Prior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at a welterweight on the main card of UFC 201 as Matt Brown takes on Jake Ellenberger. Jake Ellenberger (Record: 31-11, +205 Underdog, Fighter Grade: C+) The Nebraska born welterweight has been fighting in the UFC since 2009. He currently trains out in California at Kings MMA. He enters this fight on a bit of a high. In a fight he needed to win to keep his spot on the roster, Ellenberger stunned Matt Brown with a body kick and follow up strikes to get a win over a top ten ranked opponent. Ellenberger looks to make it two wins in a row on Saturday. Since a stunning knockout of the elusive Jake Shields in 2011, Ellenberger’s career has started to falter. He had previously combined his powerful striking with a heavy top control wrestling game. As he’s gotten older, the biggest issue for Ellenberger has been tentativeness. He’s been unwilling to engage in the striking on the feet. The Matt Brown victory does help him turn the tide a bit, but I feel that was an anomaly as opposed to the norm moving forward. It’s fair to say that he can’t take the punishment that he once was able to and now goes out of his way to avoid to avoid engaging in a firefight. Ellenberger has also abandoned his wrestling game. Outside of his win over Josh Koscheck in February 2015, it has been years since Ellenberger has gone back to the basics. With that said, the UFC certainly hasn’t given the Kings MMA fighter any favors by pitting him against top level fighters without much chance to regain his confidence against lesser competition. Jorge Masvidal (Record: 30-11, -225 Favorite, Fighter Grade: B) The Miami born and raised fighter is a long time veteran of Strikeforce and the UFC. He holds a 1-1 record in 2016 as he sets up for his final fight of the calendar. He lost a split decision to Lorenz Larkin in March, while earning a decision win over Ross Pearson in July. Jorge Masvidal has fought eleven times in the UFC compiling a 7-4 record. Masvidal had fought the majority of his bouts at lightweight, but his last four fights have been at welterweight. Masvidal continues to show one of the most well-rounded skill sets in mixed martial arts. On the feet, he has very crisp boxing. He can land in combination with 4.09 significant strikes per minute in the Octagon. Not only is he able to land combinations, he does so with accuracy with 46% of significant strikes landed; one of the highest percentages in the division. Defensively he’s very strong absorbing just 2.90 significant strikes per minute with a stunning 69% of strikes defended. His technical prowess is very good, but his toughness ranks right up there with it. He’s a very difficult fighter to finish; having not been stopped in a fight since 2009. While not often talked about, he’s a solid wrestler who has secured on average two takedowns per 15 minutes in the cage and has been able to defend 79% of takedown attempts. The biggest issue for Masvidal has been leaving fights to the judges to decide the winner. He has struggled to put opponents away and has lost close fights on the scorecards. It has been the lack of a killer instinct that has held him back from bigger and better things in his time in the UFC. Matchup An intriguing matchup at welterweight sees #15 ranked Jake Ellenberger take on Jorge Masvidal. The opening stanza of the bout is of utmost importance to Ellenberger. He’s a fighter who tends to get the majority of his victories by early knockout. He has heavy hands and certainly has one punch knockout power. Masvidal will certainly need to be careful early, but even if Ellenberger can land Masvidal is extremely difficult to finish and should be able to weather the storm. After that initial blitz, this should be Masvidal’s fight. He’s the taller, longer, and is certainly the more volume heavy striker. He lands 1.5 strikes more per minute than Ellenberger that computes out to over 20 strikes more per 15 minute fight. That’s a major advantage in a fight I expect to go to a decision. There are just too many technical advantages in this fight for Masvidal to see Ellenberger get his hand raised. The biggest concern for Masvidal is putting in a full 15 minutes; he’s had moments of inactivity in the past that have cost him, but Ellenberger is not the fighter to exploit that. Ellenberger tends to tire as a fight progresses and will slow down in the final two rounds. Masvidal (-225) is a worthy piece to include in a parlay this weekend.
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