UFC Vegas 27 takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas this weekend, as Rob Font and Cody Garbrandt battle in a high-octane bantamweight main event. In the co-main event, Yan Xiaonan takes on Carla Esparza in a potential strawweight title eliminator. Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for the four athletes involved in the main and co-main event at UFC Vegas 27.
Rob Font vs Cody Garbrandt
Rob Font vs Cody Garbrandt is an extremely fascinating matchup. Both fighters have excellent standup and throw bombs at their opponents. Font is the overall better striker as he strikes at a higher volume and has a variety of moves in punching and kicking range. On the other hand, Garbrandt is a power puncher, with lightning-fast hands, coupled with crisp boxing and head movement. It’s going to be fireworks when the two enter the Octagon on Saturday.
Keys To Victory For Rob Font
Use His Length: Font will have a six-inch reach advantage over Garbrandt at UFC Vegas 27, which will be vital against a striker as powerful and agile as the former bantamweight champion. Font needs to hit his opponent as many times without taking much damage in return. He certainly has the skills to do so, and if he manages to frustrate Garbrandt by staying at distance, he will certainly force him into making mistakes and engaging in a desperate firefight.
Use His Kicks: Garbrandt has excellent head movement when his head is in the right place (no pun intended). Although ‘No Love’ has been knocked out thrice in his last four fights, he’s still a hard target when he’s composed and comfortable. Font will have a hard time finding his range and timing early on, so he should attack his foe’s legs and body with all sorts of kicks that he has in his arsenal. The key for Font is to not let Garbrandt settle.
THAT'S how you make a statement in your UFC debut 😤
— UFC (@ufc) May 19, 2021
Keys To Victory For Cody Garbrandt
Constant Movement: Font is a very aggressive fighter, who always marches forward with mean intentions. He will do that to break Garbrandt’s rhythm, which Cody can avoid by keeping his dancing shoes on. Font’s reach advantage will help him attack Garbrandt with greater confidence, but the former champion should use his counter-attacking skills to hit his opponent and quickly move out of the way.
Counter Attack: Cody’s one of the best counter punchers in the bantamweight division, and his resolve will truly be tested against Font, who as mentioned earlier, will charge at him. Cody’s best shot is catching Font while he’s darting in and out, but even if he doesn’t knock him out, he’d still score heavily on the judges’ scorecards. A firefight isn’t in his best interests as we have seen in the past, against TJ Dillashaw and Pedro Munoz.
In the zone 💔
— UFC (@ufc) May 20, 2021
Yan Xiaonan vs Carla Esparza
With Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk coming off losses, and Mackenzie Dern still a couple of wins away from a title shot, Yan Xiaonan and Carla Esparza have a massive opportunity at hand. Champion Rose Namajunas has only recently won the title at UFC 261, and she will be keeping a close eye on this matchup.
Xiaonan is on a six-fight win streak, with her most recent wins coming against Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Should she beat Esparza, she will undoubtedly be the next in line for the title. However, Esparza is on a four-fight win streak too, and should she win at UFC Vegas 27, Namajunas would love to run it back with her, given that she lost to ‘The Cookie Monster’ years ago for the inaugural strawweight title.
Keys To Victory For Yan Xiaonan
Keep The Fight Standing: Carla Esparza is a veteran of the fight game, and she will mix things up well. However, she will most probably look to take the fight to the ground, because Xiaonan is the better and stronger stand-up fighter. The Chinese star should keep the fight standing, because that’s where she has the edge, and she can potentially earn a stoppage victory, otherwise a decision win.
The Sanda fighter is mainly a puncher but throws kicks too when needed. She wouldn’t have a lot of problems engaging in a standup fight for 15 minutes, particularly when she’s so comfortable there.
Control The Distance: Xiaonan has superior striking and she will need to control the distance to keep the fight on the feet. Esparza will try to engage in clinch battles and try to take the fight to the ground, but being the bigger and taller fighter, with a two-inch reach advantage, she should keep her opponent at distance and land punches in bunches.
Putting in the work 😤
💢 Yan Xiaonan is ready to be heard at #UFCVegas27.
— UFC (@ufc) May 18, 2021
Keys To Victory For Carla Esparza
Takedowns and Top Game: Xiaonan has faced some big names in her UFC career, but they were all mainly strikers. This is the first time the Chinese fighter will fight a credible wrestler in Esparza, who should look to force the fight to the ground, where she will have the most success. Xiaonan has a decent enough takedown defense and ground game, but it’ll be interesting to see how she matches up with Esparza in that department.
Keep Moving: If in case she finds it hard to take Xiaonan down on her own terms, Esparza needs to keep her distance and avoid engaging in a punching battle. She should look to attack her opponent with leg kicks and then draw her in, ducking under her punches to catch Xiaonan off guard and land the takedowns. Esparza needs to fight smart to win this one and given the experience she has, we can expect her to deliver a smart performance.
What are your predictions for the UFC Vegas 27 main event featuring Rob Font and Cody Garbrandt and the co-main event featuring Yan Xiaonan and Carla Esparza?