Breaking down the Finals!|
Source IFL News Network
By Ayperi Durrishahwar
January 13, 2016
In this week's highly anticipated Finals between rookie squad Dirty Black (6th) and Team Fist (2nd), we're looking at a rematch of Week 7 where Team Fist Nation celebrated a 29-18 victory over DRB. In that match, TMF won the Iron Fist (Matt vs. Jojo, 5-4), the Push (Lena vs. Grace, 5-3) and Crutch (Darik vs. Bob, 5-4) bouts while DRB took the Anchor (Koy vs. Niha, 2-5). Of the TMF bout wins, both the Iron Fist and Crutch went to Sudden Death meaning the overall match could easily have swung in DRB's favour.
In the Finals, none of the matchups are a repeat pairing from this or previous seasons. So without further ado, let's take a look at the bout-by-bout breakdowns!
Kheldar Drasinia (HV) vs. Grace Frigg (HV)
2015 Season Record: Kheldar: 1-2; -1.00 PDPB / Grace: 2-3; -2.40 PDPB
Rank: Draw. Both duelers are HeavyWeights.
Experience Factor: Kheldar Drasinia. Kheldar's fought in 35 career IFL bouts, including a 3-1 record in playoff bouts (2 IF, 1 Push & 1 Crutch) -- the only loss coming to Jake Thrash in the Season 3 Finals. Grace, with 19 career bouts (1 playoff Crutch overtime loss) has plenty of experience on her side, but she's not quite on the same level as Kheldar.
Intimidation Factor: Kheldar Drasinia. Kheldar sports a 17-12 regular season record with a 1.07 PDPB. 24 of his lifetime bouts are evenly split between Iron Fist and Push bouts so he's used to fighting under pressure...this will only be the 3rd Anchor bout of his career (1-1 lifetime, with a shutout loss to Rena Cronin back in the Beta season). Grace has fought in 3 Anchor bouts to date (1-2 record, with all 3 bouts ending in a 5-4 score).
Historical Factor: Draw. Kheldar sat out the TMF vs. DRB match and while Grace lost her bout in that match, there's not enough background to sway this category firmly to one side or the other.
Overall: Kheldar Drasinia. While this could easily become a trap duel for TMF, Kheldar knows as well as anyone how important each lower-bout point can be, especially in a tight-knit match. I don't think he'll run away with this bout, but he should notch a win.
Final Score Prediction: 5-3 Kheldar
Lena Choi (PO) vs. Bob (HV)
2015 Season Record: Lena: 3-1; 2.00 PDPB / Bob: 2-3; -1.80 PDPB
Rank: The edge goes to Lena (PowerHouse) over Bob (HeavyWeight).
Experience Factor: Lena Choi. This will be Lena's 19th IFL bout, her 5th playoff bout (2-2 record, with three of the four bouts ending in a 5-4 score) and the third time she's fought the Crutch bout in the playoffs. For Bob, this will be his 10th career bout and only his 2nd playoff bout (4-5 Iron Fist loss to Kruger in Season 4). This bout is only Bob's third in the Crutch while Lena's fought in the slot five prior times.
Intimidation Factor: Lena Choi. Lena's riding a 3-bout win streak, her longest after beginning her IFL career with four straight wins. Bob's strung together two-bout win streaks twice in his career but is currently embedded in a career-worst 3-bout loss streak. It should be noted, though, that two of those losses were 5-4 scores. Lena's 1.57 career regular season PDPB trumps Bob's -0.50.
Overall: Lena Choi. The positive thing for Bob and DRB is Lena's 2-3 career record in Crutch bouts. While Lena should win this bout, it's by no means a lock...out of Bob's five career losses, four of them were by a single point (5-4) and three of those losses came from 4-4 Sudden Death scenarios. Still, Lena has the overall match edge.
Final Score Prediction: 5-4 Lena
Darik Warchild (KBW) vs. Blondie Eastwood (HV)
2015 Season Record: Darik: 4-0; 6.00 PDPB / Blondie: 2-2; -1.50 PDPB
Rank: Darik's the Kiowa Belt Winner. Can't top that!
Experience Factor: Draw. Darik has fought 31 career bouts while Blondie's entered the ring 19 times. Darik's 3-3 lifetime in Push bouts while Blondie's 5-3. Darik has a championship to his name (Season 2 with BAD) but did not fight in the playoffs at all that season. Surprisingly, Blondie has more playoff experience than his opponent with 5 prior playoff bouts to his name (3-2 overall) compared to Darik with four prior playoff bouts (2-2 overall).
Intimidation Factor: Including the Season 4 Powerhouse Party, Darik's riding an 11-bout win streak which just might be a league record. Prior, his longest streak was 3 (twice). Blondie's had a four-bout win streak and multiple two bout streaks. Both duelers enter this bout having won their prior fight.
Overall: Darik Warchild. Since leaving TMF, Blondie's only fought against them once (5-0 perfect shutout over Gren Blockman to begin Season 4) but revenge will have to take a back seat to careful strategy if he's going to notch this win. Darik might be long overdue for a loss but winning 11 bouts in a row and holding the league's top rank speaks for itself.
Final Score Prediction: This one should end with a 5-4 score. Who'll have that all important fifth point is a fifty-fifty gambit in my book. I'll go with Darik but I won't be shocked at all if Blondie takes this one.
Matthew Algiers Simon (PO) vs. Terry King (MI)
2015 Season Record: Matt: 3-2; 1.60 PDPB / Terry: 4-0; 5.75 PDPB
Rank: Matt Simon (PowerHouse) over Terry (FlyWeight).
Experience Factor: Matt Simon. Since this is Terry's first IFL season, she's entering her 7th career bout while Matt's coming into his 34th.
Intimidation Factor: Draw. Terry has yet to lose in the regular season or the playoffs and this is already her 5th Iron Fist bout. She won her first career duel by a 5-1 margin and though two of her wins came in overtime (Week 3, 6-5 win over Cooper Gallows in 12 rounds & Week 5, 7-6 over Dizzy Flores in 16 rounds), Terry's proven she can win in the clutch.
Matt Simon or, as some in the media have dubbed him, Captain Futility, has a six-streak of his own. His, though, comes in the loss column to go along with another 4-bout loss streak. He's currently riding a 4-bout win streak, a feat accomplished only one other time in his career, and he's never won five bouts in a row. Despite a much longer career, this is only Matt's 5th time fighting an Iron Fist bout. An important note -- though he rarely frequents the top slot, Matt's yet to lose in the Iron Fist and has a perfect shutout (vs. Maria Graziano in the Season 2 playoff semi-finals) and a 5-1 victory to go along with two other 5-4 results.
Overall: Draw. There's something to be said for going through a season undefeated and there's nothing to suggest Terry King's going to stop now. The main question is whether Matt can shed the Captain Futility label either with a bout win or, more importantly, the overall team win. I believe the pressure of Team Fist Nation will weigh too heavily upon the shoulders of TMF's star-crossed captain allowing Terry to ride roughshod all over him in this bout.
Final Score Prediction: 5-2 Terry.
Captain's Lineup Decisions
With Hoi Mei having broken her arm in her semi-final bout with Anubis Karos, TMF can't make use of the powerful one-two Hoi-Mei/Darik Warchild combo (8-0 regular season, 2-0 playoffs). Koyliak (1-4, -2.40) and Gren (1-2, -2.33) sitting out isn't too much of a surprise and it's likely Terry didn't have to think too hard at all about who'd slot into TMF's Finals lineup. Terry had fewer TMF lineup possibilities to consider than did Matt and thus held the potential for greater control. Though she couldn't know for certain where Matt would slot his fighters, she could reasonably play the odds to her advantage.
While the Blondie-Darik Push bout may be the deciding factor in the overall match, Matt throwing himself into the Iron Fist bout instead of Darik was a bit surprising. Chances are if Hoi Mei were healthy, Matt would have taken the Crutch or Anchor. Instead, he's (for better or worse) put the team, and potentially the whole matchup, on his shoulders.
From DRB's perspective, Terry King putting herself and her undefeated record into the Iron Fist is no surprise. Benching Niha (2-1, 1.67 PDPB and the only DRB team member besides Terry with a positive PDPB), for Grace might prove a mistake, but only if DRB loses by an extremely close margin.
Though TMF is poised to win this matchup, one or two stray points might just swing things in DRB's favour. Though her team's a 6th seed coming into the playoff, Terry's squad can't be taken lightly and they've got a great chance to take home a championship in their inaugural season. Though the matchup most everyone wanted to see (Darik vs. King with undefeated records on the line) isn't happening, we've still got 4 prime-time bouts remaining in the season and I'm excited to see how they play out!
Predicted Match Score (if Darik wins): 26-21 TMF
Predicted Match Score (if Blondie wins): 26-21 DRB
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