UFC Fight Night 93 Play: Leandro Issa (+135) vs Taylor Lapilus (-155)

Taylor LapilusUFC Fight Night 93: Arlovski vs Barnett Date: September 3, 2016 Arena: Barclaycard, Arena City: Hamburg, Germany Bantamweight bout: Leandro Issa (+135) vs Taylor Lapilus (-155) Fight Breakdown: The UFC Fight Night 93 prelims will be featuring a bantamweight contest between Brazilian Leandro Issa and Frenchman Taylor Lapilus, with Issa being a +135 underdog ($100 to win $135) and Lapilus being the favorite to win at -155 ($155 to win $100) at Several Bookmakerss. Leandro “Brodinho” Issa (13-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) last saw action at UFC 190 more than a year ago, where he saw his-two fight winning streak snapped in a unanimous decision defeat to fellow Brazilian Iuri Alcantara. Following the extended layoff, he aims to get back on track by taking out Lapilus. “Brodinho” is a talented Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt who is very solid in the submission game, though it is worth noting that his jiu-jitsu skill does not translate into MMA too well. That is because he is not well-versed in no-gi jiu-jitsu, and is used to having a gi to assist him with his submissions. Some of his favorite submissions are near-impossible to pull off without a gi. That said, Issa’s jiu-jitsu game in MMA is still relatively solid. The OneFC veteran works decent takedowns and has excellent top control. He keeps heavy pressure on his opponents, as he constantly looks for submissions. He transitions well on the mat, has powerful top control, and takes chances looking for submissions. The Brazilian loves looking for the arm triangle choke, though he has technically only finished one opponent with it thus far in his professional mixed martial arts career. To compliment his offensive grappling, the soon to be 33 year old is also very good in the defensive grappling department. He has a great sprawl and takedown defense, and being a large 135 pounder, it is generally a difficult task to take him down to the mat. When he is taken down, he can be quite dangerous off his back, always a threat to catch his opponents with a submission. The Brazilian is also good at reversing positions, and finding his way on top. His cardio is questionable, especially considering the fact that he is coming off an extended layoff, so this could be a fight in which he would need a finish early to win. While he is flat-footed and is not a great striker, Issa has been making improvements in that department. He possesses a nice overhand right, not to mention some powerful kicks. However, his striking defense is not so good, and his chin is a concern. In fact, two of his five career losses have been due to knockouts. Due to the low confidence he has in his striking skills, Issa often relies in his grappling and jiu-jitsu to win fights. When he chooses to stand with his opponents and feels the disadvantage on the feet, he immediately turns to what he knows, which is his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. As soon as he gets hurt, he wastes no time closing the distance and going for the takedown, and he is relentless about getting it. Taylor “Double Impact” Lapilus (10-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) saw his five-fight winning streak snapped at the TUF: Latin America 2 Finale nine months ago, where he came up short viaunanimous decision against Erik Perez. He arguably won the first round, but as fatigue began to set in, Perez took over in rounds two and three to take home the nod in front of his hometown Monterrey, Mexico crowd. Lapilus went back to the drawing board following the sour defeat. He took some time off and is now ready to get back on track with an impressive victory over the veteran Issa. “Double Impact” switched training camps starting with the Perez bout, making SBG Ireland his new home, so I expect to see the best version of him we have yet to see. His wrestling his average, both with his offensive takedowns and takedown defense. It will be interesting to see how Lapilus fares in that department against the superior grappler in Issa and I am curious to see how much he has improved since the Perez bout nine months back. The Frenchman’s conditioning is questionable following the Perez bout, especially against an opponent like Issa, who is also pressure heavy with his grappling and takedown attempts. The 23-year old is a talented striker who mixes it up well on the feet. He has good footwork and is very fast on his feet. Lapilus does a good job of setting up his strikes, feints well with them and puts together excellent combinations, including some beautiful 1-2’s. He has a very good jab, vicious hooks and a hard overhand left. The Frenchman has a great kicking game, as well, and has a variety of them in his arsenal, including a sidekick he favors. He is quite effective with his heavy body-kicks and likes to go for the head and legs, too. Gabe’s Thoughts: This is a classic “striker vs grappler” match-up in which Issa will be looking to take Lapilus to the mat and work his submission game, while Lapilus will be looking to keep the fight standing and look for the fight-ending blow. Issa is a talented grappler and Lapilus a talented striker; they both like to finish fights and their records back that up, so this one is not expected to go the full 15 minutes of action for a judges’ decision. Lapilus is really strong in the first round, so I think there is a fair chance he will secure a T/KO stoppage. Should this fight hit the judges’ scorecards, I favor Lapilus to get his hand raised more times than not, and should it end inside the distance, I think we again see Lapilus with his hand raised more often than not. Gabe’s Call: Lapilus by T/KO (strikes, 3:14 round 1) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Lapilus (-155) 3.1u to win 2u

Written by Gabe Killian

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