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In the Flyweight division, we have a showdown between two men seeking their first UFC victory, as Cody Durden and Qileng ‘Mongolian Murderer’ Aori clash. After being submitted by Jimmy Flick eleven months ago, Durden will return to the octagon for a third time, seeking that illustrious first UFC victory. Prior to joining the UFC in 2020, Durden had won seven in a row, all via stoppage. Meanwhile, Aori returns to the octagon after a ‘Fight of the Night’ against Jeff Molina in his UFC debut. A fight in which Aori lost, but showed excellent heart, overcoming being knocked down twice in a competitive fifteen minutes of action.
This is an early contender for ‘Fight of the Night’, as both men have established themselves as high action fighters. Cody Durden however, is the finisher among the two. Winning ten of his eleven fights via stoppage, Durden entered the UFC with potential to be a contender at Flyweight. Primarily a wrestler, Durden isn’t afraid to spam takedown attempts to get the fight to the mat. Durden also has some striking chops, often pumping a solid jab to set up his other attacks. In his previous two fights, Durden had moments of dominant control time, but ultimately settled for a draw in one fight and was submitted in the other. This third attempt at a victory won’t come easy either, as Qileng Aori is a relentless fighter with loads of heart. Using pressure, an iron chin and high output, Aori looks to break fighters. Against Jeff Molina, Aori looked better than a fighter with seven losses and more powerful than his five knockouts in eighteen wins indicate. If there is any certainty however, it’s that regardless of round, Aori will never stop fighting and never stop coming forward.
As for a prediction, I have Durden. While this is a tough fight to pick, I believe Durden’s wrestling is going to be key to neutralizing Aori and winning the fight. The one worry I do have though, is if Durden struggles to take Aori down. Not only will the striking be closely contested, but the cardio and pace of Aori will take over the later the fight goes. However, I’m fairly confident in Durden’s wrestling and the fact that in past fights, Aori was taken down by lesser foes. In the end, I predict that Durden gets it done via submission.