After winning a split decision on Dana White’s Contender Series, Canadian fighter Chad “The Monster” Anheliger has finally broken into the UFC at the age of 35. Professionally, the bantamweight is 11-5 with nine finish wins and five submission losses. Californian Jesse “Sui Generis” Strader lost his UFC debut via knockout. That brought his professional record to 5-2, with four knockout wins and both losses coming by knockout.
Anheliger is the betting favorite in his UFC debut.
- Anheliger: -255
- Strader: +200
Anheliger is a fast starter with several early finishes outside the UFC. He has heavy hands, frequent leg kicks, and good volume. Typically, Anheliger will fight with more aggression and forward pressure than technique. Defensively, Anheliger has minimal head movement and is easily hit. Ultimately, when striking, he is willing to eat a shot to land a shot and banks on his shot having more stopping power than his opponent’s. With six knockout wins and no knockout losses, so far, he’s been right. On the mat, Anheliger struggles. Like his striking, Anheliger relies on strength and aggression when grappling and is defensively porous. All five of the elder prospect’s losses have come by submission. He’ll look to keep the fight on the feet and create those wild, fan-friendly exchanges in which he excels.
Speaking of a fan-friendly style, six of Strader’s seven fights have finished via KO/TKO. He also has heavy hands, frequent leg kicks, and big looping shots. Strader is willing to work the body in tight to get his opponent to drop his hands; then, Strader can look for the chin. His issue on the feet is that most of Strader’s shots are slow, telegraphed, and looping with minimal technique. The positive side is that he does have solid power when he throws and is willing to keep coming forward, even if he is getting pieced up. Much like his opponent, where Strader lacks fundamentals and defensive awareness, he makes up for it with heart and pressure.
This fight should be a fun one for as long as it lasts. Both guys are car crash strikers who are willing to forgo their safety in favor of a wild exchange. Anheliger is favored because he has a better chin and, likely, more power. But, similarly to Skelly vs. Striegl, in low-level fights where both fighters have such a similar game, I like the underdog money. My favorite play on the board is for the fight not to go the distance; but, when it comes to picking a winner, I side with Strader.
Prediction: Strader to win