TUF 13 Finale staff picks

The Ultimate Fighter: Team Lesnar vs. Team dos Santos Finale” takes place Saturday, June 4, at the Palms Resort Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. The event features TUF 13 finalists Ramsey Nijem of Team dos Santos and Tony Ferguson of Team Lesnar facing off in a welterweight match-up with the winner receiving a six-figure contract with the UFC.

Headlining the TUF 13 Finale will be a lightweight bout between Clay “The Carpenter” Guida and former WEC lightweight champ Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. The event will air LIVE on Spike TV Saturday evening starting at 9 p.m. ET.

In the following TUF 13 Finale staff picks, the ( staff weighs-in with their thoughts and predictions on the fights, including who we predict the next “Ultimate Fighter” will be.

Ramsey Nijem (5-1) vs. Tony Ferguson (11-2)

ODDS: Ramsey Nijem  -135 vs. Tony Ferguson +105

KELVIN HUNT: I’m really looking forward to this fight. I was most impressed with Tony’s boxing in his last fight in the house against Chuck. He seems really composed, but wonder how he’ll react when/if Ramsey closes the distance and goes for the take down. Tony seems pretty light on his feet, but Ramsey is relentless at times going for the take downs. I want to say Ramsey by decision, but he gets reckless at times coming in and Tony has the ability to make him pay for that. I think Tony takes this via TKO.

BRIAN FURBY: Tony Ferguson.

RICHARD MANN: TUF finales can be some of the hardest fights to predict. On the show, the fighters are not working with their normal camps and have very little time to gameplan for specific opponents. I favor Nijem here. Both guys have a wrestling background, but Nijem seems more interested in using it. Ferguson can certainly score the knockout, but a decision victory for Nijem seems more likely. Nijem by decision.

JACK BRATCHER: Ferguson has the stand-up advantage, while Ramsey has the wrestling advantage. Ramsey’s hands aren’t terrible by a long shot and he should be able to score enough and do enough to set up the takedown. He has those intangibles that will come into play too… the mental advantage and the confidence. There’s just something about Ramsey, I think he’s going to win this thing. Maybe it’s the “power of Glee.” Ramsey by decision.

JOSH CROSS: Going into this fight I think that Nijem’s best bet is to get the fight on the ground as soon as possible. I don’t think that he will necessarily win if he gets it there, but seeing as how Ferguson has won all three of his fights this season by knocking out his opponents, I don’t think it will bode will for Nijem to keep the fight standing. That being said, I think Nijem will be tough enough to survive, but I don’t think he’ll win the decision. Pick: Ferguson via Decision.

Clay Guida (28-11) vs. Anthony Pettis (11-1)

ODDS: Clay Guida +170 vs. Anthony Pettis -210

KELVIN HUNT: Should be a good one. It’ll come down to if Guida can take Pettis down and keep him trying to play the guard game. I think Pettis will be able to get back to his feet and should have the edge standing. I’m going with Pettis via decision, but won’t be surprised to see Guida etch another decision win under his belt either.

BRIAN FURBY: Anthony Pettis.

RICHARD MANN: My prediction is that the judges will give Clay Guida a decision that he does not deserve. Then, a bunch of people will write articles saying “it could have gone either way,” “Guida showed a lot of control” or “you can’t leave it in the hands of the judges.” After reading these articles, I will lose my mind and join the circus. Guida is not a great wrestler. His strongest wrestling attribute is his dedication to it. He does not have a Sean Sherk level double-leg takedown, but he stays with his shots and eventually finishes them. Anthony Pettis will have an extreme advantage on the feet. In the past Guida has shown that he is vulnerable to both straight punches and exotic striking techniques. Pettis will be both of those things into the cage. Even if Guida takes him down, Pettis will be able to work effectively off his back and take a decision. Pettis by decision.

JACK BRATCHER: This is a very interesting match-up. The Energizer Bunny vs. The Showtime Striker. Clay Guida’s only chance here is his wrestling; if he can stick on Pettis like white on rice and grind out the decision. I don’t see it happening though. Pettis seems to be slick enough to deal with that kind of gameplan, and his guard is very dangerous if he does get put on his back. Over half of Pettis’ wins have come via submission and over half of Guida’s losses have come via submission. Pettis will win this fight, it’s just a question of where. I’m predicting via submission.

JOSH CROSS: I think Guida has the best chance to win this fight by taking Pettis down to the ground during this fight. I don’t think he will be successful and since I don’t see Pettis finishing this fight either, I think we’ll get a decision in this fight. I think Pettis will ultimately be grind out the win if he can keep Guida from getting the takedown. Pick: Pettis via Decision.

Kyle Kingsbury (10-2) vs. Fabio Maldonado (18-3)

ODDS: Kyle Kingsbury -200 vs. Fabio Maldonado +160

KELVIN HUNT: Kingsbury has to make this an ugly fight, clinch and get the takedown. Otherwise…he’s going to sleep. Maldanado via TKO.

BRIAN FURBY: Kyle Kingsbury.

RICHARD MANN: Before UFC 126, I would have picked Fabio Maldonado and not thought twice about it. However, on that card, Kingsbury absolutely brutalized Ricardo Romero. He looked big, strong and forceful in the clinch position. Maldonado does his best striking from the outside. If Kingsbury is able to close the distance, he should have very little trouble winning this fight against the cage. Kingsbury by decision.

JACK BRATCHER: Kingsbury’s best bet is to get this one to the ground. Maldonado, who is a former boxer, is on an impressive 11-fight win streak and took out James McSweeney via TKO in his UFC debut last October. It was his 12th win via (T)KO. Kingsbury has the odds favorite  probably due to his UFC experience, but he hasn’t really defeated anyone of importance in the Octagon. He will have the wrestling advantage but Maldonado should be able to stifle it enough to do what needs to be done. I’m going with Maldonado via knockout.

JOSH CROSS: This should be a very exciting stand-up fight. Maldonado is coming off of a TKO of a tough James McSweeney, while Kingsbury is also coming off of an impressive TKO after having a fever the night before. If Kingsbury can get a 21 second knockout when he is sick, imagine what he can do if he is 100 percent. I think that Maldonado has to end this fight soon if he wants to win, but I don’t think he will. Pick: Kingsbury via TKO.

Ed Herman (17-7) vs. Tim Credeur (13-5)

ODDS: Ed Herman -115 vs. Tim Credeur -115

KELVIN HUNT: Hard one to call since both have been out for a long time. Credeur’s really good on the ground, and Herman seems to always find a way to fall into a submission. Credeur via Submission.

BRIAN FURBY: Tim Credeur.

RICHARD MANN: I blame Jack Bratcher for making me pick this fight. I was totally about to pick Tim Credeur, because Ed Herman has been out with an injury for over a year. Then I remembered that Credeur has also been out of action for a significant amount of time. I favor Herman, because he fights with a gameplan. Credeur likes to throw punches on the feet, but he is not very accurate, does not hit with a lot of power and has virtually zero striking defense. Herman by decision.

JACK BRATCHER: The oddsmakers have this one dead even. And that’s a great way of saying “we have no freakin clue”. Both guys have been out of action since 2009 with various injuries and it is really hard to know what to expect. Herman has definitely faced the tougher opponents during his UFC tenure. Both guys have a pretty good submission game and most importantly, both guys love to finish fights. I’m going with Herman via decision.

JOSH CROSS: I think the majority of this fight will be spent on the ground since both fighters are accomplished grapplers. I think it will be a close fight but I think that Herman’s experience gives him a slight advantage over Credeur in this fight. Pick: Herman via Decision.

Jeremy Stephens (19-6) vs. Danny Downes (8-1)

ODDS: Jeremy Stephens -315 vs. Danny Downes +255

KELVIN HUNT: Stephens hits like a Mack truck. I’m going with him via TKO.

BRIAN FURBY: Stephens.

RICHARD MANN: Jeremy Stephens deserves to be the favorite here. He is an extremely physical fighter who can exchange with his hands. However, Danny Downes certainly has a chance. He upset Zhang Tie Quan when noone gave him a chance, and he trains with some amazing strikers at Roufusport. This should be a fun fight. Hopefully it makes the broadcast. Stephens by decision.

JACK BRATCHER: Stephens has a significant experience advantage and he has the power advantage in his punches. With 14 of Stephens’ 19 wins coming by knockout, Downes is not going to want to stand in the pocket with this guy. Downes himself has knocked out five of his opponents, so he very well may want to test himself striking against Stephens — and I feel that will be a mistake. Stephens by knockout.

JOSH CROSS: I think this is going to be another stand-up battle. That being said, if it is, I think that Stephens just has more experience than Downes and is ultimately better on his feet. Pick: Stephens via TKO.

Josh Grispi (14-2) vs. George Roop (11-8-1)

ODDS: Josh Grispi -400 vs. George Roop +300

KELVIN HUNT: I was high on Grispi before his ankle injury. He’s a huge featherweight and he should be able to take Roop out. Roop is prone to submission, Grispi via submission.

BRIAN FURBY: Josh Grispi.

RICHARD MANN: This is a very interesting contest. You have Josh Grispi who earned the nickname “The Fluke,” because he has a penchant for surprising finishes. On the other hand, you have George Roop, who is probably best known for his shocking upset of Chan Sung Jung. I favor Grispi, because he has the better overall game and probably has the better shot at finishing the fight. However, Roop’s reach will certainly give him trouble. Grispi by decision.

JACK BRATCHER: Grispi is a significant favorite in this bout. I think he’s the overall better athlete. Look for Grispi to eventually put the fight on the ground by punch or takedown and submit Mr. Roop. Grispi via submission.

JOSH CROSS: I think this fight could go either way. I think both fighters are pretty evenly matched if the fight remains standing or if it goes to the ground at all. While I could see this fight going to a decision, I think that if it gets to the ground Grispi has a real chance of getting the submission on Roop. Pick: Grispi via Submission.

Scott Jorgensen (11-4) vs. Ken Stone (9-2)

ODDS: Scott Jorgensen -430 vs. Ken Stone +330

KELVIN HUNT: Jorgensen gets back on track here winning via decision.

BRIAN FURBY: Scott Jorgensen.

RICHARD MANN: Sometimes the UFC really makes you scratch your head. Ken Stone made his UFC debut with an impressive 9-2 record. In his debut, Eddie Wineland nearly slammed him threw the mat. Now, he is facing an even more dangerous bantamweight. Look for Jorgensen to own the striking game early and probably finish the fight with a choke from his front-headlock series. Jorgensen by submission.

JACK BRATCHER: I always think of “Keith Stone” when I hear about Ken Stone, and Keystone beer is probably the worst beer ever freaking made anywhere at anytime. In his WEC debut, Stone suffered a KO (slam) loss to Eddie Wineland back in December. This is his first fight since then. Jorgensen was also on that card and lost a decision to Dominick Cruz. Jorgensen has a ton more high level experience and has faced much better talent than Ston. It could get interesting if it goes to the ground as they both have decent submission games. However, Jorgensen should be able to grind out the decision win here.

JOSH CROSS: Looking at Stone’s record going into this fight, I’m not impressed nearly enough to make me think that Stone has a shot at beating a fighter as good as Jorgensen. If Stone is able to pull out the win somehow, it would be a huge upset and it would give a huge boost to his career. I just don’t see that happening though. Pick: Jorgensen via TKO.

Reuben Duran (7-3-1) vs. Francisco Rivera (5-1)

ODDS: Reuben Duran -215 vs. Francisco Rivera +175

KELVIN HUNT: *Flips coin…..Duran via submission.

BRIAN FURBY: Reuben Duran.

RICHARD MANN: I favor Reuben Duran. He has faced the better opposition and looked surprisingly strong against Takeya Mizugaki. On top of that, Francisco Rivera has two trendy star tattoos on his chest, and that is never a good sign. Duran by decision.

JACK BRATCHER: Duran is said to have the better ground game and has an experience advantage. Fighting at bantamweight this should be a fast-paced scramble. Duran via submission.

JOSH CROSS: From what I can tell about these fighters it’s hard to pick one over the other since there are so much unknowns about each one. That being said, looking over their records if I had to pick which one I think will pull out the victory, I’m leaning towards Duran due to the way he has finished his fights and the experience he has, but this fight could go either way. Pick: Duran via Decision.

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