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THE PROPHET HANDICAPS THE "ULTIMATE FIGHTER" FINALE
The 4th season of SPIKE TV's "The Ultimate Fighter" TV series culminates on November 11th with two matches to be held at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas. Pinnacle has posted lines on this event, and this is how I see it transpiring:
PATRICK COTE vs. TRAVIS LUTTER
If you watched Lutter's semi-final round beatdown of an overmatched but game Pete Sell you know he's one double tough customer. Lutter is a black belt in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu and is a hellacious ground fighter, which he demonstrated in his semi-final match against Sell as he took him down at will. His opponent, Patrick Cote, is a veteran of the Canadian Army where he began his fighting career by taking up boxing. He's since trained in kickboxing and wrestling, but unlike Lutter is not a natural groundfighter. Typically, in a matchup between a natural groundfighter and a natural striker, I give the advantage to the groundfighter unless the striker has significant one punch KO power.
Both guys have decent professional MMA records, typically winning the fights they're supposed to win and falling short when stepping up in class. Cote has losses to Chris Leben and Tito Ortiz, while Lutter has lost to Matt Lindland and Jorge Rivera. Lutter also has an impressive win against Marvin Eastman on his resume.
After watching Lutter's groundfighting clinic against Sell, I don't see him losing here. Sell got off some good punches, but his standup advantage was quickly negated as Lutter took him down time after time. Cote has been working on his ground game, but would definitely prefer to keep the fighting standing. I don't see him being able to do it here, and once on the ground he'll be at the mercy of the superior wrestler and submission fighter.
BET TRAVIS LUTTER -116 OVER PATRICK COTE
CHRIS LYTLE VS. MATT SERRA
Lytle enters this matchup as a -136 favorite, most likely due to his significant edge in experience. Lytle has a 21-12-5 record in 7 years as a pro MMA fighter in a variety of organizations including the UFC and the defunct Japanese Pancrase organization. Interesting to note that of his 12 defeats, eleven were by decision meaning that he's a double tough customer. Matt Serra comes into this matchup with a 5-4 mark, though his most recent defeats are to a couple of serious badasses in Karo Parisyan and BJ Penn (in addition to a decision loss to unheralded but underrated Din Thomas).
The edge in experience notwithstanding, this looks like a pretty evenly matched contest. Lytle has won most of his fights by submission, but Serra's background in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu and its emphasis on submission defense negates this edge to a fair degree. Serra may not be able to stop Lytle (since he's got one loss by stoppage in his career) but he can control the ground game and that would give him the edge should it go to the scorecards.
Essentially, this is an even matchup on paper and one in which you can make a case for the underdog having a significant tactical edge. Serra looks like the value side here and we'll call this one accordingly.
BET MATT SERRA +126 OVER CHRIS LYTLE
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