The APEX in Las Vegas hosts this week’s UFC Fight Night, whereas subsequent week’s UFC 262 is about to happen in entrance of a raucous crowd at T-Mobile Arena. Things are slowly returning to regular within the UFC, Nevada and the world, and it’s thrilling to anticipate viewing occasions that can be open to public attendance.
I converse typically about uncovering alternative when the athlete I want in a bout is primed to current his very best effort.
Going into final week’s combat, Dominick Reyes match that description completely. However, Reyes fought a combat that might have toppled any gentle heavyweight within the UFC that night time apart from Jiri Prochazka. Reyes earned my respect for he displayed coronary heart, grit, guts and mettle all through the 9 minutes of full beatdown he endured by the hands, ft, knees and elbows of Prochazka.
Handicapping Reyes to combat his greatest combat final Saturday was profitable. Handicapping his greatest effort towards the hassle of Prochazka was not.
Marina Rodriguez -175 vs. Michelle Waterson +155
Women’s Flyweight (125 kilos) Main Event
The unique predominant occasion was Cory Sandhagen vs. TJ Dillashaw. That combat was postponed due to a Dillashaw harm, leaving this comparatively uninspiring combat slate and not using a predominant occasion headliner or a co-main occasion bout till Monday.
Rodriguez and Waterson step in on very quick discover for a most obscure, uncommon matchup that makes little sense aside from the UFC was merely out of time and choices for a headline combat.
Rodriguez, ranked seventh within the strawweight division (115 kilos), is a tall, gangly, lengthy Muay Thai-trained striker. She’s additionally a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and may profit immensely by solely having to reduce weight to 125 kilos for this combat.
Waterson, who’s a black belt in karate and well-versed in BJJ, is absolutely an atomweight (105 kilos) fighter by physique and stature, however the UFC doesn’t function that division, so the feisty “Karate Hottie” competes with barely bigger girls within the strawweight division.
Waterson can be pressured to compete towards a fighter who, at 125 kilos, can be bodily imposing, which is a discernable benefit for Rodriguez.
That this combat was not finalized till Monday forces hesitation to pull the set off on Rodriguez now as I imagine she could have solely lately left to get to Las Vegas for this occasion. Travel from Brazil to the United States beneath regular circumstances requires extra time than just a few days to put together for a bout, not to mention on this COVID-19 strained atmosphere.
Provided Rodriguez breezes via the weigh-ins with out challenge Friday morning and appears absolutely ready to compete, then my judgment is that Waterson’s solely actual path to victory can be to uncover a method to pressure Rodriguez into a protracted, arduous combat. Waterson should hope that her huge expertise in predominant occasions offers the sting she wants to earn a choice, however I’m stretching simply to say that.
Rodriguez appears very well-positioned for a workmanlike and one-sided win Saturday, however weigh-ins should transpire earlier than making any financial dedication.
Total for this combat: 4.5 rounds Over -250
Geoff Neal -185 vs. Neil Magny +165
Welterweight (170 kilos)
At 6-foot-3 and sporting an 80-inch attain, the ninth-ranked Magny is one robust fighter to navigate. He is at his greatest when utilizing area and distance whereas on his ft to accrue factors via quantity.
Magny should keep away from the bottom recreation. Once taken to the mat, his lack of efficient wrestling/grappling exposes him regardless of his blue belt in BJJ and, extra importantly, his perception that he’s a succesful sufficient grappler to compete with the division’s high 10 — which he isn’t.
Magny’s outcomes have been uneven over his final a number of fights. One via line is he has faltered towards the division’s elite, as evidenced by his final combat towards Michael Chiesa.
Magny’s plan was to strive to compete with Chiesa on the grappler’s energy, and the consequence was a really one-sided loss for Magny, who by no means actually opted to maintain the combat standing and at distance, nor was he actually ready to compete whereas the 2 have been rolling on the mat.
Neal enters this combat ranked tenth within the division and off a loss to Stephen Thompson, whom I view because the menace to present champion Kamaru Usman within the welterweight division.
What have to be talked about is that Neal had lately recovered from a life-threatening sickness earlier than his combat with Thompson. Further, he was pressured to compete in that scrap with out his coach, cornerman and mentor Sayif Saud in his nook.
Neal is a blue belt in BJJ, so he’s fairly able to going to the ground for a grope, and whereas the southpaw provides up peak and attain to Magny, he’s by far the extra compact, explosive, highly effective striker of the 2.
Should Magny determine to compete with Neal at Neal’s forte, which is standing, then Magny will show the identical lack of combat IQ he did attempting to outgrapple Chiesa.
On his ft, Magny higher be consistently transferring and sustaining distance from the stronger, extra bodily forward-pressing energy striker or threat being battered over time.
This is a three-round bout within the smaller confines of the Apex octagon, which signifies that Magny can have much less room to transfer, maneuver and evade, whereas Neal ought to discover engagement a lot simpler to provoke and preserve.
I take a look at these fighters as moving into separate profession instructions. Magny is now a formidable barometer to the elite within the division and Neal makes a pronouncement to all welterweights that he belongs within the division’s elite with a win.
Total on this combat: 2.5 over -140