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The preliminary card headliner comes in the Bantamweight division, as Aiemann Zahabi takes on Ricky Turcios. After stumbling in back-to-back fights, Zahabi pulled out an impressive knockout victory over Drako Rodriguez. The victory was Zahabi’s second inside the octagon and first in over five years. Having been inactive for much of his UFC tenure, Zahabi will need to ramp it up if ever wants to become a champion. Meanwhile, Turcios is making his first appearance since defeating Brady Hiestand to become the Ultimate Fighter 29 winner. The victory was his second straight and only fourth since September of 2016. Needing to fight often and live up to the hype, luckily at only 29 years of age, Turcios has time on his side.
This should be an entertaining scrap, as both men are fairly well rounded. The difference, which leans me towards Turcios, is he slightly better in several aspects. For starters, Turcios is way more active. In his last fight, he landed 100 significant strikes, which is roughly 6.67 significant strikes per fifteen minutes. You’d have to have to add up four fights worth of significant strikes for Zahabi to even eclipse 100. Also, Turcios is the more effective and powerful striker, which in part is aided by the activity. What Zahabi may have an advantage in, is offensive wrestling. Especially considering Turcios seems most vulnerable to being taken down. The only issue is, Turcios isn’t one to stay on his back. He’s constantly scrambling for position, threatening with submissions and popping right back up. In the end, while this fight might be close, give me the activity of Turcios to trump Zahabi via decision.
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