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UFC Vegas 27: Rob Font vs Cody Garbrandt Preview



UFC Vegas 27: Rob Font vs Cody Garbrandt Preview

UFC Vegas 27 goes down this weekend as Rob Font and Cody Garbrandt lock horns in a key bantamweight clash, with title implications.

In the co-main event, Xan Xiaonan faces Carla Esparza in a potential strawweight title eliminator, while elsewhere on the main card, heavyweights Justin Tafa and Jared Vanderaa go toe-to-toe, Felicia Spencer takes on Norma Dumont Viana in a featherweight clash, and Jack Hermansson takes on Edmen Shahbazyan in a middleweight fight.

Rob Font vs Cody Garbrandt

Rob Font vs Cody Garbrandt is a guaranteed FOTN. Both fighters are high-octane and high-level strikers, with a very impressive output. Font is better at volume striking than Garbrandt but the former bantamweight champion has a speed and power advantage in boxing.

Both Font and Garbrandt like to use their kicks very often too in fights, but Font is the better kicker as he’s faster and has more variety. He also has a six-inch reach advantage over ‘No Love’, who has shown that he’s hittable in his defeats to TJ Dillashaw, and Pedro Munoz. Garbrandt did show great composure in his fight with Raphael Assuncao at UFC 250, where he TKO’d the Brazilian to end a three-fight losing skid.

Should the same Garbrandt show up at UFC Vegas 27, it’s going to be bad news for his opponent. But Font can force Garbrandt into making mistakes by hitting him a few times and putting pressure on him. All in all, it’s going to be a war, and it’s highly likely that the fight gets stopped within the five scheduled rounds.

Yan Xiaonan vs Carla Esparza

With both Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk suffering defeats in their most recent fights, the winner of Yan Xiaonan vs Carla Esparza could be the next in line to fight for the title.

Yan is the bigger and more powerful fighter, who does a great job of hitting her opponents without taking much damage in return. Xiaonan is predominantly a striker, who throws a combination of kicks and power punches. She also has a decent takedown defense, which will be key against ‘The Cookie Monster’, who’s a veteran of the sport. She’s definitely more comfortable on the mat and is experienced enough to force the fight to the ground, where she explodes with ground and pound and submissions.

Esparza will try to take Xiaonan down, but the Chinese won’t be an easy target. Both fighters are on a decent run of wins, and it’ll be a good co-main event.

Justin Tafa vs Jared Vanderaa

Heavyweight fights always deliver, and this won’t be any different. Justin Tafa is a striker, and he loves ‘stand and bang’ as he says. He also has vicious knockout power and great boxing. However, Jared Vanderaa isn’t a very keen striker, as he likes to take his opponents to the ground more often than not and finish them either by ground and pound or submission.

Tafa would like to keep the fight on the feet and land heavy blows, but Vanderaa will try to push it to the mat. It all comes down to who executes their game plan better.

Felicia Spencer vs Norma Dumont Viana

UFC women’s featherweight division is the promotion’s biggest dilemma at the moment. The division realistically has three or four contenders, and the UFC doesn’t want to invest more into it, yet they are keeping it intact because champion Amanda Nunes wants to keep defending her 145lbs title.

That said, Felicia Spencer vs Norma Dumont Viana is a title eliminator. Both fighters are predominantly strikers, with a decent amount of power in their hands. They don’t grapple unless they really have to, and rely mostly on their heavy hands to win fights. Dumont has better output than Spencer, and she lands at least two significant strikes more than her opponent per minute on average.

All in all, it’s going to be a fun back-and-forth fight.

Jack Hermansson vs Edmen Shahbazyan

Edmen Shahbazyan is a highly-rated prospect, but Jack Hermansson is a tough matchup for him. Shahbazyan is an excellent striker, who throws a variety of strikes, and has knockout power, but Hermansson has a very solid chin, coupled with good striking.

Hermansson is also a high-level submission grappler, who will look to take the fight to the ground, where Shahbazyan has struggled in the past. His loss to Derek Brunson revealed visible weaknesses in his ground game and conditioning, which Hermansson can take advantage of.

However, if Shahbazyan somehow keeps the fight on the feet, his chances of winning will grow exponentially.

Rest Of The Fights On The Card

  • David Dvořák vs Raulian Paiva
  • Ricardo Ramos vs Bill Algeo
  • Ben Rothwell vs Chris Barnett
  • Court McGee vs Cláudio Silva
  • Bruno Gustavo da Silva vs Victor Rodriguez
  • Josh Culibao vs Sha Yilan
  • Damir Hadžović vs Yancy Medeiros
  • Rafael Alves vs Damir Ismagulov

What are your predictions for UFC Vegas 27?