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UFC Mexico City: Five Things We Learned

UFC Mexico City

UFC Mexico City
UFC Mexico City hosted several important fights between high-profile fighters. Let’s discuss the biggest lessons we learned from the event. (Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

UFC Mexico City: Five Things We Learned

UFC Mexico City resulted in fun fights, upsets, and division-altering outcomes. All that action leaves us much to discuss as we recap the event. Here are the five biggest lessons we learned at UFC Mexico City.

Brandon Royval lives up to his potential 

Brandon Royval entered UFC Mexico City coming off a loss to flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja. That outing was not Royval’s best performance, but against Brandon Moreno, he got back on track and showed a much better version of himself.

To start, Royval made a lot of progress in utilizing his pace and volume. At 7,000 feet of elevation, Royval threw 510 significant strikes, according to UFC Stats. Now, that volume landed at an inefficient 28 percent clip. I am not upset about that, however. That sheer amount of volume helped keep Moreno defensive for long periods. That is beneficial. Plus, Royval was not overcommitting on shots and leaving himself out of position when he missed. That is also an improvement compared to previous performances.

In the grappling realm, Royval’s flaws in takedown defense showed. In this fight, he did a much better job of scrambling and working to his feet once he was taken down. Moreno ended the fight with nearly three minutes of ground control time. That includes clinch control time. That is a vast improvement compared to his fight against Pantoja.

At UFC Mexico City, Royval fought much closer to his full potential. It felt like he found a sweet spot of volume while finding ways to work back to his feet when he was taken down. This version of Royval will be much better against the best flyweights in the world.

Brian Ortega is back to his old ways 

At UFC Mexico City, Brian Ortega returned to the octagon after a two-year layoff. Despite that, Ortega looked like a classic version of himself as he submitted Yair Rodriguez in the third round.

Ortega had to fight through quite a bit of adversity to leave victorious. As he was being announced, he rolled his ankle and proceeded to get beat up in the first rounds. In round two, he started to land his takedown. In round three, he quickly got the fight to the ground and locked up an arm triangle.

This was a classic Ortega performance. In the early portion of the fight, he struggled, but he eventually flipped the script and ended the fight. On top of that, he showed the same flaws in his striking defense. That is typical for Ortega. On a more positive note, his takedowns looked improved and he consistently landed takedowns.

It is great to see Ortega get back to his old ways. In the past four years, he has taken a lot of time off and has absorbed a lot of damage. It is safe to say that he is still at his best.

Daniel Zellhuber takes a step forward in his progression 

At UFC Mexico City, two promising prospects faced off in the feature bout. The fight ended up being a scrap that saw Daniel Zellhuber pick up a decision win over Francisco Prado. The 24-year-old Zellhuber showed a lot of progression that emphasized his best attributes.

Zellhuber did an outstanding job of using his length and reach advantage in this fight. At the start of the fight, Zellhuber fought behind his jab and reach. Prado was able to use his explosion to get inside and land some shots. In the second and third rounds, he kept Prado at range and started throwing bigger shots. Zellhuber was catching Prado at the end of his strikes and was landing as Prado looked to close this distance. This led to Zellhuber landing a massive jab that closed Prado’s eye.

Zellhuber showed some great skills for a fighter with his length. At his size, if he can consistently manage range and strike from the outside, he will be a serious problem.

Fransico Prado’s stock rises in a loss 

As discussed, Zellhuber looked good in his win over Prado; however, the Argentinian should not be discounted.

Prado is a 21-year-old who was facing a tough stylistic matchup. That stylistic challenge also showed a lot of tools that could perfectly counter Prado’s entries. Still, Prado won a round and landed a lot of solid shots.

The second aspect of this is that Prado fought like a dog. This fight took place in the Mexico City elevation, Prado fought with one eye, and he did not stop hunting a finish. Prado deserves a lot of credit for the heart he showed in a tough fight.

Yazmin Jauregui shows off her boxing 

Yazmin Jauregui is an exciting young prospect in the women’s strawweight division. In her last fight, she got caught and suffered the first loss of her career. At UFC Mexico City, she showed she is still a more than capable boxer.

This fight is a prime example of why Jauregui will be an issue for a lot of strawweights. On the feet, she is a technical boxer who throws at a high pace. Meanwhile, she has a good amount of physicality for division.

This was a nice bounce-back victory for Jauregui. In her UFC debut, she showed a lot of potential and she is living up to it thus far into her career.

***

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