155 lbs: Evan Dunham vs. Efrain Escudero
The semi-main event of the evening pits Ultimate FighterSeason 8 winner Efrain Escudero against undefeated Xtreme Couture prospect Evan Dunham. Both are unbeaten and have looked impressive in their UFC stints, so whoever comes out of this one with a win is going to be in a good position to insert themselves in the top of the Lightweight division.
Evan Dunham burst onto the UFC scene with a first round upset knockout of Per Eklund, and then pulled off another upset with a narrow split decision win over solid contender Marcus Aurelio. A good submission artist with a solid wrestling base and powerful punching, Dunham is very well rounded, and comes from one of the best camps in the world at Xtreme Couture. Against Escudero, Dunham’s submission background is going to be very important, because Escudero is an extremely proficient grappler in his own right.
Efrain Escudero, Season 8 winner of The Ultimate Fighter, is one of the best submission artists in the Lightweight division, which is packed with top-level grapplers. In his last fight, against solid opponent Cole Miller, Escudero showed some scary standup as well, throwing crisp, accurate punches and then dropping Miller with a hard jab and pouncing on him for the TKO victory. Stylistically, Escudero is very similar to Dunham, so it is going to come down to who can work their game plan the best.
Although Escudero is the betting favorite, I would give the slight edge to Dunham. Both guys have power, good wrestling, and excellent jiu-jitsu. In the grappling game, I think both guys are so good that they will largely cancel each other out, but I would give the mild edge in wrestling to Dunham. On the feet, both guys are good, but I think Dunham is just a little more progressed and has fought a slightly higher level of competition. Look for Dunham to score points standing and with a few scattered takedowns, doing enough to earn the unanimous decision.
Fight Prediction: Evan Dunham via unanimous decision.
Bet on Dunham for the UnderDog Winner
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