Preview and picks for ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ Season 27 Finale

A breakdown of the fights on the main card of Friday’s “The Ultimate Fighter” 27 Finale card at Palms, with picks from the Review-Journal’s Adam Hill and Heidi Fang:

Brad Tavares (18-5) vs. Israel Adesanya (13-0)

Class: Middleweight

Line: Adesanya -140

Storyline: Adesanya entered the UFC earlier this year with impeccable kickboxing credentials and has done little to dampen the enthusiasm around him in his two octagon appearances. His two UFC victories have improved his overall mixed martial arts record to 13-0 to go with a handful of boxing wins and 75 more victories in kickboxing. Adesanya has the skill set and personality to be a superstar. This should be a good test. Tavares is strong in the clinch and is capable of taking Adesanya down should he choose to do so. He also has enough confidence in his striking to test himself in that area. Tavares, a Las Vegan, is excited for his first headlining spot. He is putting his four-fight winning streak on the line and hopes a top-five opponent is on deck with a win.

Hill’s Pick: Tavares by decision

Fang’s Pick: Tavares by decision

Michael Trizano (7-0) vs. Joe Giannetti (7-0)

Class: For the Season 27 lightweight title

Line: Giannetti -170

Storyline: Giannetti is tall for the division and uses that length incredibly well as he’s able to gain leverage for his wide array of chokes. His time on the show appeared to do wonders for his confidence, particularly in his striking. Giannetti’s standup skills opened up his second-round opponent and cleared the way for what would eventually become another submission win. Trizano should still have the edge on the feet. The top pick of the lightweights lived up to his lofty selection spot with his impressive wins in the house. He’s likely to try to keep it standing for as long as he can.

Hill’s Pick: Giannetti by second-round submission

Fang’s Pick: Trizano by third-round knockout

Jay Cucciniello (9-0) vs. Brad Katona (7-0)

Class: For the Season 27 featherweight title

Line: Katona -245

Storyline: Cucciniello is the rare fighter who employs a very aggressive style, but has the cardio to keep the pace for three full rounds. His conditioning will be put to the test against Katona, whose stamina was a key weapon in helping him advance through the tournament. Katona battled his way through the bracket unfazed. Cucciniello took a more circuitous route as he was given a second chance following an early loss. That resilience could serve him well as he tries to claim the season title. He proved more than capable of working the body during his time in the house and should probably look to do that again to slow takedowns and try to wear Katona down if possible. Both fighters are capable of controlling the action regardless of where the fight goes, but Katona would probably prefer getting it to the mat at some point.

Hill’s Pick: Katona by third-round submission

Fang’s Pick: Cucciniello by decision

Alex Caceres (13-11, 1 No Contest) vs. Martin Bravo (12-1)

Class: Featherweight

Line: Caceres -135

Storyline: Caceres remains an intriguing fighter in the division despite three losses in his last four fights largely because most of his fights prove fun to watch. Caceres has added quite a bit of discipline to a style that was largely reckless early in his career. He had been slated to fight Artem Lobov in April before Lobov was removed from the card for his involvement in the Conor McGregor bus incident. That gave Caceres and extra few months to stew over a disappointing split-decision loss to Wang Guan in November. Bravo extended his professional record to 11-0 with a knockout of Claudio Puelles in 2016 before suffering his first loss when he was knocked out in the first minute by Humberto Bandenay last August. Now he gets his shot at redemption nearly a year later. He has proven equally adept at knockouts and submissions, allowing just two fights to go the distance in his career.

Hill’s Pick: Caceres by decision

Fang’s Pick: Bravo by second-round submission

Roxanne Modafferi (21-15) vs. Barb Honchak (10-4)

Class: Women’s flyweight

Line: Honchak -175

Storyline: Modafferi, a Las Vegan, has been seeking a rematch with Honchak since losing to her on the regional circuit in 2011. She’s a completely different fighter now. That submission loss came during a six-game losing streak when Modafferi was still just having fun competing in the sport she loves. Her move to Las Vegas represented a massive turning point in her career. Modafferi made a great run during her second appearance on “TUF” last season and fell just short of becoming the organization’s inaugural women’s flyweight champion. Now she has a chance for redemption against one of her idols in the sport. Honchak had won nine straight fights when she took a hiatus from the sport in 2014. She returned for “TUF” last season and lost a narrow split decision on the Finale card. She will seek her first win since 2014 when she tries to once again knock off Modafferi.

Hill’s Pick: Honchak by decision

Fang’s Pick: Honchak by decision

Alessio Di Chirico (11-1) vs. Julian Marquez (7-1)

Class: Middleweight

Line: Marquez -160

Storyline: Marquez, a Las Vegan, earned his way into the organization through Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series last year and then made a successful official UFC debut by submission with a guillotine choke in December. His return hasn’t gone as well so far as Marquez missed weight by four pounds on Thursday. He will have to step on the scales at less than 110 pounds on Friday for the fight to continue and Di Chirico will get 30 percent of his purse. It’s the kind of distraction Marquez probably didn’t need going into a tough fight against Di Chirico, who has alternated wins and losses in four fights since signing with the UFC in 2016. He is coming off his best performance when he knocked out Oluwale Bamgbose in December. Marquez has proven adept at getting out of tough situations, a skill that may get put to the test in this one.

Hill’s Pick: Marquez by decision

Fang’s Pick: Marquez by second-round knockout

More MMA: Follow all of our MMA and UFC coverage online at CoveringTheCage.com and @CoveringTheCage on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

Covering The Cage Videos
UFC 235 press conference highlights
UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman have a heated exchange and Ben Askren enjoys his time on the stage by interacting with UFC president Dana White.
UFC president Dana White talks UFC 235 and more
UFC president Dana White joined Heidi Fang and Adam Hill to discuss the UFC 235 card set for Las Vegas on Mar. 2 at the T-Mobile Arena and also spoke on Colby Covington and Khabib Nurmagomedov's and Conor McGregor's disciplinary measures given by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Full version available on Facebook at Review-Journal Sports
Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman Have Heated Exchange At UFC 235 Presser - VIDEO
UFC 235 opened with Jon Jones returning after his meeting at the Nevada Athletic commission, Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman arguing on stage and Ben Askren making his UFC debut.
NAC Chairman says it's time to tone down MMA smack talk ahead of fights
After announcing the fines and suspensions given to Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov for their involvement in a melee at UFC 229 in Las Vegas, Nevada Athletic Commission Chairman Anthony Marnell said it may be time to address "mouthy fighters" smack talk and conduct leading up to a fight.
Jones, NAC Chairman issue statements following Jones' licensing approval for UFC 235
The Nevada Athletic Commission issued UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones a conditional one-fight license to compete at UFC 235 taking place at the T-Mobile Arena on Mar. 2. Jones had to reapply for a license in Nevada after failing a drug test which led to UFC 232 being moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, California.
UFC donates $240,000 to Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada
UFC presents Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada with $240,000 donation and promises to grant more wishes as the partnership goes forward.
Benavidez on his new contract, future of the UFC flyweight division
UFC flyweight Joseph Benavidez, who is booked to fight Dustin Ortiz at UFC Fight Night 143 on ESPN Plus, discusses his role as an alternate for the title fight between T.J. Dillashaw and Henry Cejudo, his new 4-fight contract and the future of the 125-pound division.
Covering the Cage: Jones, Nunes win at UFC 232
Amanda Nunes defeats Cyborg in the women's featherweight division and Jon Jones returns to UFC as the light heavyweight champion. Covering the Cage host Heidi Fang and Adam Hill recap the UFC 232 main and co main events.
Las Vegas MMA fighter Joey Ruquet joins Copa Combate tournament
When Combate Americas' Copa Combate tournament takes place on Dec. 7, Las Vegas-based MMA fighter Joey Ruquet will step in for Gaston Reyno and compete for the $100,000 prize money in the 8-man, one night featherweight tournament.
Espino, Chiasson claim UFC contracts with wins at TUF 28 Finale
Juan Espino was crowned as the TUF heavyweight winner when he submitted Justin Frazier at the finale in Las Vegas and Macy Chiasson submitted Pannie Kianzad to become the TUF 28 women's featherweight winner.
Kamaru Usman excited for what's next after TUF 28 win
After taking a win over Rafael dos Anjos at the TUF 28 Finale, UFC welterweight Kamaru Usman says he can be ready for anything that comes next or a quick turnaround if it gets him closer to a title shot.
Dana White on what's next for Usman and the flyweight division
UFC president Dana White spoke with media after the TUF 28 Finale to discuss what's next for the flyweight division and the main event winner, UFC welterweight Kamaru Usman.
Dos Anjos and Usman TUF 28 media day
Rafael dos Anjos and Kamaru Usman talk about facing each other at the TUF 28 Finale at a media day leading up to the Nov. 30 contest. Their welterweight bout will serve as the main event.
ad-high_impact_4
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like