The Ultimate Fighter China Finale: Preliminary Card Predictions
Excited for The Ultimate Fighter: China finale card this Saturday? No? Maybe?
What about the preliminary card that features 10 fighters, with the only ones to have competed in the UFC being Zak Cummings and Kazuki Tokudome? Perhaps? No?
OK, jokes aside, if you are like me, anytime the UFC is on, it is worth watching. Sure, this card is on at a time that I like to sleep, but I am willing to put off a night of partying to watch some up-and-comers and unknowns throw down in the cage.
I finally had a decent showing on the last set of prelim predictions for UFC 170. That brought me back above .500, so let's hope that I am finally out of that New Year funk to provide you with more accurate predictions.
Here are the prelim predictions for the card this Saturday.
2014 Riley's Record: 20-19
Last Event: UFC 170 (4-2)
Jumabieke Tuerxun vs. Mark Eddiva
Kicking off the undercard is a featherweight bout, as top Chinese prospect Jumabieke Tuerxun makes his anticipated debut against Mark Eddiva of the Philippines.
Known as "The Wild Wolf," Jumabieke is 14-0 but is moving up from bantamweight to take this fight. He's been a pro since 2009, where he has finished half of his opponents by knockout or submission.
Though he will be smaller than Eddiva, he is more experienced. He has knockout power in his hands and a smothering top game, which he should use against someone whose takedown defense might be suspect.
Eddiva seems to be a sacrificial lamb to a potential Chinese star in Jumabieke. The Filipino hasn't competed since 2011, despite being a perfect 5-0. He is a teammate of Dave Galera, who made his uninspiring debut in Singapore for the UFC and was dominated on the ground.
Not much analysis needs to be made here. Eddiva is a jobber, for those familiar with pro wrestling terms, and he will likely take the fall here in dominating fashion.
Prediction: Jumabieke def. Eddiva via submission
Albert Cheng vs. Wang Anying
We move on to a fight between two cast mates from the show, as Albert Cheng of Tiequan Zhang's team takes on Wang Anying of Hailin Ao's team.
Cheng was one of the few guys to enter the show with multiple professional fights on his record. Fighting out of Canada, he is 2-2 against unknown competition but made it the semifinals of this season of TUF.
He lost his opening bout to Dong Xin via TKO but was given another opportunity when Xin was forced out of the competition from injury. Cheng then beat Yong Shun with strikes to make the semifinals but was promptly eliminated by finalist Lipeng Zhang via submission.
Wang, who is listed from Mongolia, had an easy road to the semifinals, as his opponent could not make weight, which gave him the free pass. He faced finalist Wang Sai in the semis, though, and was submitted by the vastly experienced fighter.
Wang is 1-0 in his pro career, winning his only fight in the respectable RUFF organization in China. Though he is inexperienced, he has shown he can be a tough customer.
Many will give Cheng the upper hand due to experience, but he is fighting up a weight class here against an opponent who was probably the third-best guy in this weight class on the show. Cheng will be good early, but Wang will find a way to check his chin and get a mid-to-late finish.
Prediction: Wang def. Cheng via TKO
Zak Cummings vs. Alberto Mina
Moving on, we settle into the welterweight division, as TUF and UFC vet Zak Cummings welcomes undefeated Brazilian Alberto Mina to the Octagon.
Cummings has almost double the pro fights that Mina has, and they have been against some top competition. The American is a wrestler who has developed his hands a bit, so he is a well-rounded fighter.
After not winning his season of TUF, Cummings made his UFC debut against Benny Alloway. It took him less than one round to secure a D'arce choke, effectively winning the bout and making his debut a memorable one.
Mina is similarly well-rounded, though his best bet is to get on top of Cummings and use his jiu-jitsu to search for a submission. He has finished all 10 of his opponents, including TUF vet Dean Amasinger with strikes and Glenn Sparv with knees and punches in his latest outing.
It's very tempting to go with Mina here because he seems like a solid prospect with striking that could test Cummings on the feet. However, given the wrestling and experience, expect Cummings to grind out Mina with a balanced attack.
Prediction: Cummings def. Mina via decision
Nam Phan vs. Vaughan Lee
Next up are the bantamweights, as Vietnamese-American Nam Phan fights to keep his spot on the roster against the U.K.'s Vaughan Lee.
Phan is a boxer with sturdy takedown defense who will need to use that to stay upright against Lee. He works the body well, so if he uses that in his combos, he can wear down Lee.
Lee is a durable guy, but he needs to get this fight down to be successful. He wildly moves forward while throwing big strikes, but his goal is to get the fight on the mat.
Phan is quick enough and has a sufficient sprawl to remain on his feet. From there, he should outstrike Lee soundly en route to a convincing decision.
Prediction: Phan def. Lee via decision
Yui Chul Nam vs. Kazuki Tokudome
The featured bout of the prelims takes place in the lightweight division, as newcomer and Korean prospect Yui Chul Nam takes on Japanese UFC vet Kazuki Tokudome.
Tokudome is a striker who has seen mixed results since entering the UFC. He opened his tenure with a balanced striking attack that overwhelmed Cristiano Marcello, but he fell to the grappling attack of Norman Parke in his sophomore outing.
Most of his wins are finishes, with five coming by way of knockout. That's not to say he doesn't have mat skills, as he prefers the armbar when the fight becomes a grappling match.
He now takes on a ground specialist with aggression and a never-stop attitude in Nam. He is known as "The Korean Bulldozer" for good reason, as he runs down his opponents and grounds them with extreme prejudice.
Tokudome showed in the Parke fight that he can be controlled against a guy with a heavy top game. That is what Nam represents here, and he should grind Tokudome into oblivion in an impressive debut.
Prediction: Nam def. Tokudome via decision