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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight grinders Brad Tavares and Elias Theodorou will throw down this Friday (July 7, 2017) at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 25 Finale inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Tavares won seven of his first eight UFC fights, breaking into the rankings and positioning himself as a contender. Believe it or not, he was actually the betting favorite ahead of his bout with Yoel Romero! He ran into a rough patch beginning with that fight, but the Hawaiian has since bounced back to some degree. Meanwhile, Theodorou hasn’t necessarily been impressing, but he’s been winning! The Canadian TUF champion has only come up short once in six appearances, and he recently earned his spot at No. 15 in the division.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Lorenz Larkin (UFC Fight Night 35), Nate Marquardt (UFC 182), Caio Magalhaes (UFC 203)
Key Losses: Yoel Romero (UFC on FOX 11), Robert Whittaker (UFC Fight Night 65), Tim Boestch (UFC Fight Night 47)
Keys to Victory: Looking at Tavares’ recent record, it’s clear that his biggest issue has been level of competition. Two of the men who stopped him are fighting for a world title, whereas he was picking apart Tim Boetsch prior to one of “The Barbarian’s” signature come-from-behind victories.
Outside of those fights, Tavares’ volume kickboxing, punctuated by nasty low kicks, and sturdy takedown defense has been damn successful.
This is an interesting contest between a pair of fighters who consistently win via points. Tavares actually puts some heat on his opponent but isn’t blessed with much knockout power, whereas Theodorou is one of the best at appearing busy with nonsense kicks and iffy takedown attempts.
Tavares should be able to out-work Theodorou consistently at range, he just needs to be aware of the scorecards. If he takes time off to rest, Theodorou will be scoring points that don’t actually do anything. Tavares cannot let that happen, and he should punt the Canadian’s leg each time he tries some flashy kick from 10 yards away.
Key Wins: Sam Alvey (UFC Fight Night 89), Cezar Ferreira (UFC Fight Night 105), Bruno Santos (UFC Fight Night 54)
Key Losses: Thiago Santos (UFC Fight Night 80)
Keys to Victory: Theodorou is one of the division’s better physical prospects, a quality athlete with a reasonably well-rounded game. He pushes a hard pace, generally getting better as the fight wears on and his opponent slows down.
Realistically, Theodorou has two modes as a fighter. He’s at his most effective when he can grind takedowns along the fence, landing hard ground strikes and some pretty solid clinch blows as well. When he cannot contain his foe, Theodorou relies more on an outside kicking game, which can sometimes be more style than substance.
Still, points are points.
In this bout, a mix of both strategies will be necessary. If Theodorou can keep it relatively even on the feet — something his odd style often achieves — then any grappling success could be the deciding factor.
A clean takedown is probably unlikely, as Tavares is really tough to drag down. That said, even control in the clinch could be big, as the chances of this be a close, low scoring fight are quite high.
Bottom Line: It’s a match up of fringe contenders.
For Tavares, it’s his chance to fully rebound and return to the rankings. Defeating Theodorou has proven to be a difficult task, one that will test his ability to score points in a kickboxing match. That’s his bread-and-butter, so he better be able to make it work in this match up.
Otherwise, that rebound just ain’t gonna happen.
As for Theodorou, this is his chance to further prove himself as a top Middleweight. Tavares isn’t a world-beater, but he’s never lost to any scrubs either. It’s a very solid win for Theodorou’s resume, and it’s also a great opponent for him to show improvement opposite, as Tavares isn’t likely to suddenly crack him with a knockout blow. It’s a pretty safe bet this one will go to a decision, meaning Theodorou should take some chances.
If Theodorou comes up short here, it’s a major setback. He’s just now dipping his feet into the rankings after a tough string of fights, and losing that position so quickly will hurt. His style isn’t always the most exciting, meaning it will also be a slow climb back up the ladder.
At TUF 25 Finale, Brad Tavares and Elias Theodorou will face off. Which man will have his hand raised?
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight bruisers Elias Theodorou and Cezar Ferreira threw down last night (Feb. 19, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 105 inside Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Despite seeing his fair share of setbacks, Ferreira persevered and entered this bout having won his last three bouts. The Brazilian was looking more reliable than ever, and a win over a rising prospect like Theodorou could really help elevate his position. There was a fair amount of pressure on “Spartan” as well. He impressed quite a bit in his early UFC fights, but Theodorou has lost some momentum since, losing for the first time in the Octagon and then winning a truly ugly bout opposite Sam Alvey. Nevertheless, this was a big opportunity for Theodorou to return to form.
Theodorou attempted to rush his way into a clinch war or brawl, but Ferreira circled well and went to work with his counter striking game. As his opponent ran in, Ferreira scored with left hands and counter kicks, making his opponent miss often. After three minutes without much success on the feet, Theodorou managed to secure the clinch and push his foe into the fence. Even then, Ferreira was able to prevent his opponent from doing any damage before breaking away quickly.
In short, neither man landed all that much in the opening round, but Ferreira landed the cleaner blows.
Ferreira scored an early takedown and threatened to take the back, but Theodorou scrambled well to get to his feet. Ferreira landed several more takedowns in the ensuing scrambles, but ultimately it was Theodorou who landed in top position at the end of all the madness.
The Brazilian managed to scramble back to his feet with about 90 seconds remaining. The round was clearly still up for grabs — neither man really took a dominant position or did big damage throughout the wrestling — but both fighters were pretty content to wait for the end of the round.
It was a very tight round, but Theodorou did have the most top control time.
In the first half of the final round, not a single eventful thing happened. Theodorou threw a ton of meaningless shots that largely missed, while Ferreira waited for the perfect counter punch that never really materialized. Plus, neither man was able to get deep on their respective takedown attempts.
Finally, Ferreira managed to catch a kick and land a takedown. Theodorou again gave up his back in pursuit of the takedown, but this time his opponent was able to take the back and threaten with the choke. Theodorou managed to escape in the final 30 seconds, but neither man had a particularly strong claim while awaiting the judges’ decision.
Ultimately, all three judges awarded Theodorou the victory.
Like it or not — and sometimes, it’s hard not to hate it — the judges love activity. On his feet, Theodorou landed just a few punches that were actually meaningful. However, he constantly moved around, threw tons of kicks and combinations, and generally just appeared active in long moments where little was happening.
In a close decision, that’s often enough to earn the win.
To his credit, Theodorou’s grappling defense did hold up very well. He was able reverse position from the back mount a few times, which eventually allowed him to get on top and wear his opponent down a bit. Plus, he avoided a couple guillotine attempts, again helping him maintain top position and score points.
It was pretty damn ugly, but a win’s a win.
As for Ferreira, he was the more efficient fighter, but he did not throw nearly enough. Being a more patient counter puncher is a smart approach — his old style got him knocked out fairly often — but he needs to throw more punches and kicks while looking for big shots. Similarly, Ferreira’s top game failed him. He was able to score a few takedowns, but Ferreira was never able to truly control his opponent. Theodorou hit the same escapes from back mount repeatedly, which just shouldn’t happen to a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.
Back to the drawing board for “Mutante.”
Last night at UFC Fight Night 105, Elias Theodorou sort of beat Cezar Ferreira. What is next for the Canadian?
For complete UFC Fight Night 105: “Browne vs. Lewis” results and play-by-play, click HERE!
Theodorou (12-1) peppered Santos early and often in the first round at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, establishing control.
But then Santos shifted things into another gear and “The Spartan” didn’t have an answer. Santos tired Theodorou out and turned up the heat in the final round to earn a unanimous decision. Santos won a unanimous decision on scores of 29-28 and a pair of 29-27s as the Rio de Janeiro native one his third straight fight.
“I knew Elias was a very tough important, he won TUF, he was undefeated,” said Santos (12-3). “But I wore him down and I hope the crowd enjoyed it.”
After conceding the first round, Santos turned the fight in the clinch in the second. Theodoreau, the former TUF: Nations winner, kept working for takedowns, but Santos belted him with knees and elbows to the head and body.
In the third, Santos simply brutalized his tiring opponent, opening a huge cut on Theordorou’s forehead. Twice the round was halted to check the cut, but Theodorou gamely held on until the final horn as he suffered his first career loss.
Coming off a stunning 29-second knockout over middleweight prospect Steve Bosse at UFC Fight Night 70 in June, “Marreta” faces another rising Canadian on Thursday night in Las Vegas, and sees him as just another opponent on his way en route to the top.
“You get more motivated when you’re coming off wins, but I have a goal,” Santos told MMAFighting.com. “I didn’t enter the UFC to be just another one. I have a goal in my life. I’m motivated to get past every obstacle they put in front of me, and Elias Theodorou is another obstacle I have to walk over. I’m ready, and I will get past Elias.”
Theodorou scored two of his three UFC wins by way of knockout, stopping Sheldon Westcott and Roger Narvaez with strikes. Santos, 3-2 in the UFC with three quick first-round knockouts, isn’t impressed by “The Spartan’s” striking.
“I don’t know if he’s tougher than my previous opponents, but he’s different,” Santos said. “His style is more focused on holding the opponent and using his wrestling, to dominate and not let his opponent fight. He’s the first real wrestler I’m facing. Elias has some striking, I believe he went to Thailand in the past, but his strongest weapon is wrestling. It’s going to be a test for me, and it’s a good opportunity for me to show my wrestling if I need to.
“He’s similar to Ronny Markes, Ronny tends to use more of his jiu-jitsu instead of pure wrestling. Elias has better takedowns and control of the fight.”
Gunning for another “performance of the night” bonus, “Marreta” vows to put a blemish on Theodorou’s record in Las Vegas.
“It’s hard to say how the fight will go, but I will try to finish the fight like I always do,” he said. “I’m a striker and that’s what I like to do. I like to brawl, so we’ll see who will be able to impose his game. I will always try to finish the fight, and it won’t be different this time. I want to stop him in the first round, but I’m ready for three.
“I see myself knocking Elias Theodorou out. No other way,” he continued. “He won’t handle the pain. I will beat him up bad, I will stop him.”
“Marreta” wants to close 2015 with a perfect 3-0 run, and with that change the future of his family. Originally from Tata Fight Team in Rio de Janeiro, the middleweight added American Top Team to his training routine recently, and plans to take his family with him to the United States.
“We’re working on that. It’s not that simple, but I want to bring them here,” he said. “Living here is good for me, life would be better for me and my family. My son is 11, and being able to study here and learn a new language is great for him to have a better future. I have this idea, but we’ll get there slowly. Who knows, maybe in one or two years we’ll move.”
While they don’t make the permanent change, Santos will fly them from Rio de Janeiro to spend some time with him after UFC Fight Night 80.
“I miss being close to my family and friends when I’m here in the United States,” “Marreta” said. “We make new friends here, of course, but I miss them. After this win, I will bring my wife and son here to have some fun, and then return to Brazil.”
Elias Theodorou and Sam Alvey are rising stars of the UFC middleweight division, so a match between the two would seem like a natural idea. But the idea took a turn for the bizarre when Alvey, fresh off an impressive win over Dan Kelly at UFC Fight Night: Miocic vs. Hunt earlier this month, called […]
The post Weirdest Trash Talk in MMA History? Elias Theodorou vs Sam Alvey appeared first on Caged Insider.
The UFC has followed a certain blueprint over the years by tailoring their cards to the local market.
Putting on a show in Brazil? Load the card up with Brazilians. A date in Dublin? Give them Ireland’s finest. And so on.
But while Theodorou, last year’s TUF: Nations middleweight winner, would have liked to fight close to home, he confessed on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that he doesn’t mind playing the role of the bad guy.
“I love it,” said Theodorou (10-0), who meets Texan Roger Narvaez (7-1) on the FX prelim broadcast Saturday night. “I’ve finished every single time I’ve been the ‘away’ guy. So I’m basically excited to keep that going. For me, I love the boos because in my mind, I tell myself just before the fight with a little smile that they don’t know what’s going to f— happen.”
If that seems like surprisingly strong language coming from the part-time male model, he’s also got some strong words for Narvaez, who has experienced mixed results in his UFC stint. Narvaez lost a bout he was winning against Patrick Cummins last year, and followed up with a debatable split decision win over Luke Barnatt in November.
Theodorou questioned his opponent on two levels: First, in Narvaez’s quality of competition on his way up.
“He’s a dangerous dude, he has some tools that he’s going to want to use,” Theodorou said. “There’s a lot of aspects to it that I don’t think he’ll be able to handle. If you dig into his records, some of his mistakes he made are similar to [ones] many boxers make in that they don’t fight the top talent in regards to, small increments in their challenges every single time.”
Then, he essentially called his opponent’s heart into question.
“When he does finally get into the UFC with the UFC talent, he gave up in the second round [against Cummins],” Theodorou said. “He was in a position where he should have dominated on the ground. He’s a black black belt in jiu-jitsu. But instead he crumbled. I think in his last fight, it was more Luke screwing the pooch. Luke was trying to be too fancy. He lost, Roger didn’t win.”
Theodorou has made a point of traveling around the world and learning at new camps. For this bout, he trained at the Nogueira Brothers gym in Brazil.
It was his second such trip to the legendary Brazilian camp, with the first coming when his stature in the sport was much less than it is now.
“I got most of the lumps and bumps the first time I went out,” Theodorou said. “It’s kind of come full circle. Now I’m the Ultimate Fighter winner … Honestly it was an amazing experience this time around because I could see both of the Nogueiras getting excited in training. There’s what, 70-80 fights between them? They are very much prize fighters, and the idea to see them being excited about my camp, enjoying being mixed martial artists again, and just enjoying the craft of what they were doing, just teaching me, was honestly amazing.”
“It was a huge 180 in the sense that I was there at a very popular local bar with hundreds of people watching the fights and there was a sense of pride that he was back,” he said. “Anderson, for many, is holding the flag of Brazil, and he was when he was fighting Nick Diaz. And then just a couple days later that high became a 180. There wasn’t much talking, but everyone was acknowledging the weird feeling that it was.”
While he’s been playing the part of world traveler, the state of MMA in Canada remains a hot-button topic North of the border.
There’s one big, obvious reason: The loss of Montreal superstar Georges St-Pierre. But Theodorou sees that as just one of several reasons.
“You have the vortex of GSP leaving, maybe the greatest headliner of all-time, and especially Canada,” Theodorou said. “Certain promotions have come and gone, and there are certain regulations in places like Ontario where it might be harder to put things together and only bigger organizations like the UFC can pull it off, to be completely honest. And there’s variations of other fighters, other than Tri-Star there aren’t too many gyms people think they can flock to, just in, that next step. Tri-Star is one of those places within Canada. Maybe some people leave and go to different parts of the world.”
Still, though, these things are cyclical in the fight game, and Theodorou is confident things will come back around, even if he’s not a part of UFC 186.
“I think there’s great talent, and I’m optimistic for the future,” he said.
Elias Theodorou will discuss his UFC 185 bout against Roger Narvaez.