The UFC returns with a stacked card headlined by the Moraes v Sandhagen showdown, we preview that and other big fights on the card.
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By Kieran Cobley
Marlon Moraes v Cory Sandhagen
Moraes vs Sandhagen is going to be an incredible fight, no doubt about it, but I’m backing the Brazilian to come out on top.
“Magic” is a veteran of the sport now, this will be his 31st pro fight and in the 30 he has had so far, he has won 16 within the distance, and at a slight underdog price I think he is the value bet here.
Sandhagen, meanwhile, is only just coming into his own, he’s 12-2 and is coming off a devastating submission loss to Aljamain Sterling, but he will still be a tough opponent for Moraes given his range advantage.
The range advantage Sandhagen has though should be negated by Moraes, the Brazilian has vetaran experience and is fantastic at working his way into range to deliver damage, just look at how he finished Rapael Assuncao and Aljamain Sterling for the evidence.
Better yet, Sandhagen showed in his last fight that his grappling skills are not as developed as some other fighters in the division, and that spells danger when you factor in Moraes has six submission wins and a black belt in Brazilain Jiu Jitsu.
For this fight, I expect Sandhagen to keep the fight at range, but for Moraes to slip into striking distance and drop Sandhagen before jumping on top to finish the fight with ground and pound or a submisson.
Tom Aspinall v Alan Baudot
Tom Aspinall is a heavy favourite going into this fight with Alan Baudot, and for good reason.
The Team Kaobon fighter has finished his last four fights via first round knockout, he is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has had pro fights in Boxing and Muay Thai. He is also a former sparring partner of WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
In the opposite corner, Baudot is an 8-1 pro with seven KO/TKO wins, but this is his first fight in the UFC and looking at his record, Aspinall will be a huge step up in opposition for the Frenchman, and one I don’t believe he is ready to take.
For this fight, I expect Aspinall to dictate the pace and find a knockout blow within the first round, setting him up nicely to look at fighting a bigger name in his next bout, or possibly a shot at a ranked fighter..
by William Dean
Rodrigo Nascimento v Chris Daukaus
Both Rodrigo Nascimento and Chris Daukaus will have the opportunity to grab their second wins inside the UFC’s Octagon on Saturday night. They both impressed in their recent debuts, finishing their opponents with relative ease.
For me, one fighter has the much greater potential for long-term success in the heavyweight division, and that is Nascimento. The Brazilian is both well-rounded and fast, which are unique traits for someone of his size. His striking is a work in progress, but his footwork keeps him out of danger as he looks to close the distance and secure a takedown.
Daukaus is the more technical striker of the two, and the American could cause problems for his opponent with his sharp and accurate right hand. The stumbling block for Daukaus is his distance management and cage control, as he often allows his opponents to back him up against the fence when they apply forward pressure.
Nascimento has shown a real talent for takedowns against the fence, which will change this fight completely. On the mat, Nascimento has very slick Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and should be able to work his way to a dominant position, where he can finish via strikes or submission.
Overall, I am expecting Nascimento to dictate the pace and distance of this fight. By doing so, he will create openings for takedowns and should take control of the fight on the mat, whilst avoiding the power shots of Daukaus along the way.
Nascimento has finished all of his eight bouts, with six victories coming by submission. Whilst I think this is the most likely outcome, heavyweight fighters all pack tremendous power in each punch, so I am hesitant to be so specific. Look for Nascimento to make a big statement on Saturday night, winning inside the distance.
Tagir Ulanbekov v Bruno Silva
As a training partner and associate of Khabib Nurmagomedov, the UFC surely have big plans for Tagir Ulanbekov. Also hailing from Dagestan, the Russian has a similar style to the dominant lightweight lhampion; intense pressure wrestling that will drown opponents, as well as opportunistic submissions and cruel ground striking.
Bruno Silva draws the task of welcoming the Russian to the Octagon on Saturday night. The Brazilian flyweight has lost both of his UFC bouts so far, and whilst they have both been reasonably competitive, his cardio has failed him on both occasions.
Unfortunately for Silva, the intensity and pace when fighting a Dagestani pressure wrestler is one of the most demanding. Bulldog will try his hardest to scramble back to his feet when this fight hits the mat, but the top control of Ulanbekov will make this seem futile. Silva often gives a spirited performance in the opening round, but this will come back to haunt him if his opponent remains patient early.
To make matters worse, Ulanbekov will also hold a significant height and reach advantage over his opponent. The Russian has the perfect frame for a grappler at flyweight, as his long arms will make it easier to control his opponent’s wrists, secure bodylocks and find choke submissions.
If Ulanbekov can get his grappling going from the opening round of this fight, I expect to see Silva wither as the fight goes on. Ulanbekov has won seven of his 12 bouts by submission, with five of these coming after the first round. We saw how easily Khalid Taha was able to use his grappling to secure the late submission in Silva’s debut, and I think a similar outcome is likely here.
Posted at 1055 BST on 08/10/20
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