BRAIN VS. HEART: The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale PICKS

Welcome to The Brain vs. The Heart. Everyone has that internal battle with themselves about which fighter you think will win vs. which fighter you actually want to win. The Brain vs The Heart takes you on a journey inside the mind (and heart) of IAMMA to tackle the battle head-on. Who will win? Let’s find out!

Julian Erosa (-140) vs. Marcin Wrzosek (+110)

The Brain: The main card kicks off with a fight between TUF contestants. Neither fighter looked too good on TUF from what I saw, but I think they were better than those fights. I think Erosa is a little more well-rounded than Wrzosek. I see Erosa getting the fight to the ground and locking in a submission. Erosa by Submission

The Heart: No disrespect to either fighter, but I really wish they would quit putting the other TUF fights on the main card. In this case I think Erosa probably has a little more potential, but I would like to see some more Polish stars in the UFC. Plus I like Wrzosek’s nickname. Rooting for The Polish Zombie in this fight. Wrzosek by Decision

Tatsuya Kawajiri (-240) vs. Jason Knight (+220)

The Brain: Knight makes his debut against the veteran Kawajiri. This will be a tough fight for the submission ace Knight. He will have to watch out for the powerful takedowns of Kawajiri, and even if he winds up on bottom, Knight will no doubt continue to hunt for the submission. While he is getting up there in age, I think Kawajiri’s high-level experience will be a major factor in this fight. I think he can avoid the submission attempts of Knight. Kawajiri doesn’t have a whole lot to offer in the striking department. The majority of his game revolves around getting fighters to the ground and working to control the action and secure the submission. Both fighters possess high level submission defense as well, so it will be interesting to see if either has success. I think Kawajiri will be the stronger fighter and be able to control Knight on his way to a decision victory. Kawajiri by Decision

The Heart: I’m extremely excited to see Knight make his debut. If you’ve seen any of his highlights you’d know that he has a wide variety of unique ways to submit his opponent. He certainly has a tall task ahead of him though. I’m not sure how much time Kawajiri has left, but I’d like to see his success continue. Knight can afford the loss and still end up having a good run in the UFC. Kawajiri by Decision

Evan Dunham (-200) vs. Joe Lauzon (+170)

The Brain: Bonus machines Lauzon and Dunham square off. While there aren’t any serious implications for this fight, both would like to stay relevant. Lauzon is a decent striker, but he truly excels on the ground, especially in scrambles. He is constantly looking for the submission. He has been rather hittable and that could be a problem against Dunham, who tends to have a very high striking output. Dunham is also good on the ground. I think he will be able to grind Lauzon down and take the decision. Dunham by Decision

The Heart: This is another fight where I like both fighters, but this choice is fairly easy for me. I’m a big Lauzon fan. Though he may be starting to feel the effects from so many battles, that doesn’t change the fact that he’s still a joy to watch every time out. There are only a few fighters in the division that I enjoy more than Lauzon. Dunham isn’t on that list. Lauzon by Submission

Edson Barboza (+160) vs. Tony Ferguson (-170)

The Brain: This fight isn’t getting near the attention it deserves due to there being so many fights in three days, but this is one you definitely won’t want to miss. I don’t see any way at least one of these guys doesn’t end up with a bonus. Barboza is a dangerous striker that has some vicious kicks as well (as we all know by now). Ferguson is an extremely unorthodox fighter that seems to improve each time out. He is incredibly hard to figure out and does a great job of sticking and moving. While Ferguson will definitely have to watch out for Barboza, I think Ferguson is better everywhere and should win this exciting fight. Ferguson by Decision

The Heart: I really enjoy watching both of these fighters. They are never boring. No one will forget Barboza’s stunning headkick. I honestly believe Ferguson can continue to develop and could become a top five fighter in the division. I love his awkward style and want to see him continue his rise to the top. Ferguson by Submission

Ryan Hall (+155) vs. Artem Lobov (-195)

The Brain: The TUF 22 Finale takes place between late replacement Ryan Hall and Artem Lobov. Hall got the call up due to Saul Rogers being pulled due to visa issues. Lobov is going to be looking to continue his TUF knockout streak. Hall is likely going to try for his third TUF heel hook. Lobov has experience on his side, and I think he’ll be able to stop Hall’s submission attempts.  Lobov by TKO

The Heart: Lobov has a rather uninspiring record and I don’t think he gets very far in the UFC. Hall might not either, but he’s early enough in his MMA career that I’d like to see more. Plus everyone enjoys watching leg lock specialists (as long as they let go when they should). Hall by Submission

Frankie Edgar (-130) vs. Chad Mendes (+110)

The Brain: This is a fight I’ve wanted to see for a long time and I’m glad we all finally get the chance. In my opinion, these are the two best MMA wrestlers in the division and some of the best in all of MMA. Mendes has never been taken down. I don’t believe Edgar has been taken down at featherweight, but has at lightweight. Either way, he’s still hard to keep down. Mendes has the power advantage, but his output is less than Edgar’s. Mendes has only gone 5 rounds once, while Edgar has done so on many occasions. I think almost all of this fight plays out on the feet. I do think we’ll see some takedowns, but I think both fighters will find a way to get back up relatively quickly. Edgar is shifty and hard to hit. I think over the course of 5 rounds he will wear Mendes out, especially if he attacks the body like McGregor did, and will win a fairly close decision. Edgar by Decision

The Heart: I’m so torn on who I want to win this fight. I am seriously a big fan of both guys. I think for me the tiebreaker comes down to title fights. Mendes has had his opportunities already and came up short. Edgar had only one shot and looked fairly good even though he lost. Plus Mendes has fought both Aldo and McGregor, while Edgar has only fought Aldo. If Edgar wins this, I will truly be exciting for him to fight whoever wins the Aldo/McGregor fight. Edgar by Decision

The Brain is leading with a 31-13 record. The Heart is still trailing with a 22-22 record. The records will be updated after all three cards this weekend have concluded.

Any questions or comments? Hit me up on Twitter @IAMMAEverlast or comment below.

About the Author:

IAMMA. MMA superfan looking to be the voice of the fans. Tune in to read my Brain vs Heart picks & MMA event recaps!