Sherdog MMA Pick’Em players favor Ivan Menjivar (left). | Photo: Sherdog.com
Back-to-back victories, one of them a particularly violent finish on the durable Charlie Valencia, have made their mark for Ivan Menjivar.
Nine out of 10 players in the Sherdog MMA Pick’Em fantasy game expect Menjivar to defeat once-beaten “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 alum John Albert in their preliminary bantamweight bout at UFC on Fuel TV “Ellenberger vs. Sanchez” on Wednesday at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb. The entire undercard will stream live to the UFC’s Facebook page.
Menjivar (23-8, 2-2 UFC) -- who has competed in four weight classes as a professional -- last fought at UFC 133 in August, when he upended former Ring of Combat champion Nick Pace by unanimous decision at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Based at the Tristar Gym in Montreal, the 29-year-old El Salvador native has not been finished in nearly 10 years. Wins over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 semifinalist Joe Lauzon, 2011 Dream bantamweight grand prix finalist Hideo Tokoro and former WEC featherweight title contender Jeff Curran anchor Menjivar’s resume.
A Dennis Hallman protégé, Albert (7-1, 1-0 UFC) made his promotional debut at “The Ultimate Fighter 14” Finale in December, as he needed just 69 seconds to put away Dustin Pague with punches at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The 25-year-old Reno, Nev., native sports six-round finishes on his resume and has yet to go the distance as a professional.
Other Sherdog MMA Pick’Em trends for the UFC on Fuel TV “Ellenberger vs. Sanchez” prelims:
• By a strong 81-percent majority, users favor “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 winner Jonathan Brookins in his featherweight tilt with Vagner Rocha. Brookins, 26, had a four-fight winning streak snapped in a unanimous decision loss to Erik Koch at UFC Fight Night 25 in September;
• A whopping 86 percent of participants foresee King of the Cage veteran Sean Loeffler besting fellow UFC rookie Buddy Roberts;
• Nearly three out of four players have picked fast-rising Grudge Training Center export Justin Salas to defeat Finnish lightweight Anton Kuivan. Salas will carry a five-fight winning streak into his Octagon debut;
• Cage Fighting Championship lightweight titleholder Bernardo Magalhaes will enter his showdown with Tim Means as a heavy favorite, according to 68 percent of users. Magalhaes has rattled off five consecutive victories, the last four of them by decision.