Tim Elliott won this season of The Ultimate Fighter and will cash in on his immediate title shot against flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson at the TUF Finale. Mighty Mouse has dismantled everyone in front of him and cleared out the 125 division en route to one of the most dominant title reigns in MMA history.
The co-main event sees Joseph Benavidez and Henry Cejudo facing off with another title shot likely going to the winner.
Demetrious Johnson vs Tim Elliott
Johnson is arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in MMA history, which is not hyperbole. ‘Mighty Mouse’ has elite level skills in nearly every facet of the fight game, as he has proven to be able to fight at a high rate for 25 minutes or end a fighter on the feet or on the mat.
In the standup game, Johnson has the ability to throw all eight limbs in devastating fashion, just ask Henry Cejudo was Johnson’s knees can do. But aside from the obvious striking acumen, it’s Johnson’s footwork that stands out. The champs ability to move in the octagon is unparalleled and his footwork allows him to seamlessly switch stances in mid-combination to capitalize on his opponents positioning.
Johnson can get tagged by a counter puncher something that worked for John Dodson the first time he fought Johnson. It takes a patient fighter with extreme speed to be able to apply this technique and even then it didn’t end well for Dodson.
Though it sometimes gets overlooked, Johnson has some of the best wrestling and grappling in the 125 division. He is plenty capable of taking down his opponent (see fight with Kyoji Horiguchi or stopping elite level grapplers from taking him down (see his fight with Henry Cejudo).
Elliott was previously a member of the UFC before losses to the top 125’ers got him cut, which may have been a blessing. Since then, Elliott went on to win the Titan FC flyweight title and refine his technique.
Though Elliott has been able to achieve success on the feet, it is largely due to his odd style. His unpredictability makes him a dangerous fighter on the feet and that has gotten increasingly threatening with his growth of technique. That being said, Elliott’s pressure based striking style is largely based on his iron chin with the TUF winner not being knocked out since his third pro fight in 2009.
Elliott’s bread and butter is his wrestling, as he was an amateur wrestler in high school and college. He is incredibly strong and can overwhelm his opponents in the grappling game on his power alone, let along his technique. When a fight goes to the ground, Elliott isn’t exactly a submission ace, but is an opportunist that will look for the neck amid ground and pound.
Nobody is really giving Elliott a shot in this one and that’s justifiable. During his tenure with the company, Elliott lost to fighters that Johnson has absolutely smoked. Johnson is not just amazing in every aspect of the game, but he is adept at removing his opponent’s strength. Can Elliott win? Yes. But the same way pretty much any fighter can win any fight.
Hey, Matt Serra did it.
Other Notable Fights
The co-main event pits this season’s TUF coaches against one another, as Joseph Benavidez (-200) takes on Henry Cejudo (+160). Benavidez is widely regarded as the second-best flyweight on the planet with his four career losses coming against Johnson and Dominick Cruz. On the feet, Benavidez is incredibly quick and has potentially the biggest power in the 125 lbs division. He was a state champion wrestler in high school and has brute strength to compliment those skills. However, the wrestling game may be off limits offensively against Cejudo. Cejudo, as we all know by now, was an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling and since transitioning to MMA has been perfect aside from his loss to Johnson. ‘The Messenger’ is at his best when he can bully his opponents and use his physical strength to force the fight where he wants to. His striking game still largely consists of boxing and is still not nearly as developed as his grappling. There is littler doubt that the winner of this bout gets another shot at winning the 125 title.
Jake Ellenberger (+200) and Jorge Masvidal (-260) clash in a welterweight between two exciting fighters who have had a tough stretch recently. Ellenberger was one of the most feared fighters in the division, as he combined heavy hands and great wrestling ability to dominate opponents. As time has gone on, he has strayed away from the wrestling aspect of his game and has become more tentative on the feet. He still has the ability to end a fight with his power, as he won a TKO victory over Matt Brown in his last fight. Since returning to welterweight, Masvidal has gone 2-2 with his past three going to the scorecards. ‘Gamebred’ prefers to strike with a combination of crisp boxing skills and stinging kicks. Masvidal’s usual path to victory is to pick his opponent apart and wear them down over the course of 15 minutes. Inconsistency has hurt Masvidal, as he has a bad tendency to fight to the level of his opponent. Though both are experienced, Ellenberger and Masvidal are both in their early 30’s and could still have a run left in them.
It may be a distant memory, but Sara McMann (-185) and Alexis Davis (+150) were once near the top of the women’s bantamweight division. McMann won a silver medal in wrestling at the 2004 summer Olympics. Her striking is still rough around the edges, but her boxing exists to set up her takedowns. Largely, McMann won’t go for trips, but rather she likes to get her hands around her opponent and use her brute strength to take them down. However, McMann can be inactive once she achieves the takedown. Davis is a talented offensive fighter with experience in Muay Thai, wrestling and a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The Canadian is especially adept at securing submissions with eight of her 17 career victories via sub. However, Davis is lacking on the defensive end and gets hit way too much. This will be Davis’ first fight since April 2015, as she took time off to due to pregnancy. Both these women were part of the first surge of WMMA in the UFC and both want to prove time has not passed them by (though it very well may have).
The Ultimate Fighter Finale: Johnson vs Elliott Betting Odds
Odds as of December 1 at Bovada
- Tim Elliott N/A
- Demetrious Johnson N/A
- Joseph Benavidez -200
- Henry Cejudo +160
- Jake Ellenberger +200
- Jorge Masvidal -260
- Ion Cutelaba -225
- Jared Cannonier +175
- Sara McMann -185
- Alexis Davis +150
- Brandon Moreno -135
- Ryan Benoit +105
- Gray Maynard -115
- Ryan Hall -115
- Rob Font -260
- Matt Schnell +200
- Dong Hyun Kim -130
- Brendan O’Reilly EVEN
- Geane Herrera -140
- Ben Nguyen +110
- Kailin Curran -155
- Jamie Moyle +125
- Elvis Mutapcic -110
- Anthony Smith -120
- Josh Stansbury -115
- Devin Clark -115