UFC Fight Night 64 Play: Aleksandra “Stitch” Albu (-175) vs Izabela Badurek (+155)

Alexandra-AlbuUFC Fight Night 64 Date: April 11, 2015 Arena: Tauron Arena City: Krakow, Poland Women’s Strawweight bout: Aleksandra “Stitch” Albu (-175) vs Izabela Badurek (+155) Fight Breakdown: The UFC Fight Night 64 preliminary card will feature a women’s strawweight contest between a pair of promotional newcomers in Russian Aleksandra “Stitch” Albu and Poland’s own Izabela Badurek. Both fighters are making their first cuts to 115-pounds for this contest, with Albu dropping down from 135-pounds and Badurek dropping down from 145-pounds. The Russian is the betting favorite in this contest at -175 ($175 to win $100) with the Polish Badurek being +155 ($100 to win $155) at Several Bookmakerss. Aleksandra “Stitch” Albu (1-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is reportedly 5-0, however four of those wins were unsanctioned contests that took place in Thailand, so they do not reflect her professional mixed martial arts record. She was set to make her Octagon debut in the bantamweight division at UFC Fight Night 33 in Australia against the now-retired Julie Kedzie, but she pulled out of the bout due to injury and was replaced by current UFC bantamweight title challenger Bethe Correia, who went on to win the fight via split decision. During her extended layoff, Albu has lost weight and is dropping down two weight classes all the way down to the 11t5-pound division, where she is not set to make her UFC debut this Saturday night on enemy soil against Poland’s own Badurek. The Russian is an excellent point fighter, but an even better finisher. She is a very talented and well-rounded mixed martial artist who excels in every aspect of the sport. Coming from a Karate background (owns a black-belt) and having developed a solid Muay Thai game, Albu is quite phenomenal on the feet. She is very accurate with her shots, and her opponents really feel them when they land, as she possesses serious power, and could arguably be the hardest hitter in the women’s 155-pound division. She is very strong, and is in fact a women’s body building champion. “Stitch” has good movement and awareness on the feet; she lands significant shots while patiently looking for opportunities to timely and effectively explode and inflict damage upon her opponents. Albu has excellent striking defense and is a treat to watch offensively. She has very fast hands, as well as some pretty fast kicks, which are also quite damaging and effective. Her kicks are generally very good, and she favors the inside leg-kick. The 24-year old has a superb jab, a beautiful straight right and a nice left-hook. Her right-hook is solid, too, and to top it off, she works a decent uppercut and possesses a good overhand right, which she surprisingly does not use very much. She puts together some outstanding combinations on the feet, and also includes her knees and elbows in her offensive striking attack. Albu works solid takedowns and tosses, and she transitions well on the mat, advancing from position to position. Her ground and pound is vicious, and she is dominant and effective from top position on the mat. The Russian has a very good Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game, both offensively and defensively. She is dangerous with her submissions off her back and likes to use the rubber guard. This will be her first fight at strawweight, coming down two divisions from flyweight, so could fade if the fight hits the third round, but I think that’s a more likely possibility with her opponent Badurek, who is making the drop down from featherweight for her 115-pound debut. Izabela Badurek (5-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is set to make her Octagon debut riding a three fight winning streak, last seeing action nine weeks ago, where she secured a first round armbar submission victory, marking the third win by armbar in her professional mixed martial arts career, and having finished all of her opponents by submission within the first round of action. The Pole has a solid submission game, both offensively and defensively. She is effective from top position, where she likes to look advance position and look for submissions. However, her ground and pound is not very good and she is not a TKO threat. Badurek is also effective off her back; she is capable of pulling off submissions from the position and does a decent job of working reversals to find herself in superior position. The 23-year old has strong hips, good balance and above average takedown defense. Although I can only say that half-heartedly, as she has never faced an opponent who could really test her in the area. She is a somewhat decent wrestler, having a background in the sport, but her wrestling takedowns are generally not very good. However, she has previously found success without a Judo throw (she owns a brown belt in the martial art). Her bodylock takedowns have been effective, and when fighting in a cage, Badurek favors the inside trip. Despite holding a brown belt in the martial art of Karate, the Pole’s striking is rudimentary, both offensively and defensively. She is not a threat on the feet and would be a fish out of water against a skilled striker, which is a position she finds herself this Saturday against Russia’s Albu, as it will certainly be the toughest test of Badurek’s professional mixed martial arts career. The 23-year old’s cardio will be very questionable headed into this contest, considering the fact that she competed at featherweight nine weeks ago and is dropping three whole weight classes in such a short time to compete at strawweight for the UFC debut. She was a very undersized featherweight, but it should still be a hard weight cut in such short amount of time. Gabe’s Thoughts: Having her aforementioned history in women’s body building and considering the fact that this is her UFC debut, the one thing I consider somewhat questionable regarding Albu is her conditioning. However, she is a very good athlete who trains hard and even does crossfit, so I’m not very concerned about it. Especially considering that I think it is likely that she puts Badurek away in the very first round of action, as I believe she is the far superior striker. They are both talented grapplers, so they would likely cancel each other out there, though if I had to give an edge to anyone, it’d be Albu, as I think she is the stronger fighter of the two. The only way (aside from a blatant robberty) that I could see Badurek defeating Albu is by catching her with a submission, however on the slim chance that she does catch Albu with something, I think there is a 65% chance that Albu powers her way out of it. (No study behind that number, just how I feel.) That said, I do not see this fight hitting the mat, unless Albu wants to take it there. It is possible she may want to find hersef on top of Badurek to earn a T/KO stoppage via her brutal ground and pound attack, but I think it is more likely she will keep the fight standing and just light Badurek up like a Christmas tree, and I don’t think it will be long before the referee has to step in and call off the action. Joanne Calderwood and Mayrna Muroz are competing on the main card of the same fight card, but I believe this 24-year old Russian competing on the prelims will be the women’s strawweight everybody is talking about post-UFC Fight Night 64. Also, I should note that with Albu dropping 20-pounds for this fight since her last fight, I’m confident is she going to make the weight, whereas I think there is a good chance Badurek is going to miss weight, considering she is cutting 30-pounds and last competed at 145-pounds as early as nine weeks ago. Even if she does manage to make weight, it’s likely that’s been the main focus of her training camp for this fight and she is likely struggling with the cut at this moment. Another thing worth noting is that the five opponents Badurek has defeated have a combined professional mixed martial arts record of 0-8. (UPDATE: Badurek in fact did miss weight by one pound at the weigh-ins this morning.) Gabe’s Call: Albu by T/KO (punches, 1:01 round 1) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Albu (-175) 5.95u to win 3.4u Editor’s note: After this article was submitted, Badurek missed weight and the betting line moved. Albu now sits at -225 overall while Badurek is +185.

Written by Gabe Killian

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