The Great White North has a fantastic card for us, but before we get into the main event, we have prelims right from ESPN! We are headlined with perennial contender Alexis Davis and prospect Viviane Araujo in a flyweight match that will be nothing but fireworks!
Alexis Davis vs. Viviane Araujo (FLW)
A recent loss to Jennifer Maia capped Alexis Davis (19-9, 6-4 UFC) at 1-2 since her move to Flyweight. “Aly-Gator” has been a contender of the Bantamweights since the inception of the division, even challenging Ronda Rousey for what was, at the time, the dominant champion’s belt. Davis has used mainly her striking in recent bouts, relying on volume as her power is not a major threat, especially at the lower weight class. She has 8 submissions on her record, but normally cannot get her wrestling going. Instead, all of her submissions inside the Octagon have come off her back.
Viviane Araujo (7-1, 1-0 UFC) ran through Talita Bernardo in her Octagon debut, finishing her opponent in the opening of the third round. Not a single of Araujo’s matches have seen the distance, win or loss. The usual Strawweight will be heading to Flyweight after her Bantamweight debut (yeah, that’s a tongue twister) and her power may see a decrease with that drop, but the wrestling and striking clinic she put on will still stand. She warded off all of the ground expert Bernardo’s takedowns, then stifled her opponent with her own groundwork before finishing the job on the feet, putting together crisp combinations along with speed to dominate her opponent in every area.
While Davis is a jiu-jitsu expert, we have seen time and time again that wrestling can undermine even the best sub game. Araujo’s domination on the mat has proven that in her career, but she also has real power and an impressive volume to contend with. Davis will have difficulty striking from the outside on the quicker fighter and Araujo will be able to wrestle and strike her way to the distance if no finishes present themselves. However, Araujo puts on a pace few can deal with and Davis has a tendency to give up in the cage when she cannot get her rhythm going.
Take the Shot: Viviane Araujo via Round 2 Knockout
Hakeem Dawodu vs. Yoshinori Horie (FTW)
Hakeem Dawudo (9-1, 2-1 UFC) came back from a quick guillotine loss to Danny Henry with two dominant decisions, the win over Kyle Bochniak grossly being a split decision. Dawudo is a Muay Thai striker who boasts a ludicrous volume in his strikes, as well as superb defense in both striking and takedowns. He can fight from any range and utilizes his leg kicks and eight-point striking style at all levels to dominate his opponent on the feet without ever needing to take it to the mat.
Yoshinori Horie (8-1) will have a tough draw in his debut in Dawudo. Horie has an almost-exclusive striking background and a similar style to Dawudo. The issue for him will be the volume, as well as an inability to get the fight to the mat with Dawudo’s superb defense and his subpar wrestling. Although he has some power, his volume will be the killer against Dawudo, whose speed and volume can keep this match going for days, if need be.
Take the Shot: Hakeem Dawudo via Unanimous Decision
Gavin Tucker vs. Seung Woo Choi (FTW)
Gavin Tucker (10-1, 1-1 UFC) will be appearing in the Octagon for the first time in almost two years since his loss to Rick Glenn. Tucker is a fan favorite in Canada for his wild style and well-rounded game, being able to succeed in any avenue. He has a very impressive speed and the power to back it up, utilizing his Muay Thai-striking well from both his front and back foot. We haven’t seen much of Tucker’s wrestling in the Octagon, but he has 4 submissions and a well-versed wrestling style.
The Octagon debut of Sueng Woo-Choi (7-2, 0-1 UFC) went south quick against Movsar Evloev, not being able to compete with the wrestling of the Russian. He has a very one-dimensional game with his striking but backs it up well with his power and combination fighting. He has only been able to succeed when pressuring and loses his ability to tango when he is pressed up against the cage.
Choi will have a huge advantage here in the height, holding 6 inches in height and 8 in reach over the Canadian. Tucker struggled with getting inside against Glenn, but if he learned something from that fight and his time off, he should be able to put some work in on Choi, who has poor defense and range utilization. Choi struggles at getting that range going and if the speed comes in for Tucker, he will be able to put on a striking clinic, as well as having his wrestling in the back pocket.
Take the Shot: Gavin Tucker via Round 3 Knockout
Alexandre Pantoja vs. Deiveson Figueiredo (FLW)
First off, I cannot believe this didn’t make the main card, or at the very least, the prelim headliner.
Alexandre Pantoja (21-3, 5-1 UFC) took just under three minutes to turn the lights out on Wilson Reis at UFC 236. “The Cannibal” is incredibly well-rounded, offering many submissions from his ground game, as well as boasting the highest striking rate out of any Flyweight in the UFC. He clearly has some power with that and is more than capable of finishing the fight wherever it goes.
Jussier Formiga handed Deiveson Figueiredo (15-1, 4-1 UFC) his first loss ever back in March. Figueiredo has made his name known through his power, something not often seen by Flyweights. He has an array of submissions as well, though most of them defensive, coming from his wrestling game. Figueiredo’s only victory in the UFC not to come by finish was a split decision, resulting from his low volume.
When this is striking, it is a match you should not take your eyes off of. Both fighters have remarkable finishing ability on the feet, but I am giving the advantage to Pantoja’s speed and volume. Pantoja also has growing takedown defense, where he voided all of Reis’ shots then retaliated quickly with power. I don’t see Figueiredo finding a win on the feet, as Pantoja’s speed will keep him out of trouble and not allow his powerful opponent to get any shots off, as well as being as elite as they come on the mat with incredible scrambling ability.
Take the Shot: Alexandre Pantoja via Unanimous Decision