Analysis: Alex Caceres vs. Kron Gracie – What Will Go Down?

The legendary Gracie lineage makes it’s return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship this weekend, as clan member Kron Gracie makes his fifth professional walk against promotion Featherweight gate keeper Alex ‘Bruce Leeroy’ Caceres on the main card of UFC on ESPN 1.

Kron, the youngest son of the legendary Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu pioneer Rickson Gracie, arrives with big expectations following two submission victories in Japan over UFC alumni Tatsuya Kawajiri and fellow submission specialist Hideo Tokoro bringing a four fight undefeated record with him. The ADCC gold medalist faces a stern yet winnable first test in the Octagon by way of 26 fight veteran Alex Caceres.

Caceres, the Florida native holds a notable victory over recent Flyweight title charger Sergio Pettis but has become unstuck against the likes of Yair Rodríguez and Urijah Faber with ‘El Pantera’ spring-boarding into main event contention with his win over the 30 year old.

Holding the obvious striking advantage over Gracie, Caceres will have his work cut out if Kron lands the all important takedown or decides to pull guard, similarly to another submission grappler Dillion Danis who recently made his mixed-martial arts bow in Bellator, proving successful as he secured a first round toehold finish.

Saturday’s clash with Caceres will be Kron’s first walk in just over two years. Some expect a hesitant start from the Brazilian, but his Judo black belt and grappling expertise should be more than enough for him find a probable finish over ‘Bruce Leeroy’. The 30 year-old has submitted the likes of Gary Tonon, UFC Lightweight contender Beneil Dariush, Otávio Souza and ONE FC mainstay Shinya Aoki during his illustrious submission grappling.

Kron isn’t necessarily biased toward choke or joint finishes with countless variations in his search for the tap on display throughout his five year stint in submission grappling. Expect Kron to finish within the opening round.
Official pick: Kron Gracie via submission.

Sabina Mazo set to make her UFC debut against Maryna Moroz at UFC Philadelphia

LFA women’s flyweight champion Sabina Mazo will make her UFC debut against Maryna Moroz at UFC on ESPN 2.

The second event to be broadcast on ESPN will get another marquee women’s matchup. On a card that already features Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Michelle Waterson and Alexa Grasso, top prospect and LFA flyweight champion Sabina ‘Colombian Queen’ Mazo will make her much awaited octagon debut against veteran Maryna ‘Iron Woman’ Moroz.

Since being signed by the UFC in early December, fans have been waiting for undefeated prospect Sabina Mazo to be booked to fight. Putting together a 6-0 record, including four in LFA where she captured the flyweight title, Mazo was put on the map after two back-to-back head kick knockouts in 2017.

11-fight veteran Maryna Moroz hasn’t had a win since August of 2016. After starting her UFC career with a 3-1 record, including wins over Joanne Calderwood, Cristina Stanciu and Danielle TaylorMoroz has dropped two in a row to former strawweight champ Carla Esparza and former Invicta FC champ Angela Hill.

This will be Mazo’s biggest test yet in her young MMA career and Moroz will be searching for her first win in almost three years. This striker-versus-striker matchup will be a fun one to watch and to see if Mazo has what it takes to hang in a surging flyweight division.

UFC Fight Night: Barboza Vs. Gaethje will on air live on ESPN Saturday, March 30th from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

News: Paulo Costa injured, Yoel Romero calls for Anderson Silva instead

Once again, a reported middleweight clash between perennial contender Yoel Romero and rising challenger Paulo Costa has fallen out.

Both behemoths at 185lbs were scheduled to meet at the recent UFC 230 event in Madison Square Garden, with Cuban wrestler Romero opting to recover from multiple injuries sustained against Robert Whittaker, leaving the undefeated Belo Horizonte native without a dance partner in New York.

The promotion were believed to have eyed an eventual clash between the pair at their premier ESPN+ 1 event on the 19th of January in the new year, but Paulo Costa has picked up an injury, ruling him out of the expected headlining slot.

yoel-romero-open-workouts-video

Romero sustained a nasty broken orbital bone in his rematch with current middleweight best Robert Whittaker in the second round of their back and forth clash. After yet another botched weight cut to 185lbs, the now 41 year-old former Olympian was widely expected to make the leap to a more comfortable home of 205lbs, with a clash alongside Alexander Gustafsson momentarily suggested for an Interim crown at UFC 230 failing to materialize.

Romero has seen weight issues prevent him from clinching a UFC title on multiple occasions, namely his UFC 221 Interim middleweight title knockout win over Luke Rockhold and his UFC 224 split decision loss to Whittaker in which many had the Pinar del Rio favourite narrowly edging out the Aussie. In both match ups, #1 ranked Yoel failed to make weight successfully.

Fast approaching the top five of 185lbs, Paulo Costa has so far displayed unparalleled striking power at middleweight maybe only matched by Romero himself in his first four walks to the Octagon. The Brazilian made hard work of the hot and cold Uriah Hall in his most recent fight, eventually finishing the flashy kickboxer in the second round, earning him the #8 rank in the murderers row that is 185lbs.

In a somewhat bizarre ply to earn a fourth tilt at championship honours, the explosive Romero has issued a challenge to the iconic former division king Anderson Silva who recently served a reduced suspension after a USADA test returned positive for hydrochlorothiazide and methyltestosterone, later discovered to be present in a contaminated substance consumed by the Curitiba counter striker. This subsequently allowed him to return to active competition in November 2018.

‘The Spider’ last competed at the controversial UFC 208 in Brooklyn, scoring a unanimous decision win over Derek Brunson.  Silva, who will turn 44 next April, has recently dropped losses to Daniel Cormier on short notice and a razor thin decision defeat to Michael Bisping, which ultimately earned the British striker his successful siege of the middleweight crown against Luke Rockhold.

UFC Fight Night 143 takes place at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York on January 19th, and currently features a welterweight match up between Belal Muhammed and Geoff Neal, and a Women’s flyweigth clash between prospects Paige VanZant and Rachael Ostovich-Berdon.

News: Paige VanZant and Rachael Ostovich meet at UFC on ESPN

An interesting women’s flyweight clash makes its way onto the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s premier event of 2019 and their ESPN network debut. The exciting Paige VanZant features alongside The Ultimate Fighter competitor Rachael Ostovich on January 19th in Brooklyn. Continue reading “News: Paige VanZant and Rachael Ostovich meet at UFC on ESPN”