Paulo Sarasate Arena in Fortaleza, Brazil, is set to host the latest Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) mixed martial arts (MMA) event later this evening (Sat., June 8, 2013).
UFC on Fuel TV 10 will feature a Heavyweight battle between Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the main event, but well before then on the Facebook "Prelims" broadcast, a Bantamweight battle between Raphael Assuncao and Vaughan Lee promises to be a very exciting fight to watch.
With the backdrop of a friendly audience, Assuncao will look to make Lee his fourth straight win, while the Englishman steps into hostile territory as he looks to put together his first two-fight win streak since 2011.
Assuncao has been a well-known commodity of the lighter weight classes for some time, evident an extensive record (19-4) that demonstrates he has been around the block. Almost half of his career victories are by way of submission, proving his ability on the mat, but he has also shown to be proficient in the striking department.
Assuncao's game focuses heavily on his ability to counter anything and everything his opponent does. This does not mean that he cannot generate effective offense, but his finest work comes by making his opponent come to him. Though not necessarily known for his striking ability, it is not a weak area for him, as his boxing technique is very good for someone considered a ground specialist.
Standing at only 5'5," Assuncao is not a big Bantamweight by any stretch, but he more than compensates for this with his speed and explosiveness. Assuncao's ability to recognize opportunities in the moment is something hard to find in fighters, and he has the speed necessary to capitalize when he does this.
When fighting Lee, this attribute will be an invaluable skill because he brings a very different style of fighting to the Octagon. Lee is not a necessarily big bantamweight himself, but his high pressure style makes him a very tough fighter to push away.
Lee's attack standing is one that involves straight line pressure and a bullying clinch game, as well as honed distance striking. He is capable of cutting off angles with good footwork, but he tends to utilize straight line attacks as well, which open him to retaliations from opponents as his offense becomes his only priority.
His ground game is very similar, as he tends to commit himself fully to inflicting damage or finishing the fight, which can open him to counter attacks from a savvy opponent. With seven submission victories, he is a threat on the ground, but his five losses by submission are very concerning when considering his defense. It shows that his game is very aggressive, for better or worse, which can be either a blessing or a curse to more traditional opponents.
The clash between these two is very interesting because their approaches differ so greatly. While Assuncao is capable of bringing highly effective offense, he will definitely be on the counter attack if Lee is to impose his game. Lee's approach will ensure that these two engage early and often, with movement all over the cage and success from both parties.
A dynamic and exciting ground game could also ensue between these two fighters, as both could threaten with takedowns at any moment in the fight. The clinch will serve as middle ground and a possible deciding factor in the fight, as whoever controls clinch exchanges could be the one to enforce their game more effectively. If the fight is to hit the mat, Assuncao's ground savvy will be tested by Lee's hyper-aggressive attack, meaning that either man could be caught in compromising positions as the fight drags on.
Ultimately, this bantamweight bout could be the most exciting fight on the UFC on Fuel TV 10 fight card. And these two will definitely do their best to ensure it is just that. Therefore, expect high-speed striking exchanges coupled with competitive clinch and grappling struggles, as these two battle tooth and nail for the upper hand in a showdown for Bantamweight relevance.
Indeed, don't be surprised to see Raphael Assuncao and Vaughan Lee deliver the UFC on Fuel TV 10 "Fight of the Night" in Brazil.