UFC Fight Night 214 will host a clash of two exciting featherweights, America’s Darrick Minner and Shayilan “Wolverine” Nuerdanbieke, who hails from Xinjiang on the border of Kazakhstan, Russia, and Mongolia.
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Minner, a college wrestler from Iowa, first appeared on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2019, where he lost to Herbert Burns, another future UFC competitor. However, he bounced back in a smaller league with a win over Terrance McKinney, which has aged well with his success, and this was one of just a couple of fights to put Minner back on track before earning a shot in the UFC in 2020. Since joining, he has gone 2-3, his biggest win over Charles Rosa but earning valuable experience in losses to veteran stars Darren Elkins and Ryan Hall.
His opponent Nuerdanbieke is a national champion in classical wrestling in his native China. He has built up an extraordinarily large resume with 48 pro fights at just 28 years of age, with a record of 36-9 as he went into his UFC debut. He currently holds a 2-1 record in the promotion with wins over T.J Brown and Sean Soriano.
Darrick Minner will come in the +168 underdog against Nuerdanbieke via My Bookie.
Darrick Minner is a very well-rounded fighter with dangerous weapons in all facets of MMA. Standing, he is a good boxer with additional leg kicks and what sets him apart is the pace he sets from the opening bell. He is extremely quick to get started, and he throws a lot into his shots. This causes a lot of power when he lands, he winds up on his overhangs, uppercuts and hooks but the downside is that because he gets a bit wild, those who can’t to force scrambles can easily get him tied up because he commits himself so hard.
However, most of the time, it is Minner who wants to engage in the grappling, he is also a very good submission wrestler who specializes in quick explosive finishes especially his guillotine. This often starts before he hits the mat and he will look to attack the neck from the clinch and then drag his opponents down, but he also has a powerful double-leg takedown. He has struggled with his fair share of submission losses no matter how great he is offensively and this largely is because as a wrestler first he can struggle off of his back against equally good grapplers. Typically he is good at scrambling so initially securing position on him is difficult but once secured and he feels trapped is where his greatest tests will be.
Nuerdanbieke, like Minner, is a bit of a wildman and swings with some reckless abandon. He likes the right overhand – left hook combo and he utilizes a bit more head movement, which can usually be good but he will drop into the kneeline which could spell trouble if timed by his opponents. The other big difference is in Nuerdabieke’s kicks, he will chain head kicks into his boxing combinations relatively smoothly although his combinations are a bit shorter.
Nuerdanbieke is also a wrestler by trade, and like his striking has some unorthodox approaches. He will shoot a double and finish with an outside reap behind both legs rather than just penetrating through, although he can do that as well. He likes tight body lock control and passes and squeezes his opponents into the fence to his advantage, however may be less submission aware than Minner in the majority of positions. One area where Nuerdanbieke really thrives is on the back, both because his greco wrestling is so sound but also because he is intensively good at keeping his head consistently higher than his opponents as he returns them to the mat to keep that pressure constantly stacked on them as he attacks his chokes.
The two men are similar in their wild striking styles and wrestling base. I do think that It’s particularly dangerous for Minner to throw himself into range so readily because of Nuerdanbieke’s head movement and power, but largely the man on top has the greatest advantage in this particular matchup. Minner has to really make sure he is chaining his takedowns to his combinations, as he is probably faster on the feet and better at mixing, but I believe Nuerdanbike has the better pure wrestling. He also has fantastic reversals, and when he ends up on top, I think he stays there. Ultimately I see this last situation coming up throughout the fight.
Prediction: Shayilan Nuerdanbieke to win (-217 odds at MyBookie)
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.