“UFC Fight Night 25: Shields vs. Ellenberger” takes place Saturday night, Sept. 17, at the Ernest N Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, La. The ProMMAnow.com (www.prommanow.com) staff gives their thoughts and predictions on each of the main card fights which will air LIVE on Spike TV starting at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
Jake Shields (26-5-1) vs. Jake Ellenberger (25-5)
Odds: Shields -190, Ellenberger +155
BRIAN FURBY: Jake Ellenberger.
KELVIN HUNT: I’ve been high on Ellenberger for a while now…I think he’s a better striker…definitely more power than Shields…and I think he’s got good enough wrestling to keep this on the feet as he’ll look to avoid the ground game. I think Ellenberger wins a decision or stops Shields with punches.
RICHARD MANN: This is a bad style match up for Shields. Ellenberger is the better wrestler and will probably have the advantage on the feet. If Ellenberger forced Shields to play off of his back, he will struggle. Look for the wrestler to take this one in an upset. Ellenberger by decision.
JOE GUGELMAN: I’ve got to believe that the passing of Jack Shields will have some sort of effect on Jake Shields in his first fight since losing his manager and father. What that effect will be is the part that’s hard to nail down. Without that unexpected wildcard thrown in, I would have picked Shields with little hesitation. Ellenberger surely has the skills to pull off the upset, but I think Shields will maintain top control enough to pull off a decision. Pick: Shields by Unamious Decision.
JACK BRATCHER: Shields is still better than 95% of the fighters out there despite his horrid showing against GSP. His larger size will play a factor as he puts the pressure on Ellenberger. With the loss of his father and manager during this training camp it is a wonder he even made it to weigh ins, but he did, and it just shows his warrior spirit. Ellenberger has some heavy hands and definitely could shut Shields’ lights out. But I have to go with the odds, and the odds favor Shields out-grappling Ellenberger, Shields doing what he does best, especially over a smaller guy — Shields via rear naked choke submission.
Court McGee (12-1) vs. Dongi Yang (10-1)
Odds: McGee -190, Yang +155
BRIAN FURBY: Court McGee.
KELVIN HUNT: I don’t know much about Yang….so I’ll go with what I know….McGee via something.
RICHARD MANN: By now, everyone knows that McGee is not really a UFC level fighter. However, the same could be said about Yang. If the South Korean fighter can get takedowns, there is no reason that he can’t win this fight. Yang by decision.
JOE GUGELMAN: We haven’t had much opportunity to see Yang, as both of his previous fights in the UFC (and only two fights in the US) took place before every single preliminary fight was available on Facebook. I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup to be perfectly honest. I also picked Court McGee to win TUF 11 during the very first round, so I’ve gotta stick with my boy until he lets me down. Pick: McGee by Unanimous Decision.
JACK BRATCHER: McGee looked a lot bigger than Yang at weigh-ins. The guy is pretty freakin’ big and his arms look like pythons. Them PIT Elevated fighters don’t play and they got some very good grappling/wrestling. Look for McGee to take Yang down and end this one via submission.
Jonathan Brookins (13-3) vs. Erik Koch (12-1)
Odds: Brookins +165, Koch -210
BRIAN FURBY: Erik Koch.
KELVIN HUNT: I like this fight….should be a good one. I’m going with Koch here though.
RICHARD MANN: Koch should win this fight in a big way. Brookins might get a few takedowns, but Koch’s team are the best at coming up with gameplans to fight wrestlers. On the feet, this is a serious mismatch. Look for Koch to land something early and finish the fight. Koch by TKO.
JOE GUGELMAN: Brookins is making his return to Featherweight after his TUF 12 detour at Lightweight. I like the move down for Brookins. He never seemed to have a problem with the cut in the past, and the much improved grappling game he displayed on the show can only be amplified by having smaller guys to toss around. Koch is coming off of two KOTN bonuses in his last two fights, one in the UFC and one in the WEC with a brutal head kick. I don’t think he’ll catch Brookins though, and see Jonathan coming out with a RNC near the midpoint of the fight. Pick: Brookins by Submission.
JACK BRATCHER: Despite Koch’s Jersey Shore-esque tan and shaved arm pits he is the favorite in this fight. My only concern with him in this fight is how he will deal with Brookins’ wrestling. On the feet though, it’s all Koch and he will likely win this one via TKO.
Alan Belcher (15-5) vs. Jason MacDonald (26-14)
Odds: Belcher -300, MacDonald +220
BRIAN FURBY: Alan Belcher.
KELVIN HUNT: I think Belcher is the more well rounded fighter. He’s been out of action for quite some time though…if he’s in shape he should be able to take this. I’ll go with Belcher via decision.
RICHARD MANN: This would be a hard fight to pick if Belcher were not coming off such a serious injury. Former Bellator champion Joe Soto recently returned from a similar injury and did not look like himself at all. Expected MacDonald to take this fight, while Belcher tries to regain his old form. MacDonald by decision.
JOE GUGELMAN: Belcher is coming off a 16 month layoff following a fairly serious eye injury that required corrective surgery. It sounds as if it’s no longer an issue, but now he’ll be contending with ring rust alongside a very wily veteran in Jason McDonald. We last saw McDonald on the GSP/Shields card, where he pulled off a SLICK first round triangle submission over Ryan Jensen. Belcher has four “of the night” bonuses in a row, so I expect this to be a very exciting fight. Belcher is installed as a pretty heft betting favorite (as he should be), but I feel like ring rust is going to come into play and McDonald is going to pull off the upset here. Pick: McDonald by Submission.
JACK BRATCHER: Belcher has had a long layoff but he appears to be in good shape and I like his overall game better than MacDonald’s. Slim chance this one goes the distance. Belcher via TKO.