UFC on ESPN 29 Predictions: Luis Saldana vs. Austin Lingo odds, analysis 1

After winning a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series, Luis Saldana won a unanimous decision in his debut. The featherweight is 15-6 overall with nine knockouts, five submissions, and one decision. His six losses spread out among 1 knockout, 2 submissions, and 3 decisions; however, he has not lost since 2017.

At the age of 27, Lingo is three years younger than Saldana. He is 8-1 professionally and his only loss was in his debut where he lost a unanimous decision to Youssef Zalal. Lingo returned 11 months later to earn his first UFC win with a unanimous decision of his own.

Saldana vs. Lingo betting odds

  • Luis Saldana: -150
  • Austin Lingo: +120

Saldana enters as the slight favorite at -150 with Lingo coming in at +120 on the comeback.

Saldana vs. Lingo breakdown

Saldana is a confident fighter despite having only one UFC fight. That confidence manifests in his tendency to keep his hands low and mix in showy strikes. He has the talent to back up that confidence; his striking is technical, flowy, and has some real pop. Often fighting with the height and reach advantage, Saldana is also adept at keeping his opponents on the end of his punches and fluidly moving in and out of range. This makes him very challenging to hit and hit cleanly. Impressively, he averages 4.4 significant strikes per minute while only absorbing 1.8. Truly talented offensively and evasive defensively, Saldana’s only glaring weakness is he does not respond well to pressure. In his last fight, even though he won 30-27, Griffin was able to win minutes of each round just by biting down on his mouthpiece and walking through the long strikes. Saldana struggled when he had to fight off his back foot.

If anyone brings the pressure well, it’s Lingo. In his last fight, he threw 182 significant strikes and landed at a 52% clip. A very technical boxer in his own right, Lingo is fundamentally sound, keeping a high guard and he snaps his punches with speed, precision, and power. These fundamentals allow him to explode combinations, primarily at range, without risking getting caught by a counter shot. Additionally, Lingo is a capable grappler, willing to grind a takedown if necessary; but, he much prefers to box with his opponent. His primary weakness is that he can fade in the third round which leaves him vulnerable to lose a close decision.

Saldana vs. Lingo prediction

This should be an exciting fight between talented boxers who typically showcase the flowy and fluid style that fans enjoy. Saldana should have more of a varied attack, mixing in significantly more kicks than Lingo, and has the cardio to comfortably go three rounds. However, Lingo has the pressure-heavy style to overwhelm Saldana. It’s going to be close but I give the edge to Lingo in this matchup.

Prediction: Austin Lingo to win

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