TUF 22 Finale: Previewing A Featherweight Showdown

TUF 22 Finale: Previewing A Featherweight Showdown

The featherweight division will get a shakeup as a pair of all-time greats headline the second of three straight events in Las Vegas on Friday.

(Note: There were no DraftKings salaries and limited Vegas odds available at time of writing.)

If you're hoping to turn the event into an opportunity to build your DFS bankroll, DraftKings.com has you covered with a full slate of contests. Players get a $50,000 budget to select five fighters, and the scoring is distributed as follows:

Moves Scoring
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.5 PTS
Advance (ADVC): +1 PT
Takedown (TD): +2 PTS
Reversal/Sweep (REV): +2 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +3 PTS

Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win (1rW+): +100 PTS
2nd Round Win (2rW+): +70 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rW+): +50 PTS
4th Round Win (4rW+): +40 PTS
5th Round Win (5rW+): +40 PTS
Decision Win (WBD+): +25 PTS

Scoring Notes
Significant Strikes are any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.

Advances include: To Half Guard, To Side Control, To Mount, To Back Control

Now, on to the fights...

Main Event – Featherweight

Frankie Edgar (18-4-1) v. Chad Mendes (17-3-0)
Vegas Odds: Edgar (-165), Mendes (+145)

This is as good a fight as you'll ever see. It's a fight that is certainly capable of headlining any pay-per-view. In this case, it will serve as a featherweight title eliminator, at least for the time being. Mendes is coming off his short-notice loss to Conor McGregor in the UFC interim featherweight title fight in July. Mendes looked fine in that fight, racking up four takedowns, but he stood in front of McGregor too much and Conor was able to pick him apart on the feet. There are some people who think that it would have been a different fight if Mendes had a full training camp, but I'm skeptical. Chad always keeps himself in great shape and I don't think the short notice was the difference in the fight. Edgar has won his last four fights, all impressively against quality opponents: Charles Oliveira, BJ Penn, Urijah Faber and Cub Swanson. Edgar is now 34 years old, but no one in the UFC has a better gas tank. Mendes gets a ton of credit for his wrestling, and rightfully so, but Frankie's wrestling is also very good. The difference in this fight could come down to who wins the striking battle. Mendes has more one-punch knockout power, but Edgar is more active, gets hit less and has better footwork. It's hard to pin Frankie down and land combinations. Mendes has shown in both the McGregor fight and the second Jose Aldo fight that he is vulnerable to getting caught up along the fence and eating multiple shots in a sequence. I don't see how this can be anything other than a classic fight. I like Edgar here. I just think his footwork and ability to put combinations together will be the difference. As long as he is able to stay off his back for an extended period of time, he should win.

Co-Main Event – Lightweight

Edson Barboza (16-3-0) v. Tony Ferguson (20-3-0)
Vegas Odds: Barboza (+140), Ferguson (-160)

This was supposed to be Ferguson versus the oft-injured Khabib Nurmagomedov, but Khabib once against got dinged up and had to withdraw. I was going to pick Nurmagomedov over Ferguson, but I'm taking Ferguson over Barboza. Barboza is a pure striker with some of the best kicks in the UFC. In the last year-plus, he has impressive wins over other talented strikers in Paul Felder and Bobby Green. Barboza is at his best when he is constantly moving forward, but he tends to have lulls in the middle and second half of fights where his output drops and it tends to cost him. No one in the UFC if hotter than Ferguson. He's emerged victorious in six straight fights, including a dominant unanimous decision win over the since-departed Josh Thomson in his last fight in July. Ferguson tends to start fast, and he has submission skills that Barboza can't match. Barboza has the power to end the fight with one strike, but Ferguson is the better bet if this fight gets out of the first round. He just has more ways to win.
THE PICK: Ferguson


Joe Lauzon (24-11-0) v. Evan Dunham (15-6-0)

This is another fight between two guys who only know one way to fight – moving forward and constantly keeping the pressure on their opponents. Lauzon's 13 post-fight bonuses are the most in UFC history. The guy is just incapable of having a boring fight. Long known as one of the most gifted submission specialists in the lightweight division, Lauzon's plan is to stay active on the feet in hopes of getting his opponent to mat to use his previously mentioned submission skills. Lauzon's problem is that he absorbs far too much punishment in the striking game. Dunham isn't known for his heavy hands, but he throws a lot and as a result, lands a lot. His takedown defense is also terrific (80 percent) and that figures to limit Lauzon's submission attmepts. The fighters' height and reach are virtually identical. I'm just worried about all the punishment Lauzon has suffered over his career. He gets hit far too often and considering all the wars that he has been in, and this will be his 20th UFC fight (he made his UFC debut against Jens Pulver back in September 2006). It's kind of hard to believe that he is still fighting at a fairly high level nearly a decade later. I like Dunham, but it's a near lock that Lauzon will make this an entertaining fight.
THE PICK: Dunham


Ryan LaFlare (11-1-0) v. Mike Pierce (17-6-0)

Everyone was talking about LaFlare being one of the brightest prospects in the welterweight division, but then he got his first main event assignment against Demian Maia back in March and got dominated as badly as any fighter can over a 25-minute bout. LaFlare spent nearly three full rounds on his back and got off virtually no offense of his own. Since then, no one has really talked about him at all. What people forget is that there's no shame in being embarrassed in a ground battle by Maia. It's happened to many fighters before and it's going to happen again. LaFlare is a good wrestler and he uses his long, lanky frame to his advantage. Pierce, a long time UFC/WEC veteran, will fight for the first time since October 2013. His fights tend to be sort of boring, as he relies on his takedowns and works everything else off of that. Pierce has nine wins in the UFC, but he hasn't fought in two-plus years and he has always come up short when he's faced better competition (i.e.: Johny Hendricks, as well as Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch back when they were decent). If LaFlare can't get back into the win column here, he's in trouble. This is the perfect fight for him to use all his skills and put on an impressive performance in order to once again be viewed as a threat in the UFC's 170-pound division..

Other Bouts

Tatsuya Kawajiri (34-8-2) v. Jason Knight (16-1-0)
THE PICK: Kawajiri

Gabriel Gonzaga (16-10-0) v. Konstantin Erokhin (9-2-0)
THE PICK: Gonzaga

Joby Sanchez (7-1-0) v. Geane Herrera (8-1-0)
THE PICK: Herrera

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Jon Litterine
Jon Litterine is RotoWire's lead MMA Writer and MMA Editor. He has covered numerous MMA events live. He's also RW's NHL Prospect Analyst. Jon has been writing for RotoWire since 2005. He is a graduate of U Mass-Lowell.
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