Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

UFC 177 Prediction: Shayna Baszler vs. Bethe Correia

Bethe Correia is on a mission to defeat the “Four Horsewomen.” In case you’re unaware, the “Four Horsewomen” are Jessamyn Duke, Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir, and… Ronda Rousey. This would be like taking Chris Weidman, Nick Catone, Andrew Craig, and some wrestler new to MMA, and calling them “The Four Horsemen.” One of these is not like the others…

Regardless, the idea of Correia taking them out one by one is a decent promotional angle, and it helps that Correia has already defeated Duke. Correia won’t be fighting Shafir any time soon; Shafir just got knocked out in 37 seconds by Amanda Bell and now has a professional record of 1-1. She also won’t be fighting Rousey quite yet as she simply hasn’t defeated the top-tier fighter necessary to earn that opportunity. That leaves Baszler, the most experienced of the group and a fighter whose losses in recent years have come to opponents at the very top of women’s MMA – Alexis Davis, Sara McMann, Sarah Kaufman, and Cristiane “Cyborg.”

Baszler will represent a different kind of challenge for Correia than Duke or Julie Kedzie. While Duke and Kedzie both like to keep their fights standing, Baszler gets the job done with submissions – 14 of her 15 career wins have come by submission, including two by twister of all things. Baszler is the type of fighter who will risk losing position to chase submissions. This is a double-edged sword as Baszler has a lot of finishes on her record, but has also been submitted a few times herself, including by Julianna Pena on The Ultimate Fighter.

Despite the risks, Baszler needs to take fights to the ground because her striking is just not very good. Her head is a completely stationary target and her strikes simply are not technically sound. Correia is going to have a decisive advantage as long as this fight is at standing distance.

The question is: how long will that be? After watching tape of Correia’s Jungle Fight match against Erica Paes, I’m inclined to believe that it will at least be a challenge for Baszler to take the fight to the ground. Correia has a good sprawl and doesn’t give up takedowns very easily. However, Paes succeeded in pulling guard on Correia multiple times; Baszler is the type of fighter I could definitely see trying this tactic.

However, in a fight where Baszler almost certainly needs to finish Correia by submission to win, it’s a lot to ask to expect her to pull guard and turn that into a submission hold. Correia did have to fight her way out of a guillotine choke and an armbar against Paes, so the potential is definitely there for Baszler to find a way to force a tap out. I just have a hard time thinking that outcome is likely with a guard pull.

The most likely scenario in this fight is that Correia will mostly shut down Baszler’s attempts to drag the fight to the ground, and will eventually win by decision due to superior striking. At the same time, Correia has shown some vulnerability on the ground and there will probably be windows of opportunity for Baszler to win by stoppage. There is upset potential but Correia is rightfully the favorite to win this fight.

Pick: Bethe Correia by decision

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3 responses to “UFC 177 Prediction: Shayna Baszler vs. Bethe Correia

  1. gambler August 28, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    i think that you are underrating shayna standup and overrating bethes

    it was some time ago but baszler beat mcmann in the standup and only lost because of a coule key takedowns

    • David Williams August 28, 2014 at 9:27 pm

      You might be right. When I watch fighters, the number one thing I want to see is effective strike defense. Watching Baszler on tape, she just didn’t seem to have good head movement or distance control, so I have to rate her strike defense poorly. It’s quite possible that Baszler’s striking offense is much better than I’m giving her credit for – that my negative opinion of her defense is influencing my view of her offense as well.

      With that said, Baszler is a career 1-5 in fights not ending by submission and I still think Correia should be the better striker, but we’ll see what happens. I’ve been wrong before.

  2. gambler August 29, 2014 at 7:45 am

    excluding the cyborg match shayna has been competitive in every fight against top competition.

    i have experience, grappling, sub game for shayna and stand-up even or correira a small advantage(baszler almost dropped mcmann with one shot).

    correira has youth and momentum

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