Saturday, December 3rd, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada for the TUF 24 Finale: “Johnson vs Elliott” by Daniel Tom

The opinions expressed in this free content are for entertainment purposes only, as my goal here is to provide analysis for those who enjoy the technical or gaming aspects of our sport. If you choose to gamble, I recommend doing so responsibly and legally as it is at your own risk. Enjoy the fights!

Hemp Force Active - Protein Designed for Active People.


Demetrious Johnson (24-2-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’3″ Age: 30 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 66″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Henry Cejudo (4-23-16)
  • Camp: AMC Pankration (Kirkland, WA)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Excellent

Supplemental info:
+   UFC Flyweight Champion
+   Amateur MMA Titles
+   5 KO victories
+   9 Submission wins
+   9 first round finishes
+   Incredible speed
+   Superb footwork
^   Finds & creates angles
+   Intelligent coaches and corner
^   Adjusts well during & in between rounds
+   Relentless pace & pressure
+   Creative clinch game
^   Stifles, strikes, sets up takedowns
+   Excellent transition game
^   Seamlessly switches attacks
+   Never slows/recovers well

Tim Elliott (13-6-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’7″ Age: 29 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 67″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Pedro Nobre (3-4-16)
  • Camp: Glory MMA & Fitness (Missouri)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   TUF 24 Winner
+   Titan FC Flyweight Title
+   Wrestling Base
+   3 KO victories
+   5 Submission wins
+   5 first round finishes
+   Aggressive pace & pressure
+   Sporadic footwork & timing
^   Deceptive dips & crouches
+   Diverse attack arsenal
+   Solid reactive takedowns & chains
+   Good transitional grappler
^   Works well from ride positions
+   Crafty submission setups
+/-Low-handed approach
^   Counter availabilities


The main event for the TUF 24 Finale is a flyweight title fight as Demetrious Johnson defends his strap against tournament winner, Tim Elliott. Widely regarded as the pound for pound best fighter in the sport, Demetrious Johnson will take one step closer to the record books with a successful defense here. However, Tim Elliott will be looking to follow in Matt Serra’s footsteps with an equally impactful upset as he seeks to make a statement upon his return to the UFC.

Starting off on the feet, we have a battle of two stance-switching flyweights who can move like few can. With Johnson being the more measured and precise striker in his approach, Elliott embraces his free flowing nature as he is almost sporadic in his movements. In more recent years, we have seen Elliott sharpen his assault steadily as he works well off of a dipping crouch(in similar fashion to Dominick Cruz). Utilizing this technique to feint and bait his opposition out of position, Tim keeps his unique preferences of punches and kicks at the ready.

Coming from a wrestling base, Elliot embodies more of a funk style that seemingly translates well to his footwork and transitional takedowns. Once grounding his opponent, Tim wastes little time in working for advancements. Often encouraging scrambles to capitalize on the chaos, Elliott does well when able to establish a ride position. Favoring a cross-ride position whenever he can catch his opponent turtling, Elliott will insert one leg hook as he secures a cross-wrist grip on the opposite side. This technique lets Tim strike while still allowing him to threaten with different choke variations.

That said, Elliott’s aggression can also cost him as he will often lose positions due to his offensive eagerness. Even in his semifinal fight with Horimasa Ogikubo, we saw Tim lose position repeatedly against his opponent as he even gave up a Guillotine at the end of the match. Against one of the most technically sound fighters in the sport, Elliott will not be able to afford such mistakes as it will make for a short night. As fun as Tim’s transitions are, Johnson is on another level in regards to his creativity and process. A flow master and multi-tasker, there is no better examples of Demetrious’ brilliance then when watching the evolution of his clinch game.

After being dropped in his first fight with John Dodson, Demetrious intelligently adjusted by taking the fight into the clinch. Using a myriad of grips to trips, or strikes into high-crotch hikes, Johnson has developed quite the taste for breaking his opposition in close. Since then, we have only seen these skills sharpen as we last saw the champion dismember an Olympic wrestler within his comfort of the clinch. As much as I could spend time pontificating on Mighty Mouse’s multiple skill sets, I ultimately see his more efficient flowchart paying dividends early and often. Whether Johnson’s speed and angles tax Tim’s low-handed defenses or his superior clinch game takes over, I believe the challenger’s aggression will only bring out the best in the champion.

Official Pick: Johnson – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: Johnson _ Unanimous decision

Joseph Benavidez (24-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’4″ Age: 32 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 65″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Zach Makovsky (2-6-16)
  • Camp: Muscle Pharm (Denver, CO)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC & WEC Title Challenger
+   State Wrestling Champion (New Mexico)
+   6 KO victories
+   9 Submission wins
+   6 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Variates movement well
^   Active footwork and feints
+   Dangerous right-hand/hooks
+   Hard body & leg kicks
+   Superb scrambling ability
^   Urgently gets up/reverses position
+   Strong from front headlock
^   Threatens Guillotines/dictates position

Henry Cejudo (10-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’4″ Age: 29 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 64″
  • Last Fight: TKO loss / Demetrious Johnson (4-23-16)
  • Camp: Fight Ready (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Olympic Wrestling Gold Medalist (USA)
+   Bronze Gloves Boxing Champion
+   3 KO victories
+   1 Submission win
+   4 first round finishes
+   Improved overall striking
^   Favors L. hook–R. cross combos
+   Hard kicks & knees
+   Strong clinch game
^   Solid grips/hand-fighting
+   Excellent wrestling ability
^  100% Takedown defense
–    Difficulty making flyweight limit
^   Gas tank bares watching


The co-main event is a battle between TUF 24 coaches, Joseph Benavidez and Henry Cejudo. A perennial number one contender of the flyweight division, Joseph Benavidez will seek to cement his case for a third shot at the champion, Demetrious Johnson. Standing in Joseph’s way is Olympic gold medalist, Henry Cejudo. Coming off a failed attempt at dethroning Demetrious Johnson, Cejudo will look to get back on the winning track by beating his newfound rival.

In a matchup of two wrestlers who potentially hold ill will toward one another, I suspect much of this fight to contest on the feet. Although Benavidez should have an edge when it comes to striking, Cejudo is no slouch in that department as he has shown to prefer to fight upright in MMA. Consistently demonstrating a stick-and-move curriculum, the former freestyle wrestler displays a surprising fluidity as he rarely throws himself out of position. Favoring left hook-right cross setups, he often finishes his combinations with hard kicks to the body.

However, Benavidez has some brutal body kicks of his own as I favor him in the standing exchanges. Showing constant improvements and evolutions, Joseph employs a much more active and unpredictable style. Consistently changing angles and stances through a series of shifts, Benavidez is constantly dictating the offensive terms. Though still dangerous blitzing forward with hooks, it is his developments in counter fighting that is most interesting.

Primarily standing in southpaw, Benavidez has shown a recent trend to fire off weapons from orthodox. Often stepping back into this stance to give the perception of retreat, Joseph will draw opposition into his counter right hand as I feel it will serve him well in this fight. Often keeping his head slightly upright in both attack and retreat, right hands over the top and off of the counter seem to be the common culprit for Henry Cejudo.

Although Henry shows confidence in his striking, it is inside the clinch where he is truly most comfortable as I suspect he will take it here anytime he can. Utilizing fundamental hand-fighting, Cejudo will subtly stifle his opposition’s offense inside as he delivers a healthy dose of hard knees. Even though I see Cejudo having his best advantages from this space, Benavidez is seldom seen in the clinch outside of terms that behoove him.

Aside from his aforementioned footwork, Benavidez can be difficult to pin down in a clinch due to his awareness of when to leave and when to stay. With that in mind, takedowns may become problematic for Cejudo as he generally scores most of his against the fence. Although Cejudo wields a good reactive double-leg that may help his efforts, he will need to be careful anytime he extends himself due to Benavidez’s looming Guillotine threats.

Despite Joseph no longer training at Team Alpha Male, I doubt that his chokes in transition skills have gone anywhere as I give him the clear submission edge. Even if Cejudo can ground Benavidez, it is hard to see him doing so for long given that Joseph is one of the best scramblers in the division. Transitional threats aside, Benavidez is consistent when it comes to his getup urgency and technique. Although you can never count out an Olympian, I feel that Benavidez is a bad matchup for Henry as I suspect a statement to be made here.

Official Pick: Benavidez – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: Benavidez – Split Decision

Jake Ellenberger (31-11)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 31 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 73″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Matt Brown (7-30-16)
  • Camp: Kings MMA (California)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Purple Belt BJJ
+   21 KO victories
+   4 Submission wins
+   14 first round finishes
+   KO power
+   Devastating right hand
^   Favors overhands & hooks
+   Strong inside the clinch
^   Difficult to takedown/control
+   Solid power-double takedown
+   Underrated submission game
+   Effective ground striker
–    Sometimes throws self out of position
–    Sometimes subject to activity lulls

Jorge Masvidal (30-11)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 32 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 73″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Ross Pearson (7-30-16)
  • Camp: American Top Team (Florida)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Former AFC Welterweight Champion
+   Undefeated in the streets
+   11 KO victories
+   2 Submission wins
+   6 first round finishes
+   Accurate shot selection
+   Solid balance & footwork
^   Rarely out of position
+   Active transition & clinch game
^   Strikes well off the breaks
+   Excellent wrestling ability
+   Underrated submission game
^   Crafty from front headlock
+/-Often shells upright
^   Body/right hand openings


In a potential war in the welterweight division, Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger meets Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal. After a rough stretch of inconsistent performances inside the Octagon, Jake Ellenberger displayed an amazing turnaround in his last fight as he blew away the dangerous Matt Brown. Now looking to get back into the mix at welterweight, Ellenberger is tasked to take on the always game Jorge Masvidal. Although Jorge has only amassed a 2-2 record since moving up a division, those losses were close decisions that came against quality opposition. That said, a win over Ellenberger would cement that Masvidal deserves to be amongst welterweight’s finest.

Starting off on the feet, we essentially have an edge-of-your-seat style striking matchup between a power puncher and a technician. A devastating slugger since coming onto the scene, we have seen different iterations of Ellenberger over the course of his UFC tenor. A deceptive distance closer, Jake has always had a good right-hand despite being amongst the shorter of his welterweight contemporaries. Now working with Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA, Ellenberger was able to show us a glimpse of his improvements in his last fight. Despite Jake’s early success straight out of the gate, the experienced veteran was able to collect himself and get back to the game plan.

Showing stance switches early and often, it was clear that Ellenberger was looking for a liver kick. A weapon that Cordeiro has imparted to many of the grapplers who have studied under him, it was impressive to see Jake take so quickly to the former Chute Boxe coach’s style as he implemented his game plan concisely(something he hasn’t shown to do in quite some time). Although Ellenberger has a history with inconsistencies in his activity, he can pose some real stylistic threats to Jorge in this fight. That said, Masvidal is the more technical man as I give him a slight edge standing. A fighter who has always been noted for his boxing technique, we have seen Jorge Masvidal steadily mature as the rest of his game caught up to his striking.

Confident in his takedown defense, we have seen Masvidal add-in accurate knees and body kicks to his arsenal of attacks. Although Jorge also shares similar criticisms of activity lulls, Masvidal has shown measurable improvements in his output since moving up to welterweight. Working well off of his left hand, Jorge will look to create angles as he tries to encourage his opposition to pull and return punches with him. That said, Masvidal’s comfortability comes with a cost as he seems to be too willing to allow the fight to come to him. Whether he is inside the pocket or clinch, Jorge’s lackadaisical approach to defense often opens him up to shots he should arguably be avoiding.

Despite wearing damage well, relying on head movement and reaction times is a dangerous game to play with a heavy-hitter who is also a deceptively fast distance closer. Even when Jorge elects to keep his shields up, he usually utilizes a shell-defense. Coupled with his upright posture, this typically has opened up Masvidal to overhand rights and body kicks as these are the strikes landed on him most. Considering that those strikes are Ellenberger’s best tools, Masvidal will have to demonstrate a consistent discipline in his defenses for this fight. That said, I expect Jorge to have an inherent edge in exchanges as he should get the jump on Jake’s attacks. A side effect of Ellenberger’s heavy-handed nature, Jake tends to load up on his punches as he preemptively plots before launching an attack.

Given that Masvidal may already carry a speed advantage on paper, we could see Ellenberger get picked apart should Jorge find his rhythm. Despite Ellenberger often being associated with a wrestling background, I give a slight edge to Masvidal as he shows to be the more technical wrestler, both defensively and offensively. Although Ellenberger has an excellent power-double that could certainly ground Jorge, he has not used it as much in recent years and will typically shoot naked(without strikes for disguise). Furthermore, Ellenberger’s aggression that causes him to throw himself out of position on the feet will often translate to the floor.

Even though the drive on Ellenberger’s takedowns is what makes him so effective, the Juggernaut tends to turtle for a beat too long should he fail on his attempts. This tendency has allowed Jake to get his back taken in 3 of his last 5-fights(Gastelum, Thompson, & Saffeidine), and could be something worth watching for in this fight. Although Masvidal is not known as a back taker, he is an underrated transitional grappler who works best from the front headlock. Should Jake find himself turtled against Masvidal, expect to see the patent D’arce choke attempts and arm-in Guillotine sweeps that Jorge uses to put his opponents in precarious positions.

Although Ellenberger has all the skills to control Masvidal on the ground and do damage, I ultimately give the grappling edge to Jorge due to his advantages in transitions and scrambling scenarios. With Masvidal currently having more tools and trends in his favor, I can see why he is favored to win this fight. However, at his current listing price of an over 2-to-1 favorite, this line screams of a trap fight when incorporating the stylistic matchup. Even though I initially sided with Masvidal as I can see him pulling away as the fight wears on, I cannot get around the fact that his susceptibilities standing are Jake’s strengths. As a huge Jorge Masvidal fan, I hope I am wrong here, but I ultimately have to side with what my eyes are seeing.

Official Pick: Ellenberger – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: Masvidal – TKO (round 1)

Main Card Predictions:

  • Johnson def. Elliott
  • Benavidez def. Cejudo
  • Ellenberger def. Masvidal
  • Cutelaba def. Cannonier
  • McMann def. Davis
  • Moreno def. Benoit

Preliminary Card Predictions:

  • *Maynard def. Hall(*=stated bias)
  • Font def. Schnell
  • Kim def. O’Reilly
  • Curran def. Moyle
  • Smith def. Mutapcic
  • Clark def. Stansbury

Recommended Plays:

Draft Kings recommended rosters:


Team #1: $49,800.00

-Demetrious Johnson ($10,200.00)
-Brandon Moreno ($8,500.00)
-Dong Hyun Kim ($8,300.00)
-Anthony Smith ($8,100.00)
-Jake Ellenberger ($7,400.00)
-Jared Cannonier ($7,300.00)

Team Summary:

This weekend’s fight card forces you to get creative with your DraftKings lineup as I present to you some of my roster recommendations. For my higher tier favorites, I elected to go with Demetrious Johnson, Brandon Moreno, and Dong Hyun Kim. For the reasons stated in the breakdown above, I feel that Demetrious Johnson is worth the high price of $10,200.00 as he is the heavily favored fighter to find a finish in the main event, as well as this card’s highest average earner at 101 APPG(Average Points Per Game).

Secondly, I went with Brandon Moreno for the price of $8,900.00. Although Ryan Benoit is arguably one of the more live dogs on the card, I decided to go with Brandon Moreno as he holds some key intangibles that could come to fruition. Not only will Moreno be the bigger man, but the newcomer shows glimpses of gameness and toughness that may help him survive the initial storms of Benoit. Although Ryan is a heavy-hitter who is putting the work in to improve, his inherent aggression often gets the better of him as his sink-or-swim sensibilities could get him caught with a submission here.

I also chose to back Dong Hyun Kim in his bout with Brendan O’Reilly. Even though the Australian may have advantages on the floor, Kim is deceptively strong in the clinch and shows a good get-up urgency when taken down. Although Kim’s inherent aggression can sometimes cloud his judgement, I see the South Korean as a superior striker at all ranges as he could potentially earn a stoppage over the tough O’Reilly. Given the price and selections, I feel that Kim is a potential point earner that is worth a spot on your roster.

For my lower tier underdogs, I elected to go with Anthony Smith, Jared Cannonier, and Jake Ellenberger. In what is essentially a pick-em fight, I feel that Anthony Smith carries some intangibles that make him a better prospect to find the finish. Despite Mutapcic being the more durable man on paper, I feel that this is due to his lack of killer-instinct and engagements. Even though Elvis has as the tools on paper to win, he has seemingly struggled to get past a performance plateau inside of the Octagon. Although Mutapcic can more than hold his own at boxing range, I feel that the taller man in Smith can exploit some advantages at distance as well as inside the clinch.

Secondly, I decided to go with Jake Ellenberger for the reasons listed in the breakdown above. Even if you favor Masvidal, Ellenberger is the more likely man to earn an early stoppage on paper as he is one of the more potent lower tier options. Lastly, I chose to go with Jared Cannonier despite officially siding with Ion Cutelaba. Although I favor Cutelaba to eventually overwhelm Cannonier with his offensive waves, the Maldonian’s aggression has shown to make him susceptible to counters. Considering that Cannonier is a deceptively competent counter fighter, the former heavyweight could spring the upset with just one shot, as I feel that the juice on Jared may be worth the squeeze.

Props worth looking at(

-McMann by Decision: -120 (1 Unit)
-Benavidez ITD: +245 (0.5 Unit)
-Ellenberger ITD: +540 (.25 Unit)

Playable favorites for your parlays:

-Joseph Benavidez
-Sara McMann

Fights to avoid:

-Curran vs Moyle
-Maynard vs Hall
-Moreno vs Benoit

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