Fitch vs. Saunders
One of the main card bouts of Saturday’s UFC 111: St. Pierre vs. Hardy event is between welterweights Jon Fitch and Ben Saunders.
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Fitch enters the fight as the clear favorite with a betting line of -450 with Saunders given a line of +325 according to online sports book SPORTSBETTING.com. Here is a closer look at both fighters heading into this bout, which will take place from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey at 10PM ET on Pay Per-View.
Jon Fitch (21-3):
Strengths: Fitch is a very experienced wrestler from Purdue University and that has transitioned into a successful UFC fighter. At one time the No. 1 contender for the UFC Welterweight Championship, Fitch has won 11 UFC fights in his career and looking to get back into title contention with a win. Fitch can take a lot of punishment, but most of his fights result in him landing takedowns and using ground and pound strikes to earn decision wins.
Weaknesses: Fitch has shown an inability to finish fights, as he hasn’t won by TKO or submission since June of 2007. Fitch doesn’t have a lot of punching power, so his striking is also a weakness but he uses his wrestling background to be a very difficult opponent for most fighters.
Last Five Fights:
Unanimous decision win over Mike Pierce at UFC 107 on Dec. 12, 2009
Unanimous decision win over Paulo Thiago at UFC 100 on July 11, 2009
Unanimous decision win over Akihiro Gono at UFC 94 on Jan. 31, 2009
Unanimous decision loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 87 on Aug. 9, 2008
Unanimous decision win over Chris Wilson at UFC 82 on March 1, 2008
Ben Saunders (8-1-2):
Strengths: Saunders has a lot of length, standing 6-2. In the welterweight division, Saunders has long reach with his arms and legs. His kicks are very powerful and his muay thai knees have knocked people out in the past. His long legs also allow him to have a strong guard on the ground and take minimal damage while on his back.
Weaknesses: Saunders still struggles to avoid takedowns and his kicks and punches are a bit slow compared to most, which leaves him open against faster fighters. It worked to his disadvantage against Mike Swick, but in this fight, Fitch isn’t know for having lightning fast hands. Saunders is also taking this fight on short notice as he was set to face Jake Ellenberger in the prelims before Thiago Alves had to be removed from the fight with Fitch because of an irregularity discovered in a CAT scan. So, despite the short notice, Saunders should still be in good shape for the fight.
Last Five Fights:
First round KO win over Marcus Davis at UFC 106 on Nov. 21, 2009
Second round TKO loss to Mike Swick at UFC 99 on June 13, 2009
First round KO win over Brandon Wolff at UFC Fight for the Troops on Dec. 10, 2008
Second round submission win over Ryan Thomas at UFC 87 on Aug. 9, 2008
Unanimous decision win over Daniel Barrer at Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale on Dec. 8, 2007
Who will win: Fitch has been in bigger fights but Saunders has more ability to end the fight. If Saunders can keep a tight guard that forces the fight to be stood up, he has a chance to land a big strike and get the win. But, if he can’t avoid takedowns, he will likely end up losing a decision to Fitch. The safe bet says go with Fitch, but don’t be surprised if there is an upset in this one.
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Posted: 3/27/10 1:13PM ET