When we last left our heroes...TUF has been able to avoid a complete crash and burn season thus far; in terms of prospects and developing fighters who can have a respectable UFC tenure.
No, this season won't be the exception but this bout feels more one-sided than some expect it to be.
The two Canadians took vastly different routes to get to the finals. Where Elias struggled in a decision victory over Tyler Manawaroa, Westcott (very) easily dispatched Vik Grujic in round 1 with the patented 'oh wow, a von flue choke, but from half guard' submission (yes it was embarrassing, to be perfectly honest).
There's not a whole lot to add to their respective stories. Theodorou is a 25 year old training out of HeadRush MMA, so he should be much improved at this stage of the game. Westcott brings with him a solid 8-1-1 record overall, relying solely on his high paced aggression on the feet, and ground.
What both men can do: There's not a whole lot I can write. Elias is much your wrestler/grappler type. He wants to be in the clinch, scrambling, and in top control. He is as persistent and diligent as they come. His real quality is his ability to stay active with whatever he needs to be active with. That sounds insulting, but he's not a specialist. Not by a long shot. He's looking to grind out a decision through attrition, and with top control.
I'm always careful about judging young fighters. Yes, Elias doesn't seem all that skilled. On the show, there's just not much there. But like many young fighters, their ability to quickly develop and evolve before your eyes can occur in the blink of an eye. Again, I go back to Kelvin Gastelum. His transformation from his last fight and the one prior was nothing short of amazing. Elias has that potential.
Westcott possesses a tough style for Elias. Mainly because he IS Elias, but with a far more aggressive take in a like minded gameplan. Westcott actively looks for scrambles, trying to create chaos in the clinch. Like Elias, he wants the fight on the ground, but he does a slightly better job of mixing it all up with strikes. But...
What both men can't do: It's not that his strikes are good; just that they're thrown. A lot. Westcott's technique is hard to gauge because Kelly and Grujic were dreadful opponents. Kelly got reversed directly into an arm triangle, and Grujic seemed to tap to a ghost clavicle.
Nonetheless, I feel like his raw aggression will do him favors. He'll land knees and uppercuts while Elias is trying to put him down. Still, there's just something about Westcott's style that feels, shall we say...'shortsighted'. He doesn't seem to have an actual gameplan in the cage. Meanwhile, Theodorou has been getting pointers all over the world, including Thailand.
Facts like these lead me to believe that Elias will enter the bout looking much better than he was previously. This is always critical to a prospect's success; when your opponents can't predict what you've improved upon.
This is hardly an easy pick. You'll see lots and lots of clinchwork, and it won't always be pretty. Elias will struggle to get the fight to the ground, he won't struggle to take the fight to the distance, and that to me, will be the key; the longer the fight goes, the more it favors Elias. He has excellent cardio, and should be well equipped to deal with the way Westcott comes blazing out the gates.
Odds and Ends: Westcott is still a good pick. I can never stress enough that it pays to be a type of aggressive in MMA. Offense wins championships, after all.
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Prediction: Elias Theodorou by Decision.