A number of unlucky occasions left this UFC Vegas 21, which takes place tomorrow evening (March 6, 2021) inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, with three newcomers the place as soon as there was just one. On this version of “New Blood,” the sequence the place the decentralized nature of archival combined martial arts (MMA) footage offers me no finish of grief, we have a look at a trio of entertaining finishers.
Marcelo “El Pitbull” Rojo
Weight Class: Featherweight/Bantamweight
Document: 16-6 (Eight KO, 6 SUB)
Notable Victories: Jesse Strader, Gilbert Ordonez
Argentina’s Rojo enters the cage this weekend having received eight of his final 10 bouts, the only real losses coming to Combate standout Levy Saul Marroquin and future UFC competitor John Castaneda. He was final seen knocking out Victor Hugo Madrigal in simply 88 seconds again in Sept. 2019.
He steps in for Steve Garcia and was beforehand slated to debut towards Raoni Barcelos at UFC Vegas 20, however that fell by way of when the Brazilian examined optimistic for COVID-19.
Although not fairly as ballistic as his generic nickname would suggest, Rojo is certainly an aggressive striker at the start, urgent ahead with highly effective leg kicks and feinted jabs till the chance arises to ship out a boxing mixture or fast single kick to the top or physique. Opponents who get inside can count on a food plan of harmful clinch knees. It’s a reasonably rudimentary offense, however energy and persistence make it lots efficient. Plus, that Madrigal knockout happened through sneaky shifting proper hook, so he’s both including nuance or higher unleashing what was already there.
He’s positively higher because the aggressor than off the again foot, although, backing straight up when pressured and may be overwhelmed if the clinch isn’t there for him. Jesse Strader notably scored a near-finish with this strategy. This extends to his takedown protection as properly — he had tons of success strolling down Castaneda within the first half of their battle. Nevertheless, as soon as Castaneda managed to grab the initiative, he discovered growing success dragging Rojo to the mat.
Talking of the mat, Rojo’s variety of submission wins gives an inflated thought of his precise grappling prowess. Whereas his guard is legitimately harmful, he was largely ineffectual from his again towards Castaneda, struggling from half guard and in the end succumbing to an arm triangle.
Rojo will undoubtedly produce some high quality slugfests towards the correct opposition. Sadly, there’s no scarcity of powerhouse grapplers in UFC’s Featherweight division, so don’t count on a title run out of him.
Opponent: Whereas “El Pitbull” would have been completely hosed by Barcelos, he’ll most likely produce a high quality slugfest towards Canadian banger Charles “Air” Jourdain, who I’m certain will respect Rojo’s willingness to slug it out. I favor Jourdain’s measurement, energy and sturdiness, although Rojo will definitely make him earn it.
Rafa “Gifted” Garcia
Weight Class: Light-weight
Document: 12-Zero (1 KO, 7 SUB)
Notable Victories: Humberto Bandenay, Estevan Payan, Chase Gibson
Mexico’s Garcia made a reputation for himself in Combate, the place he amassed an ideal report (Eight-Zero) and claimed the Light-weight title with a 2019 resolution over Erick Gonzalez. He final fought in Feb. 2020, efficiently defending his belt towards UFC veteran Humberto Bandenay in Mexicali.
He replaces Don Madge, who bumped into visa points, on round 5 days’ discover.
The 5’7” “Gifted” — who trains alongside Cub Swanson — boasts an impressively technical and well-rounded offense. He’s primarily a affected person, stalking boxer on the ft, favoring exhausting proper fingers however able to throwing some crisp combos and well-timed counters. Along with being efficient in its personal proper, it additionally serves to arrange his glorious wrestling recreation; although he appears to choose the single-leg, he’s acquired some versatility in his takedown assault and seems to be equally stout defensively.
As soon as on the mat, he passes aggressively and has notched a number of victories through armbar and rear-naked choke.
Whereas it’s an entertaining and well-constructed combined martial arts (MMA) recreation, two weaknesses stand out. For one, he may be too keen to combine it up, counting on his counters to dissuade incoming opponents as a substitute of getting out of the way in which. This could permit a sturdy, dedicated opponent to stroll him down and tee off, as Gonzalez did earlier than attrition and wrestling sealed the deal for Garcia. As well as, he doesn’t appear notably adept at sustaining high management towards high-level opposition. Certainly, each Gonzalez and Bandenay managed to get out from beneath him pretty swiftly, although Garcia himself managed to instantly threaten subs or get again to his ft as quickly as he ended up in a disadvantageous place.
UFC has managed to amass some extraordinarily high quality expertise on last-second discover this previous yr, together with Dricus Du Plessis and Ilia Topuria … and Garcia is yet one more instance. He nonetheless wants some seasoning, however his nickname may be very acceptable, and I’m wanting ahead to seeing how he develops within the Octagon.
Opponent: Nasrat Haqparast would have been an enormous drawback for Garcia even with a full coaching camp. The German slugger has a big edge in energy and hand pace, and Garcia’s wrestling isn’t enough to neutralize Haqparast’s explosive hanging offense. In different phrases, count on Haqparast to mercilessly exploit Garcia’s willingness to commerce leather-based for an early stoppage.
Gloria “Glorinha” de Paula
Weight Class: Strawweight
Document: 5-2 (Three KO)
Notable Victories: Pauline Macias
de Paula began her skilled profession at Three-2, operating afoul of future UFC opponents Ariane Carnelossi and Isabela de Padua in her first two years. After rebounding with a knockout on the Brazilian circuit, de Paula punched her ticket to UFC with a dominant resolution over Pauline Macias on “Contender Sequence.”
“Glorinha” fights out of Chute Boxe — Diego Lima and is girlfriends with brutal finisher Mayra Bueno Silva, so her style for violence shouldn’t shock you. She’s a stalking striker who prefers to unleash prolonged boxing combos from mid- to long-range, boasting a very crisp and venomous straight proper to go together with her strong jab. Making an attempt to muzzle her offense by forcing an in-fight is inadvisable, as her knees and elbows from the Thai clinch are completely deadly. If she will get you backing up, you’re in for a bruising.
If you happen to get her backing up, nonetheless, your life will get quite a bit simpler. Her loss to de Padua confirmed that she doesn’t have many solutions if her counters don’t dissuade you from strolling her down. As soon as de Padua acquired into vary and began punching, de Paula (complicated, I do know) appeared misplaced about how one can truly separate and took a whooping from a technically inferior boxer. She’s able to touchdown some actual good pictures whereas she’s backing up, however a sufficiently hard-nosed strain fighter seems just like the bane of her existence for the time being.
Although her grappling is much less efficient than her hanging total, it’s getting higher. Her takedown protection towards Macias, a judo black belt, regarded stouter than it did towards de Padua 1.5 years prior, and he or she delivered some really nasty pictures throughout her comparatively transient time in high management. She does some strong work on her again as properly, always seeking to enhance place or threaten with submissions. Whereas her backside recreation wasn’t enough to maintain de Padua from racking up high management, it did make Macias bail
I actually like what I see out of de Paula, who’s nonetheless acquired loads of time to develop at simply 25 years previous. She’s highly effective, entertaining and has an actual knack for violence that I can’t wait to see extra of.
Opponent: She meets former Invicta champ Jinh Yu Frey, who seeks her first UFC victory after two earlier unsuccessful efforts. Frey’s not practically aggressive or lively sufficient on the ft to use de Paula’s lingering points, so so long as de Paula can keep away from getting grinded out, she ought to be capable of out-work Frey on the ft for a snug resolution.
Tape: Her “Contender Sequence” bout is on ESPN+.
Keep in mind that MMAmania.com will ship LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow protection of the complete UFC Vegas 21 battle card this weekend, beginning with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, that are scheduled to start at 5 p.m. ET, then the remaining principal card steadiness on ESPN+ at Eight p.m. ET.
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