Erin “Cold Blooded” Blanchfield is only 23 years old but is already being touted as a future title challenger in the flyweight division. Blanchfield is 2-0 in the UFC with back to back decision wins. JJ Aldrich, 29, is 7-3 in the UFC and is riding a 3-fight win streak, all of which coming via decision.
Order UFC 281
Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira is tonight! Watch every UFC 281 fight here.
- Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira
- Carla Esparza vs. Zhang Weili
- Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler
Blanchfield is the largest favorite on the card with an 84% implied win probability.
Being considered a future title challenger at 23 years old after only two UFC fights is a controversial projection. Many in the MMA community recognize Blanchfield’s talent but question parts of her game. The common questions, sometimes criticisms of Blanchfield, are her defensive striking and inability to find the finish. On the feet, Blanchfield takes a volume approach to her striking in order to set up her takedown attempts. However, she can be touched while standing, not to a worrisome degree until she faces a top-tier striker. As for her tendency to go to a decision, Blanchfield is an impressive wrestler with a dominating top game. She regularly shoots takedowns and lands them with consistency. Then, once on top, Blanchfield will suffocate her opponent for significant minutes. While her top game has yet to yield a finish, her dominance on the mat is evident. Ultimately, Blanchfield is a technical, tenacious, and talented wrestler who can use her volume striking well enough to create openings for her primary attack.
Aldrich is a well-rounded fighter who tends to win fights on the back of solid defense and consistent offense. She impressed and surprised many in her last fight where she stuffed 5 of 6 takedown attempts from a solid wrestler. Then, between defending takedowns, Aldrich was able to piece up her opponent from range with solid and varied volume. When she’s faced a primary striker, Aldrich has shown the ability to lace up her own wrestling shoes, land offensive takedowns, and rack up control time. Because she is so well-rounded, Aldrich often neutralizes her opponent’s strength and exposes a weakness. The issue Aldrich faces is when she is matched up against a fighter with more than one method of victory. Aldrich is well-rounded but she isn’t great anywhere. She can neutralize but often struggles to pull away impressively with her own offense. Instead, her game relies on her opponent’s weakness rather than her own strengths.
While Aldrich has solid takedown defense, Blanchfield’s wrestling is at another level. In her last fight, Blanchfield was more conservative in top control because she was facing a fighter with lethal submissions, especially an armbar from bottom position. Aldrich is not nearly as dangerous on the mat, so I foresee Blanchfield being more aggressive on top. Therefore, I like Blanchfield to get the fight down and get the finish.
Prediction: Blanchfield inside the distance
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.