As always, let’s start with what went down in Uruguay.
Aside from Veronica Macedo’s upset submission over the submission expert Viana and two razor thin decisions, with one an incredible fight between Perry and Luque, we went unscathed and netted a massive profit.
Shevchenko showed up in dominant fashion again to few people’s surprise, but we also had some incredible performances by debut fighters in Cyril Gane and Raphael Pessoa, who I am excited to see more from.
Our weekly showout of the UFC is about to end with UFC 241 being the final stop on this wild ride we have. Luckily, we have a killer card to send things off on with a Heavyweight rematch between DC and Stipe along with Nate Diaz’s return against Anthony Pettis and plenty more!
*Quick note: Card order might not be perfect, but this order was what was presented by UFC last weekend. I pride myself on getting these picks out before everyone else 🙂
Raphael Assuncao vs. Cory Sandhagen (BW)
Raphael Assuncao (27-6, 11-3 UFC) came over from the WEC when the promotions merged and has been hunting for gold ever since, only giving up wins at Bantamweight to former champ TJ Dillashaw and Marlon Moraes. Assuncao has a killer ground game with an impressive array of finishes, however he does not have the wrestling in his back pocket to get it there. Instead, he relies on point-striking with his excellent defense, avoiding 70% of the strikes that come his way.
Few fighters have shown such rapid growth as Cory Sandhagen (11-1, 4-0 UFC). Every fight he seems to have mastered a new discipline, never lacking the elements required to outscramble or outstrike his opponent. He has deceptive power for his lanky frame and is well-rounded enough to secure a submission, but has sometimes struggled with his own wrestling defense. Sandhagen’s striking caliber can be attributed to his movement and precision, stalking down his prey before raining hellfire down on them.
As a 5’11 Bantamweight, Sandhagen will once again look to maximize 6-inch and 4-inch height and reach advantages, respectively. He uses those expertly, cutting off his opponent and dictating the range and pacing that the fight will be set at. While there is some concern in Sandhagen against an expert ground technician, Assuncao does not often use his wrestling or even have the takedown accuracy to do so and the length disadvantages he will suffer make him utterly outclassed to the power and technique of Sandhagen.
Take the Shot: Cory Sandhagen via Unanimous Decision
Sabina Mazo vs. Shana Dobson (FLW)
Sabina Mazo (6-1, 0-1 UFC) took the first loss of her career against a revitalized Maryna Moroz in March. She has 2 first round KO wins by head kick and the rest are in decision. She is mostly a kickboxer but uses reverse wrestling very well. Her gas tank is incredible and she’s gone through a hard 25 minutes twice already. However, that pace was a problem in her last match, as she took a full round to essentially wind up. Although she doesn’t have any submission wins, she has amazing defensive wrestling and I’m pretty high on her.
Across the cage will be another realtively new UFC fighter in Shana Dobson (3-2, 1-1 UFC). I would say Dobson is the more well-rounded fighter as she has actually gone for some takedowns, but she has poor takedown accuracy and garbage defense. Her striking isn’t too bad, but lacks a lot of power and she mainly throws a ridiculous amount of firepower, happy if 1 of the 4 land.
Dobson is pretty much the opposite of Mazo in terms of gas. Dobson runs hot out the gate, but starts to dwindle as the fight goes on. To win, she will need to secure position and really pressure Mazo throughout the entire fight and not let Mazo get any of her dangerous kicks off. I see that hard for her to do past the first round, so I’m foreseeing a close decision type of fight with Dobson taking the first and Mazo taking the next two.
Take the Shot: Sabina Mazo via Split Decision
Hannah Cifers vs. Jodie Esquibel (SW)
This is the simplest fight on the card. We have a middling striker in Hannah Cifers (9-3, 1-1 UFC) who has solid volume but a powerful right hand to back up her quiet demeanor. Her opponent, Jodie Esquibel (6-5, 0-3 UFC), is a pure-volume striker who is the WORST fighter in the UFC. Yes, I said it and I wholeheartedly believe it. Esquibel looks to get the fight into a brawl, but doesn’t have the power, technique, or even volume to compete in a brawl. This could be a fun fight with that tendency, but the outcome can only really go one way.
Take the Shot: Hannah Cifers via Unanimous Decision
Be sure to take a look at the early prelims picks and stay tuned for the main card picks coming soon!