UFC 260 has taken an utter beating from Coronavirus, though that’s somehow resulted in only a single UFC newcomer making the walk this Saturday (March 27, 2021) inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. On this edition of “New Blood,” the series where UFC’s increasing monopoly at least keeps the video archives centralized, we look at an LFA champ who steps up on just a few days’ notice.
Fabio “Water Buffalo” Cherant
Weight Class: Light Heavyweight
Record: 7-1 (5 SUB)
Notable Victories: Myron Dennis
Cherant dispatched his first four professional opponents in less than two rounds apiece to set up a shot on “Contender Series,” where he fell to Aleksa Camur by comeback knockout. Undaunted, he went on to win three straight, earning the LFA Light Heavyweight title in Feb. 2021 with a decision over Myron Dennis.
He steps in for William Knight on three days’ notice.
Despite what his record might suggest, Cherant is primarily a stalking Southpaw boxer with remarkably fast hands, working equally well with rapid-fire combinations on the advance and sharp counters on the back foot. His striking offense boasts numerous delightful little touches, including a well-blended body attack and a willingness to throw the same hand several times in sequence instead of predictably going left-right-left-right. There’s definitely power to go along with the speed, particularly in his straight left, and he can throw a stinging jab when the fancy strikes.
As impressive as he is when he’s in control, though, his footwork and cage awareness consistently let him down. It’s simply far too easy to get him to back into the fence, leaving him vulnerable to both strikes and takedown attempts. This issue is worsened by the fact that he plants his feet when he counters instead of angling off, meaning he’s in real trouble if he misses. Anyone bold enough to constantly walk forward is going to get plenty of opportunities to do damage.
On the grappling side, he’s particularly fond of front chokes, which account for three of his five professional finishes. He’ll constantly threaten them when opponents change levels, bolstering what appears to be middling takedown defense. His own takedowns are similarly average, and he never managed to keep anyone down for any length of time in the footage I saw. Though his ground game accounts for most of his finishes, the majority of those came against weak opposition; it’s definitely more of an accoutrement to his striking than a major threat on its own.
Cherant’s young, physically impressive and has the skills to potentially find a place for himself in UFC’s Light Heavyweight division. Those flaws could wind up seriously damning if he doesn’t fix them, though, so there’s still work to be done.
Opponent: He meets fellow “Contender Series” veteran Alonzo Menifield, whose shortcomings became apparent in consecutive losses to Devin Clark and Ovince Saint Preux. Those struggles should give Cherant hope, but his defensive shortcomings mix very poorly with Menifield’s sheer power. In the end, expect Menifield to knock his socks off sometime in the first round, especially since Cherant’s missed weight before and is coming in on ultra-late notice.
Tape: All four of his most recent bouts are on Fight Pass.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 260 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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