Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight strikers Lando Vannata and David Teymur will duel this Saturday (March 4, 2017) at UFC 209 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Vannata’s rise to perhaps the sport’s hottest prospect has been pretty spectacular. There’s a reason that “Groovy Lando” has risen to the main card of a pay-per-view (PPV) after splitting just two fights, as he’s both remarkably talented and extraordinarily fun to watch. While Teymur may not be able to match the hype of his opponent, the former professional kickboxer does have plenty of experience and a pair of UFC knockouts on his record. On the main card of a large event, this is also an important opportunity for the European athlete.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both men:
Key Wins: John Makdessi (UFC 206)
Key Losses: Tony Ferguson (UFC Fight Night 91)
Keys to Victory: Vannata is still new inside the Octagon, but he’s shown some seriously high level striking. Honed by Brandon “Six Gun” Gibson, Vannata’s style is perfectly suited for mixed martial arts (MMA), relying on footwork and head movement to suddenly close range or counter with potentially deadly strikes. It’s also worth mentioning that Vannata possesses a wrestling background and four submission wins.
In this match up, Vannata would be wise to mix it up. In all likelihood, Vannata and Gibson have studied enough tape to find a very specific hole in Teymur’s defense and lay a trap, but mixing in a takedown attempt or two can only benefit him opposite the less experienced grappler.
Overall, this is a very much a match up of a classic kickboxing style opposite new age MMA striking. As the MMA representative, mixing in takedowns and clinch work is important, as the grappling aspects of fighting are one of the key reasons there’s such a difference in style.
After forcing his opponent out of his comfort zone a bit, Vannata will have an even easier time of landing the fight-ending blow, whether it be a rolling hook, spinning attack or counter right hand.
Key Wins: Jason Novelli (UFC Fight Night 92), Martin Svensson
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: An experienced professional kickboxer from Sweden, Teymur is a very methodical and smart Southpaw. Controlling range well with kicks and distance strikes, Teymur sets up his counter punches well and does an excellent job of continuously landing hard punches at a solid pace until his opponent crumbles.
If this match is to end in definitive fashion, one man must figure out the other’s timing and capitalize. Both men tend to be very good at that, which makes this an interesting and exciting contest.
For Teymur, he would be wise to counter Vannata’s head movement and low hand position. Vannata is generally quite hard to hit, but every style has its weakness. In Vannata’s case, a single high kick while he’s rolling with his hands out of position could end his night. To land said kick, Teymur needs to be ready to fire off kicks on the counter. Often, Vannata will lead with a cross and roll under the expected return punch. If Teymur kicks instead, it will interrupt his opponent’s movement and potentially land clean. Additionally, Teymur should look to use punch-kick combinations to get his foe’s head moving before attempting to punt it.
Even if he’s unable to land a clean high kick, the threat will help limit Vannata’s head movement and make him easier to hit.
Bottom Line: This bout has the potential to be a showcase performance, shocking upset or absolute scrap.
Vannata has been given a serious opportunity to show off his ability. Teymur is a solid opponent, but if Vannata is all that he appears to be, he should be able to finish him in highlight-reel fashion. If he can replicate a win like the Makdessi performance on this event, Vannata will continue to grow his fan base and likely receive a ranked opponent next.
“Groovy Lando” also has quite a bit to lose. If he’s defeated by a relative unknown like Teymur, it will slow his momentum a great deal and force Vannata to climb the ranks like a more average Lightweight.
As for Teymur, this is a great fight for him. Rather than toil away on the undercards of Fight Night events in the hopes of getting a call up, Teymur has jumped onto the big stage opposite an opponent willing to strike. If he pulls off the upset and catches his foe -- which is not impossible considering his background -- Teymur is suddenly a player at 155 pounds.
Alternatively, a loss leave Teymur in a similar position to his current one. There’s really not much to lose for the Swede.
At UFC 209, Landon Vannata and David Teymur will battle in a match up of knockout artists. Which fighter will remain standing when the dust settles?