Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

UFC Fight Night Natal Prediction: Michel Prazeres vs. Mairbek Taisumov

Michel Prazeres is a fighter who knows what he’s good at and sticks to it. He’s a tank of a lightweight who relentlessly pursues takedowns and submissions, and doesn’t have much patience for striking. Prazeres was 7 for 15 in takedowns in his last fight against Jesse Ronson; in his UFC debut he was 3 for 12 in takedowns against Paulo Thiago. Overall, that’s 30 minutes of action and 27 takedown attempts for Prazeres in the UFC.

On one hand I like that Prazeres is determined to fight on his terms. On the other hand, it’s a very one dimensional approach – and without a serious threat of strikes, good fighters should be able to focus on stuffing Prazeres’s takedowns. Either Prazeres lands takedowns and maybe grinds out a victory (he only beat Ronson by split decision despite his seven takedowns) or he’ll lose by trying and failing to land them.

For Mairbek Taisumov, the objective to win the fight is simple – keep the fight standing and out-strike Prazeres. Taisumov made his UFC debut in January’s Singapore event, defeating Tae Hyun Bang by unanimous decision in a competitive but slow-paced fight. It wasn’t much of a showcase for Taisumov’s takedown defense as Bang only attempted one takedown against him. Instead, it was Taisumov who landed five takedowns including four in the third round.

From watching Taisumov on tape, he’s definitely a more well-rounded fighter than Prazeres. Taisumov’s striking is most effective when his takedown game is working; he likes to feint a takedown and then throw a combination when his opponent reaches down to defend it. He also has very effective ground and pound from the guard – he gets excellent posture and comes down hard with punches. Taisumov’s submission game is fairly impressive as well.

I’ll be honest. I’m not sure if Taisumov’s takedown defense is good enough to defend Prazeres because I haven’t seen him defend takedowns against strong wrestlers. What I do know is that Taisumov should be the better striker and is also a threat to land takedowns and grind out a victory himself. I have to favor Taisumov to win this fight due to his diverse skill set.

Pick: Mairbek Taisumov by decision

DEGENERATE GAMBLER’S CORNER

Taisumov is the favorite at -280 with Prazeres the underdog at +200. Taisumov opened at -185 so there’s been plenty of betting action on him to move the line that much. I like Taisumov to win, but until I know more about how well he defends takedowns as opposed to landing them, the prudent move is to pass on betting it.

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