Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

TUF China Finale Prediction: Shawn Jordan vs. Matt Mitrione

Shawn Jordan is a tank of a human being. A former fullback in college, Jordan is 6’0″ and weighs 260 pounds. In the hard-hitting heavyweight division, it’s reasonable to expect that a fighter like Jordan would have devastating knockout power.

It might surprise you, then, that Jordan has landed 183 significant strikes and just one knockdown. That goes to show that knockout power isn’t just a function of being a huge athlete; there’s a substantial amount of technique that goes into it. Matt Mitrione is also a former football player but his striking is much more developed as he’s landed 235 significant strikes and six knockdowns. Mitrione has out-struck his opponents 235-168 while Jordan has been out-struck 183-196.

Early in this blog’s history, I promoted Mitrione as a potential great in mixed martial arts, largely on the strength of his 5-0 start in the UFC, which was also a 5-0 start in professional MMA for Mitrione. The thought was – if Mitrione could beat UFC opponents in the earliest part of his career, then he should be an absolute force once he develops his skills. Sadly, Mitrione hasn’t really developed much since his first few fights. He’s become a quality striker but his takedown game is non-existent and he has yet to show that he can beat high-level competition.

At this point, I have to assume that the Mitrione we’ve seen over the past couple years is just who Mitrione is – a mid to low-level gatekeeper in the heavyweight division. It feels strange to give the “gatekeeper” label to a fighter with nine professional fights on his record, but it’s hard to see Mitrione becoming anything more than that.

If Jordan wants to beat Mitrione the best way he can do so is with the takedown. Mitrione has only defended takedowns at a 54 percent rate and has never even attempted a takedown of his own. If Jordan can put Mitrione on his back and begin a ground and pound assault, he might be able to finish the fight.

I just don’t believe Jordan is going to follow that plan. First of all, he’s a mediocre offensive wrestler with 1.5 takedowns landed per 15 minutes at 40 percent accuracy. Second, his preference in recent fights has clearly been to stand and strike, even though that’s not necessarily his best offense. He knocked out Pat Barry – which sadly isn’t saying much these days – and he was knocked out by Gabriel Gonzaga.

My guess is that Jordan will choose to strike against Mitrione, and that means the most likely outcome is that Mitrione will win this fight by knockout, as the data screams that he’s the superior striker.

Pick: Matt Mitrione by KO

DEGENERATE GAMBLER’S CORNER

I like Mitrione to win but I’m going to need a very good price to put a bet down on him. There are no odds out for this fight at the time of this writing, but Mitrione needs to be close to plus money for me to consider a wager.

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