Baeza vs. Sato
This fight features two up-and-coming welterweights, each coming into this one off of impressive wins. Miguel Baeza has started his UFC career in spectacular fashion, getting to 2-0 by finishing Matt Brown in the second round of their fight this past May. Baeza remains undefeated at 9-0 with seven knockouts, all within two rounds.
Takashi Sato got an emphatic bounce-back win in June, finishing Jason Witt in under a minute of aciton. Sato is now 16-3 with thirteen finishes, eleven of them knockouts. Sato is now 2-1 in the UFC, his loss coming at the hands of Belal Muhammed by submission in the third round.
Baeza is a well-rounded and highly skilled mixed martial artist. He’s a pure knockout artist with excellent striking speed and power with his hands and his feet. He’s an intelligent counter-striker who keeps his range with his athleticism and by utilizing whipping low kicks, jabs and some piercing teeps to the midsection. He likes to dish out leg kicks, but doesn’t check them very well.
Baeza is very good at getting opponents to chase him. When he gets guys moving forward, he throws high volume combinations featuring some powerful straights, nasty hooks with both hands and a mean right overhand. He keeps himself well defended with some excellent head movement, but sometimes relies a bit too much on his ability to parry hands and kicks.
Baeza is certainly a striker first, but has strong grappling skills and great ground and pound. He utilizes strong level changes to set up double leg takedowns, and is usually looking to work for side control or a crucifix position and rain punches and elbows down.
We’ll see southpaw vs. orthodox in this one, as Takashi Sato will be looking to line up his nasty left hand. We’ll also be seeing counter-striker vs. counter-striker. Sato is an intelligent striker who does his best work returning fire. He constantly catches his opponents walking into his jab, and he puts left hooks and uppercuts behind it.
Sato is very athletic and circles well to keep himself at range. He also keeps his opponents off of him with his jab. He doesn’t do well in close exchanges and usually needs to be fighting from space to succeed with his striking.
Sato is a second degree judo black belt who has no problem getting fights to the ground when he wants to. However it’s very likely that Baeza will have the advantage here if and when the fight goes to the ground. Picking this fight, we have to feel confident in Miguel Baeza as a pretty cheap favorite at -150.
Sato’s best weapon is really his jab, and it sets up the rest of his offense. Baeza will not be walking into that jab and when that happens, Sato starts to move forward and expose himself to lead hooks, especially against orthodox strikers.
Baeza’s lead left hook is disgusting, plain and simple. It’s going to be there all night, and he’ll likely be finishing this fight in the second or third round.