UFC Fight Night 75 Newcomer Breakdown: Roger Zapata

Roger ZapataPrior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at welterweight Roger Zapata as he takes on Japan’s Shinsho Anzai at UFN 75 in Saitama, Japan. Roger “Viva” Zapata Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Age: 29 Height: 5’11” Reach: – Weight Class: Welterweight Camp: Renzo Gracie Latham Career Record: 4-1 Key Wins: None Key Losses: None Background A semifinalist on Team Penn on TUF 19, Zapata enters the UFC on the back of a 4-1 record. Outside of MMA, is a police offer in the state of New York. Strengths Good footwork Nice hands with good counter striking At his best when able to strike in combination Decent knees in the clinch Consistent across entire 15 minute fight Weaknesses Poor takedown defense Lacks one punch knockout power Fights at a slow pace Fighter Grades Offensive Striking: C- Striking Defense: D+ Knockout Power: F Athleticism / Speed: D Footwork: C- Chin: D+ Offensive Wrestling: D Takedown Defense: D- Submissions: F Conditioning: C Intangibles: D- Overall Grade: D- Matchup with Shinsho Anzai While Anzai does come from a wrestling background, he really prefers to stand and strike. I expect Anzai to have some success in the wrestling department, but Zapata does very well to get back to his feet when taken down in a fight. The majority of this fight should be on the feet where it will ultimately come down to technique. Anzai is a wild, aggressive striker, while Zapata has the much better technique and more accurate. Zapata will be able to pick his spots as Anzai pushes forward to land in combination. Zapata is not a powerful puncher, but the accumulation of strikes will be the difference. Look for Zapata to get a late stoppage or decision win. Both fighters are coming off significant layoffs, so this is not a fight too be too confident in, but there are clear advantages for the American trained Zapata in this bout. UFC Ceiling Roger Zapata is still relatively inexperienced in MMA with only five professional fights. He’s comfortable on the feet and is at his best in a slow paced standing exchange where he can showcase his combination boxing. While he can compete with the bottom rung of welterweights in the UFC, his ceiling is really limited due to speed and lack of an all-around game. Zapata will struggle against fighters who fight at a faster pace and he will struggle to defend takedowns against most MMA fighters. His ability to defend submissions is also a serious question mark. Zapata may get a couple fights in the UFC, but don’t expect him to get the win when asked to face a step up in competition. Fight Film Check out Roger Zapata in some of his most recent fights: Roger Zapata vs. Tyler Minton

Roger Zapata vs. Chip Moraza-Pollard

Written by Jay Primetown

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