Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight talents Andre Fili and Bryce Mitchell will collide this weekend (Sat., Oct. 31, 2020) at UFC Vegas 12 inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After several years struggling to find consistent success inside the Octagon, Fili flipped a switch, and he’s performed measurably better as a result. He’s won three of his last four bouts, and once again, “Touchy” is looking to break into the rankings with a victory here. Mitchell currently sits at the No. 15 slot, a position he earned on the strength of four straight wins to start his UFC debut. “Thug Nasty” has a grappling style that has proven to equally entertaining and dominant, and many fans are excited to see just how far it will take the Arkansas native.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Dennis Bermudez (UFC on FOX 27), Myles Jury (UFC on ESPN 1), Hacran Dias (UFC Fight Night 96), Gabriel Benitez (TUF Latin American 2 Finale)
Key Losses: Max Holloway (UFC 172), Calvin Kattar (UFC 214), Yair Rodriguez (UFC 197), Sodiq Yusuff (UFC 246)
Keys to Victory: Fili is a well-rounded combatant who prefers to strike. On the feet, Fili is a powerful kicker who shifts between stances well, and he’s also quite skilled at timing his reactive double-leg takedown against pressing opponents.
It’s pretty clear where each man would like this bout to take place. Fili is the far more developed and powerful striker. There are layers to his offensive, whereas Mitchell just throws with some enthusiasm until the takedown presents itself. Alternatively, we can say with confidence that Mitchell’s overall game plan probably involves trying to twister his foe.
As such, Fili should be in full sprawl-and-brawl mode. There a couple keys to avoiding takedowns that pretty much applies to any match up, and the first involves staying off the fence via footwork. Secondly, establishing a range tool really helps, and for Fili, I’d like to see that weapon be the jab. He’s a great kicker, and those strikes will help over time, but the odds of having a kick caught and converted into a takedown are greatly decreased if he’s able to hide his kicks behind a sharp jab.
Key Wins: Charles Rosa (UFC 249), Matt Sayles (UFC on ESPN 7), Bobby Moffett (UFC Fight Night 148)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Mitchell is a grinder. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with a high school wrestling background, Mitchell is deceptively athletic, which goes a long way in fighting to secure takedowns.
Mitchell does not want to trade strikes with FIli. Fortunately, he throws hard enough that his punches have to be respected even if he’s not a technician, and that should provide the openings necessary to enter onto the legs.
Perhaps the biggest key for Mitchell here is to stay committed to the takedown. Fili tends to cut an angle to deny the initial shot well, but he’s not the type of fighter whose hips simply bounce fighters backward. If Mitchell’s first takedown attempt fails, he has to stay connected and continue transitioning, which gives him the best chance at completing the shot.
On the mat, Mitchell has historically been very tight with his top pressure despite his aggression. That will be especially important here, as takedowns are likely to be hard-fought. For that reason, Mitchell may have to focus a bit more on position rather than submission, as he doesn’t want to repeatedly burn energy working for takedowns multiple times in a round.
One man leaves the cage as a ranked Featherweight.
Fili is in a frustrating situation. He’s beaten several opponents who were ranked at the time — Bermudez, Dias and Jury, for example — yet does not take their position. Hopefully, his more consistent wins as of late combined with a potential victory over Mitchell will change that, as “Touchy” has been trying to build momentum for some time.
On the other hand, Mitchell has people excited. He’s got a fun personality with a unique grappling style — it’s not hard to see why people like the talented 26-year-old. He’s earned this step up in competition, and it should prove really telling. If Mitchell can implement his grappling opposite a hard-nosed veteran like Fili, “Thug Nasty” is a serious contender.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 12 fight card this weekend right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ 7 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 12: “Silva vs. Hall” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.
At UFC Vegas 12, Andre FIli and Bryce Mitchell will battle in the co-main event. Which man will earn the victory?