"Cookie Monster" vs. "Thug."
After eliminating 14 others, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 20 comes down to a clash between Invicta Strawweight Champion and Team Anthony Pettis representative, Carla Esparza, and Team Gilbert Melendez-trained standout, Rose Namajunas, who submitted all three of her opponents on the show.
The two headline the titular TUF 20 Finale tomorrow night (Fri., Dec. 12, 2104) inside the Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada.
In addition, Charles Oliveira will look for his third straight win against Jeremy Stephens, who last seen falling to Cub Swanson at UFC Fight Night 44 in San Antonio, Texas. Elsewhere on the FOX Sports 1-televised card, Daron Cruickshank will collide with K.J. Noons and Yancy Medeiros will scrap with Joe Proctor.
The whole thing's free, save for that subscription you need to watch the first two "Prelims" under card matches; therefore, let's get down to the business of monetary debauchery.
By which I mean gambling ... not all the other kinds of debauchery of which I'm certain you were thinking:
TUF 20 Finale Odds For The Under Card:
Felice Herrig (-350) vs. Lisa Ellis (+290)
Bec Rawlings (-185) vs. Heather Clark (+160)
Joanne Calderwood (-600) vs. Seo Hee Ham (+450)
Tecia Torres (-600) vs. Angela Magana (+450)
Aisling Daly (-230) vs. Alex Chambers (+190)
Angela Hill (-165) vs. Emily Kagan (+145)
Thoughts: Honestly, not seeing anything on the under card this time. You could throw in Torres if you want to make a parlay infinitesimally more profitable, but no lines jump out at me. I was considering Kagan because I think she’ll win, but Hill’s dangerous and likely significantly improved since the show, making it too risky for my liking.
TUF 20 Finale Odds For The Main Card:
Rose Namajunas (-170) vs. Carla Esparza (+150)
Charles Oliveira (-110) vs. Jeremy Stephens (-110)
Daron Cruickshank (-170) vs. K.J. Noons (+150)
Yancy Medeiros (-245) vs. Joe Proctor (+205)
Randa Markos (-120) vs. Jessica Penne (EVEN)
Thoughts: I’m probably asking for trouble based on the last time I tried to pick a Noons fight, but I really think the line is too generous toward him. In my opinion, the Sam Stout fight was his only great performance in years and he preceded that with an awful fight against George Sotiropoulos. Cruickshank has the wrestling advantage and Noons’ head movement leaves him vulnerable to the kind of high kicks that Cruickshank loves to throw.
Whether he strikes or reverts to grinding like he did against Anthony Njokuani, I expect a wide victory for Cruickshank, so be sure you profit from it.
As for the rest, Stephens could be worth a look -- his takedown defense has looked great lately and Oliveira unquestionably has a history of wilting under fire. Oliveira’s crafty, but he’s not hard to hit and that’s a pretty massive issue to deal with against someone with Stephens’ artillery.
Don’t bet much, but consider putting a bit down on "Lil’ Heathen."
Medeiros may be a good guy to pair with Cruickshank -- he seems a level above Proctor skill-wise in addition to being a very big, very strong Lightweight in his own right. He’ll serve as another solid parlay stuffer.
TUF 20 Finale Best Bets:
- Parlay -- Tecia Torres and Jeremy Stephens: Bet $40 to make $49.20
- Parlay -- Daron Cruickshank and Yancy Medeiros: Bet $45 to make $55.80
Some solid fights and a first-ever title bout ... what better way to start a busy weekend?
See you there, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live TUF 20 Finale results on fight night, which is as good a place as any to talk about all the action inside the Octagon, as well as what you've got riding on the sportsbook.
Running Profit For 2014 Based On This Column: $-5.11