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UFC Vegas 39 - New Blood: Something ‘Wicked’ this way comes

UFC Fighter Portraits Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC Vegas 39 this weekend (Sat., Oct. 9, 2021) was all set to feature nothing but Octagon veterans, but the promotion was once again forced to look to the many regional promotions under its purview. On this edition of “New Blood,” the series where nothing’s ever simple, we look at a heavy-handed finisher from Argentina.

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 60 On ESPN+

BANTAMWEIGHT BASH! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., Sept. 17, 2022, with a meaningful 135-pound showdown between top-ranked division contender, Cory Sandhagen, looking to blunt the rise of surging prospect, Song Yadong. In UFC Vegas 60’s co-main event, hard-hitting Middleweight strikers, Chidi Njokuani and Gregory Rodrigues, will hook ‘em up in a potential “Fight of the Night” contender.

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Silvana “La Malvada” Gomez

Weight Class: Strawweight
Age: 36
Record: 10-2 (6 KO, 2 SUB)
Notable Victories: Saray Orozco

Argentina’s Gomez — whose only professional losses came to future UFC competitors Poliana Botelho and Ariane Lipski — was slated to meet Antonina Shevchenko on “Contender Series” in 2018 before withdrawing due to injury. She has since won three straight, most recently stopping Gilsely Perea in Feb. 2021.

She steps in for Sam Hughes, who ran afoul of COVID protocols, on less than a week’s notice.

Gomez is a boxing-focused fighter with two distinct gears. Early on in fights, she prefers to circle at range, working behind a stiff and busy jab alongside remarkably heavy calf kicks. When she commits to power shots, she throws from the hip with considerable power and does a good job of timing clinch knees when opponents breach the pocket.

Once she’s comfortable and her opponent begins to show wear, she goes on the attack with vicious flurries. Her body shots are particularly potent, as seen when she stopped her second-most recent opponent with one, and her deep gas tank allows her to rack up damage well into the third round. Opponents would be well-served not letting her snowball, because once she’s got momentum, she’s a nightmare.

That impressive offense can’t always make up for some rough edges, though. Most notably, Gomez does a very poor job of protecting her chin while she throws; if she’s punching with one hand, you can bet that the other one is down by her midsection. This earned her a swollen-shut eye against Perea, who timed a right hand with one of her own in the opening minute, and can be a real issue when combined with her tendency to loop her right hand instead of sending it down the pipe. In addition, she tends to throw her calf kicks without setup and doesn’t check leg kicks in return.

Her power and aggression aren’t a panacea, especially not against higher-level competition.

She didn’t show much of her grappling in recent efforts. She did stuff all but one takedown, which came when she threw a naked low kick, and she immediately scrambled free and shut down an armbar. Something to keep an eye on, even if there’s not enough data on its current status to call it a liability.

If nothing else, Gomez is damn fun to watch and a legitimate finishing threat. I think she’ll fall short against the cream of the Strawweight crop, but there’re some nice match ups to be made.

Opponent: She meets the immensely talented (but occasionally self-sabotaging) Lupita Godinez, who was last seen dropping a split decision to Jessica Penne. Godinez’s excellent boxing looks poised to tear apart Gomez’s leaky defense and she’s got some wrestling in her back pocket. On paper, “Loopy” should dominate. She’s let fights get away from her before, though, and Gomez definitely hits hard enough to punish her for getting lazy. Still, I favor Godinez to win comfortably provided she’s learned her lesson.

Tape: Her recent UWC bout is on Fight Pass.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 39 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ at 4 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 39: “Dern vs. Rodriguez” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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