This is the lightest weekend in quite some time for MMA, and specifically for women’s MMA. This made it hard to find three fights to preview. In fact, I couldn’t find three. I found two. There are others out there, but I try to stick to fights that I can watch so I can adequately review them. Thankfully for those of us with UFC Fight Pass, there are a couple — one from the Legacy Fighting Alliance and another from Titan Fighting Championship. So, let’s get started.
Jaqueline Amorim vs. Megan Owen (LFA 110)
Owen enters at 1-0 after winning a decision in her pro debut against Ashley LeTourneau in late 2019. Meanwhile, Amorim comes in at 3-0. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist hasn’t seen much cage time though, with all three wins coming via submission in under two minutes. Most recently, she added a 33-second submission by way of rear-naked choke in her LFA debut against Taisha Gandy.
In one sense, this does show where Amorim excels and gives off a “you know what she’s trying to do” vibe. However, it also means that we really don’t know about her striking yet. An opponent can’t really say that they can beat her on the feet, because there really is nothing out there to show what she can do on the feet.
Owen also prefers to grapple, but she does have some good striking and uses her length well. Amorim will have to work to get the takedown. She might have to throw a little bit to get it. Maybe this is her chance to show that she’s more than just a grappler.
Let’s run with the idea that she might want to show some striking. Her best bet will be to stay on the outside, circle a bit, and come in from different angles. Owen is not expecting Amorim to want to strike, so this approach would throw the proverbial monkey-wrench into Owen’s plans. Meanwhile, the movement and use of those angles will add to the confusion. Owen likes to bully her way forward and throw, so those angles will also allow Amorim to sidestep the incoming fighter, move out of range, and land counters.
Ultimately, though, Amorim wants it on the ground. That’s just common sense. She’s up against a fighter that uses reach well and will possibly make it harder for Amorim to score the takedown. However, Amorim can let Owen do it for her. Let’s look at one of my own fights for an example of what I mean.
In my fight, I had the intention of making it a grappling match. I knew my ground game was superior. I also was just fine with it if it stayed in the clinch for an extended time, because I knew that was going to be a strong area for me as well. My opponent ended up making it easier. She kept coming forward. She seemed intent on trying to push me back and put my back to the cage. I allowed it. I let her do that, because she was not only not resisting what I wanted, but she was doing half my job for me. I didn’t have to do step one to get to step two. Step one was done for me.
Owen’s forward-rushing striking allows Amorim to sit back and wait in a similar manner. Owen is either going to get close enough to allow a clinch for Amorim, or Amorim can time a shot and come in under those punches to get the fight down.
On the ground, Owen might put up more of a fight than Amorim’s previous opponents. Amorim is undoubtedly the far superior grappler here, but Owen has skills there. Amorim shouldn’t rush. Instead, she has to use her experience and create openings. Eventually, something will open up.
The problem Owen faces is that she prefers to grapple. Her two amateur victories came via armbar. In the LeTourneau fight, she dominated on the ground as well. In this fight, she is not going to have an advantage there. In fact, she really will be outmatched.
Therefore, Owen has to make this an ugly fight. Her aggression is good here, as long as she’s smart in how she uses it. She has to get Amorim to engage in a brawl. She should keep throwing and try to make Amorim feel overwhelmed. If she can do this, then maybe she can force mistakes out of Amorim. If Amorim is so intent on returning fire, then she might drop her hands and become susceptible to a power shot.
In addition, Owen should have her feet ready. If Owen is having success in the striking realm, then Amorim might fall back more to desperation shots. These shots are less about technique. They are more rushed and sloppy. A desperation shot from Amorim can leave her open for a knee or kick to the head from Owen.
Owen is not necessarily in trouble if the fight goes to the clinch. Yes, she wants to avoid the takedowns from there, but she might also have some success if she can put Amorim’s back on the cage. Owen is really good at striking in the clinch. If she can get underhooks and plant the back of Amorim against the cage, then she can do some work. Hard knees to the thigh might help her as it goes along.
On the ground, Owen’s priority will be to survive. She’ll just have to ride it out and not make a mistake that leads to a submission. She’s not going to win the fight there, so she’ll have to wait for the round to end. If she tries to get too creative against someone like Amorim, she’s just creating openings.
Talita Alencar vs. Staci Vega (Titan FC 70)
Honestly, this is mostly just a similar scenario to the previous fight. Alencar is a very accomplished BJJ practitioner who is making her MMA debut in this fight.
Alencar is really hard for me to analyze, because there is zero knowledge of what her stand-up game is like. I have heard she did a kickboxing bout, but I have seen no video of it. However, I am not unarmed here. I can call upon my own experience of transitioning from BJJ to MMA, what it was like, and how it might relate to her.
Alencar’s biggest challenge in this fight might not be overcoming her opponent as much as overcoming her own emotions. She has put in a lot of training in a cage, so she isn’t entering some brand new enclosure that is unfamiliar to her. Yet, it is different when you enter the cage for real. She will want to get a little time in the cage before the card starts — get in there, move around, just get a feel for everything. From my own MMA debut, I know, for me, leading up to the fight there are so many emotions, but the most prevalent emotion is excitement. You’re visualizing the fight and how it’s going to go, as well as how you are going to win. Then you get in the cage and your name is being announced. Suddenly, it’s, “Shit, here we are. This is for real.” Getting in that cage early and just moving around can help subdue these emotions.
Come fight time, Alencar can’t get too high on those emotions. She can’t get so excited and cause an energy dump later on, if there is a later on. She has to keep composed and go with what she knows. Vega may not have a pro win yet, but she does have some good striking. There is zero need for Alencar to go in there thinking she has to prove that she can strike. She can prove that later. This is the first one, so get it out of the way. Win now, prove yourself later.
Vega is actually quite good at striking while moving backward. She knows that Alencar wants the takedown, so she will move backward. Alencar can let Vega move and then cut her off. She shouldn’t follow in a straight line — that’s where she’s going to get hit, while also allowing Vega to keep moving. Instead, Alencar has to implement more side-to-side movement and limit Vega’s escapes. Eventually that wall will close in, and Alencar can clinch and look for takedowns from there. Alternatively, Alencar could throw some strikes or feints. The feints are what will get Vega to open up and throw punches or kicks. When this happens, Alencar can come in under for the takedown.
Once Alencar gets it to the ground, this is where she can shine. Vega is going to be desperate to escape any way she can. Alencar just has to wait and let Vega give her an opening. She can do what she wants from there.
I won’t sugarcoat this. Vega is 0-1-1 as a pro. She went 0-7 as an amateur. She is being brought in because she is expected to lose. She is viewed as a safe and easy win for Alencar in the latter’s debut. You know what’s cool about that? Vega has nothing to lose. She’s not the one feeling any pressure. She can fight her fight, and she won’t have nerves.
What can Vega do to piss a lot of people off and win this bout? Well, to reiterate, she is actually a good striker while moving backward. I honestly was shocked when I looked at her bout history, because I saw some skills from her in her most recent fight, a draw against Randee Morales. She is going up against someone who obviously will look to get it down quickly, so good backwards striking is a really nice thing for her to have in her arsenal. I wouldn’t advise any forward movement unless she has Alencar hurt.
Constant movement from Vega will cause Alencar to work harder to get in close enough for the takedown. It can also work to perhaps frustrate Alencar. If Alencar is coming in thinking takedown right away, she might get frustrated if she can’t get what she wants. Frustrated fighters are mistake-prone fighters. We don’t know how well Alencar can take a punch either. If Vega can have a little success early on the feet, then Alencar might not react well to being hit and could start trying to throw hard stuff back. This would provide another opening for Vega to try to land something.
If Vega does get taken down, she shouldn’t try to be creative with escapes or submission attempts. She’s not winning that battle, so she just has to try to hold Alencar close and either survive the round or force the ref to step in.
That’s it for this week. Enjoy the fights!
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