The Ultimate Fighter 20 Finale emanates December 12, 2014, from the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. The next night, UFC on Fox 13 takes place at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. Last Word on Sports’ MMA Department brings to you their fight picks and analysis for the weekend’s most important bouts.
Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza vs. Rose “Thug” Namajunas
James Carlucci, Trent Dozier, Todd Parkinson, JB Pilkington: Namajunas
Daniel Richeson: Esparza
“This should be an excellent fight to determine the UFC’s inaugural Women’s Strawweight Champion. Esparza, the former Invicta FC Strawweight champion, is a dominating wrestler who hasn’t lost since June of 2011. She vacated that belt to enter the TUF house as the number one seed, and she immediately proved here worth. She first submitted Angela Hill, then bested the third- and fourth-seeded Tecia Torres and Jessica Penne, respectively. Her stand-up has improved leaps and bounds and that will help her against Namajunas, whom she already has the distinct wrestling edge on. As for Namajunas, she’s a dynamic finisher with a crazy kicking game, blitzing stand-up, and a knack for submitting her opponents on the mat. On the show she was under-seeded at seventh, and she submitted all three of her opponents, included the second seed Joanne Calderwood. This is a great match-up, and in a slight upset, I’m picking Namajunas to take the title.” – Dozier
Junior “Cigano” dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic
Carlucci, Dozier, Parkinson, Richeson: dos Santos
“I would love to see Stipe win here; not so much for his Twitter presence or Stone Cold impersonation (though those don’t hurt), but simply to see a new top contender in the heavyweight division. As it stands however, I don’t see him getting the job done. Stipe has solid stand-up and good takedowns, but if JDS could handle nearly 10 rounds of Cain Velasquez, I don’t see Miocic being able to get much going. Unless Velasquez took more out of JDS than we realize, it’s the Brazilian’s fight to lose.” – Carlucci
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Nate Diaz
Carlucci: dos Anjos
Dozier, Parkinson, Richeson, Miocic: Diaz
“I like the match-up against dos Anjos (for Diaz). Both men are looking to make a solid run, which could be their last at the top level. Diaz is very long, employs his reach well, and has a great ground-game and the best bad attitude in the UFC.” -Pilkington
Alistair Overeem vs. Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve
Carlucci, Dozier, Richeson: Overeem
Parkinson, Miocic: Struve
“Aside from the fact that Struve has been on a long layoff, this is where true striking will come into play. Both men are accurate and heavy strikers; they both love to employ kickboxing with strong, accurate punches. This fight doesn’t see the second round. Overeem has been brutally knocked out three times in the past two years and Struve has seen the lights a few times as well. Overeem is fighting with his back against the wall as he could possibly be shown the door with a loss, but I predict the Dutchman will emerge victorious.” – Richeson
Fight to Watch For:
Carlucci: Henry Cejudo vs. Dustin Kimura
Dozier: Claudia Gadelha vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Parkinson: Joe Riggs vs. Ben Saunders
Pilkington: Randa Markos vs. Jessica Penne
Interested in writing for LWOS? We are looking for enthusiastic, talented writers to join our MMA writing team. Visit our “Write for Us” page for very easy details in how you can get started today!
For more great MMA interviews with the biggest fight stars on the planet, remember to check out Hammer MMA Radio on 93.3 CFMU or find their latest episodes on our main page’s sidebar. Hammer Radio features interviews from some of the industry’s biggest stars. You can find the latest on the Hammer @SteveJeffery.
Thank you for reading. Please take a moment to follow us on Twitter – @LWOSCarlucci, @LWOS_DRich_MMA,@LWOSToddP, @Trent_Dozier and@TheUltim8Writer. Support LWOS by following us on Twitter –@LastWordOnSport – and “liking” our Facebook page.