Martin Buday (9-1) will make his UFC debut after an impressive showing on the Contender Series where he finished the fight at the end of round 1. Meanwhile, his opponent, Chris Barnett (22-7), is seeking to build upon a truly electrifying knockout performance in his last bout.
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Each fighter is coming off the most important victory of their career and each desires to finish the fight the moment the opportunity presents itself. The desire to do so coupled with the historical track record of fulfilling this desire likely means the judges will not be needed to determine the winner.
Buday, a newcomer to the UFC with a lot of hype behind him, is a strong -220 favorite over the 29-fight professional, Barnett.
- Buday: -240
- Barnett: +195
Buday is another new-age heavyweight fighter that relies on skills contrary to all-out power. More specifically, Buday elects to use sneaky athletic movement on the octagon to avoid damaging blows –he does get hit but avoids the significant, fight-ending strikes – and uses creative strikes when his opponent overly commits. Whether it be a subtle up-elbow, an impressive knee to the body, or more traditional boxing, Buday has an arsenal of attacks on the feet that many heavyweights lack in the octagon.
Although Buday has elected to keep the fight standing in many of his recent fights, he has shown well in the clinch, both in terms of landing damaging blows while avoiding counterattacks. The ability to succeed in the clinch is likely indicative of him having a strong ground game when in the top position, and given he is the far larger opponent in this matchup, it would not surprise me whatsoever if elects to clinch against the fence early, and once there, land a takedown to further land damaging, fight-ending elbows. If, however, he chooses to strike at distance against Barnett, Buday has shown the ability to get hit and this may result in him getting clipped, as one can only avoid fight-ending blows for so long when fighting at the heavyweight division.
Barnett, standing a bleak 5’9’’, has impressive skills that can only amaze viewers given his unique stature. Perhaps his best skill is his ability to land creative kicks to all levels. In his last fight, Barnett – somehow – successfully landed a spinning wheel kick in round 2 to earn himself consideration of having KO of the year given a man of his size should not have the flexibility to throw, let alone land, a spinning wheel kick. This demonstrated ability illustrates the extreme athleticism and unique skill-set Barnett brings to the octagon.
Although Barnett can land fight-ending kicks at any moment of the fight, his small stature proved to be a problem when facing a physical heavyweight who understands how to use size as a weapon in Ben Rothwell. In this fight, the athletic movement Barnett elects to use in the octagon proved ineffective in avoiding the clinch game of Rothwell, and the consequence of this failure was Barnett losing by submission after the first successful takedown was landed. So, based on his historical record as a UFC fighter, Barnett will need to keep the fight standing and at range to allow him to capitalize on his natural athleticism and impressive kicking game. If however, he allows his opponent to cut distance and clinch, it will likely prove to be a fight-ending mistake as Barnett lacks any form of a defensive ground game.
If Buday elects to employ a similar tactic of circling the octagon early in the fight, Barnett should find moderate success with landing kicks at a safe distance. But, the moment Buday gets in close, his size and in-pocket arsenal of elbows and knees will prove to be too much for Barnett. This, parlayed with the ability Buday has to control his opponent in the clinch – and anticipatory control on the ground – nets the conclusion he should have a clear and concise path to victory. This path has proved successful in the past in Barnett’s previous affairs, as such, I fully anticipate Buday looking dominant the moment he foregoes striking at distance.
Bet: Buday to win inside the distance