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UFC Fight Night 106 fight card: Jussier Formiga vs Ray Borg preview

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Formiga vs Ortiz Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight grapplers Jussier Formiga and Ray Borg will duel this Saturday (March 11, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 106 inside Centro de Formacao Olímpica do Nordeste in Fortaleza, Brazil.

One of the highest ranked athletes at the time of his division’s inception, Formiga has never quite built the momentum necessary to earn the title shot many expected him to receive. Now that the Brazilian has won four of his last five bouts, however, he’s perhaps closer than ever. Like his opponent, Borg has dominated some tough opposition thanks to the strength of his grappling. The prospect has also missed weight in two of his last three performances, which is something to keep an eye on ahead of this match.

Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both men:

Jussier Formiga
Record: 19-4
Key Wins: Wilson Reis (UFC Fight Night 67), Dustin Ortiz (UFC Fight Night 95), Zach Makovsky (UFC Fight Night 47), Scott Jorgensen (UFC Fight Night 38)
Key Losses: Joseph Benavidez (UFC Fight Night 28), Henry Cejudo (UFC Fight Night 78), John Dodson (UFC on FX 5)
Keys to Victory: One of the most skilled grapplers in his division, Formiga has made a career of timing takedowns and jumping onto the backs of his opponents. In the last few years, he’s also improved his kickboxing, becoming a bit more aggressive.

This is a match up likely to be filled with scrambles. Both men are stellar jiu-jitsu players willing to jump onto submissions, so whichever man can find his way to a dominant position and maintain it the longest will likely pull off the win. In Formiga’s case, that position is the back mount. He’s really excellent from there, and his path to victory opposite similarly skilled grapplers — such as Reis and Ortiz — was to take the back and trap them there. If he can scramble into that position opposite Borg, he can likely produce a similar result.

Lastly, Formiga needs to be aggressive when standing. Neither man is particularly refined in that area, but aggression alone can help swing the kickboxing match to Formiga’s side.


Ray Borg
Record: 10-2
Key Wins: Louis Smolka (UFC 207), Geane Herrera (UFC Fight Night 73), Chris Kelades (UFC Fight Night 60)
Key Losses: Justin Scoggins (UFC Fight Night 82), Dustin Ortiz (UFC on FOX 11)
Keys to Victory: Borg is undoubtedly one of the most talented prospects at 125 lbs. He’s a very dominant grappler, quick to snatch onto an arm or the neck in transition. He’s finished six of his foes via submission, including a pair inside the Octagon.

In Borg’s last fight, he showcased much improved boxing. Moving his head and working angles, Borg picked his opponent apart and was able to land takedowns far more efficiently because of it. If he can bring that same fluidity and boxing into this match up, Borg has a real chance at pulling off the upset. The younger and more powerful puncher, there’s a chance that Borg could pull off a sprawl-and-brawl style opposite the veteran.

Even if he cannot keep this fight standing the entire time, controlling the striking will allow him to reject his opponent’s takedowns and land his own at a better rate. It’s exhausting to wrestle with a fighter controlling distance well, and Borg could push a cardio advantage if he doesn’t simply dive into grappling exchanges.

Bottom Line: This is a very important bout for the Flyweight division.

In Formiga’s case, he’s the only Top 5-ranked fighter who has yet to face off with “Mighty Mouse.” Considering the fact that he beat Wilson Reis — Johnson’s next title challenger -- Formiga cannot be all that far off from receiving his own opportunity if he wins here. On the other hand, there’s a reason that Formiga has been passed over before, and another loss supports the idea that he has little chance opposite Demetrious Johnson.

This is a massive opportunity for Borg. Formiga is a top five opponent that still has some obvious flaws, and Borg is one of the most athletic prospects in his division. The potential for an upset and new contender is there, as Borg could suddenly announce himself as a factor in the title picture ... assuming he makes weight this time.

If not, he’s likely headed to Bantamweight regardless of how he performs. Should Borg lose while making weight, that’s less of a setback, as Borg is still just 23 years old and could bounce back.

At UFC Fight Night 106, Jussier Formiga and Ray Borg will battle on the main card. Which man will have his hand raised?

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