Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker will have some new faces in the supporting cast when they headline the UFC on ESPN 12, which takes place inside the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, this weekend (Saturday, June 27, 2020). In this edition of “New Blood,” the series where trying to complete the analysis ahead of time is still a dumb task, we review two introductory aces and a couple of outstanding Invicta.
As a reminder, all “Contender Series” and Invicta FC matches are on the Fight Pass.
Weight category: Middleweight
Record: 9-0 (8 SUB)
Notable victories: Stephen Regman, Michael Lombard, Jonavin Webb
The Philadelphia Daukaus suffocated UFC veteran Jonavin Webb for the Cage Fury middleweight championship, preparing a “Contender Series” shot alongside Michael Lombardo. Although he emerged victorious, he could not find an end, leaving him to successfully defend his CFFC title with two more maple finishes before receiving the Octagon call.
He replaces Ian Heinisch less than two weeks in advance.
While your record may suggest that it’s a note, the 6’3 ”Daukaus is impressively complete. He combines solid boxing combinations on his feet, although he has a tendency to lean too far and compromise his length, is aggressive, is willing to walk through fire and can use his offense to prepare for his takedowns.
On the ground, the head-on collisions are clearly his strong power collisions representing five of his eight professional finishes. However, that is far from the extent of his arsenal, as he also boasts a dangerous triangle and busy and effective terrain along with good positional control. It seems like you’re having a bit of a hard time getting a good angle on the bare rear chocks, but that’s not a major issue.
Daukaus doesn’t really seem to have any outstanding issues other than a porous defense and a porous fight that is not as overwhelming as it could be. He is big, aggressive, quite skilled and a lot of fun to watch. I’m glad to see him get a shot at the Octagon after not honoring a contract the first time.
Adversary: Take over former LFA champion Brendan Allen. While I referred to Allen’s recent collision with Tom Breese as a mirror coincidence, this is downright weird symmetry. Two tall and long left-handers with effective kickboxing and lethal games on the ground. Hell, they even share the same problem of leaning too far when pulling. Bettors have a big stir in Allen’s favor, and while I think Allen’s fight will win the day, Daukaus has a much better chance than the lines suggest.
Headband: His CFFC bouts are on Fight Pass. The fight below is from 2018.
Weight category: Welterweight
Record: 8-2 (8 SUB)
Notable victories: William MacarioBilal Williams
Brahimaj introduced his first six professional opponents in less than a round each, four of them in less than a minute. Although he lost two of his next three, he returned to normal in March 2019 with a 55-second presentation by Carlos Martínez.
He was scheduled to face Miguel Baeza in “Contender Series” last June, but was forced to suffer an injury.
As I mentioned in my “Preliminaries” article (read them here and here), the lack of an LFA video file for your AXS TV tenure means I am forced to extrapolate from the highlights. Those highlights showcase an incredibly aggressive submission artist, one who has a bit of a foot pop, but prefers to shoot and shut down a choke as soon as possible. His fight seems strong, he has some ground and pound skills alongside jiu-jitsu, and his litany of instant finishes should hint at how little time he needs to finish things once he’s on top.
While it was large in highlights, the footage was fairly short in low-light conditions. However, he did feature Brahimaj knocked down by a right hand against Patterson and some comments suggesting that the painfully disappointing “Patolino” Macario managed to annoy him from the start. Brahimaj can go to three competitive rounds, so he’s not doomed if the quick-kill submission isn’t there, but it’s worth seeing how he copes when he can’t score consistent takedowns.
Adversary: He faces Japanese artist Takashi Sato in a rather intriguing showdown. Although Sato’s last two losses to Belal Muhammad and Glaico Franca occurred by tapout, both men ran Sato through the grip wringer for several rounds before finding the end, and Sato punches more than enough to provoke Brahimaj. if the latter’s position turns out to be Being a liability. It is a coin toss that should produce an entertaining finish in one way or another.
Jinh Yu Frey
Weight category: Atomic weight/ /Straw weight
Registration: 9-4 (1 KO, 2 SUB)
Notable victories: Ashley Cummins, Minna Grusander, Herica Tiburcio
Long regarded as one of the best atomic weights in the sport, Frey defeated Minna Grusander for the Invicta belt in 2018, then went 2-0 against “Brutsku” five months later. With the belt towed, he went to Rizin to rematch his champion Ayaka Hamasaki, and lost a decision after passing the final round on his back. His return to Invicta last February saw him get a second victory over Ashley Cummins, but was unable to gain weight in the process.
Frey relies on a direct but effective strategy: use consistent lateral movement to lure opponents into your heavy left hand, forcing them into a slow-paced battle. She has solid low kicks, a body kick that she doesn’t use enough, timely reactive takedowns, and a tendency to go hand-to-hand with her combinations. Defensively, she has shown decent head movement, allowing her to slide incoming shots.
However, the left hand is really the highlight of his game. Despite just a professional knockout, there is some real pop behind him, and he has proven himself capable of damaging him even with a single tie. If he manages to hurt someone with it, he’ll chase them down and throw them from the hip, and the threat he poses does a good job of keeping opponents tentative enough.
She is, however, quite flawed. Although she slides well on individual shots, she doesn’t respond well to cluster shots, especially when she’s on the fence and out of space to retreat. Also, she doesn’t seem particularly strong in the clinch, as more than one opponent landed a bunch of strong knees to the body after denying her shots. Her fight, while decent, rarely produces much superior control, and it’s not a terribly big threat off her back.
Critically, she is also just a low volume fighter overall, having produced numerous close and controversial decisions throughout her career. Not that going on the attack works better for her: Seo Hee Ham foolishly hit her with a counter to the left and those heavy punches she enjoys open her up to take her down.
Frey is an expert, but between the aforementioned technical issues and the size disadvantage he will face at 115 pounds, his future UFC looks tough.
Adversary: Frey confronts Kay Hansen, 15 years her junior. Frey wrong Hansen outperforms classes on the feet and could throw some telltale punches on the clinch, but the latter’s intimidation wrestling attack should synergize well with his size advantage and give Frey his fifth professional loss.
Weight class: Strawweight
Registration: 6-3 (2 KO, 3 SUB)
Notable victories: Liana Pirosin, Nicolle Caliari
Hansen, the youngest UFC fighter at age 20, had an unfavorable professional start 4-3 before beating Carolina Jiménez in the Phoenix Series and winning her next two. His last time away, he dominated Liara Pirosin in March for her first official decision victory as a professional.
Let’s change the rhythm and talk about the bad first: Hansen is not a foot entity. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her hit a single punch in the three fights I saw and her foray into professional boxing ended with a 1-4 record. In fact, all it has to offer is a decent low kick.
For this reason, he generally spends no more than a few seconds exchanging blows, forcing fight exchanges in which he excels. He’s absolutely relentless with his takedowns, excels at catching kicks, and chain fighting well enough that negating the initial shot is far from a guarantee of success. Once at the top, he has strong ground shots and excellent passes, often ending in the bush or on his back.
However, it can be a little enthusiastic. Her recent split decision loss to Magdalena Sormova came as Sormova took advantage of bad takedowns to land in a dominant position. Fortunately, while not particularly dangerous from behind, she does have some sweeps and a rare ability to trip opponents who stand on her and kick her legs.
Hansen is definitely still pretty green, as you’d expect from someone who can’t legally drink yet, but his ground attack already looks like UFC caliber. I really want to see how it continues to develop.
Adversary: See above.
Remember that MMAmania.com will offer live coverage round-by-round, hit-by-hit from the entire UFC on the ESPN 12 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with ESPN +“Preliminaries” which are scheduled to start at 5 pm ET, then the part of the main card that will also air on ESPN + at 8 pm ET.
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