The UFC hits Rio Rancho, New Mexico this week for a Fight Night card headlined by light heavyweight contenders Corey Anderson and Jan Błachowicz. Throughout the UFC Rio Rancho card, you’ll find a handful of prospects making their first walk to the octagon. When it comes to debuting fighters, all three are coming off Dana White’s Contender Series this past Summer.
This week, our panel gives their expectations for the octagon debuts of Brok Weaver, Daniel Rodriguez, and Shanna Young.
Macy Chiasson (5-1) vs. Shanna Young (D) (7-2)
Narrative: Chiasson was originally supposed to take on former flyweight champ Nico Montano, but Nico pulled out due to injury. Chiasson, who lost in her last fight, still has a lot of hype behind her as she’s the TUF Season 28 winner. Looking to not just derail the hype train but to destroy it is Invicta FC veteran Shanna Young. Young did lose this past Summer on the Contender Series but after that, she’s gone 2-1.
Shawn Bitter: Young is the more dynamic fighter but Chiasson seems to have the advantage everywhere. Chiasson is the much bigger and stronger fighter and you can expect her to bully Young in the clinch. Young doesn’t have the wrestling ability to keep Chiasson down long. The best path to victory for Young is to just outpoint Chiasson but that’s easier said than done.
Maz Freedman: Young’s defeat to Sarah Alpar on the Contender Series came as a surprise to many but it’s good to see she’s earned herself another opportunity with the UFC. However, she’s got a tall order ahead going up a weight class against a former Featherweight on less than a week’s notice. Expect Chiasson to use her size, strength, and technique to grab a submission win in this one.
Kristen King: Chiasson may be a bit too much for Shanna Young in her UFC debut. Chiasson has looked like an absolute beast at women’s bantamweight, and despite suffering her first professional defeat in her last outing, I see her returning to her winning ways in emphatic fashion against Young. Young may have a bit of an advantage as far as her quickness goes, considering she may be hard to catch, but I do not see that being much of an issue for Chiasson. Overall, Chiasson just has too many ways to win this fight as she is one of the most well-rounded women on the roster. I predict Chiasson gets Young out within the first-round by way of technical knockout.
Anthony Walker: Chiasson should get her hand raised here. A week’s notice and being considerably out-sized seems like too tall of a hill to climb for Young.
Keith Shillan: Shanna Young gets her UFC debut on just over a week’s notice against former TUF winner, Macy Chiasson. The Knoxville Martial Arts product is the biggest underdog on the card, though there is an avenue for her to be victorious. The ‘Shanimal’ will be moving back up to bantamweight from flyweight when she takes on the much bigger Fortis MMA team member, who won TUF at featherweight. Young is a well-rounded fighter that is a high volume striker. She has fast hands and a large arsenal of kicks. However, her best route to victory is to lean on her former college wrestling experience and take her counterpart down.
In Chiasson’s last fight, which is her lone loss, she emptied the gas tank fairly early in the bout and was taken down by Lina Lansberg. Despite the advantage in the wrestling credentials, I am still going to side with the Louisiana native. She has a massive size advantage and does well to bully her opponents with her strength. Look for Chiasson to grab the clinch and batter the debuting fighter with knees and elbows from close quarters until she can’t take it anymore. Chiasson via second-round TKO.
Marcel Dorff: Chiasson via UD.
Ryan Fortune: Chiasson
Daniel Vreeland: Chiasson