Welcome to the UFC: Matthew Semelsberger and Carlton Minus

UFC octagon girls
UFC Octagon girls Credit: Twitter//@UFC

What a wild and wacky fight week it has been ahead of UFC Vegas 7. Once again, with the pandemic era making weight cuts and fight camps harder, a card has been ravaged by withdrawals, injuries, and just plain bad luck.

This week’s event is headlined by Frankie Edgar and Pedro Munhoz in a very important bantamweight bout. It was to feature Michelle Waterson vs Angela Hill, but that was pushed back. Ovince St. Preux has a short-notice fight against Alonzo Menifield, after his first opponent, Shamil Gamzatov, dropped out. Two fighters were scratched during weigh-ins, even though one (Takashi Sato) made weight. Meanwhile, promotional newcomer Matthew Semelsberger was supposed to make his UFC debut against Phillip Rowe. Of course, Rowe pulled out. Now Semelsberger will fight another debuting fighter in Carlton Minus.

Got all that?

Matthew Semelsberger
Frederick, Maryland, US
Clinch Academy
1 Submission

How will Semelsberger fare in the UFC:

Semelsberger is 6-2 and the combined record of his opponents is 17-10. On the other side, his two losses are to a debuting fighter and an opponent sporting a 3-4 record.

Semelsberger is a powerful, athletic guy. He hits hard, particularly with his right hand and a chopping inside leg kick. He is low volume, throwing single strikes then resetting. He will double up on the left jab and come over the top with the right but the consistency isn’t there. His takedown defense isn’t great but off his back is where he struggles the most. He hardly ever puts his feet on the hips or on the mat attempting to scramble. He hasn’t fought the best competition and with that in mind, he’s yet to look impressive in the least.

Carlton Minus
Anchorage, Alaska, US
Legacy Jiu-Jitsi
10-1, 1 NC
1 Submission

How will Minus fare in the UFC:

Minus is a striker, and technically sound at the basics. He fights behinds his jab, which he pumps out actively doubling up and tripling up before firing off with follow-ups. You won’t see too much volume from him there, however, as Minus is a fighter who picks his shots from the outside. He’s got decent enough footwork to keep the fight on the outside as well. He is a fairly basic striker so you know what his gameplan is before he even steps into the cage.

Minus had a step up in competition against Rick Story in the PFL two years ago. He was completely dominated. Minus was taken down at will and off his back, he looked a bit lost. Story easily passed his guard into dominant positions eventually getting the submission. Being only 27-years-old however Minus has some upside with his striking, range, and a textbook jab. I think it’s too much too soon to enter the UFC for Minus, as he needs time to refine.

How do these two match up:

This is actually a fairly favorable debut for both fighters. Both are strikers with little to no desire to grapple. Semelsberger has an advantage when it comes to explosiveness, but that’s about it. They’re generally pretty evenly matched. Both Minus and Semelsberger are conservative with their output, though Semelsberger throws in singles where Minus at least throws jabs and the one-two frequently. The grappling is probably a wash.

The distance control and the technical ability of Minus should be good enough to frustrate Semelsberger. The fight could go either way but skill for skill, Minus is more talented.

The bet I like is a straight bet on Carlton Minus at -125. The odds are at nearly a pick-em which is where it should be. Althouh I think Minus should win, this is a fight I would stay away from.