Jeremiah Wells UFC fighter

Jeremiah Wells, 36, and Matthew “Semi The Jedi” Semelsberger, 30, are outside the welterweight rankings but are each tough fights for many in the division.

Wells is 3-0 in the UFC with all three fights ending by finish in under 6 minutes, winning two by knockout and one by submission. Semelsberger is 5-2 in the UFC with two knockout wins and the rest of his fights going the distance.

They’ll go head-to-head this weekend at UFC Vegas 71.

Betting Odds

Wells and Semelsberger’s odds are even, indicating a fun and close fight.

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Fight Breakdown

Wells is a well-rounded fighter with clear finishing ability. He fights out of one of the better, but still under-the-radar-wrestling camps in Renzo Gracie Philly (Sean Brady’s Gym). Wells began his career primarily as an explosive wrestler who used athleticism, sound technique, and raw strength to aggressively drive opponents to the mat and inflict damage on top. As he’s developed as a mixed martial artist, Wells has shown significant improvements with his striking. His striking, much like his wrestling, is steep in explosive movements and raw power. His striking technique lacks some refinement but he marries it well with his wrestling.

Specifically, like many other successful wrestle-boxers, Wells is adept at pushing forward with pressure and throwing hooks or overhand power punches with freedom, then following the momentum of those strikes into takedowns. Because the threat of his wrestling is paramount and because his striking is powerful, opponents often get caught cold early in fights, standing and watching while Wells unloads heavy blows. Additionally, while he hasn’t had to show it yet in the UFC, Wells has the cardio to continue his powerful wrestling for all 3 rounds. The issues Wells typically has comes when he can’t get an opponent down. If he can’t successfully wrestle, his powerful but basic striking can be exposed and Wells can be pieced up on the feet.

Semelsberger is a fighter with a ranked-level ceiling but hasn’t put his game all the way together yet. “Semi The Jedi” is hyper-athletic, playing Division 1 football at Alabama, and uses that athleticism well in the cage. Early in his career, Semelsberger relied solely on his natural gifts as he got into brawls and won them on the back on his edge in power, speed, and toughness. More recently, Semelsberger has refined his technique and started incorporating more straight shots in his combinations rather than wild hooks. He has shown a good chin, quicker hands, and an ability to throw combinations with more accuracy. However, he can get caught watching for the perfect shot and lose important rounds because of a lack of volume.

When Semelsberger is at his best, he is striking aggressively and with power. He also will incorporate offensive wrestling of his own, often following his power strikes much like Wells. Like his “Semi” nickname, Semelsberger can struggle to get started at times and without momentum can get being overly passive.

Prediction and Betting Guide

Semelsberger has the potential to walk through Wells with stout defensive wrestling, powerful striking, and an ability to eat heavy shots with ease. However, he has the potential to let Wells dictate pace and space, land more volume as he watches for the perfect shot, and lose valuable minutes or even rounds. This fight comes down to whether or not Semelsberger has reached his potential. I don’t think he’s there yet and I do think Wells has shown remarkable consistency in his short UFC tenure. So, I’m backing the more reliable fighter in this one.

Best Bet: Wells to win (-110 odds at MyBookie)

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