TUF 25 Finale: Johnson vs. Gaethje (Prelims) Breakdown & Preictions

 

 

-320 #5 Tecia Torres (8-1) vs. +240 Juliana Lima (9-3)

Strawweight (115)

Tecia Torres: TUF: Season 20 standout “The Tiny Tornado” Tecia Torres will replace newcomer Amanda Ribas who was flagged by USADA for a potential anti doping violation and removed from this bout on June 7. Torres’s last fight was a dominant unanimous decision over Bec Rawlings this past February.

Torres recently moved out to Colorado where she trains with newly engaged fiance Raquel Pennington. The soon to be bride is a solid 4-1 in her UFC career and might be able to leverage this short notice opportunity into a number one contender fight with an impressive performance.

Juliana Lima: Brazilian BJJ Black Belt Juliana “Ju Thai” Lima had little trouble with last minute replacement JJ Aldrich in her last bout in the octagon. Lima was able to overpower Aldrich in the clinch and on the ground to pick up her third win in the UFC.

Lima left her native Brazil to follow BJJ coach Draculino to Houston where she now trains with her mentor at his Gracie Barra gym. Lima is a powerful take down threat whose only loses have come against the only Strawweight champions Esparza and Jedrzejczyk. At 35 she has zero margin for error if she has championship aspirations.

The Fight: Lima is going to want to make this a grinding clinch battle, while Torres will look to use her speed to keep her distance and land with her Tae Kwon Do strikes from the outside. Lima will be able to close the distance and use her size advantage to rack up control time and eek out the upset victory. Lima Split Decision

 

 

 

+205 Gray Maynard (13-7-1) vs. -285 Teruto Ishihara (10-3-2)

Featherweight (145)

Gray Maynard: Two time UFC Lightweight title challenger Gray “The Bully” Maynard lost a exasperating decision to Ryan Hall that left him unharmed but frustrated and confused. Hall would throw single kicks and drop to a butt scoot position when Maynard would attack. Maynard became so frustrated by the third round that he flicked off the downed Hall who was waving him into his guard.

The fight gods have not been on Gray’s side lately, with only 1 victory in the past 5 years Maynard is in desperate need of this W. Gray has returned to Xtreme Couture after stints with AKA and Power MMA. The 38 year old Michigan State Wrestler will be fighting for the third time at Featherweight in what he hopes will be the start of a title run in his new division.

Teruto Ishihara: UFC’s Road to Japan co-winner Teruto ” Yashabo” Ishihara suffered his first set back losing a decision to Artum Lobov at Fight Night 99 last November. Not even Ishihara’s “Bitches” could save him from the “Russian Hammer”, Lobov pushed the pace on Ishihara and was unaffected by the Japanese fighter’s hard counter shots.

The 25 year old Alpha Male Japan fighter spent this entire camp training at the Alpha Male hub in Sacramento. The knock out power and flamboyant persona have garnered Ishihara a small cult following despite a minimal English vocabulary. An impressive victory over a veteran like Maynard will go a long way toward making him the next international superstar.

The Fight: Maynard is going to be shooting for the take down from the opening bell. Ishihara is quick and working with the world class MMA Wrestlers at Alpha Male will have him properly prepared for Maynard’s take downs. It will take him a while to find his range, but once he does Ishihara’s speed and precision striking will prove to be too much for the grizzled veteran. Ishihara Knockout 2nd

 

 

 

+110 Jessica Eye (11-6) vs. -150 Aspen Ladd (5-0)

Bantamweight (135)

Jessica Eye: Cleveland’s own Jessica “Evil” Eye lost a heartbreaking split decision to Bethe Correia in her hometown at UFC 203 last September. The controversial loss was Eye’s fourth straight in the octagon an especially disappointing stat for a fighter who started off her UFC career with a victory over former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman.

A Training partner of Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at Cleveland’s Strong Style MMA, Eye’s aggressive striking style is very similar to the champs. 1-5-1 in her UFC career the 30 year old Eye will have to have this win to stay relevant in the Bantamweight division.

Aspen Ladd: 22 year old undefeated prospect Aspen Ladd will make her long awaited UFC debut after a successful 5 fight run in Invicta. Ladd’s biggest win in her Invicta stint was a second round arm bar over UFC current fighter Amanda Cooper in 2015.

Training out of NoCal’s MMA Gold Fight Team Ladd is an ultra aggressive, technical striker with better than average grappling capabilities. A mixed martial artist since 14 years old Ladd will be one of the first of a new generation that has prepared only for a career in MMA since day one.

The Fight: Ladd is the more versatile fighter, but Eye will have experience on her side. Eye will be extra dangerous because she is fighting to keep her job, she will do everything in her power to keep this fight standing and do just enough to out point the newcomer. Eye Split Decision

 

 

 

+160 Ed Herman (24-12) vs. -210 CB Dollaway (16-9)

Light Heavyweight (205)

Ed Herman:  TUF: season 3 runner up Ed “Short Fuse” Herman has been sidelined with an injury since a knockout loss to Nikita Krylov last August. Herman stood and traded with the young Tae Kwon Doe expert, he landed a few hard shots but would ultimately go out on his shield when he ate a head kick in the second round.

This will be Heman’s third fight at Light Heavyweight going 1-1 in his new division thus far. The 205 pound version is a completely different fighter than his take down focused Middleweight incarnation. Big Ed takes care of business on the feet, trading with his opponents until one of them falls. The 36 year old fighter looks to still have some entertaining wars left in him before he calls it a career.

CB Dollaway: Former Arizona State Wrestler CB “The Doberman” Dollaway is on a 3 fight skid with his most recent defeat coming at the hands of Nate Marquardt via second round knockout. Dollaway has been sidelined since 2015 due partially to a bizarre incident where the elevator that he was on fell 2 floors and injured his back the day before he was scheduled to fight Francimar Barosso at UFC 203.

This will be Dollaway’s first foray into the 205 pound division, a more and more common move among 30 something fighters tired of making the weight cut. The long time Power MMA fighter is hoping the move up in weight will reignite his career, still only 33 Dollaway should have a few more good years left in the tank.

The Fight: These two stud Wrestlers will cancel each others grappling credentials out and we will see a kickboxing match in 3 ounces gloves. It’s hard to anticipate what kind of pop CB will have at 205, where as Herman has already showcased increased firepower at his new weight. CB being finished in 2 of his last 3 also help to move the probability needle over to the Herman side. Herman Knockout 1st

 

 

 

-285 Angela Hill (6-3) vs. +205 Ashley Yoder (5-2)

Strawweight (115)

Angela Hill: Former Invicta Strawweight champion Angela “Overkill” Hill came up short in her debut against Jessica Andrade. But even in defeat the TUF veterans stock rose way up with her fight of the night (possible fight of the year) performance in a match up where she was a +475 underdog.

Hill began training at Alliance MMA following her first stint in the UFC and the move to So Cal would appear to be a perfect fit. Hill who was mainly a Kickboxer when she fought in TUF, now she displays a wide array of skills to complement her elite striking. A proven entertaining fighter this under card headliner fight may be Hill’s ticket into the top 15 for the first time.

Ashley Yoder: Team Quest fighter Ashley “The Spider Monkey” Yoder lost a controversial, grueling decision to Justine Kish in her octagon debut. Yoder controlled much of the fight on the ground and landed a significant amount of damage, but Kish was able to win over the judges with her ultra aggressive style of Muay Thai striking.

The 29 year old TUF veteran is powerful Wrestler and serious submission threat thanks to her BJJ Purple belt. Her stand up is improving, but it is still the least dangerous part of her game. Hopefully she puts in a few extra rounds sparing with “Smilin” Sam Alvey before her match up with this polished Kickboxer. 

The Fight: This striker vs grappler match up will be an interesting clash of styles. Yoder’s constant threat of the take down will help her out on the feet, but unless she has drastically improved her striking since her last fight, Hill will be able to out point Yoder with well placed strikes from the outside, hard strikes in the clinch and strong take down defense. Hill Unanimous Decision

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