Two very talented featherweights, Felipe Arantes and Maximo Blanco, are set to clash later this evening (Sat. Feb. 15, 2014) on the "Prelims" under card portion of UFC Fight Night 36, which takes place at Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazi.
Expect a quick-moving battle between two featherweights who could really use a win.
Arantes, coming off a loss at UFC Fight Night 28, is a pretty decent prospect with a wide mixed martial arts (MMA) skill set. With good footwork and agility to complement a honed striking game, he is good at outpointing opponents on the feet. He is very light on his feet and sports good kicks, making him a threat at all times and from all ranges.
Blanco, however, is a very strange fighter to break down. On the surface, his striking and overall game are fairly normal. Nothing especially flashy, but his boxing is crisp and he is fairly good at wrestling. However, he is prone to some downright baffling mistakes and rule-breaks, making him a bit of a loose cannon in fights. In his last bout, Blanco lost on a disqualification when he kneed a downed Akira Corassani in the head, dropping him to 1-3 in his last four bouts.
Both fighters have good ground games, with Blanco having a wrestling advantage, but Arantes may make up for it with his Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Blanco is good at getting takedowns when he wants them, be it from the clinch or a shot from range, and he has shown punishing ground-and-pound in his fights. Arantes is a smooth grappler, good on his back and on top, with submission skills and a strong ability to initiate and win scrambles. Blanco could use his ground game as a tool in this fight, but he cannot get complacent on top because Arantes can punish him for it.
Expect a fun battle that sees the fight take place everywhere. Arantes could frustrate Blanco early with an elusive approach to striking, making him get wild. Indeed, don't be surprised to see Blanco come forward aggressively at some point, making for hectic exchanges that could be anybody's to win. Blanco could also take the fight to the mat if he chooses, but Arantes will make it interesting with his ability to threaten from bottom.
When these two fighters hook 'em up of "Fight Pass," expect a fun scrap that could earn them "Fight of the Night" honors. Stylistically, they can both make this a focused, calm striking battle, but with the way Blanco is, I just can't see that happening (regardless of his fight with Marcus Brimage).
Arantes will goad Blanco into coming forward, creating a hectic battle of two entertaining featherweights.