Get a fight by fight breakdown of Sunday night's UFC Ultimate Fighter 19 Finale with our Bloody Elbow preview. Here, we look at the prelim card live on Fight Pass and Fox Sports 1.
This weekend is another busy one for fight fans, as the UFC presents UFC 175 Saturday night and the Ultimate Fighter season 19 Finale Sunday night. The TUF 19 Finale airs Sunday, July 7, live on Fox Sports 1 at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT and features Frankie Edgar vs. B.J. Penn along with the two TUF finals. Prior to that, we have six prelim fights starting at 6:00 p.m. ET on Fight Pass and then 7:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. Get ready for a big night with our Bloody Elbow fight preview. In this edition, a look at the prelims. Check back later for the main card.
Jesse Ronson (13-4) vs. Kevin Lee (7-1) - Lightweight
Canada's Ronson came into the UFC last year riding a solid 8 fight win streak. Unfortunately, his work inside the Octagon has not been as strong. He's currently 0-2 in the UFC, although both were close split decision losses. Still, he may need a win here to stay employed. Ronson has some kickboxing experience outside of the UFC and is best in the striking game. Lee is similarly looking for his first UFC win as he lost his debut to Al Iaquinta earlier this year. He was undefeated prior to that fight. A professional for only two years, Lee brings in a collegiate wrestling background, though he also likes to box. Against Iaquinta, he was pretty heavily outworked and ineffective in his game. Here, look for the superior technical striking and experience edge to give Ronson the win in a battle where both men will try to establish that they belong here in the UFC. Prediction: Jesse Ronson by KO
Jumabieke Tuerxun (17-1) vs. Leandro Issa (11-4) - Bantamweight
Chinese fighter Tuerxun was 13-0 in the Chinese MMA scene before coming to the UFC earlier this year where he lost a decision to Mark Eddiva. He's a wrestler and a Sanda fighter (which makes the striking fan in me happy) though he was unable to show off much of his striking skills in that fight with Eddiva. That fight came after a 16 month layoff - it will be interesting to see if now, with some of the ring rust gone, Tuerxun can better perform. Brazil's Issa brings in a nice BJJ background which he has used to score a lot of submission wins. Prior to his UFC debut, he was 3-1 in One FC, including a very good win over veteran Masakazu Imanari. Though he too is 0-1 in the UFC, Issa has definitely faced a tougher level of competition. Look for Issa to try to get this fight to the mat in order to avoid Tuerxun's striking game and apply his own higher level grappling skills to secure the win. Prediction: Leandro Issa by submission
Adriano Martins (25-7) vs. Juan Manuel Puig Carreon (11-2) - Lightweight
Brazil's Martins is easily the most experienced fighter on the prelims. This 10 year pro has fought in Jungle Fight, Dream, Strikeforce, and more. He's coming off a bad KO loss to Donald Cerrone, but prior to that he submitted rising Lightweight Daron Cruickshank. Martins is an all around solid fighter who can play the jiu jitsu game on the mat, but has also used his hands to win many fights. Opponent Carreon fights out of Mexico and makes his UFC debut here. Lately, he's been fighting in Brazil for the Jungle Fight organization. Mexico is a country who is yet to really make a mark on the international MMA scene, and so it is difficult to gauge his level of opposition up to this point. He has a very tough first UFC out here, and the significant experience edge for Martins will likely be too much. Prediction: Adriano Martins by decision
Patrick Walsh (4-2) vs. Daniel Spohn (8-3) - Light Heavyweight
These are the two TUF Light Heavyweight semifinalists. Team Edgar's Walsh is a wrestler who created some controversy on the show when he attempted to train with Team Penn. When he's using his wrestling, Walsh is effective. He can take opponents down, control them, and get into position to land some nice ground and pound. But he also likes to box, where he is far, far less effective. His Light Heavyweight loss to Corey Anderson saw him drop his hands and eat shot after shot in a late career Chris Leben style performance. Team Penn fighter Spohn scored a very impressive KO to get into the TUF house, but followed that up with an incredibly tentative wrestling based win. His semifinal fight was a very entertaining affair that saw him bloodied up in a loss to Matt Van Buren. In that fight, Spohn threw with huge power but low accuracy and got beat up in the 2nd. Spohn has some good experience, including a split decision loss to former Bellator champion Attila Vegh in Bellator. Head to head, Spohn should be the superior fighter here, but Walsh has a nagging tendency to stay in fights even when he's losing. If Spohn fades, Walsh could hurt him late, but I'll take a more focused Spohn to beat Walsh down. Prediction: Daniel Spohn by KO
Sarah Moras (3-1) vs. Alexis Dufresne (5-0) - Bantamweight
Sarah "Cheesecake" Moras was on Team Tate on TUF last season, but makes her proper UFC debut here. Interestingly, Moras holds a 2012 win over the TUF champion Julianna Pena. She had a very good run on the show, defeating veteran Tara LaRosa and Peggy Morgan before losing to Pena. Like many in this division, she is still developing her overall skill level, but she is definitely a fighter with potential. Dufresne is more of a ground specialist, with some nice grappling accolades to her name. She's also an aggressive finisher, with all 5 of her wins ending in the first round, and comes in off a win over Kim Couture. This could be a fun fight - look for the deceptively tough Moras to try and slow down the aggression of Dufresne, deal with the early attack, and turn the tide in the second half of the 1st round. Prediction: Sarah Moras by submission
Robert Drysdale (6-0) vs. Keith Berish (5-0) - Light Heavyweight
This is the much anticipated UFC debut for highly decorated grappling wiz Drysdale. Drysdale's list of grappling accomplishments is insane as he has been one of the elite grapplers on the world stage for years now. He made his MMA debut in 2010 and is a perfect 6-0 with 6 first round submission finishes. The black mark on Drysdale right now is his 2013 drug test failure. In this age of PED and TRT talk in MMA, he'll need to prove he's clean here. Berish also makes his UFC debut here. Outside of the UFC he holds a win over TUF's Patrick Walsh. Unfortunately for Berish, he's also a ground fighter. That's bad news here because it means his strength plays right to Drysdale's strength - and there's no questioning that Drysdale is the superior grappler. This is clearly designed to be a Drysdale showcase, and I suspect he delivers as expected. Prediction: Robert Drysdale by submission