Friday, July 8th, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada for the TUF 23 Finale: “Jedrzejczyk vs Gadelha” by Daniel Tom

Hemp Force Active - Protein Designed for Active People.


Joanna Jedrzejczyk (10-0)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’6″ Age: 28 Weight: 115 lbs Reach: 65.5″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Valerie Letourneau (11-14-15)
  • Camp: Berkut (Poland)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   UFC Strawweight Champion
+   5x Muay Thai World Champ
+   Multiple Muay Thai Accolades
+   4 KO victories
+   1 first round finish
+   Consistent pace & pressure
+   Heavy hands/stopping power
+   Active & accurate jab
+   Hard leg kicks
+   Superb defensive & offensive clinch
^   Solid head positioning & forearm framing
+   Underrated grappling IQ
+   Good get-up technique & urgency
^   Effectively uses the cage
–    Head often stays on center
^   Counter availabilities


Claudia Gadelha (13-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’4″ Age: 27 Weight: 115 lbs Reach: 63.5″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Jessica Aguilar (8-1-15)
  • Camp: Nova Uniao (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   3x BJJ World Champion
+   6 Submission wins
+   2 KO victories
+   7 first round finishes
+   Improved overall striking
^   Puts together striking well
+   Hard body kicks & knees
+   Physically strong inside the clinch
^   Favors knees & takedowns here
+   Underrated wrestling ability
^   16 takedowns in 3 fights
+   Solid back taker
+/-Heavy on her lead foot
^   Leg kick/counter availabilities
–    Gas tank bares watching


Headlining the TUF 23 Finale is a rematch fueled with fire as Joanna Jedrzejczyk defends her title against rival coach Claudia Gadelha. With their first meeting arguably being both girls toughest test thus far in the UFC, I expect another closely fought battle despite each fighter’s intentions of keeping this one from the judges.

Although Joanna had the advantage standing going into their first fight, Claudia showed she is much more than just a Jiu-jitsu champion inside the cage. Hailing from the renown Nova Uniao camp in Brazil, Claudia demonstrates the Muay Thai staples of her stablemates. Utilizing a classic high-guard and posture, Claudia will steadily march forward as she looks to capitalize on openings created by her pressure. Even though she bears some solid teeps and kicks(particularly to the body), Claudia prefers to punch as she consistently puts together her shots in a healthy variety.

Showing not just striking improvement under Andre Pederneiras, but also showing to pick up on the underrated wrestling that comes from that camp, Claudia has developed into one of the most complete fighters in the division. Although I am still giving a striking edge to the champion, Claudia will not be far behind as she is a real threat in this match. That said, there are some tendencies in her game that I suspect the champion will attempt to exploit. In Claudia’s last fight against Jessica Aguilar, it was apparent that Claudia’s stalking style naturally puts her weight over her lead leg. Not only was this pointed by Joe Rogan on commentary, but also by Aguilar as she continued to kick Claudia’s leg throughout the contest.

Despite Joanna Jedrzejczyk demonstrating devastating leg kicks, I suspect she will throw them sparingly against Gadelha. Although Claudia has shown a knack for catching kicks, Joanna has shown she is acutely aware of this technique. In fact, Joanna was admittedly reluctant to utilize her kicking game until her overall MMA game was up to par(Hence why we have only seen her kick recently in the UFC). Although Letourneau was able to have brief success in catching the champions kick and taking her down early, Joanna has demonstrated fundamental defense when experiencing a caught leg. That said, I feel that Joanna will likely limit her leg kicks to later in the fight, especially considering that takedowns are Gadelha’s best shot at winning the rounds.

I suspect that Joanna will have the most success in the boxing department, particularly within her use of the left hand. Similar to teammate Jose Aldo, Claudia will revert to a defensive shell that emphasizes on protection from the overhand right. Although her left hand comes high, her right hand has a tendency to parry preemptively and retract at a lower position. Traditionally, this opens up Gadelha to left hooks on that side, or uppercuts that can come up underneath the guard(similarly to what dropped her in the first fight with Jedrzejczyk). Even though Joanna does not throw left hooks in volume, she wields an effective one as she variates it nicely to the body.

With distance being the name of the game for Jedrzejczyk, I suspect the jab will be the key punch for the champion. Throwing it actively and accurately, Joanna will set a perceived range for her opponent while simultaneously setting up her right hands and leg kicks. Sadly, this will also serve as Joanna’s best defense due to the champions lack of head movement. Although Joanna keeps her chin tucked and retracts her strikes nicely, her natural aggression tends to keep her head on the centerline as she sometimes overstays her welcome in the pocket. With this traditionally opening up the champion to right hands(as seen in fights with Lima, Letourneau, and of course Claudia), I suspect Gadelha will be looking for this standing.

Never the less, the Brazilian’s best chances in this fight are on the ground. Although the three-time world champion has not scored an in-fight submission in 6-years, Claudia demonstrates an excellent translation of her grappling game into MMA. Like many Nova Uniao fighters, Claudia has embraced and excelled in the wrestling aspect of grappling inside the cage. Although Claudia favors her takedown attempts from the clinch, she possesses a decent reactive shot that may be her best chance in grounding the champion. Despite many feeling that Claudia’s control time against the fence was enough to win her the first fight, Joanna was able to negate any legitimate advances due to overlooked technical intricacies.

In fact, I feel that Joanna shows an intelligent understanding of not just grappling, but grappling in regards to her style and how it relates to MMA. Most impressively is her translation into clinch fighting, as I am certain her Muay Thai base plays a solid role. Displaying good grip awareness, Joanna will effectively hand-fight to assist her defensive & offensive intentions. Supported by a solid base and balance, the champion will often hop to the fence(if not already there) to help her keep upright. Consistently working for a superior head position(forehead driven into and underneath her opposition’s chin), Joanna will look to reverse her opponent to the fence once she establishes this.

What is most impressive about Joanna’s clinch game, is the devastating offense derived from her use of forearm framing. Using her forearms to frame against the face of her opponent, Joanna creates space and opportunities to land nasty short elbows in close. Even when able ground the champion, Joanna shows impressive get-up instincts and urgency. If not already near the fence, Joanna will unabashedly work toward it as she uses it to stand with efficiency. The use of the cage was very helpful against Gadelha, who is excellent at taking backs in transition. Keeping her back to the fence, Joanna was able to prevent this as she worked for under-hooks to reverse position.

Even when the champion has been taken down in the open, she demonstrates a disciplined and intelligent get-up approach that you seldom even see in experienced grapplers. Favoring to work from the half-guard, Joanna uses a far-side under-hook as her legs assist her leverage to come up to a single-leg. This position naturally gives her opponents less to work with(as far strikes & submissions go) and also allows her to either reverse position or stand up in the scramble. Although Claudia possesses the ability to ground Joanna and perhaps steal some rounds, I wonder what the cost will be to the Brazilian’s gas tank in a five round affair.

In life, there is no such thing as a biological free ride as Claudia’s athletic frame comes with a price. Whether it is Claudia’s musculature or output management, the fact remains that she has the propensity to fade in fights. Even if Claudia can ground the champion and win rounds, she may find herself in trouble should she not find a finish by mid-fight. With the emotion Claudia showed in their first meeting, I imagine that intangible has only doubled since then. Even if her intentions is to manage her output conservatively, a measured Gadelha may ultimately prove to be less effective fighter. Although this is a close contest that I caution playing, I believe Joanna’s chances should only increase after riding out the initial storms.

Official Pick: Jedrzejczyk – Decision

Official Outcome: Jedrzejczyk – Decision

UFC Fight Night: Pearson v Trinaldo

Ross Pearson (19-10)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’8″ Age: 31 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 69″
  • Last Fight: SD win / Chad Laprise (3-19-16)
  • Camp: Alliance MMA (San Diego, CA)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   TUF 9 Lightweight Winner
+   Black Belt TKD/Brown Belt Judo
+   7 KO victories
+   5 Submission wins
+   6 first round finishes
+   Good feints & head movement
^   Looks to slip & counter
+   Accurate left hook
+   Excellent pocket awareness
^   Favors uppercuts off the crouch
+   Improved takedown defense
^   Shows get-up initiative & technique
+   Hard leg kicks
+/-Often dips heavily low
–    Struggles with wrestling pressure
+   20th UFC fight


Will Brooks (17-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’10” Age: 29 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 71″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Marcin Held (11-6-15)
  • Camp: American Top Team (Florida)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Bellator Lightweight Title
+   5 KO victories
+   4 Submission wins
+   3 first round finishes
+   Deceptively athletic & agile
+   Good distance management
+   Controls pace of fight
^   Makes in-cage & corner adjustments
+   Diverse striking arsenal
^   Heavy kicks & hard knees
+   Strong inside the clinch
^   Strikes & stifles
+   Excellent takedown defense
^   Solid base & balance
+   Underrated TD ability
+/-UFC debut


The co-main event of the evening features the arrival of former Bellator lightweight champion “Ill” Will Brooks as he meets Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson. After being stuck in between contracts, Will Brooks will finally fight in the organization of his dreams as he enters the UFC. A veteran of the organization, this will be Pearson’s 20th fight with the UFC as he looks to spoil the party.

An anomaly of athleticism, the term “natural ability” is an understatement when used to describe Will Brooks. Despite no combat sports or collegiate base, Brooks has developed into one of most well-rounded fighters in MMA’s deepest division. His victories over Michael Chandler alone were proof of this, as Will was able to out wrestle the 4x NCAA qualifier in route to the title. Although he favors fighting on the feet, I suspect Brooks natural grappling abilities will come in handy for his UFC debut.

A well-rounded martial artist himself, Ross Pearson has trained and traveled worldwide to maintain his skills and relevancy in the UFC’s most stacked division. Primarily a striker by trade, Pearson’s best chances for success lies within his ability to dictate terms of this fight. It will be interesting to see Pearson’s approach in this fight as he usually employs one of two patterns. One: Pearson will pressure forward looking to push the action, although this has gotten him countered and cost him in many of his defeats. Or Two: Pearson will circle on the outside as he looks to capitalize and counter.

Regardless of his game plan for this fight, I suspect he will carry his biggest advantage within the boxing range. Although he is known for his accurate left hook, I feel that Pearson’s uppercut will serve him well in getting underneath Brooks shell defense. Often thrown from a crouch(weight heavy over the power side at a low-level), Ross will unleash uppercuts that lead into hooks as he variates them to the body & head. However, Pearson has a tendency to duck dangerously low when doing so, and may open himself up to a Brooks knee as I see that being the strike to look for here.

Whether he inside the clinch or intercepting his opposition with a knee, Will is accurate with his shot selection. Favoring to fight from the outside, Brooks wields heavy kicks that come from all angles. More impressively, Brooks maintains a solid sense of awareness when attacking, as he can seamlessly transition from striking to defending shots with ease. An efficient puncher, Will rounds out his game nicely as he strikes well inside the clinch and off the breaks. Bearing a solid base and balance, Brooks defends effortlessly from the clinch as the usually looks to manage the fights pace from there.

The obvious intangible in this fight will be whether or not the “UFC jitters” will effect Brooks. We have seen world class Olympians like Daniel Cormier come into their debut’s feeling flat or outside of their comfort zone. With Will undoubtedly coming into this contest with multiple pressures, it will be interesting see how he looks come the first round. Never the less, I feel he has a good skill-set to get the job done. I see Brooks’ heavy kicks and range fighting hampering the movement of Pearson, as Brooks’ wrestling threat will serve him well in-close. That said, I recommend staying away from betting Brooks at his current asking price. Although I don’t favor Pearson stylistically, I feel that the oddsmakers have criminally undersold the Englishman here as he is a live dog.

Official Pick: Brooks – Decision

Official Outcome: Brooks – Decision


Doo Ho Choi (13-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 25 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 70″
  • Last Fight: KO win / Sam Sicilia (11-28-15)
  • Camp: Gumi MMA (Korea)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   10 KO victories
+   7 first round finishes
+   1 Submission win
+   KO power
+   Deceptive hand & foot speed
+   Excellent footwork
^   Rarely out of position
+   Preternatural reactive instincts
^   Insanely accurate shot selection
+   Times & intercepts opposition
+   Superb sense of hips & base
^   Sprawls & floats effectively
+   Good transitional ground game
^   Chains submissions to get-ups
+/-2 fights in 3 years


Thiago Tavares (20-6-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’7″ Age: 31 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 70″
  • Last Fight: Submission win / Clay Guida (11-7-15)
  • Camp: Team Tavares (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   14 Submission wins
+   9 first round finishes
+   Active right-hand
+   Good knees in-close
+   Strong inside the clinch
+   Solid takedown ability
^   Favors double-legs
+   Taken down 15 of 17 UFC opponents
+   Scrambles well
^   Always looks for back
+   Excellent top control
–    Lacks head movement
^   Propensity to take damage


In a matchup with heavily forecasted fireworks, “The Korean Super Boy” Doo Ho Choi draws the dangerous veteran Thiago Tavares. One of the most highly touted prospects to come out of Asia in quite some time, Doo Ho Choi has teased the MMA mainstream with his brief, but memorable performances thus far in the UFC. Nearing his 10th year with the organization, Thiago Tavares will look to maintain his relevancy by turning away a young prospect.

Although the common conception of this fight for many lies within whether or not Thiago can take Choi down, I disagree with that assessment as I feel there is more than meets the eye to this matchup. With Tavares taking down 15 of his last 17 opponents it is easy to see why the takedown will be Thiago’s looming threat. That said, Tavares has only finished 5 of said 15 as grounding his opposition is a far cry from a sure thing. More importantly, I believe Choi carries some skills in that department that we have gotten a glimpse of, but not yet fully seen.

An unassuming, smirking assassin, Choi operates his overall game with preternatural instincts that are downright spooky. Although a bit close for conservative standards, the Korean keeps a measured distance as he prefers to sit just outside of his opponents range. Moving deceptively well, Choi maintains his feet beneath him as he will utilize feints to draw out his opposition’s attacks. Only needing one or two bites to get down his opponents timing, the Korean will then accurately intercept his oncoming foe with jab-cross-hook variations(as seen in his fights with Sicilia & Puig).

With the Korean Super Boy often exploding forward to execute, one would think that a reactive double would work nicely. However, Doo Ho has shown brief instances of brilliance in not only defending, but also in transitioning from the defensive grappling phases. Demonstrating an awareness of his opposition’s takedown range and intentions, Choi keeps his hips at the ready as he possesses a strong sprawl. He will float position on top to strike should the opportunity arise, but maintains a solid sense of things as he seldom commits himself unnecessarily.

Although we have yet to see him on the bottom in the UFC, Choi has demonstrated in past bouts that he is no slouch there as well. Displaying a solid transition game, Choi will intelligently chain together his submissions into sweeps or standups. Showing off deceptively strong hips, the Korean pops up with the immediacy and ease of a wrestler. Even though I give Tavares the advantage on the ground, I do not suspect the skill differential to be as vast in-fight as it is on paper. Never the less, Thiago’s best route in this contest will undoubtedly reside on the ground.

Although an accoladed Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt, Tavares bears a base in Judo as he is effective inside the clinch as well as controlling the action on top. Getting in close and grounding the Korean will be paramount for Tavares as we have yet to see Choi tested, much less grounded at the UFC level of competition. However, Thiago will have to mind his engagements of Choi’s space when looking to shoot(or do anything for that matter), especially considering the way in which Tavares operates.

Not only does the Brazilian have a bad habit of entering in on straight lines, but does so with his head exposed down and forward. Usually throwing a right hand over the top in an attempt to mask entry, Thiago will explode forward into his favored double-leg. Assuming he doesn’t get picked off priorly inside the boxing range, Tavares will need to be careful enacting this level change as Choi wields devastating uppercuts & knees. Utilizing his deceptive hand and foot speed, Choi owns multiple knockouts in this fashion.

With the transition and ground analysis on Choi presented, I feel his biggest advantage is obviously in the boxing range. Although Tavares has made steady improvements to his striking over his career, he has lacked any significant adjustments or efforts in that department to expect something different here. More importantly, Thiago still shows a lack of head movement which is troubling against the fast-calculating Choi. Although a takedown artist with Jiu-jitsu chops should prove a tough test for Choi, I ultimately feel that the Brazilian’s propensity to take damage will likely play into the hands of the Korean Super Boy.

Official Pick: Choi – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: Choi – KO (round 1)

Preliminary Card Predictions:

  • Holbrook def. Silva
  • *Maynard def. Bruno
  • Smith def. Ferreira
  • Arantes def. Sanders
  • *Lee def. Mathews
  • JingLiang def. Zafir

Recommended Plays:

Draft Kings Rosters:


Team #1: N/A

Team Summary:N/A

Team #2: N/A

Team Summary:N/A

Props worth looking at(

-Pearson/Brooks over 2 1/2: -190 (1 Unit)
-Li Jingliang by Decision: +250 (.05 Unit)
-Joanna Jedrzejczyk by Decision: +180 (.25 Unit)

Playable favorites for your parlays:

-John Moraga
-Li Jingliang

Fights to avoid:

-Jake Mathews vs Kevin Lee
-Cezar Ferreira vs Anthony Smith
-Gray Maynard vs Fernando Bruno

For the complete analysis of future & past UFC events visit and for future breakdowns & your latest in world-wide MMA news, stay tuned & follow @MMALatestnws

Fuller Products