Neil Magny (16-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’3″ Age: 28 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 80″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Erick Silva (8-23-15)
  • Camp: Grudge Training Center (Denver, CO)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair
  • Overall Fight Grade: B

Supplemental info:
+ All-Army Combative’s Champ
+ TUF 16 Alum
+ Purple Belt BJJ
+ 5 KO victories
+ 5 second round finishes
+ Good movement & footwork
^ Angles off attacks
+ Excellent conditioning
^ Consistent pace & volume
+ Long & accurate jab
^ Often doubles up
+/-Circles the outside
^ Allows fight to come to him
+/-Gets hurt/recovers well
+ Active ground pressure
+/-Short notice replacement


Kelvin Gastelum (11-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 24 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 72″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Nate Marquart (6-13-15)
  • Camp: Kings MMA
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair
  • Overall Fight Grade: B

Supplemental info:
+ TUF 17 Winner
+ State Champ Wrestler
+ Purple Belt BJJ
+ 5 KO victories
+ 5 first round finishes
+ KO power/heavy hands
+ Hard left body kick
+ Keeps pace & pressure
+ Good volume & combinations
^ Solid uppercuts-hooks
+ Accurate left hand
+ Favors double-leg TD’s
+ Excellent scrambling ability
+/-Willingness to exchange
– Counter availability on entries
+ Durable chin/never stopped

In Monterrey Mexico’s main event, Neil Magny steps in to face Kelvin Gastelum. Magny, who is accustom to short notice fights, shouldn’t be to effected by this quick turn around as he was already prepping for a bout. Gastelum will be making another attempt at a Welterweight run as he’s moved camp to Kings MMA. Looking in great shape and training under Raphael Cordeiro, I expect Kelvin to come into this fight prepared and possibly very improved. Given their styles and this being their first 5 round affair, I expect the opening rounds an majority of the fight to contest standing.

On the feet, Magny shows consistent lateral movement as he’ll circle on the outside. Though wielding an accurate jab, it’s Neil’s willingness to operate in that cage space that gets him in trouble. Allowing the fight to come to him will be a bad choice against the striking pressure of Gastelum. From Kelvin’s flowing uppercut-hooks to his hard & accurate left hand/body kicks, it could be a potentially long night for Neil. Kelvin can however be reckless upon his entries which will be Magny’s most viable openings.

Should Magny stay behind his jab and judiciously angle off attacks, he  may be able to disrupt Kelvin’s offense and sway fight momentum(especially in later rounds). Still, despite Neil’s conditioning it’s hard to give him the later-round advantages as he has a propensity to fight to opponents strengths. Whether he’s striking with brawlers or grappling with submission specialists, Neil will allow opposition back into fights that are ultimately full of swings and hard to call. With that said, I expect this fight to eventually hit the floor where I feel each man cancel each other out.

Even if Neil gets to his patent mount position, his floating style has allowed escapes that an effective scrambler like Kelvin should manage. With neither men being huge positional players, I suspect heavy transitional exchanges(unless Gastelum finds the back/commits himself to the floor). In summation, I feel Magny’s nature of flowing with the fight will burn him here. In particularly his playing of the outside which I see inviting & allowing Gastelum to get off where he’s strong. Neil’s well rounded skills and recoverability make him a perennial live dog, but with Kelvin coming into this fight prepared, I expect him to hurt Magny and capitalize within five.

Official Pick: Gastelum – Inside the distance

Official outcome: Magny – Split Decision

UFC 180: Lamas v Bermudez

Ricardo Lamas (16-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’8″ Age: 33 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 71″
  • Last Fight: TKO loss / Chad Mendes (4-4-15)
  • Camp: MMA Masters (Illinois)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate
  • Overall Fight Grade: B

Supplemental info:
+ Div. 3 All-American Wrestler
+ Multiple Wrestling Accolades
+ Regional MMA Titles
+ BJJ Black Belt
+ 4 KO victories
+ 5 first round finishes
+ Right leg kicks
+ Fast left switch kicks
+ Strong in clinch
^ Good knees
+ Solid double-leg TD’s
+ Excellent top-pressure
^ Effective ground striking
– Right hand tends to lower
+ Long power jab
+ Submissions in transition


Diego Sanchez (25-7)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’10” Age: 33 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 72″
  • Last Fight: Split Dec. win / Ross Pearson (6-7-15)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink (New Mexico)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Poor
  • Overall Fight Grade: C

Supplemental info:
+ TUF 1 Winner
+ Regional MMA Titles
+ Multiple Grappling Accolades
+ BJJ Black Belt
+ 6 KO victories
+ 11 first round finishes
– No finishes since 2008
+ Dangerous left Thai kick
+/-Propensity to brawl
^ Takes damage
+ Strong cage pressure
^ Favors double-leg TD’s
+ Active & effective scrambles
^ Always looks to reverse
– Dropped/hurt in 7 of last 9
+/-Durable but battle worn

In his first drop to the Featherweight division, Diego Sanchez draws Ricardo Lamas in Monterrey. With this being his first fight in Mexico, there’s no doubt Sanchez will look to bring his standard intensity. The main intangible for this fight will obviously be Diego’s weight cut and how it effects him(boasting a cut from 190 lbs. with his fat burning supplements). That aside, I’ll assume both men will enter healthy as we jump into the technical action. Starting off on the feet, Lamas looks to establish & manage distance as he’ll need to do so against Diego.

Showing improved striking and patience, Sanchez will seemingly fall into brawls. Ricardo will need to avoid this game as he’ll have the advantages in speed, technique, and variety. Though his hard right leg kicks won’t be available(Sanchez being southpaw), Lamas possesses a mean left switch kick that can see opportunity here. However, I feel his long power-jab and accurate right cross(off which he’s shown improved head movement) will serve him best in this fight.

Defensively, Lamas will have to mind his right side(Diego’s power side), as he has a tendency to bite on feints by overly parrying his right hand forward in anticipation of strikes. This in particularly has cost him against Southpaws as seen in his Alcantara fight. Ricardo will also have to be careful when shooting for doubles as he almost always leads his head to the right(coming straight down Diego’s high traffic offensive lane).

With these possible tendencies/openings, Sanchez’s most dangerous weapon will be his hard left Thai kick. Though usually lacking setups for said kicks, Diego will really need to show improved feints & movement to get the jump on Lamas. Though I give the edge to Ricardo standing, I feel(and heavily suspect) that his best chances of securing a victory is to mix in take-downs. With Lamas showing to be the better Wrestler/overall grappler(on paper & in-fight), I feel he can exploit holes in Diego’s game.

Should Ricardo use his wrestling offensively, he’ll have his work cut out for him as Sanchez will scramble in effort to get up. Wherever this fight goes I see Lamas a few hairs better, as I feel Sanchez will find himself a few steps behind. With Diego’s durability & aggression, he’ll forever be a live dog and hard out. But between no finishes since 2008 and no decisive wins since 2010, it’s hard to see Diego taking this one. That said, he’s had many crazy decisions go his way as I suggest caution playing this bout.

Official Pick: Lamas – Decision

Official Outcome: Lamas – Decision


Jussier Formiga (18-3)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’5″ Age: 30 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 67″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Wilson Reis (5-30-15)
  • Camp: Nova Uniao (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox . Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Good
  • Overall Fight Grade: B

Supplemental info:
+ Regional MMA Titles
+ Black Belt BJJ
+ Black Belt Judo
+ 8 Submission wins
+ 6 first round finishes
+ Improved footwork
^ Head & all-around movement
+ Accurate counter R. hand
– R. Hook/body availabilities
+ Solid counter wrestling
^ 88% TD defense
+ Excellent scrambler
^ Always looks for back
+ Transitional ground game
+ Good leverage/positional controls


Henry Cejudo (9-0)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’4″ Age: 28 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 64″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Chico Camus
  • Camp: Fight ready (Arizona)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate
  • Overall Fight Grade: B+

Supplemental info:
+ OLympic Gold Medalist
+ Multiple Wrestling Accolades
+ Amateur Boxing experience
+ 4 TKO victories
+ 4 first round finishes
+ Strong in clinch
^ Active hand fighting
+ Over/Under-hook awareness
^ Favors inside trips
+ Improved striking volume
+ Hard right body kicks
^ Often finishing combos
– Shows right hand availabilities
– Hard time making Flyweight
^ Output bares watching


In an important match for the standings of the Flyweight division, Jussier Formiga and Henry Cejudo are set for battle. With so much hype & heavy implications predicated on his success, Cejudo will look to make a statement and solidify his contender-ship. Henry may have a difficult time accomplishing that as he’ll meet his biggest challenge yet in four-time BJJ World Champion Jussier Formiga. Known as one of the best “back-takers” in MMA, Jussier shows excellent abilities in initiating scrambles in which he’ll quickly & competently capitalizes to catch and control positions. Couple that with his impressive transitional submission arsenal, I suspect Cejudo to avoid initiations or entries into Formiga’s strengths.

Boasting a 100% TD defense rate and not engaging ground stanzas for longer than 50 seconds in his past 5 fights, Henry’s tools & trends suggest this one should be primarily contested standing. On the feet, Jussier has shown fight-to-fight improvements in his overall movements and defense. Still showing to counter fight and allowing opponents to lead, I give the standing edge to Henry’s variety & volume-pressure style. Favoring cross-hook combinations, Cejudo will often finish with hard body kicks(mainly from the right side). Henry has however shown counter right hand availabilities and will need to be mindful as thats Formiga’s best punch.

Cejudo will also have to be careful on overextending his left punches as that’s the side Jussier prefers to slip to as he’ll initiate scrambles(often getting the back or a clinch at the very least). With Formiga being the quickest and most dangerous threat to Cejudo yet, expect the clinch to be the key junction in this fight. This will be a fun clash of styles as both men show their background here. Cejudo shows good over/under-hook awareness as he’ll use solid pressure to drive opponents toward the cage(taking inside trips along the way should they be there).

It will be interesting to see if Jussier can counter this with his more “Judo-clinching style” as he shows good head positioning, hip awareness, and shuffle-stepping(used to avoid & set up clinch TD’s). For my money, it’s going to be the hand/grip fighting that will decide the grappling exchanges. Whether he’s playing inside the guard or striking off cage-clinches, Cejudo shows excellent inside fighting of his hand positions. I believe this will keep him safe in close and his striking should win him the fight. I do however caution plays here as Henry will only be one mistake away from submission/positional adversity. Though I would love to see Cejudo tested technically on the floor, I believe he’ll keep the trend of fighting on his terms.

Official Pick: Cejudo – Decision

Official Outcome: Cejudo – Decision


Efrain Escudero (24-9)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 29 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 71″
  • Last Fight: Submission win / Drew Dober (6-13-15)
  • Camp: The MMA Lab (Arizona)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Boxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate
  • Overall Fight Grade: C

Supplemental info:
+ TUF 8 Winner
+ All-American Wrestler
+ BJJ Blue Belt
+ 13 Submission wins
+ 10 first round finishes
+ Stopping power/heavy hands
+ Accurate right hand
^ Variates angle of attack
+ Good striking movement
– Shows TD availability
^ Will work to get up
– Back giving susceptibility
+ Improved submission variety
+ Aggressive submission pursuits
^ Sometimes costing positions
+ Solid chin/never stopped


Leandro Silva (18-3-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’10” Age: 30 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 72″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Lewis Gonzalez (6-27-15)
  • Camp: Team Buscape (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Moderate
  • Overall Fight Grade: C

Supplemental info:
+ Regional MMA Titles
+ BJJ World Champion
+ BJJ Black Belt
+ 10 Submission wins
+ 5 first round finishes
+ Manages distance well
+ Quick level changes
^ Favors double-leg TD’s
+ Accurate right jab
^ Counters well with hooks
– Hands low standing
– Retreats often & upright
^ Circles out unprotected
– Shows take down availability
+ Improved counter wrestling
? Gas tank bares watching


To Kick off Mexico’s main card festivities is a Lightweight scrap between Efrain Escudero and Leandro Silva. A decorated Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, Leandro shows a very competent Muay Thai game. Coming out Southpaw and often switching stances, Silva will use an accurate right jab and powerful kicks to manage distance. Depending heavily on space to operate, Silva shows to retreat when pressured. With already low hands and a tendency to play outside, Silva will back straight to the fence with his head upright.

This defensive liability generally opens up right hands, something Escudero holds in spades. Not to mention Silva will heavily rely on head movement as he’ll slip & side skirt leading with an unprotected head. In this space is where Efrain’s pressure boxing style can be effective. Using his improved footwork & head movement, Escudero will use jabs to set up his right hand. Though possesing big power, it’s Escudero’s adjusting attack angles that make his right hands so dangerous.

Leandro’s best weapon to combat this will be his powerful left Thai kicks. Whether landing or not, a consistent dose of these could damage or at the very least dictate defense of Efrain’s right arm. Silva’s best counter to oncoming aggression will also be his best chances of winning this fight. As his opposition enters space, Leandro has a quick level change he’ll use to counter with a double-leg take down.

This could be used to ground Efrain who’s shown takedown availabilities in the open. Though Silva’s strong on top, I wouldn’t bank a finish with Escudero’s proven defense in recent years. In his Santos fight(another BJJ world champ), we saw Efrain in bad spots early and showed solid composure & defense. Escudero’s also displayed a growing variety of submission attacks, from triangle catches to heel-hook transitions.

Efrain has however showed controllability in past fights, and should he turtle and give his back in transition, it could cost him a round. Though ground control is Leandro’s best path to victory, Efrain will likely make him earn it(especially factoring Silva’s fading potential). With this fight matched so closely, I see Efrain’s defense, durability, and pressure making the overall differences. Leandro does best when dictating his desired space and I don’t think Efrain will give it to him. Barring a wild momentum shifting transition, I expect both of these men to last the distance in a fight I strongly caution playing.

Official Pick: Escudero – Decision

Official Outcome: Silva – Decision

TUF Finale Predictions

  • Enrique Marin def. Erick Montano
  • Horacio Gutierrez def. Enrique Barzola

Preliminary Card Predictions

  • Taylor Lapilus def. Erik Perez
  • Bartosz Fabinski def. Hector Urbina
  • Scott Jorgensen def. Alejandro Perez
  • Andre Fili def. Gabriel Benitez
  • Valmir Lazaro def. Michel Prazeres
  • Vernon Ramos def. Alvaro Herrera
  • Cesar Arzamendia def. Polo Reyes

Recommended Plays

Fantasy MMA Picks

High Tier Picks:

-Kelvin Gastelum
-Andre Fili

Low Tier Picks:

-Taylor Lapilus
-Diego Sanchez

Pieces for your parlay:

-Kelvin Gastelum
-Andre Fili
-Bartosz Fabinski

Props worth looking at:

-Gastelum – Inside the distance

Fights to avoid:

-Escudero vs. Silva

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

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