UFC 196 Breakdown: Siyar Bahadurzada vs Brandon Thatch

Siyar BahadurzadaPrior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at a welterweight clash between Siyar Bahadurzada and Brandon Thatch. Bahadurzada, the only Afghanistan-born fighter in the UFC, hasn’t fought since 2013, while Thatch is looking to end the first two-fight losing streak of his career.   Siyar Bahadurzada (Record: 21-6-1, +255 Underdog, Fighter Grade: C) The Afghan fighter has been fighting professionally since 2002. He received much of his training in Holland at the Tatsujin Dojo under the tutelage of Martjin de Jong. In addition to that, Bahadurzada’s received training at top camps like the Blackzilians and Golden Glory. He enters this fight on a two-fight losing streak having not fought since 2013. If anything Bahadurzada is a dangerous striker. He has significant power on the feet and can knock out an opponent with just one punch. Of his 21 wins, 11 of them have come via knockout. Furthermore on his striking, he’s not a fighter that appears to put a lot of force into his punches. He has good reactions, quick hands, and can finish someone without much of a wind up. He has a great chin having never been finished by strikes in his professional MMA career. Where Siyar struggles is in the ground game. He can be taken to the ground by opponents and controlled rather easily there. In his last two UFC fights, his opponents avoided the standup and held top control for larger portions of the fight. Grappling is the weakest area of Bahadurzada’s skill-set.   Brandon Thatch (Record: 11-3, -310 Favorite, Fighter Grade: C+) The Denver-based welterweight was one of the most touted prospects in the sport when he made his UFC debut. He’s been training the majority of his career at Elevation Fight Team training alongside the likes of Matt Brown, Neil Magny, and Nate Marquardt. Thatch is on the first losing streak of his career coming off losses to Ben Henderson and Gunnar Nelson. He was submitted on both occasions. Thatch is one of the biggest welterweights on the roster at 6’2” and a 74.5 inch reach. He’s a killer on the feet with a very aggressive striking game. He’s deadly in the clinch and with fantastic knees when given the opportunity. Of his 11 wins, all of them were by finish. In his last fight, he was clipped on the feet by a rather pedestrian punch from the aforementioned Nelson, allowing his opponent to take the fight to the ground where he had a huge advantage. Like Bahadurzada, his biggest weakness is on the ground. His submission game is novice compared to most of fighters in the organization and he’s been exposed in that regard in his last two fights.   Match-up A very interesting, yet tricky fight has been booked here. Both fighters are on two-fight losing streaks and are desperate to get back on the right track as another loss could see the loser receive a pink slip. Thatch has the physical and technical advantages on the feet. He will certainly push forward and look to pressure Bahadurzada. The most likely result is that the physical advantages that Thatch has will allow him to control how the fight takes place which gives him the edge. On the flip side, in a battle between two fighters with above average power for the weight class, there’s a high likelihood of a stoppage. In that case, I side with the fighter who has proven to be more durable inside the cage and that’s Bahadurzada. Instead of looking to wager on the money line, the best opportunity is for a stoppage win by the underdog. Bahadurzada does have some finishes by submission, so avoid the TKO prop, but instead a wager on the inside the distance prop (+325) presents a nice opportunity given the circumstance.

Written by Jay Primetown

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