This Saturday night, fight fans still abuzz about last weekend’s great UFC 166 show have a treat in store.
Wait. You didn’t forget about UFC Fight Night 30, to be aired on Fox Sports Net 2 from Phones4u Arena in Manchester, England, did you?
You shouldn’t. In fact, the show is looking downright charmed.
The UFC is enjoying exceptional momentum, with fans enjoying fight-of-the year candidates in the last two shows and Dana White pronouncing last weekend’s UFC 166 the finest ZUFFA had ever presented. So, it’s on to the next…
Saturday’s main event is an excellent bout between two middleweight mainstays. Originally, Mark Muñoz was to fight Michael Bisping, and while it’s always an electric scene to see Bisping rile up his home country’s crowd, maybe his replacement, Lyoto Machida, makes for an even better match.
A British fight crowd is always electric anyway, and they will have plenty of UK representation Saturday. Among them, Norman Parke of Northern Ireland, Jimi Manuwa and Phil Harris of England, and Robert Whiteford of Scotland (the first Scot to compete in the Octagon, no less), and, of course, the first British woman to ever enter the UFC Octagon, Rosi “The Surgeon” Sexton.
In another first, Manchester native Sexton will fight in the first womens UFC bout on British soil on Saturday when she takes on Jéssica Andrade in a bantamweight bout.
Let’s have a look.
Dr. Sexton — yes, she’s really a doctor, and a practicing osteopath — made her name fighting the world over in the 120 lb range beginning in 2002, with solid wins over the likes of Carina Damm, Debi Purcell, and Roxanne Modafferi. She’s a graceful jiu-jitsu player with a solid all-around game. The Damm fight, in St Petersburg, Russia, was particularly impressive, as she incorporated an improving striking game before catching the Brazilian in an armbar.
Sexton moved up to 135 lb when the UFC began the division, but lost a competitive bout in her UFC debut in June against top contender Alexis Davis. The judges would be impressed by the larger Davis’ offense that night, including a long stretch in a triangle choke in the first round, and a sequence in back mount with hooks in the third. Sexton would escape to land some good strikes in Davis’ guard towards the end of that stanza, as well as some solid strikes early in the bout — and at its conclusion, the bout’s outcome was unclear.
Unfortunately, that matter is often forgotten. The official decision, and slight advantage for Davis in Fightmetrics statistics, is what’s remembered, and it’s likely Sexton will have to win here to continue her UFC career.
Her opponent, Jéssica Andrade, who joins Lyoto Machida as the evening’s only Brazilian combatants, is another solid grappler, but her experience level, only two years, stands in stark contrast to Sexton’s eleven. Andrade attacked her last opponent, former title challenger Liz Carmouche, with a pair of guillotine chokes in their bout, and seemed painfully close with the second. The 21 year old from Paraná, Brazil was unable to finish, however, and would be stopped in the second round on strikes.
Again, unfortunately, the strengths she showed, including a classic fireman’s carry takedown in the first round, are sometimes forgotten.
Despite a promising showing against a contender, Andrade, known as “Bate-Estaca,” or “Slam” in her native Portuguese, finds herself 0-1 in the UFC as well — and with her back up to the wall.
The two match up well: a parallel approach of aggressive grappling, with a contrast of youth vs. experience. Online handicappers like CageRank mostly have Sexton as a favorite by decision, which would seem logical given her polish, but expect an interesting interplay of styles here.
Slam vs the Surgeon. Can’t beat that!