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UFC Fight Night 115: Siyar Bahadurzada vs Rob Wilkinson preview and prediction

The sporadic Afghan takes on the explosive, last minute Aussie in a fight ripe for a finish.


Siyar “The Great” Bahadurzada (22-6)

You wouldn’t know it by looking at his slender build, but Siyar Bahadurzada hits like a truck – that’s a lorry for ya’ll across the ocean.

Siyar can generate skull-rattling power with easy punches; Paulo Thiago was felled like a tree by a loose uppercut as he waded forward. Despite his long hooks being sloppy in combination, Siyar is able to avoid major damage because he tucks his chin and keeps his shoulders just high enough so that he doesn’t eat too many clean counters. In the few instances that a fighter can land multiple clean shots, Siyar has the chin to absorb them as shown against Brandon Thatch.

The real problem of Siyar’s style is that it’s very easy to get under his long punches.

In both of his UFC losses, Siyar was taken down when opponents shot underneath his punches to get into the clinch or takedown. Siyar is no slouch on the ground, but he’s not the kind of athlete who can grapple for long periods of time without gassing. And when he’s gassed, his loose striking and takedown defence become quite sad-looking. The only fighter he effectively wrestled was the aforementioned Thatch, whose ground game is almost non-existent.

Rob “Razor” Wilkinson (11-0)

Technically speaking, “Razor” Rob is a young and undefeated prospect looking to make his mark in the UFC. But also technically speaking, he’s so unknown that the UFC page hasn’t bothered updating him as Bahadurzada’s late replacement opponent.

From the footage I could find, Wilkinson seems pretty typical of a large, young and athletic fighter; fast and powerful but lacking in technique.

The man can wrestle and strike, and does so by relying on the gifts of his youth. Only one of his fights have gone the distance, with the rest of them being finished on the ground from submissions with the odd TKO thrown in. If he can’t choke or lock an opponent, he’s more than happy to drop massive bombs until the referee shows mercy. The fact that most of his fights are won in the first round speaks volumes about the effectiveness of this simple gameplan.

Prediction

Wilkinson is an explosive wrestler, and Bahadurzada is vulnerable to having his punches ducked under. So stylistically, Wilkinson should have this fight.

But it’s not that simple. Even though clinches and takedowns gas Siyar worse than his opponents, he still makes his opponents work. Dong Yung Kim was able to smother Bahadurzada but, despite being one of the best grapplers in UFC welterweight history and achieving mount, he still couldn’t finish him. John Howard was constantly fighting in the clinch and avoiding scrambles on the ground.

What it comes down to is this: Siyar has gutted it out against veteran UFC competition while Wilkinson doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. So the odds of Wilkinson bringing something that Kim and Howard didn’t present to Siyar already are slim, while the latter man has seen explosiveness before.

Experience takes precedence over the match up here.

Bahadurzada via TKO

  1. Who will win at UFC Fight Night 115?

    1. Bahadurazda
    2. Wilkinson
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Sirius Brown

A dental student in his mid-twenties who never wants to grow up but doesn't have the musical talent to get to Neverland. Approaches the fight game as a scientist, makes predictions as a pragmatist and eats like a masochist.

UFC Fight Night 115: Siyar Bahadurzada vs Rob Wilkinson preview and prediction

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