Bonfim vs Dalby — the co-main event of UFC Sao Paulo in Brazil — pits a world-class Brazilian grappler against an elite striker from Denmark. Yet, there are some fascinating wrinkles to this classic grappler vs striker matchup that make it a likely contender to earn Fight of the Night.
What’s for certain is that once these two warriors are locked in the cage together, fans can expect chaos to commence. Read on for our Bonfim vs Dalby prediction.
Gabriel Bonfim boasts an undefeated record, and many experts across the sport expect him to contend for a UFC belt in the future. Nicolas Dalby, on the other hand, is on a record-setting streak of his own, and seems intent on taking Bonfim’s hype and using it as fuel for his own ascent up the UFC Welterweight rankings.
UFC Sao Paulo: Bonfim vs Dalby Prediction
Gabriel Bonfim Preview
Gabriel Bonfim enters this matchup against Nicolas Dalby as a massive -650 favorite — and one look at his record indicates why.
While the 15-0-0 Brazilian super-prospect and former welterweight champion of the Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA), is no slouch on the feet, Gabriel Bonfim’s bread and butter is his flawless ground game. Not only has 12 of Bonfim’s 15 victories come by way of submission, but the Guillotine submission he executed against Mounir Lazzez at UFC 283 earlier this year showcased Bonfim’s perfect form and deadly precision.
Considering his jiu-jitsu acumen, ‘Marretinha’ — as the hometown crowd will call Bonfim on Saturday — has his easiest path to victory on the ground. His last four victories (three of which came in the UFC or in Contender Series) were all first-round submissions, and three of those came within 80 seconds of the first bell.
But don’t let his submission record fool you in your Bonfim vs Dalby prediction: Gabriel Bonfim is more than happy to stand and bang with his opponent, as well — proven by the three knockout victories on his record. If Nicolas Dalby picks his poison and is able to nullify Bonfim’s jiu-jitsu, he’ll have the Brazilian’s lightning-fast jab and heavy right cross to contend with.
Regardless of where the fight takes him, Bonfim’s fast-paced, fan-friendly fighting style is why the UFC continues to place him in big time situations. His previous two fights came on the undercards of Pay-Per-View events; which has earned him a coveted co-main event of this Brazil-loaded Sao Paulo card.
Nicolas Dalby Preview
Despite Nicolas Dalby entering this fight against Gabriel Bonfim as a +455 underdog, there are multiple reasons why Dalby (22-4-1) should feel confident about his chances to secure an upset victory.
One reason is that ‘Danish Dynamite’, as Dalby is called, has shown excellent form of late. After an impressive unanimous decision win over Muslim Salikhov in June, Dalby has now produced three straight UFC wins and four victories in his last five fights — all of which came against tougher opponents than Gabiel Bonfim has ever faced. As Dalby alluded to in his pre-fight press conference, he will be Bonfim’s toughest competition to date.
In addition, despite being two inches shorter than Bonfim, Dalby has a two and a half inch reach advantage over him. Because Dalby is known for elite range management by utilizing a crisp jab and well-timed kicks, he could throw Bonfim’s rhythm off enough to keep the fight on the feet. And if this fight remains on the feet, Dalby has got to like his chances.
Also of note is that Dalby’s last six fights have ended in decision.
This is a stark contrast to Bonfim’s plethora of recent first-round finishes — and could become a massive advantage for Dalby. If he is able to weather the first round storm and make it past Bonfim’s initial adrenaline spike, then momentum will likely swing in his favor in the later rounds — especially round three, where Dalby is known to do his best work. The longer this fight lasts, the better Nicolas Dalby will do.
Gabriel Bonfim vs Nicolas Dalby Prediction: Expect a First-Round Finish on the Feet
Our prediction for this co-main event is that Gabriel Bonfim will emerge as the victor before the first round ends. Yet, we don’t think he’ll do it via his signature submission game.
Nicolas Dalby is a seasoned, veteran fighter who will enter the Octagon well aware of Bonfim’s elite grappling. For this reason, he is probably expecting Bonfim to try and take the fight to the ground as early as possible. Yet, as we’ve already noted, Bonfim is also a beast on the feet.
If Bonfim can use Dalby’s expectations against him, get Dalby to bite on a few feints, and get his back against the cage, Gabriel Bonfim is more than capable of putting Dalby’s lights out with a massive right cross, uppercut, or even a flying knee like the one his brother Ismael landed against Terrance McKinney in January. This is why we love the current +225 line for Bonfim to finish this fight via KO/TKO.
However, if Nicolas Dalby is going to win this fight, it will most likely come by a decision. There is certainly a scenario where he can withstand all of Bonfim’s attacks, bring Bonfim into deep waters during the fight’s later rounds, and ultimately secure a decision win. Hence why we also feel that the +750 Dalby to win by decision betting line is worth looking into. Yet, it will take a herculean effort for Nicolas Dalby to stop Gabriel Bonfim on Brazilian soil.
The UFC knew what they were doing when scheduling Bonfim vs Dalby for this Sao Paulo card’s co-main event. This fight is going to get the crowd hyped, start with a bang, and likely end in spectacular fashion. Regardless of which fighter you’re rooting for, be sure not to blink once this fight begins. Gabriel Bonfim might make you regret it.