Dylan Andrews (17-4 (1), 2-0 UFC) vs. Clint Hester (8-3, 1-0 UFC)
Two middleweights who competed on season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter make their main card debuts at UFC Fight Night 33 as Dylan Andrews and Clint Hester square off and look to extend win streaks. Andrews will be fighting for the third time in the UFC and he enters the fight riding a six-fight win streak following a knockout win over Papy Abedi at UFC Fight Night 27 in August. Hester comes into the fight with a four-fight win streak after scoring a knockout win over Bristol Marudne in his UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale in April. Hester is 5-1 over his last six fights.
Fight Breakdown- Andrews is a veteran of 22 fights and he will be fighting as a member of the UFC roster for the third time following being a member of Team Jones during season 17 of TUF. He was the last overall pick following an unimpressive win to get into the house, but he quickly became one of the most impressive members of the cast as he made it to the semifinals with wins over Zak Cummings and Luke Barnatt. He faced Uriah Hall in the semifinals, and he was in control early before being finished by Hall. Andrews fought Jimmy Quinlan at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale, and he scored a first-round knockout win, securing a position on the UFC roster. Andrews then fought Papy Abedi at UFC Fight Night 27 in Indianapolis in August. Abedi controlled the fight early but Andrews fought back and finished Abedi in the third round. It was Andrews’ sixth straight win and his 12th win by knockout, and it earned him a spot on the main card as the UFC returns to Australia. Andrews was born in New Zealand, but he has made his home in Australia, and it will be his first time fighting in Brisbane.
Hester will be fighting for the 12th time in his professional mixed martial arts career, but he does have some professional boxing experience to boot. Like his opponent Andrews, Hester was a member of Team Jones during season 17 of TUF. He was actually the first pick of Jones during the season, and second pick overall. There was a lot of potential behind him, but he was eliminated in his first fight inside the house as he was submitted by Jimmy Quinlan. He was a candidate for the wildcard spot, but ultimately didn’t get selected. Hester was still able to make his UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale in April, and it was a very impressive showing as he battered Bristol Marunde throughout their back-and-forth bout before finishing him with a standing elbow in the third round. It was the fourth straight win for Hester, who started his MMA career with just four wins in his first seven professional fights. He is showing lots of improvement, and after being forced out of a scheduled fight against Cezar Ferreira in August, he returns to the Octagon after a near eight-month layoff. Seven of Hester’s eight wins have come by knockout or submission.
Andrews is a well-rounded fighter and he should look to use his takedowns in this fight to keep Hester away from striking. Hester’s boxing background gives him the edge on the feet, and he showed his solid striking off in his fight with Marunde. Hester also showed improved takedown defense in that bout, but Andrews is stronger than Marunde. Andrews is going to want to test that takedown defense, and as he gets comfortable on the feet, it will allow him to change levels and go for that shot. Hester needs to establish that jab to keep Andrews at a distance, and he could look to land that short elbow that he used to finish Marunde. Hester has the knockout power and Andrews can take a punch, and Andrews has power in his hands as well and is a proven finisher. Clinch work will be key as Hester lands solid knees in the clinch while Andrews tries to land uppercuts. If the fight goes to the ground, it will belong to Andrews as Hester still needs to work on his ground game. This is a close fight, but Andrews will have the advantage of fighting in familiar territory. It has the potential to be the best fight on the night, and Andrews will take the win with a late stoppage.
Why It Matters- Both men are looking to extend winning streaks and remain undefeated in the UFC as they work their way up the UFC ladder. Neither man will be cut with a loss, and both have the chance to be around the UFC for quite a while. While Andrews or Hester may never be title contenders, they will be counted on to be solid additions to undercards, and who knows what may happen. There have been unlikely title contenders in the UFC before, and all it takes is stringing together some solid wins. That starts on Friday night for both men as they look to be the one to end the others’ win streak.
Tags: Clint Hester, Dylan Andrews, Mixed Martial Arts, UFC, UFC Fight Night 33, UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Bigfoot