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The Ultimate Fighter Live’ finale breakdown, betting odds and picks

Jake Ellenberger favored over Martin Kampmann in main event

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Sam Morris

Cristiano Marcello and Sam Sicilia face off during the weigh in for The Ultimate Fighter 15 Thursday, May 31, 2012.

'The Ultimate Fighter 15' Weigh-in

Jake Ellenberger, left, and Martin Kampmann face off during the weigh in for The Ultimate Fighter 15 Thursday, May 31, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Jake Ellenberger and Martin Kampmann held drastically different sessions with the media heading into their “The Ultimate Fighter Live” finale main event Friday at the Palms.

Whereas Kampmann (19-5 MMA, 10-4 UFC) openly discussed areas where he felt his opponent was weak and exploitable, Ellenberger (27-5 MMA, 6-1 UFC) had nothing but positive remarks for the 30-year old local fighter.

“He’s good everywhere,” Ellenberger said of Kampmann. “There are not any big holes from what I can see. I’m really focused on what I can do. I’m not taking him lightly.”

Ellenberger has won six straight, while Kampmann is on a two-fight win streak of his own with two controversial decisions preceding the run. The winner of the bout will inch as close as one victory away from a shot at the UFC welterweight title.

Oddsmakers see Ellenberger’s wrestling pedigree as the difference, as the 27-year old from Omaha, Neb., is listed as a -220 (risking $2.20 to win $1) favorite. Kampmann comes back at +185 as the underdog.

Kampmann doesn’t agree. He said Ellenberger would be foolish to take him down. With five career UFC wins by submission, Kampmann wants the fight on the ground.

“I have a solid ground game,” Kampmann said. “If Jake tries to take me down, it’s going to be a real short night for him. I think, if anything, he’s got real heavy hands. That’s what I’ve got to watch out for.”

Ellenberger’s power may give Kampmann slight pause, but the Danish-born fighter confident about his technical striking edge. Kampmann proclaimed he couldn’t envision himself losing this fight.

Ellenberger didn’t go that far, only noting he had supreme confidence in himself.

Pick: Ellenberger by knockout

Check below for betting odds and picks from the rest of the fights at the event, which airs at 6 on FX after a preliminary card on FUEL TV at 3 and one facebook-streamed fight.

 

TUF Live Lightweight championship bout: Mike Chiesa (7-0 MMA, 4-0 TUF) vs. Al Iaquinta (5-1 MMA, 4-0 TUF)

Line: Chiesa +220, Iaquinta -280

Matchup: Both of this season’s finalists come from a wrestling background. But different parts of their game have developed into strengths since turning to mixed martial arts. Iaquinta should have advantage striking with Chiesa holding the grappling edge.

Pick: Iaquinta by knockout

 

Featherweight bout: Jonathan Brookins (13-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC) vs. Charles Oliveira (15-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC)

Line: Brookins +160, Oliveira -200

Matchup: Oliveira and Brookins are massive for the 145-pound division, as they both dropped down to featherweight from lightweight. Brookins, who won the 12th season of “TUF”, knocked out Vagner Rocha in 1:32 his last time out. Oliveira, once considered among the brightest prospects in the sport, took 11 seconds longer to submit Eric Wisely in his first fight this year.

Pick: Oliveira by submission

 

Featherweight bout: Max Holloway (4-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) vs. Pat Schilling (5-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC)

Line: Holloway -120, Schilling -110

Matchup: The lengthy Holloway prefers to keep fights standing, but promises he’s made improvements on the ground since getting submitted by Dustin Poirier in his UFC debut. He might need them against Schilling. The full-time Best Buy customer service manager from Minneapolis has four career wins by submission.

Pick: Holloway by decision

 

Lightweight bout: Justin Lawrence (3-0 MMA, 2-1 TUF) vs. John Cofer (7-1 MMA, 1-1 TUF)

Line: Lawrence -375, Cofer +285

Matchup: Cofer, who fights out of Athens, Ga., must feel unlucky to be the “TUF” cast member paired against Lawrence for the finale. The 21-year old who trains with Team Black House in Los Angeles was the favorite to win this season’s tournament before Chiesa upset him. Cofer will look to combat Lawrence’s fearless and creative striking with a relentless pace set by his wrestling.

Pick: Lawrence by knockout

 

Lightweight bout: Darron Cruickshank (10-2 MMA, 1-1 TUF) vs. Chris Tickle (7-4 MMA, 1-1 TUF)

Line: Cruickshank -230, Tickle +180

Matchup: Both fighters trust in their striking ability. Tickle may have an edge in power, but Cruickshank is more technical. The two had a slight altercation while living in the “TUF” house when Tickle played a prank on a sleeping Cruickshank, who awoke and attacked the jokester with a kick and punch.

Pick: Cruickshank by decision

 

Lightweight bout: Myles Jury (9-0 MMA, 1-1 TUF) vs. Chris Saunders (9-2 MMA, 2-1 TUF)

Line: Jury -325, Saunders +250

Matchup: “The Fury” Jury dropped a memorable split-decision to Iaquinta in the quarterfinal round. At only 23-years old, some fans believe Jury has the brightest future of anyone on this season’s “TUF” cast. Saunders is raw, but has dangerous striking.

Pick: Jury by submission

 

Lightweight bout: Cristiano Marcello (12-3 MMA, 1-1 TUF) vs. Sam Sicilia (10-0 MMA, 1-1 TUF)

Line: Marcello +155, Sicilia -190

Matchup: Style-wise, this may make for the most intriguing bout on the card. Marcello is one of the world’s best Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts, training several notable Brazilian fighters and once fighting in PRIDE. Sicilia has knockout power in both hands, finishing his first “TUF” opponent in eight seconds three months ago.

Pick: Sicilia by knockout

 

Lightweight bout: Joe Proctor (7-1 MMA, 2-1 TUF) vs. Jeremy Larsen (8-2 MMA, 1-1 TUF)

Line: Larsen +220, Proctor -280

Matchup: Proctor is a protégé of UFC veteran Joe Lauzon, following in his footsteps as a submission specialist. Larsen should be more well rested than most “TUF” cast members on the card, as he hasn’t fought in two months since Chiesa knocked him out in the quarterfinals.

Pick: Proctor by submission

 

Bantamweight bout: John Albert (7-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) vs. Erik Perez (10-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC)

Line: Albert -225, Perez +175

Matchup: Albert lends some “TUF” 14 flavor to the card, as he made it into the UFC by beating Dustin Pague at the finale last December. He looked strong early in a fight after “TUF” against Ivan Menjivar, but ultimately succumbed to a first-round submission. Perez is a newcomer with strong grappling skills.

Pick: Perez by decision

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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