The Ultimate Fighter: A Tournament of Champions Finale. Saturday, December 3, 7pm EST
RARELY has the UFC had a competition where the end prize could result in a title, but that’s what faces Tim Elliott at this Saturday’s TUF Finale.
Elliott was struggling inside the Octagon before getting a second chance in The Ultimate Fighter and the 29-year-old took it head on.
After cruising through to the final, Elliott gets a shot at the UFC flyweight title which has been owned by Demetrious Johnson for the last four years at this Saturday’s finale in Las Vegas.
Johnson is the overwhelming favorite to retain his title, but Elliott deserves his shot and some bettors believe he could upset the champ.
The undercard features Joseph Benavidez who coached Elliott through to the line – he also defeated Elliott at UFC 172 in 2013.
Benavidez takes on Henry ‘The Messenger’ Cejudo who has been tearing through the flyweight rankings and he earned himself the #2 spot.
Also on show is Jake Ellenberger vs. Jorge Masvidal and both fighters have near identical records. That fight should be a classic and the entire undercard features evenly-matched fights.
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Johnson vs. Elliott betting tips
Total rounds betting:
Over 4.5 rounds -110
Under 4.5 rounds -125
The odds suggest that Demetrious Johnson is unlikely to get beaten by Tim Elliott and Johnson has already planned an after party for the fight.
— Demetrious Johnson (@MightyMouseUFC) December 1, 2016
Johnson is one of the most dominant fighters in the UFC and his record of 24-2-1 is stellar. ‘Mighty Mouse’ has a good all-round game and he finds multiple ways of winning.
Bookmakers believe this fight will go the distance, but only 42 percent of Johnson’s fights go the full length and we think he could submit Elliott in the early rounds.
Johnson is one of the hardest UFC athletes to land a hit on and he ranks better than Elliott defensively. That’s not to say Elliott is going to be a push over in this fight, but he has experience six losses from 17 fights and he has struggled to beat the very best in the UFC.
The biggest danger Elliott possesses is his unpredictability and his knockout power. He likes to throw in the odd cartwheel kick which probably won’t work against Johnson, but if he lands a power punch on the champion, he’s strong enough to knock him out.
The +600 for Elliott is tempting, but we see this fight going only one way. Johnson’s speed will frustrate Elliott and the better, more technical fighter will come away with the victory.
Johnson to retain his UFC flyweight championship.
Benavidez vs. Cejudo
What round will the fight end?
Round 1: +400
Round 2: +500
Round 3: +900
In what could be the fight of the night, #1 seed Joseph Benavidez takes on #2 seed Henry Cejudo with the winner set to fight against either Johnson or Elliott for the flyweight title.
Benavidez is on a five-fight win streak after losing to Demetrious Johnson in 2013. The 32-year-old has since recorded wins over Tim Elliott by submission and four subsequent wins by decision.
It’s unlikely that Benavidez will be able to knock Cejudo out, with a KO percentage of only 25%, but where Benavidez can win the fight is with his experience.
The fact is that Henry Cejudo has better statistics than Benavidez in most categories, so fight experience will have to be key if Benavidez is keen to win at very short bookmaker odds.
The value is clearly with Cejudo who has a record of 10-1 and his stats don’t lie. He lands more strikes per minute than Benavidez and with better accuracy. His defense is better statistically and his takedown accuracy and takedowns defended numbers read well.
Benavidez has had 13 more career fights than Cejudo and at a higher level, but this could be Cejudo’s time and the +166 at 5Dimes is a great price.
TUF finale parlay predictions
Johnson vs. Elliott total rounds under 4.5 (-110)
Cejudo moneyline +(166)
Jorge Masvidal moneyline (-232)
Ryan Hall moneyline (-105)
Jorge Masvidal is a proficient striker which can wear down Jake Ellenberger. Masvidal has been one of the best backed fighters on the card and we’re expecting him to win.
Ryan Hall is on the prelims card and although he’s the underdog, the value is with the American.
With a record of 5-1, Hall is only starting out in the UFC, but he has looked promising to date and he will be looking for the knockout result.