clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UFC 195 fight card: Diego Brandao vs Brian Ortega full fight preview

Diego Brandao and Brian Ortega will battle this Saturday (Jan. 2, 2016) at UFC 195 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. In a match up of Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts, what adjustments must be made for either man to claim victory? Find out below!

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweights Diego Brandao and Brian Ortega will throw down this Saturday (Jan. 2, 2016) at UFC 195 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Brandao's UFC career has quickly had some ups and downs. On the whole, his performances have been erratic, with his only consistency coming in the form of losses to Top 15-ranked opponents. However, Brandao seems to have calmed down and changed his style significantly, hoping for better results as he works back up the ladder.

It's tough to get a full read on Ortega, but his talent is undeniable. After having his first victory overturned due to a failed drug test, Ortega rallied back in a "Fight of the Year"-worthy battle in his return, scoring the first technical knockout victory of his career.

Let's take a look at the keys to victory for both prospects:

Diego Brandao
Record: 20-10
Key Wins: Dennis Bermudez (TUF 14 Finale), Katsunori Kikuno (UFC Fight Night 75), Jimmy Hettes (UFC on FOX 15)
Key Losses: Conor McGregor (UFC 168), Dustin Poirier (UFC Fight Night 46), Darren Elkins (UFC 146)
Keys to Victory: Brandao is an explosive and violent athlete. In addition to a deep jiu-jitsu background, Brandao loves to sling forward wild punches, jump knees, and high kicks, which has helped him score 11 knockout victories.

In this bout, Brandao's biggest concern needs to be pacing himself. In Ortega's last bout, he proved that he could fight hard with heart and remain dangerous deep into the fight, and those traits are both huge issues if Brandao gasses himself out.

Something of a common occurrence for the Brazilian.

Luckily, Brandao's ability to remain patient and wait for opportunities has greatly improved. In his match up with Jimy Hettes -- who's a fair stylistic comparison to Ortega -- Brandao pressured his opponent intelligently, landed some big takedowns, and eventually forced a cut stoppage.

Brandao should look to employ a similar strategy here. While standing, Brandao can throw hard shots, ideally without any haymakers, until he secures the clinch. From there, he's the stronger man, better wrestler, and has proven his jiu-jitsu multiple times over.


Brian Ortega
Record: 9-0 (1)
Key Wins: Thiago Tavares (UFC Fight Night 68), Jordan Rinaldo (RFA 9)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Ortega is a grappler first and foremost. The rest of his game is coming along nicely -- "T-City" is just 24 years old -- but there's a reason Ortega has tapped out about half of his opponents.

In this bout, Ortega needs to pressure his opponent and force him to work. If he stands around at range, he's in danger of getting flattened in violent fashion. Similarly, if he allows his opponent to work in the clinch and set up takedowns, Ortega is losing rounds without making his opponent get tired.

Instead, Ortega has to initiate the takedown immediately. Even if he's unable to score with his initial shot, Ortega simply needs to keep chain wrestling and working for top position.

At worst, Ortega will be reversed to his back. Even then, that's not the worst thing for Ortega, as his bottom game is dangerous and active enough to still force Brandao to work.

So long as Ortega avoids severe damage early, he should be able to take over as Brandao tires. In his last fight, Ortega proved he can come out on top in a war of attrition, and that's simply not a style of fight Brandao historically wins.

Bottom Line: This is an excellent match up of talented fighters, and the winner should be on the fast track to the top 15 of the division.

At 28 years old and 30 fights into his professional career, Brandao is not a prospect. At the moment, he should be in his prime, which means its vital for him to win fights like this. He can't afford to have his momentum derailed, as this is his moment to go on a run and make something happen in the Featherweight division.

If he loses here, it seems quite unlikely that a big win streak will ever happen for Brandao. On the other hand, a win keeps the hope that he can put it all together and capitalize alive.

Ortega, conversely, is the definition of a prospect, and a good one at that. That puts him in a better position than Brandao, as a win is more valuable and a loss is merely a momentary setback.

If Ortega comes out on top, that's a second great sign in a row for his future. Brandao may have flaws, but he's a very tough fighter that has only recently fallen to top fighters, so for Ortega to join that list already would be big for him. Alternatively, the first loss of his professional career wouldn't be the worst thing either, as it would spur development and be looked at as a learning experience against a veteran more than anything else.

At UFC 195, Diego Brandao and Brian Ortega will open up the main card with a brawl. Which man will have his hand raised?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania