The two fighters with the best nicknames in the UFC will square off on Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 200.
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Viacheslav “Slava Claus” Borshchev is a 30-year-old Team Alpha Male fighter making his UFC debut after earning a contract with a knockout win on Week 7 of Dana White’s Contender Series last year.
Dakota “Hair” Bush is three years younger, 8-3 professionally, and is 0-1 in the UFC after losing a unanimous decision in his debut.
Bush vs. Borshchev betting odds
The Russian kickboxer, Borshchev, is nearly a 2:1 favorite over Bush.
Bush vs. Borshchev breakdown
Borshchev, a former K-1 fighter is a pure kickboxer. On the feet, he manages range well with prodding kicks and combines high output with solid stopping power. He averages 7.5 significant strikes with an impressive 67% accuracy. High-level kickboxers who transition to MMA often struggle in two areas – blitz fighters and grapplers.
To Borshchev’s credit, he has shown an ability to snap front kicks out against blitz fighters to keep them at his range or stun them when rushing in. However, Borshchev has significantly struggled as a grappler and his front kicks leave him even more off-balanced if someone can get in tight. Borshchev only has a 33% takedown defense and has been controlled against the cage when facing non-UFC talent. Fortunately, Borshchev is training at one of the best wrestling gyms in America, Team Alpha Male, and should continue to improve. In short, Borshchev is a pure kickboxer who needs to develop a second layer of MMA if he hopes to capitalize on his striking talent.
Bush is a less talented but more well-rounded fighter. He has a negative strike differential, nearly -2.0, has a below 50% striking accuracy, and only lands 16% of his takedown attempts. However only having 1 UFC fight, Bush is more skilled than his stats show. From the opening second, Bush is going to pressure forward and keep a high-octane pace. He is an intelligent fighter and has even cornered UFC fights for teammates.
Early in the fight, Bush tends to strike aggressively with decent kicks and looping hooks, looking for the finish. As the fight progresses, Bush can slow down and his striking output decreases. In rounds 2 and 3, he tends to favor clinch fighting and grappling over range striking. He’ll often look to swing big and force his opponent back, then clinch against the cage. From here, Bush keeps solid head position and a fundamental base that allows him to catch his breath while scoring control time. To win, Bush looks to land big early or implement his wrestling late.
Bush vs. Borshchev prediction
Borshchev is the more talented fighter but Bush has a clear path to victory: wrestling. So, a clever way to play this would be Borshchev by KO/TKO and Bush on the money line, both come in at plus money. However, as a straight play, I’m taking Bush here. I think Bush will be able to eat a few shots, get it against the cage, and grind out a decision win.
Prediction: Bush to win
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.