Welcome to the UFC: Vanessa Melo

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UFC Vancouver
UFC Vancouver, Rogers Arena, September 14, 2019 Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

Brazil’s Vanessa Melo will make her promotional debut at UFC Mexico City this weekend, against longtime bantamweight Irene Aldana.

The UFC is coming to Mexico City, Mexico on September 21, with a Fight Night event going down at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico. Irene Aldana was originally supposed to take on Marion Reneau on this card. Reneau though would have to withdraw from the fight. Looking to Brazil, the UFC would sign veteran Vanessa Melo to step in on short notice.

5’5″
Bantamweight
31-years-old
Taboao da Serra, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Babuino Gold Team
10-5
2 Submissions (Rear-Naked Choke)

How Melo will fare in the UFC:

Melo is a veteran who has been in the fight game since 2011. Starting her career off at 3-4 Melo has won her last five fights. Her style is reminiscent of Karol Rosa, who just made her UFC debut not long ago. On the feet, she’s staying in your face looking to be the counter striker. Melo struggles when she throws first as her hand speed is drastically slow and open to her getting countered. However as noted Melo is a good counter striker and that comes with solid head movement. Her wrestling is decent with better top position but nothing that stands out. Offensively, Melo is good and defensively she needs some work. She’s an easy target once she plants her feet. The takedown defense also lacks and off her back she struggles as well. While she belongs in the UFC, there’s a question as to whether she can be a top tier fighter. Prediction: Starts off UFC career at 1-2.
  • Striking: C+
  • Kickboxing: C-
  • Clinch: C-
  • Wrestling: C+
  • Grappling: C
  • Striking Defense: C+
  • Takedown Defense: C
  • Cardio: B-
  • Biggest Strength: Countering
  • Biggest Weakness: Takedown defense

How Melo matches up with Aldana:

This is a tailor-made fight for Irene Aldana. It’s a fight that is likely to, for the most part, stay standing. Which makes it hard not to really like Aldana in this. Aldana is too technical against a slow counter striker like Melo. Aldana should be able to set the pace with her jab and her hand speed should be the difference. Also, just the high-level UFC experience should favor Aldana heavily.

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