2016 is coming to a close and the UFC is rewarding their fans by offering a UFC Flyweight Title Fight on free TV. UFC Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale will be headlined by flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson defending against TUF 24 champion Tim Elliot. Also, TUF 24 coaches collide as Joseph Benavidez faces Henry Cejudo and Alexis Davis competes for the first time since giving birth.
UFC Flyweight Title Fight
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (24-2-1) (Champion) vs. Tim Elliot (13-6-1)
Johnson will be making the ninth defense of his championship, his last defense came over Henry Cejudo at UFC 197. Elliot was the winner of the UFC Ultimate Fighter 24 and he is also the current Titan Fighting Championships Flyweight Champion. Johnson has not suffered a defeat in over five years, his last defeat came at the hands of current UFC bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz at UFC On Versus VI. Elliot won two of six fights in his first UFC run, those two wins came over Jared Papazion and Louis Gaudinot.
Prediction: Elliot has an awkward fighting style that may keep Johnson guessing for a little while, but Johnson catches Elliot late in the first for a TKO finish.
UFC Flyweight Division Fight
Joseph Benavidez (24-4-0) vs. Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo (10-1-0)
Benavidez will enter the fight riding a five fight winning streak, defeating Tim Elliot, Dustin Ortiz, John Moraga, Ali Bagautinov and Zach Makovsky. Cejudo is competing for the first time since losing a flyweight title fight to Demetrious Johnson at UFC 197. Benavidez has only suffered two defeats in his nearly six years in the UFC, both losses came to flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. Cejudo won four fights before the loss to Johnson, with notable wins coming over Chris Cariaso and Jussier Formiga.
Prediction: Cejudo has one of the best wrestling games in the UFC right now, but Benavidez knows how to be a defensive wrestler and he uses his striking to keep Cejudo at bay on route to a decision win.
UFC Welterweight Division Fight
Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger (31-11-0) vs. Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal (30-11-0)
Ellenberger has only won two of his last seven fights under the UFC banner, those two wins came over Josh Koscheck and Matt Brown. Masvidal has won two of four fights since moving up to the welterweight division, defeating Cezar Ferreira and Ross Pearson, while suffering defeats to Ben Henderson and Lorenz Larkin. Three of the last five fights that Ellenberger has lost came to either former welterweight champions or title challengers, those losses came to Robbie Lawler (former champion), Stephen Thompson (title challenger) and Rory MacDonald (title challenger). Masvidal has earned seven wins in the UFC and four of them have come over TUF alumni, those four TUF alumni were Michael Chiesa, Daron Cruickshank, Ross Pearson and Cezar Ferreira.
Prediction: Ellenberger gets wild with his striking if his wrestling game doesn’t take effect, Masvidal uses his superior boxing to earn a decision win.
UFC Light Heavyweight Division Fight
Jared “The Killa Gorilla” Cannonier (8-1-0) vs. Ion “The Hulk” Cutelaba (12-2-0-1NC)
Cannonier will be looking to build on the momentum of his first UFC victory, which came over Cyril Asker at UFC Fight Night 86. Cutelaba will also be looking to build on the momentum of his first UFC win, his came over Jonathan Wilson at UFC Fight Night 96. Cannonier is also a former Alaska Fighting Championships Light Heavyweight Champion, he defeated Tony Lopez to win the title in 2014. Cutelaba has only seen one of his fifteen professional MMA fights go to a decision, which was the aforementioned fight against Jonathan Wilson.
Prediction: This fight should be nothing short of a slugfest for as long as it lasts, Cutelaba catches a swinging Cannonier in the first round for a TKO finish.
UFC Women’s Strawweight Division Fight
Alexis “Ally-Gator” Davis (17-6-0) vs. Sara McMann (9-3-0)
Davis will be returning for the first time since giving birth earlier this year, but she has won four of five fights under the UFC banner. McMann has only won just one of her last three under the UFC banner, defeating Jessica Eye, while suffering defeats to Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes. Davis has previously challenged for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title, losing to then champion Ronda Rousey at UFC 175. McMann has also challenged for the women’s bantamweight title, she also lost to Rousey, but her loss came at UFC 170.
Prediction: It is hard to pick which version of Davis we will see after she returns from pregnancy, McMann has a great wrestling game and not much else, Davis catches her early with strikes for a TKO win.
UFC Flyweight Division Fight
Ryan “Baby Face” Benoit (9-4-0) vs. Brandon “The Assassin Baby” Moreno (12-3-0)
Benoit has rotated wins and losses throughout his UFC run, with his last fight being a win over Fredy Serrano at UFC 201. Moreno is currently undefeated under the UFC banner, having defeated Louis Smolka at UFC Fight Night 96. Benoit did fight a lone UFC veteran before signing with the UFC in 2013, that was a loss to Anthony Birchak at Maximum Fighting Championships 37 in 2013. Moreno will be entering the fight on a nine fight winning streak and he hasn’t suffered a defeat in well over four year’s time.
Prediction: Benoit has a good striking game and virtually no submission defense to speak of, Moreno grounds and submits him in the second round.
Preliminary Card Quick Picks
Ryan Hall over Gray Maynard
Rob Font over Matt Schnell
Dong Hyun Kim over Brendan O’Reilly
Kailin Curran over Jaime Moyle
Anthony Smith over Elvis Mutapcic
Josh Stansbury over Devin Clark