Elias Theodorou will enter the cage unbeaten in eight professional outings. | Photo: Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
“The Ultimate Fighter Nations” Middleweight FinalElias Theodorou (8-0, 0-0 UFC) vs. Sheldon Westcott (8-1-1, 0-0 UFC)
The Matchup: As a professional fighter with a background in modeling, acting and stunt work, Theodorou quickly established himself as the as “The Ultimate Fighter” house pretty boy. However, his approach in the cage belies his physical appearance, as the 25-year-old Canadian successfully grinded out decision victories over Zein Saliba and Tyler Manawaroa to reach the final.
Westcott, meanwhile, displayed an opportunistic submission game in tapping both Vik Grujic and Daniel Kelly in less than a minute to earn his spot opposite Theodorou. The Complete Martial Arts and Fitness representative is no stranger to quick finishes; six of his eight pro victories prior to “The Ultimate Fighter” occurred inside of a round, including five in less than a minute.
While Westcott has often relied on pressure, powerful slams and superior ground control in the past, he could find it difficult to bully Theodorou, a large and powerful middleweight who walks around in the neighborhood of 215 pounds. Theodorou has been very sticky in his two reality show bouts, using a variety of clinches, body locks, takedowns and slams to overwhelm his opponents. “The Spartan” is relentless when it comes to getting his man to the floor. Once there, his ground-and-pound is used primarily to stay busy and avoid standups.
Despite two relatively easy victories, Westcott struggled with injury issues throughout the season. A fully healthy camp figures to benefit him greatly. Like Theodorou, Westcott’s main objective is to drag his man to the mat. He has demonstrated good submission instincts in scrambles and transitions, so Theodorou must proceed with caution in grappling exchanges.
Both fighters have pretty basic standup. The one who establishes his jab and is able to land consistent offense in close quarters could get the nod from the judges in what figures to be a competitive bout.
The Pick: Theodorou’s physical nature and conditioning carry him to a hard-fought decision win.
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