UFC 241: Cormier vs Miocic 2 | Early Prelims

UFC 241: Cormier vs Miocic 2 | Early Prelims

115lbs- Hannah Cifers (9-3-0) vs Jodie Esquibel (6-5-0)

In the headlining fight of the early prelims, Hannah “Shockwave” Cifers looks for her 2nd UFC victory when she battles New Mexico’s Jodie Esquibel in the Strawweight division. Cifers fell to Maycee Barber in her debut, but rallied for a split decision win over Polyana Viana in her next outing. Esquibel is winless in 3 UFC bouts, dropping a decision to Angela King in her last battle.

Both girls stand an equal height at 5’1″, but Jodie will have a slight 1″ reach advantage. Cifers is the younger fighter by 6-years.

The common theme during Esquibel’s UFC struggles has been her poor striking defense and inability to match her opponents’ vertical output. She has given up 127, 128, and 117 significant strikes in each of her 3 UFC bouts.

Cypher’s found success against Viana by landing some big strikes, including a heavy right-hand that dropped the Brazilian. She will counter low kicks with a hard right hook and does a decent job of punching to the body as well.

Neither girl has found much success taking their opponents to the floor, but Cifers did score with GNP from top position after Viana pulled guard.

Esquibel went 0 for 3 on takedowns versus Hill.

Both girls will benefit from fighting an equally sized opponent. Cifers appears to have the edge in power and the defensive liabilities of Jodie suggests that Hannah will land with a greater frequency. Esquibel gives up too much offense and her striking accuracy percentage is just too low to overlook. Cifers will land the more impactful offense and might even find some success on the mat- my prediction is Hannah Cifers to defeat Jodie Esquibel by decision.

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135lbs- Kyung Ho Kang (15-8-0) vs Brandon Davis (10-6-0)

In the Bantamweight division, South Korea’s “Mr. Perfect” Kyung Ho Kang takes on Brandon “Killer B” Davis. Davis made the move to Bantamweight in his last fight, scoring his second UFC win- a middle-round submission of Randy Costa. Kang improved to 4-1 over his last 5 Octagon walks by tapping out Teruto Ishihara in the first frame.

As previously mentioned, Davis cut down to 135-pounds in his last fight. He is an inch taller than Kang, but will give up an inch of reach. “Killer B” is the younger man by 3-years.

Kang builds his attack around his Judo skills. He has completed takedowns in all but 1 of his UFC fights. He appears to have moved away from a heavy takedown assault, completing 10 over his first 3 fights compared to just 3 over his last 4 outings.

The American has struggled with takedown oriented opponents- giving up 20 takedowns over his first 4 fights.

Davis rallied from taking a couple of early big shots to overcome a relatively green Costa. He likes to utilize forward pressure and draw his opponent into a brawl. Defensively, Brandon is willing to take a punch and has been outlanded in each of his last 3 fights.

Against Costa, Davis was able to take his best shots and then take over once his foe started to fade.

Kang is a capable striker despite having just 2 knockout wins. Against Ishihara, he got drawn into a wild brawl where both men were hurt. Eventually, “Mr. Perfect” resorted to his grappling skills for his 11th submission win.

Davis needs to make this fight ugly and pull Kang away from his grappling base. Brandon has decent pop and could either put Kang out or do enough damage early to wear him down leading to a decision win. While Kang will brawl, he can transition to a takedown with relative ease and that is were Davis has struggled. Kang and Davis will trade early, before Kyung opts to take it to the floor where he will either frustrate Davis continued top control or work towards a finish- my prediction is Kyung Ho Kang to defeat Brandon Davis by submission.

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125lbs- Sabina Mazo (6-1-0) vs Shana Dobson (3-2-0)

The first fight of the night goes down in the Flyweight division as Sabina “The Colombian Queen” Mazo makes her sophomore appearance when she battles Shana “Danger” Dobson. Mazo dropped a decision to Maryna Moroz in her debut, the first pro loss of her career. Dobson won her UFC debut, but came up short against Lauren Mueller in her next fight.

Mazo is an inch taller to go along with an inch reach advantage. She is 8-years younger than Shana.

“The Colombian Queen” comes from a kickboxing background and has authored multiple head kick knockouts- especially from the right side. Against Moroz, she struggled to find success early, but started to land with more regularity in the latter stages of the fight.

Dobson has not seen UFC action in roughly 16-months. In her debut, she showcased a lot of power in her strikes- both punches and kicks. She works well behind a lead left jab and offers good footwork to set up her offense.

Mazo struggled with the early takedowns of Moroz which appeared to take her off her game. She found more defensive success as the fight went. She is a self-admitted slow starter.

The American did attempt a couple of takedowns in her last fight and put up some good volume despite falling short on the scorecards.

Mazo should be more comfortable with her debut behind. The layoff is a concern for Dobson, but it also provides her with an opportunity to work on her overall game. Mazo’s kick heavy offense is going to struggle against the pressure Dobson brings. Look for Shana to utilize her jab, push forward and keep the pressure on her foe. Dobson has power in her hands, throws hard kicks, and would be wise to mix in takedowns/ clinch offense. Mazo’s slow start will get the better of her again- my prediction is Shana Dobson to defeat Sabina Mazo by decision.

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