After an action packed few weeks of fight action in Miami and Kansas City, the UFC returns to the Apex for UFC Vegas 71: Pavlovich vs Blaydes. The second fight of the night on the main card features a rising young Brazilian in Iasmin Lucindo, looking to avenge her disappointing loss in her UFC debut as she takes on TUF veteran Brogan Walker.
It’s a fight of youth versus experience. At just 21 years old and one UFC appearance under her belt, Saturday is the most important test of Lucindo’s young career so far. Guam native Walker comes into this fight as a replacement for the injured Melissa Martinez, and is also looking for her first UFC win to stop a losing skid that has seen her lose 4 of her last five fights.
Let’s break the strawweight fight down then, before offering our Lucindo vs Walker prediction.
Iasmin Lucindo Preview: A Raw Talent but Lots of Potential
Fighting out of Fortaleza, Brazil, Iasmin Lucindo was on a tear before signing for the UFC. A seven-fight winning run, which included four TKO finishes, caught the eye of the UFC brass. After losing to Yazmin Jauregui in her UFC debut back in August, the young prospect will have a chip on her shoulder as she looks to bounce back from the decision loss.
Lucindo held her own in her loss to Jauregui in their shared debuts last summer. The Brazilian is a grappler who failed to get into her rhythm and control the fight, something she will have to get right if she wants to get past Walker.
Pronta para buscar a primeira vitória no UFC! 👊
Iasmin Lucindo volta ao Octógono no #UFCVegas71!
— UFC Brasil (@UFCBrasil) April 18, 2023
Despite an age gap of 13 years, Lucindo has more fighting experience, entering the cage a whopping seven times in the first 18 months of her career back in 2017 and 2018. There were victories and defeats in those 18 months, so it has never been plain sailing for Lucindo. She has become used to adversity, something that could help her rebound from her disappointing result in her UFC debut.Brogan Walker Preview: Fighting for Her Future in the UFC.
Brogan Walker Preview: Fighting for Her Future in the UFC
It’s been a difficult few years in MMA for Brogan Walker. After defeating Emilee King in Invicta FC last August, Walker entered the UFC Ultimate Fighter and made it to the final. Her stoppage loss to the eventual winner Juliana Miller remains her only UFC experience to this point and means Walker is 1-4 in her last five fights.
"People are really going to see me as a different martial artist."
Brogan Walker is excited to showcase her evolution from her time on TUF to #UFCVegas71 🔊🆙
— UFC News (@UFCNews) April 20, 2023
Walker is an eight year veteran who has wins on her record against established names like Miranda Maverick under the Invicta FC banner and has fought higher level opponents than Lucindo so far in her career. Walker also has a black belt in Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, but prefers to stand and trade rather than grapple.
‘The Bear’ must improve on her performance in the Ultimate Fighter finale as she look to upset the rising Brazilian. Walker’s takedown defense was poor, thus allowing Juliana Miller to control the majority of the fight before the eventual third-round finish.
Iasmin Lucindo vs Brogan Walker Prediction: Who’s Gonna Win at UFC Vegas 71: Pavlovich vs Blaydes
The bookmakers have Iasmin Lucindo as the moderate favourite, and it’s not difficult to see why.
For Walker, this seems a horrible matchup on paper. Lucindo is a dangerous grappler, a style of opponent that Brogan could struggle to deal with.
Lucindo will look to take this fight to the ground against a fighter with pretty poor takedown defense. Once on the mat, Lucindo can use her powerful top game to take over the contest. The Brazilian’s style is to get on top, take control and work for the submission. Walker has never been submitted, but her poor performance on the ground in the Ultimate Final Finale must not be repeated here against an equally dangerous opponent.
Only one of Walker’s seven victories have been finishes, and eight of her ten fights have gone the distance. Can she withstand 15 minutes of pressure from the exuberant youngster, especially with such a poor takedown game? It’s difficult to see after her performance against Miller in the TUF finale how this fight will be different.
Nightmare Matchup Means Lucinda Should Be Too Much For Walker
A fighter with poor takedown defense against a fighter who loves to take fights to the floor, gain top control and dominate is not a good combination for late notice step-in Walker.
She has had a month to prepare for this fight after Melissa Martinez pulled out in March, and provides an excellent opportunity for her to rebound from her TUF finale defeat. Unfortunately, Lucindo looks like a step too far for Walker unless she can revolutionise her takedown defense.
Our Lucindo vs Walker prediction is a victory for the young Brazilian, who could even slip in a submission victory inside two and half rounds with her strong top game. The youngster’s moxie and growing experience should carry her through against the elder Walker, but both women have a point to prove and a chip on their shoulder.