TUF 18 Finale: Chris Holdsworth vs. David Grant Preview

Chris Holdsworth (4-0, 0-0 UFC) vs. David Grant (8-1, 0-0 UFC)

The men’s bantamweight finals are set for The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale as Chris Holdsworth from Team Tate and David Grant from Team Rousey square off for the six-figure contract on Saturday night. Holdsworth is looking to remain undefeated in his short MMA career as he fights for the fifth official time on Saturday night. He is coming off a submission win over Tyler Shinn in November 2012 in his last fight. Grant looks to extend his eight-fight win streak against Holdsworth as he fights officially for the first time since October 2012, when he scored a submission win over Danny Welsh.

Fight Breakdown- Holdsworth had what you could consider the tougher road to the finals as he fought three times on the show as compared to Grant, who only fought twice on the show. Holdsworth, though, was the most impressive male cast member of the season, and he looks to be the odds-on favorite to win on Saturday night if he wasn’t already the favorite heading into the season. Holdsworth won three fights by first-round submission as he submitted Louis Fisette in the fight to get into the house followed by Chris Beal in the elimination round and Michael Wootten in the semi-finals. Grant won both of his fights during the season by submission as well as he submitted Danny Martinez to get into the house, and then he submitted Fisette in the elimination round. Grant advanced to the finals on a disqualification as his semi-final opponent, Anthony Gutierrez, missed weight for their bout aand was unable to compete. Both men are looking to keep impressive win streaks in tact, and both are also looking to stay perfect in finishing opponents, as their combined twelve wins have come by stoppage.

Holdsworth is another solid prospect coming from the Team Alpha Male camp out of Sacramento, the camp that has produced UFC fighters Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes, Joseph Benavidez, T.J. Dillashaw, Danny Castillo and Andre Fili. Holdsworth was going to make it to the UFC eventually as he is super-talented, but he gets there quicker going the TUF route. He is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and his striking is ever improving under the coaching of Duane Ludwig, and he has the skillset to be a future title contender. His ground game is awesome and with an effective striking game, he is a tough match-up for Grant. Grant has a good submission game as well, and he showed good ground awareness on the show, and he has been training with Ronda Rousey since the end of the reality program, so his grappling should be on point heading into this bout, and he will need it to be. He doesn’t have the pure skill on the ground that Holdsworth does, and he will likely find himself playing defense on the ground. If Holdsworth were to make a mistake, Grant should find an opening to capitalize on it.

Holdsworth has the slight edge on the feet and the better takedown game, and that is where he takes the edge in the fight. Grant has the length and the reach between him and Holdsworth, but the striking game the Alpha Male fighters have brought into the Octagon in recent bouts have shown worlds of improvement. Holdsworth hasn’t fought officially in over a year, and Grant hasn’t as well, but the tougher camp and the fact he has a lot of training partners getting ready to fight should have him in the best shape. Grant needs to fight like he is the hungrier fighter of the two as this could be his only chance to secure an immediate future in the UFC. There is a reason these are the only two men from the season to get a fight- they proved they were capable of maintaining respect with their weight and have the ability to make it in the UFC. This comes down to the grappling, and well-timed and well-placed takedowns will make the difference. The edge goes to Holdsworth in this bout, and it could be a chess match, but his striking give him the win.

Why It Matters- This is the chance for both men to show they belong in the UFC. Holdsworth was going to make it there one day anyway, but the opportunity to have a guaranteed several fight contract with the promotion is one that any fighter with just four fights under his belt would jump at. Grant may need the contract a little more, as while he has an eight-fight win streak, he wasn’t as well known as Holdsworth. Holdsworth has the affiliation with a popular camp both with the fans and the promotion while Grant is more of an unknown. It is huge for both men as the six-figure contract hangs in the balance, but Holdsworth has a brighter future as he has a good chance of being a contender at either 135 pounds or 125 pounds.

Prediction- Holdsworth

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