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In the Bantamweight division, we have a showdown between Raphael Assuncao and Ricky Simon. Returning to the octagon for his first fight in 2021, Assuncao will look to put a halt to three-fight losing streak. Having never lost three consecutive fights in his career, the perennial top fifteen Bantamweight finds himself in unknown territory. Meanwhile, Simon comes into this fight on a three-fight win streak. Having most recently defeated Brian Kelleher in dominant fashion, Simon will look to add the biggest name to date in Assuncao on the resume. Currently not ranked, perhaps with a victory, that might change.
Raphael Assuncao is a staple in the Bantamweight division, but it feels like of late, he is wilting at the hands of father time. At 39 years old and a loser of three straight, two in which he was finished in, this could be the Brazilian’s last stand. A well rounded fighter, Assuncao has shown a capability of winning fights on the feet or with grappling. Often known for throwing leg kicks, Assuncao looks to slow down opponents’ movement and then get off his offense. With wins over T.J. Dillashaw, Aljamain Sterling, Marlon Moraes, Rob Font and Pedro Munhoz, Assuncao has proven that is skilled enough to defeat some of the best. As for Simon, the gritty wrestler is one of the more frustrating fighters to fight. Relentless in his attack, Simon will look to takedown his opponent from start to finish. In Simon’s last four fights, he has landed a total of twenty-six takedowns. Over his eight-fight UFC career, that number jumps up to thirty-nine.
As for a prediction, I have Simon winning. While Assuncao has been a perennial contender for much of his career, it seems like those days are long over. Simon is just too good at his strength and while Assuncao has been known to have stout takedown defense, he’s yet to face anyone who is as relentless in his pursuit to get the fight down to the mat as Simon is. So with that said, I predict that Simon will wear on Assuncao and eventually submit the veteran later in the fight.