Saturday’s fundamental occasion from UFC’s Battle Island in Abu Dhabi is one other bantamweight bout, this time within the ultra-competitive males’s division championed by Russian Petr Yan.
Now that we’re overseas once more, the flavour of those fights turns worldwide, the matchups grow to be extra numerous in combating specialty and, as we noticed from the primary set of playing cards from Battle Island, future stars could be made in quarter-hour or much less. This card can have 13 scheduled bouts that includes fighters from 14 international locations.
The primary occasion pits -134 favourite Cory Sandhagen towards Marlon Moraes (+110). Moraes is the No. 1-ranked bantamweight contender, although he isn’t a top-4 combatant on this division, in my handicapping. A black belt in Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Moraes enhances his well-rounded combating arsenal with quickness, explosion and precision placing. Devastating are the outcomes of Moraes’ strikes and spinning kicks, particularly early in fights.
Moraes has fought the highest of the division and has produced constant outcomes. He’s extremely efficient early, as opponents discover it tough to resist his aggressive offensive onslaught. However later in fights, he fades badly.
The important thing to overcoming Moraes is to resist that early barrage and pressure him to struggle a full three rounds. In Saturday’s case, it’s going to be 5 rounds. In Moraes’ earlier five-round bout, he was portray Henry Cejudo’s fence early till he ran out of steam. Cejudo completed him late within the third spherical.
As Moraes expends power on his numerous placing assault, his cardio tends to fade, and so does his struggle IQ. He must show he can successfully handle 25 minutes of high-paced championship combating earlier than I start to purchase into him as a respectable contender. His change to American High Crew in Florida additional proves to me that, at 32, Moraes is looking out. And looking out at this stage of his profession is a pink flag.
Sandhagen enters this struggle off adversity, struggling a knockout by the hands of Aljamain Sterling in his final struggle. Sterling was KO’d by Moraes a number of years again, which is the one motive Moraes is ranked a notch above Sterling.
Sandhagen has some bodily benefits. He’ll be youthful by 4 years, taller by 5 inches and longer with 3-inch attain benefits with each his legs and arms. Sandhagen’s background relies in kickboxing, and he has a brown belt in BJJ. Coaching at Crew Elevation in Colorado is a premium for Sandhagen, as it is going to enable him to beat, to a point, his drawback in skilled struggle expertise.
Sandhagen is a cerebral fighter who makes use of his dimension and size to take care of spacing, which permits him to levy punishment at distance, the place he’s only. Sandhagen has energy, however his greatest work is achieved through the buildup of strikes and kicks. Defensively, Sandhagen might be examined by Moraes early as Moraes works to earn his approach contained in the pocket.
How profitable is Moraes urgent for inside presence? Can Sandhagen make the most of fluid motion and counterstriking to batter the incoming Moraes?
Sandhagen’s level-headedness, youth, counterstriking and dimension will enable him to beat the frantic first spherical or two from Moraes, then finally swing the struggle in his favor as we enter the championship rounds.