vs Movsar Evloev
UFC FIGHT NIGHT 162
Barzola is coming back to the Octagon since his split decision win against Bobby Moffett in August 2019. It was his 6th decision win in the UFC and 8th overall. It was a very close fight that could have gone either way. Both fighters landed almost the same amount of strikes, but Barzola won that fight thanks to his takedowns. For Evloev this will be his 2nd fight in the UFC, debuting in April 2019 against Seung Woo Choi, when he won by unanimous decision thanks to his pressure style and wrestling.
Barzola is a pressure fighter and when he sees an opening for a takedowns, he does not hesitate to take it. Throughout his UFC run, he was taken down only once, whilst he lands almost 50 % of his takedowns attempts. His takedowns defense is also very good, rated at 80 %. Once Barzola gets the hold of his opponent, he lets him carry his weight, tiring him and then lands a takedown, where on the ground Barzola launches a vicious ground and pound. He has not finish any of his opponents in the UFC nor he has been finished. He could be in hot waters if he faces someone, who has a good takedowns defense. Against Kevin Aguilar, Barzola was unable to land any of his 8 takedowns attempts. Even though he was not outstruck by that much (Aguilar landed only 6 more strikes than Barzola) Aquilar seemed more active and the fact that Barzola didn’t land any takedowns, help Aquilar to take a decision win with all judges scoring the contest 29-28.
Movsar Evloev is a typical Russian product. Pressure fighter with very good wrestling. High guard while striking. This undefeated prospect has been dominating Russian MMA scene, fighting in the M-1 organization. Although labeled as Bantamweight according to Sherdog, his last bout in the UFC against Seung Woo Choi was in Featherweight division and he was looking the same if not better than he was in the bantamweight division. Against Choi he displayed some of typical traits of Russian MMA. Good striking defense, constantly pushing the opponent to the cage and when the opportunity rises, grabing the opponent and almost never letting him go. In that fight Evloev attempted 16 takedowns and converting 5 of them. Choi was unable to get off Evloev’s wrap and was dominated by him on the ground.
This fight is a wrestler vs. wrestler fight. Barzola’s fights ended by decision. He probably does not possess too much power in his hands and his striking is not somehow great. He relies on his pressure and the ability to take opponents down. Evloev showcased his wrestling abilities in his last fight and he will probably want to showcase them again. In his fight against Choi, he landed 121 strikes out of 151, but onyl 50 landed strikes were acounted as significant. Just like Barzola, he relies on his pressure and his takedowns.
Therefore this fight ending by judges‘ decision is very likely. A finish by submission is not that likely. Barzola has 4 finishes by submission, but those were at the beginning of his career. It is more than 5 years since Barzola’s last fight that didn’t need judges to decide the fight. This fight will be a showdown of takedowns, therefore a finish by submission is not that probable. A TKO/KO finish is also not that likely. As mentioned before Barzola has not finish anyone in a long time. Evloev last win by TKO/KO came in the fight before he signed with the UFC, but the TKO/KO win came in the last 5th round.
This fight most likely will end after 3 rounds. I think that Evloev has a higher chance of winning by decision as Russian MMA style is very hard to replicate during the fight camp and is difficult to prepare for. However Barzola is training at AKA, where stars like Khabib, Cormier or now retired Velasquez train. The winner will be determined by which fighter can take the opponent down more often.