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We have an important fight in the Bantamweight division, as Raulian Paiva takes on Sergey Morozov. Coming off a loss to Sean O’Malley, Paiva saw not only his two-fight win streak halted, but his spot on the Bantamweight rankings taken. Looking to rebound and get back in position to make a run, Paiva comes into this fight with an opportunity to potential earn a ranked foe with a victory. Meanwhile, Morozov comes into this fight needing to find consistency. Going 1-2 in his first three UFC fights, a third loss could spell the end of his tenure.
This is another fight on the card, that is likely to be close. Paiva is a striker, who doesn’t often utilize leg kicks. Despite that, Paiva does a relatively good job landing with volume. His main strengths come from his cardio and durability, which have aided him in outlasting opponents in the later rounds. The main focal point of his game that will be tested is his takedown defense, as Morozov has wrestling and grappling skills worthy of taking over of a fight. No slouch on the feet either, Morozov is quick and is a pretty good counter striker. What he lacks however, is the durability and cardio necessary to be a top Bantamweight. If fights were a round long, Morozov would be among the top fifteen.
As for a prediction, I have Paiva winning. This fight is in his wheelhouse, as we can expect Morozov to look good early. Perhaps landing a few takedowns and even threatening with a finish. However, as the fight wanes, Paiva’s cardio will begin to show it’s teeth. Being the fresher fighter, Paiva will begin to win the grappling battles and land the more effective strikes. While a late finish is plausible, Paiva isn’t exactly known for his finishing prowess. With that said, give me Paiva to win via decision.