Saturday night’s UFC 255 from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas is one of five events remaining on the organization’s 2020 docket. This card features several fights worthy of potential investment, so lets take a look at a handful of matchups.
Deiveson Figueiredo -313 vs. Alex Perez +250, flyweight (125 pounds), championship
Several dominant champions are spread through the 12 weight classes in the UFC, and any discussion of dominance must include 125-pound champ Figueiredo.
What sets him apart from others in his division is his massive size — especially on fight night, when he competes at about 153 pounds — his extreme athleticism, his precision timing and striking and his abundant power. Figueiredo works best by aggressively walking opponents down, then battering them.
If he has an Achilles’ heel, however, it would be his lack of a ground game.
In most battles, opponents are not determined, skilled or conditioned enough to work their way through the punishment incurred striving to gain inside position on Figueiredo. But the way to compete with him is in fact to close distance on him and wrestle him up, just as Jussier Formiga did in March 2019 when he beat Figueiredo by decision. Nevertheless, Figueiredo has had time to address this shortcoming, coupled with his size which translates into a formidable takedown defense.
Perez, the fourth-ranked flyweight contender, is three years younger and an inch taller, but that’s where his advantages end. He has not faced nearly the level of competition Figueiredo has, and common opponent Joseph Benavidez finished Perez while Figueiredo trucked Benavidez on two occasions this year. A second common opponent, Formiga, displayed the wrestling to beat Figueiredo while Perez finished the aging Formiga in brutal leg-kick fashion.
Perez does enter this fight with momentum, winning his last three, and he has the wrestling background to try to take Figueiredo to the floor. The key lies in Perez’s ability to close distance, get this to the floor and tax the champion where he is most uncomfortable. That seems a tall order.
I regard Figueiredo as a strong favorite.
Valentina Shevchenko -1250 vs. Jennifer Maia +750, women’s flyweight (125 pounds), championship
In my view, champion Shevchenko is on equal footing with Amanda Nunes as the most dominant pound-for-pound women’s fighter in UFC history. Yes, Nunes defeated Shevchenko twice, but that was at 135 pounds, and Shevchenko was fighting up from her natural 125-pound weight class. Believe me when I say Shevchenko is as lethal a modern mixed martial artist as there is today, male or female.
The third-ranked Maia is walking into as thorough a whuppin’ as is Alex Perez in the main event. Maia’s weaponry is Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and her success is linked to gaining the inside on Shevchenko then taking this fight to the mat.
The truth is that Shevchenko is more versed everywhere than anyone in the division. For Maia to have any shot, she must clasp onto and then roll Shevchenko to the floor and try to catch her with some slick submission. But the odds of that are long.
Mike Perry -150 vs. Tim Means +125, welterweight (170 pounds)
Means is a 16-year MMA veteran whose career has spanned three weight classes over 44 fights. He will have 4 inches of arm and leg reach as well as a height advantage in a fight that figures to be a stand-up war. I award experience and physical advantages to Means.
But his opponent can easily intimidate. Perry is innately mean, overly aggressive and inner-driven. Recent behavior away from the octagon can be researched, but part of Perry’s mystique is mirage.
Perry is strong as a mule, unrelenting with his forward pressure, telegraphing with his power strikes and able to sustain incredible amounts of physical damage. This makes him a dangerous opponent for anyone without years of mixed martial arts experience.
Perry has youth, strength and maniacal mental ability, yet Means has a depth of experience and the ability to use movement and precision striking to calmly keep Perry on the outside, so Means can pick and peck his way to a decision.
Cynthia Calvillo -250 vs. Katlyn Chookagian +205, women’s flyweight (125 pounds)
Calvillo is the fourth-ranked flyweight and was scheduled to fight an elimination bout before it was canceled. That forced her to find another opponent. At least she is showing mettle by facing No. 2 flyweight Chookagian, who just fought and was finished by Jessica Andrade on Oct. 18.
Calvillo, who fights out of Team Alpha Male, is nasty to her roots. She fights using unrelenting pressure, wrestling, toughness and grit.
Last month, I chose Chookagian to beat Andrade. That handicap missed, but I’m considering coming right back to her here because she has the takedown defense, movement and striking to keep Calvillo at distance and paint her with strikes. Chookagian has experience, 5 inches of height and arm and leg reach advantages, and I regard her as live in this fight.
#UFC #Breaking #big #bouts
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