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  • 12-02-2007, 04:51 PM

    The Ultimate Fighter Finale Fantasy Preview – Part One

    The Ultimate Fighter Finale Fantasy Preview – Part One

    Stars may be born at The Palms in Las Vegas on December 8th as the sixth season of The Ultimate Fighter reality series comes to a close. For UFC Fantasy Game players, this may br you chance to break into the lead or make up lost ground if you can pick out the diamonds in the rough among these Octagon rookies. Read on for a breakdown of the first half of this card.

    Jared Rollins vs Jon Koppenhaver
    Last week on The Ultimate Fighter, these two welterweights got into a bit of a heated altercation, and they will get a chance to settle the score for real this Saturday. And it should be a good one, with both fighters looking to make up for disappointing performances on the show that really didn’t show their skill sets. Both Rollins and Koppenhaver are enamored of their ground games, with Rollins – a jiu-jitsu brown belt -perhaps holding the edge. Standing, both are aggressive, with Rollins’ chin perhaps a question mark after his KO loss to George Sotiropoulos on the show, but ‘J-Roc’ is the clear winner when it comes to world-class experience, having already fought in Japan against world-class Akira Kikuchi.
    Key questions – Will the drama from the show lead to a barnburner on fight night, with both fighters abandoning their game plans? Will Rollins’ chin be a liability, or was his loss on TUF6 just a case of getting caught? Both lamented their inability to show their respective ground games on the show; will this lead to a grappling match on Saturday? Will Rollins’ greater experience pay dividends?
    Likely to go the distance? No
    Method of finish – Submission

    Troy Mandaloniz vs Richie Hightower
    They were friends on the show, but it will be all business on December 8th when Mandaloniz and Hightower clash. The question is, how will all that time in the gym with each other play out when the bell rings? Mandaloniz has been a familiar name around the sport, due both to his relationship with childhood buddy BJ Penn and his work with TUF3’s Kendall Grove, but now it’s his time to shine, and though he’s young in the sport when it comes to pro fights, he’s been around the sport long enough that the UFC jitters may not be a factor. We don’t know if Hightower is in the same boat. What we do know about Hightower is that he’s a solid fighter who can hold his own on the feet or the mat, while the heavy-handed Mandaloniz looked horrendous on the mat in his TUF6 loss to Matt Arroyo, but has the one punch power to get any 170-pounder out of there. So while conventional wisdom says that the winner here may be decided by where the fight eventually goes, I get the impression that Mandaloniz feels he’s got a lot more to lose here and may fight above himself to get the victory.
    Key questions – As teammates on the show, how much do these fighters know about each other’s strengths and weaknesses? Fight between friends can either be snoozers or barnburners; which one will this be? Hightower showed a good chin against George Sotiropoulos; can he survive Mandaloniz’ thunder? Who wants this one more? Will Mandaloniz’ training with UFC and UFC-level fighters in Vegas make a huge difference?
    Likely to go the distance? No
    Method of finish – Knockout

    Roman Mitichyan vs Dorian Price
    Mitichyan will live on forever in TUF lore for his memorable outburst after being told that he couldn’t fight due to injury on episode one this season, but luckily for him, Dana White and Joe Silva have seen fit to bring him back for the finale so he can finally show what he can do. Price made quite an impression in the house in his own right, though it didn’t come in his lone fight, where he was quickly submitted by Arroyo. So now we’ll get to see whether Price, a solid Muay Thai practitioner can keep Mitichyan from throwing him to the mat and working him over there. And that’s a distinct possibility given the fact that Mitichyan comes from the same camp that launched the careers of Karo Parisyan and Manny Gamburyan and is a USA National Champion in Judo in his own right. If Price can keep it standing, it’s

    an interesting bout; if not, it could be quick and one sided.
    Key questions – Is Mitichiyan the final piece of the Armenian UFC trinity, or is he too raw for the UFC? Can Price handle Mitichyan on the mat, and in the same vein, can Mitichyan handle Price standing? Is Price taking Miticihyan lightly? Did the training Price received on TUF6 put him far ahead of Mitichyan when it comes to development?
    Likely to go the distance? No
    Method of finish – Submission

    Paul Georgieff vs Jonathan Goulet
    Perhaps the most interesting bout of the night, TUF6’s Georgieff is getting no favors as he will face the veteran Goulet in his first UFC bout. On paper, you have to give the edge to Goulet simply based on world-class experience. But Georgieff is a solid ground fighter who has won all seven of his pro fights via submission. Goulet’s last three losses (two in the UFC) have come by submission (though his loss to Josh Koscheck was submission due to strikes). Of course, if Georgieff chooses to stand and bang with Goulet like he did in a KO loss to Mandaloniz on the show, or if Goulet’s takedown defense is on point, the veteran could make an example of the youngster and let him know that he’s no gatekeeper. This is a must win for Goulet, and we should see him bring his best on Saturday. Then again, a win over Goulet will do big things for Georgieff’s career immediately. Like I said, this is one interesting matchup.
    Key questions – Will Goulet fold under the pressure of this being a must-win fight? How will Georgieff react to fighting the most experienced foe of his young career? Will Georgieff play to his strengths on the ground or will he try to test his standup again? If the fight hits the mat, will Goulet panic or show his veteran savvy and work the ground game to his own advantage? In a three rounder, who prevails if a war of attrition breaks out?
    Likely to go the distance? No
    Method of finish – Submission

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