A clash of styles will kick off the main card when a creative and unorthodox striker faces off against a high-level wrestler. Interestingly, in the bout of a Russian vs. an American, the Russian, Said Nurmagomedov, holding a professional record of 14-2, is the ultra-creative and dangerous striker. Meanwhile, American, #15 ranked bantamweight, Cody Stamann, holding a professional record of 19-4-1, has the wrestle-dominate style originating from his former collegiate wrestling days.
Said Nurmagomedov is a -205 favorite with an implied win percentage of 67% against the battle-tested Cody Stamann.
- Nurmagomedov: -205
- Stamann: +164
Said Nurmagomedov, unrelated to Khabib, resembles the style of the potential title-contending featherweight and training partner, Zabit Magomedsharipov. To understand this style is to first, comprehend that it is a strike-first mentality, and second, not understand the striking at all. Meaning, Said’s most dangerous weapon on the feet is his unpredictability. In his last bout, Said did not have much time to showcase what he can do on the feet given a check left hook landed against the opponent that dazed him, and then, Said quickly finished him off with ground and pound. To best gauge his talent, the loss against fellow perennial ranked fighter, Raoni Barcelos, should be analyzed. In this fight, Said threw a slew of spinning attacks ranging from kicks, punches, and elbows, all with mesmerizing frequency. The spinning attacks greatly combated the pressure of Barcelos, thus enabling Said to lead the exchanges. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of his spinning mentality is the fact it can gas so many fighters, as throwing this form of attack is exhausting, but for Said, his cardio never once became an issue. Rather, his fight IQ relative to the decisions he made inside the octagon resulted in his loss to Barcelos.
In the loss to Barcelos, Said was landing a jab off of very impressive feints at an impressive rate. Even though this was the case, he was steadfast on throwing spinning attacks against an opponent who is both a high-level striker as well as a grappler. Ultimately, a spinning kick to the body of Barcelos, which did land, enabled him to grab the foot of Said to land a takedown. Although Said is very good at combating a “normal takedown”, he could not prevent the takedown once his foot was caught, and this led to him losing a very close fight. I anticipate Said learning from this, thus combating most of my concern over poor fight IQ. Furthermore, if Said faces an opponent who is average in striking or grappling, he should have little issue implementing his style given a sub-par grappler should not be able to take him down and a sub-par striker will be pieced up on the feet by him.
Stamann is a predominately wrestle-first fighter who does possess some striking skills. Perhaps his best weapon on the feet is a check left hook that has a propensity to land at an impressive rate with some serious power behind it. The problem for Stamann is that his striking is not as crisp nor dangerous as it needs to be to really worry his opponents. This lack of significant worry has led to Stamann having difficulty, at times, landing takedowns against fighters who have strong takedown defense. To Stamann’s credit, he does do a good job continually focusing on the takedown, even if his hands are having success. Once he does decide to shoot a takedown, he typically seeks a double leg which he is willing to transition into a single or high-crotch if need be. The critical facet of Stamann’s takedown game in this matchup will be keeping Said on the mat, as Stamann has had mild difficulty in keeping the fight there against opponents who are quite active on their back. Even if Stamann fails in this regard, he is truly a solid UFC veteran that has the skillsets and experience befitting that of a caliber of fighter who resembles a top 15 gatekeeper, which is by no means an insult.
Even though Stamann does have a nice check left hook and is a very respectable wrestler inside the octagon, Said Nurmagomedov should have little difficulty in this matchup. Said’s impressive striking is faster and crisper than Stamann, and I anticipate Stamann becoming quickly frustrated with the disparity in talent on the feet. This frustration will lead to Stamann pursuing his bread and butter attribute of wrestling, but Said will likely, at worst, find himself in a defensive position against the cage stemming from an initial double-leg attempt. If in this position, I favor Said given he throws impressive downward elbows and has shown the ability to escape a wrestle-dominate position when need be. This is likely Said’s coming out party after a 15-month layoff, so be sure to capitalize on the advantageous price.
Bet: Said Nurmagomedov