Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight scrappers Elias Theodorou and Cezar Ferreira will battle this Sunday (Feb. 19, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 105 inside Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
On of the many The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veterans — in this case, TUF: “Nations” champion — populating the Middleweight division, Theodorou has generally impressed. He’s won four of five fights inside the Octagon, and “The Spartan” is sneaking up on a Top 15 ranking. Meanwhile, Ferreira’s UFC career has been a pretty unpredictable roller coaster ride. At one point, he was one of the division’s hottest prospects, a Vitor Belfort protege and TUF: “Brazil” winner. He then lost three of four fights via knockout, and many expected him to be released. Instead, the Brazilian went back to his ground skills to put together a trio of wins.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both men:
Key Wins: Sam Alvey (UFC Fight Night 89), Bruno Santos (UFC Fight Night 54)
Key Losses: Thiago Santos (UFC Fight Night 80)
Keys to Victory: Theodorou is a well-rounded and very physical athlete. He tends to push a hard pace and slowly break down his opponents, allowing him to eventually overwhelm them with strikes.
In this match up, conditioning and pace is Theodorou’s best friend, as he doesn’t have any major technical advantages. On paper, Ferreira is the more refined kickboxing and more skilled grappler, meaning that a slow-paced, technical battle is not in Theodorou’s best interest.
Instead, Theodorou needs to push the pace in any way possible. Ideally, he wants to close range past his foe’s kicks, into the pocket or clinch. From that distance, Theodorou can actively attack with either strikes or takedown attempts, which will help him make use of his cardio advantage.
Additionally, Ferreira is a solid offensive striker, but his defense has left a lot to be desired in the past. Theodorou is a rough and durable fighter, and even if his punches may not be quite as sharp as the Brazilian’s shots, he’ll likely be the last one standing if he can force Ferreira to trade blows.
Key Wins: Thiago Santos (UFC 163), Jack Hermansson (UFC Fight Night 100), Andrew Craig (UFC Fight Night 44)
Key Losses: Sam Alvey (UFC Fight Night 61), CB Dollaway (UFC on FX 8), Jorge Masvidal (TUF 21 Finale)
Keys to Victory: Ferreira is a powerful athlete with dangerous Brazilian jiu-jitsu and kickboxing. He’s been on the wrong side of some violent losses, but Ferreira does have the skills and athleticism to succeed in UFC.
Ferreira has found success in his last three fights by avoiding dangerous situations. In the past, he was far too willing to run into the pocket throwing big punches, where he was more likely to eat the knockout blow than land it.
Nowadays, he’s much better about maintaining his range while striking. He’s a long fighter with strong kicks and a hard left hand. When fighters try to push through that range, Ferreira’s reactive double leg and jiu-jitsu game has proven to be quite effective.
If Ferreira can stick to that game plan — maintaining the distance and shooting when Theodorou gets sloppy — he can definitely out-work Theodorou and potentially do real damage as well. However, if Ferreira is the one who slips up and engages in a brawl, the odds are no longer on his side.
Bottom Line: In the last few years, Middleweight has developed into an excellent division with multiple top contenders. The winner of this bout will take another step closer to joining those ranks.
For Theodorou, he’s already scored one ranked win (Alvey) and should not be far off from earning a spot in the rankings. That’s a real accomplishment that will help him receive high profile fights in the future, rather than other men in the middle of the division hoping to break through.
That said, most of Theodorou’s wins came to a pretty low caliber of fighter. Ferreira is something of a step up compared to most, meaning that a loss shows “Spartan” is not yet ready for this level of competition.
As for Ferreira, he really has done a remarkable job turning things around. It’s worth mentioning that the three men who knocked him out are all ranked fighters, but three knockout losses is always a tough position to rebound from. The step back in competition helped him get back into the win column, but “Mutante” is also fighting much smarter.
If Ferreira can pull off the win here, he’s made a solid case for earning a Top 15 bout next. Four wins in a row is a solid accomplishment and definitely worthy of notice. If not, Ferreira’s position remains the same, as he’ll need another streak to continue climbing the ladder.
At UFC Fight Night 105, Elias Theodorou and Cezar Ferreira will throw down. Which man will remain standing when the dust settles?
Source:: mma mania