Saturday, January 17th, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts for UFC Fight Night 81: “Dillashaw vs. Cruz” by Daniel Tom

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Paul Felder (10-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’10” Age: 30 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 70.5″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Ross Pearson (9-5-15)
  • Camp: Renzo Gracie/Jackson-Wink MMA (Philly)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   2nd Degree Black Belt Tae Kwon Do
+   Blue Belt BJJ
+   7 KO victories
+   2 first round finishes
+   KO power
+   Solid butterfly guard
^   Retains guard-scrambles-gets up
+   Diverse striking arsenal
^   Accurate spinning attacks
+   Dangerous knees
+   Underrated TD defense
–    Lacks in-fight adjustments
+   Solid chin/Physically durable

UFC Fight Night: Koch v Cruickshank

Daron Cruickshank (16-7)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’8″ Age: 30 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 72″
  • Last Fight: Submission loss / James Krause (7-25-15)
  • Camp: Michigan Top Team (Detroit)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Black Belt Tae Kwon Do
+   TUF 15 Alum
+   9 KO victories
+   7 first round finishes
+   Div. 3 Collegiate Wrestler
+   KO power
+   Fast switch kicks
^   Deceptive off combinations
+   Underrated wrestling transitions
^   Favors single-legs
?    Questionable submission defense
–    Often retreats/reverts to cage
^   Fights with back to fence


Serving as Boston’s Fight Pass Headliner, we’re treated to a promising bout of Strikers as Paul Felder squares off against Daron Cruickshank. With both men on two-fight losing skids, expect a pressure cooker environment as each man’s roster spot may be at stake. These types of factors can sometimes produce uncharacteristically safe or slow fights, but of course my analysis will be based upon in cage evidence as I expect both men to demonstrate why the matchmakers love them.

With both fighters coming from traditional martial arts backgrounds, they translate their styles very differently into their MMA games. The hard-hitting Felder for example, takes more of an upright stance as he’ll embrace kickboxing defenses with classic “Thai-Marching” to stalk offensively. The most impressive part of Paul’s striking amalgamation, is that he’s still able to accurately & effectively fire-off his traditional arsenal(spinning attacks, etc.) from a defensively sound Muay Thai stance. Felder’s said stylings mixed with his aggression may be his best tools against Daron.

Cruickshank on the other hand, shows to keep a bit more loyal to his Tae Kown Do background as he’ll employ a wide stance. Like many kick based strikers, Daron requires a lot of space to effectively operate. As opponents have slowly but surely caught onto this, we’ve subsequently seen Cruickshank forced to fight along the outside to get his breathing room. Despite this, Daron has shown the ability to kick & counter moving backwards, as well as improved punch flurries forward to make space. Although possessing a fast lead switch-kick himself(a kick Edson Barboza used well against Paul), I feel Cruickshanks speed advantage may serve him in the punching department as well.

We saw in Felder’s last fight against Ross Pearson, that technical boxing & speed could disrupt the Irish Dragon’s rhythm. That said, Cruickshank fights in a completely different style than Pearson, nor does he show an emphasis to throw or setup a left hook(a punch that’s found the most success on Felder). I feel the key factor to a Cruickshank victory will rely on his effectiveness in changing gears. Welding an underrated wrestling game, Daron could potentially mix-in takedowns to win rounds, or at the very least stifle the offense of Felder.

However, Paul shows an underrated bottom game where he’ll effectively use Butterflies to retain guard and get up. This, plus his excellent takedown defense leads me to believe this match will be decided standing. Not to mention Cruickshank favors a Single-leg takedown style that may have limited availability given Felder’s narrow marching stance. Daron will also have to be careful when reaching low for these attempts(as he’ll often revert to in clinch situations), as Paul possesses accurate & deadly knees. Ultimately, I see the stalking pressure of Felder walking down Cruickshank and inevitably paying off.

Official Pick: Felder – Decision

Official Outcome: Felder – Submission(round 3)

Preliminary Card Predictions

  • Saunders def. Cote
  • Wade def. Baghdad
  • Herman def. Boetsch
  • Blanco def. Sanders
  • Felder def. Cruickshank
  • Latifi def. O’Connell
  • Rosa def. Mendes
  • Font def. Gomez
  • Mutapcic def. Barroso

Recommended Plays

Pieces for your parlay:

-Anthony Pettis
-Paul Felder
-Chris Wade

Props worth looking at:

-Anthony Pettis – Inside the distance
-Matt Mitrione- by KO/TKO
-Paul Felder – by Decision

Fights to avoid:

-Ross Pearson vs Francisco Trinaldo
-Rob Font vs Joey Gomez
-Alir Latifi vs Sean O’Connell

Fantasy MMA Picks

High Tier Picks:

-TJ Dillashaw
-Anthony Pettis
-Maximo Blanco

Low Tier Picks:

-Dominic Cruz
-Matt Mitrione
-Francisco Trinaldo

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

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