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Ultimate Fighter 5 quick preview, analysis and predictions

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UFCmania and special contributor Jesse Holland are back again to forecast the UFC future after taking off the last two events.

Aren't you so happy?

We've put together some thoughts on tonight's The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 Finale main card action, which begins at 9 p.m. and will air on Spike television.

There are some nice match ups, including the highly-anticipated rematch between coaches BJ Penn and Jens Pulver.

Both fighters looked confident and ready yesterday at the weigh-in. Hopefully this one lives up to all the hype.

As usual, just because we talk about a fighter doesn't mean we think that the person is going to win — just trying to give different perspectives.

Here we go:

BJ Penn (10-4-1) vs. Jens Pulver (21-7-1)
UFCmania: BJ Penn has waited more than five years for the fight tonight against Jens to avenge the first loss of his career. He appears driven and motivated to live up to the moniker of "The Prodigy" that has lost some luster over the past few years because of his conditioning and work ethic. Those issues appear to have been addressed in this camp -- BJ looks extremely fit. He's also got a solid chin, heavy hands and is a wizard on the ground. Penn has more skill and is certainly more well-rounded that 'Lil Evil.' Jens does have a huge heart and without question will give BJ a good fight. I just think BJ wants it more and he's got all the tools to ensure that he does indeed come out on top.

Jesse Holland: People aren't giving Jens much of a chance here, but to me he can win this fight very easily. All he has to do is survive the first round. BJ Penn is a gifted fighter, but his conditioning is that of a beached whale. He made Georges St. Pierre look the victim of a homicide in the first round of their fight, but could barely keep his hands up for rounds two and three. He toyed with Matt Hughes in round one of their contest like a cat plays with a ball of yarn, but went limp in round two and got pounded out (spare me the rib theory). Jens needs to do what he does best: Stay off the ground and use his striking to keep BJ at bay (even if it takes two rounds). By round three BJ will be on life support and Jens can fire at will.

Final predictions:

UFCmania -- Penn via submission (kimura) but no broken shoulder for Jens
Jesse Holland -- Pulver via unanimous decision

Manny Gamburyan (5-1) vs. Nate Diaz (5-2)
UFCmania: Like Matt Serra and Rashad Evans before him, no one gave Manny Gamburyan much of a chance to advance to the finals of the Ultimate Fighter. Despite his lack of height, Manny is a very strong and technical fighter. He also has an extensive Judo background that helps him take down his opponents often. And when Manny takes down his opponents, he's proven to be very heavy on top. Nate Diaz is very comfortable on his back. I think this is pretty much how this fight will play out. Diaz will work submissions from the bottom and Manny will lay on Nate and keep busy with frequent strikes from the guard. Manny is well versed in submissions, therefore I don't think Nate is going to be unable to tap him out. I see Manny being the aggressor in this fight and doing enough to earn the decision.

Jesse Holland: Manny Gamburyan surprised a lot of people on The Ultimate Fighter 5, myself included. He's a compact fireball with a ton of strength. He steamrolled Noah and frustrated and confused Matt Wiman and Joe Lauzon for three rounds. No doubt he'll look to take Diaz down and do the same. But that's where he'll be in the most danger. A lot of fighters don't like being on their back, but to guys who know BJJ, it's a place to call home. A perfect example is the fight against Corey Hill. Nate was being tossed around like a rag doll but finished the fight from his back with a triangle choke. I mentioned in my TUF recap that I thought the Diaz/Gamburyan fight would mirror the Diaz/Hill fight. I haven't seen anything in Gamburyan's arsenal that would cause to me to change that prediction.

Final predictions:

UFCmania -- Gamburyan via decision
Jesse Holland -- Diaz by submission

Roger Huerta (17-1-1) vs. Doug Evans (2-0)
UFCmania: Not much is known about Doug Evans. That's because this will be his first time inside the Octagon and he hails from Alaska. In fact, Evans is the Alaska Fighting Championships (AFC) Bantamweight Champion. I'm sure that's a fine accomplishment, but I don't think it will amount to much tonight against a fighter like Roger Huerta. I've heard nothing but good things about Evans from his friends and fans who have seen him compete. However, I just have a feeling that Huerta is going to be too much for Evans and will stop him at some point during the fight. Call me crazy.

Jesse Holland: Roger Huerta is set to face the "Alaskan Assassin" Doug Evans to little or no fanfare. And it's a shame too because Huerta is ready to breakout. Unfortunately it's kind of hard to do without facing a top five opponent. Evans is looking to put himself on the map here but Huerta is by far the superior fighter. His wins over Dent and Garcia were grotesquely one-sided, and he destroyed John Halverson in nineteen seconds at UFC 67. Huerta can wrestle, he can strike, and this fight is more of a tune-up than anything else. I don't mean any of this as disrespect for Evans but there won't be any upsets in this one. Huerta is that good.

Final predictions:

UFCmania -- Huerta via technical knockout
Jesse Holland -- Huerta via technical knockout

Floyd Sword (9-2) vs. Thales Leites (10-1)
UFCmania: Floyd Sword has perhaps one of the coolest names in the sport of mixed martial arts. He also happens to be a solid fighter, compiling a respectable record against some games opponents. He is a submission fighter who just so happens to be going up against an incredible Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist in Thales Leites. Sword might be able to get some wins in the Octagon ... but not tonight. Leites is an extremely accomplished fighter who has just one blemish on his record -- he dropped a unanimous decision to Martin Kampmann. Leites is a big man, durable, and as long as he doesn't gas, he should be able to sink in a submission and force Sword to tap.

Jesse Holland: This should be an interesting contest as both fighters have such close records including six submission wins. I'm going with Leites because I believe he has the better jiu-jitsu. Leites also has an advantage in size and his striking is a little crisper. Sword will certainly be comfortable on the ground but he better keep those arms out of range because Leites has a Nogueira-esque love of arm submissions. I see Leites controlling the fight but if he can't secure the submission it may boil down to who has more gas in the tank.

Final predictions:

UFCmania -- Leites via submission
Jesse Holland -- Leites via submission

What do you think? Let us have it in the comments section.

For the complete TUF 5 Finale fight card click here.

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