€™s talent was impressive. A skilled BJJ fighter, all but 2 of his career wins have come by submission. This is by far his strength and his most valuable weapon against Cale Yarbrough.
Yarbrough, on the other hand, is still very new to professional MMA. While he did well in amateur fights, his performance on the show was not all that impressive. Though he is also trained in BJJ, he will definitely have to step up his game to go the distance with an experienced fighter like Credeur.
Prediction: Tim Credeur via submission round one
Jeremy Horn versus Dean Lister
No one can deny that Jeremy Horn is one of the most talented and experienced fighters in MMA. With over 100 fights to his name, heâ€™s probably seen it all and done it all. And heâ€™s fought and won against some skilled competitors. Unfortunately, his last notable win was against Forrest Griffin back in 2003. More recently, Horn has put together a string of lackluster performances, having lost 3 of his last 4 fights. This is including his most recent fight (against Nate Marquardt at UFC 81), where it looked like Horn just did not show up. An outstanding BJJ fighter and submission specialist, it looked like Horn didnâ€™t care whether or not he won. And with that attitude, he didnâ€™t. We can only hope that the real Horn shows up for this fight. If he does, itâ€™ll be a huge battle on the ground.
With far less experience, however, Dean Lister has a lot to prove. While his amateur experience is impressive, his professional record doesnâ€™t reflect his skill level. Also a black belt in BJJ, most of his wins have been by submission. And while he doesnâ€™t have any seriously notable wins, he has won 3 of his last 4 fights. A win for Lister would help his credibility as someone who belongs at the top of the MMA food chain. Beating Horn is not something just anyone can do. It would a huge step in Listerâ€™s career.
Prediction: Lister via submission round two
Matt Brown versus Matt Arroyo
This fight has a little history to it, which should make it interesting for everyone. The pair already fought each other in November of 2006, with Matt Brown earning the W via a TKO in the second round. To even the score, Arroyo has since asked to fight Brown.
Known for his intensity and brute strength, look for Brown to try to overpower Arroyo. In his TUF fights, as well as his prior professional fights, he has proven himself to be extremely aggressive with drive to spare. His striking is better than good, but heâ€™s no slouch on the ground either and could easily submit Arroyo.
Arroyo, though, is also not lacking in any particular area either. Although he lacks professional experience, his time and training on the previous season of TUF (where he beat Jon Kolosci with an armbar in the finale) should help him in the long run. In his eyes, Brownâ€™s weakness is his jiu-jitsu, so look for Arroyo to go for the takedowns. A submission specialist, this is where Arroyo will be his strongest. Unfortunately, I just donâ€™t see Brown ending up on his back.
Prediction: Matt Brown via TKO round two
Marvin Eastman versus Drew McFedries
An 8-year veteran to the sport, Eastman has had a solid career with wins over some notable fighters. He said has said that this fight, to him, means redemption for the two losses he suffered in his previous UFC fights (not including his most recent win over Terry Martin). Eastmanâ€™s wrestling is probably his biggest strength, so expect him to try to take the fight to the ground. With the majority of his fights going to decision, Eastman clearly has the cardio and will likely not gas. If he keeps McFedries on his back, he has a better chance to win a decision.
Though heâ€™s been fighting as long as Eastman, McFedries has considerably less experience than him. At the same time, though, he has fought against some formidable opponents and that should help him. With his stand up being his chief asset, he will try to keep this fight standing up. If he manages to stay on his feet, look for heavy hands and damaging punches from McFedries. As long as he has been working on his take down defense, McFedries should be able to overpower Eastman.
Prediction: McFedries via TKO round one
Josh Burkman versus Dustin Hazelett
A staple on UFC fight cards, the experienced Josh Burkman is coming off a tough loss to Mike Swick earlier this year. Known mostly as a strong wrestler, his wins are pretty evenly split between decisions and submissions. Point in case â€“ look at his last five fights. They all went to decision. The positive is that he can go the distance. The negative is that he canâ€™t really seem get the job done. He has lost 2 of his last 3 fights. Granted, they were losses to talented fighters, but it seems as if he used to be capable of better. With wrestling as his forte, expect Burkman to take it to the ground and look for a submission.
By the same token, the less experienced Dustin Hazelett is trying to prove himself in the UFC. Though heâ€™s had some success before, heâ€™s trying to bounce back from a loss to Josh Koscheck. As a brown belt in BJJ, the limber Hazelett is well-versed in submissions and has won the gross majority of his fights that way (not to mention he beat a Gracie). As both Burkman and Hazelett are comfortable on the ground, thatâ€™s likely where most of this fight will be. Although Hazelett is skilled and can hold his own, Burkmanâ€™s experience will trump his skill
Prediction: Burkman via decision