UFC Rio Rancho’s Debuting Fighters: How Will Brok Weaver, Daniel Rodriguez, and Shanna Young Fare?

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Daniel Rodriguez following his weigh-in at SMASH Global 10 in December. Photo: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Tim Means (29-11-1) vs. Daniel Rodriguez (D) (10-1)

Narrative: Rodriguez is another Contender Series fighter from this past Summer. Unlike Young, he did win his fight but wasn’t awarded a UFC contract in the end. Rodriguez went back to the regional scene and got a stoppage victory and has now signed to the UFC. He is taking this fight on short notice against a veteran in UFC legend Tim Means. Means is 3-4 in his last seven fights but impressed in his return to the cage against Thiago Alves with a first-round stoppage. This UFC Rio Rancho fight plays very similar to the Alex Morono and Kalinin Williams bout last week.

Shawn Bitter: You don’t get a tougher match-up than Tim Means especially making your octagon debut. Means in all forms is a much better and more dangerous striker than Rodriguez. Rodriguez could take him down but Means I have no doubt can get back up or even pose more of a threat grappling. The good thing for Rodriguez is Means has lost a step with all the fighting years on him. However, Means still just has a lot more going for him in every way possible.

Max Freedman: Rodriguez has a tough task in taking on a durable veteran in his home state. While Means showcases brilliance and talent in the striking at times, I actually like Rodriguez’s toughness and power to get it done in this one. I favor Rodriguez to win by knockout or TKO and cash in as a 2-1 betting underdog.

Kristen King: Daniel Rodriguez is looking to prove himself yet again to the UFC, and fortunately, I think he will do so in a big way against veteran Tim Means at UFC Rio Rancho. Means is a tough fight for nearly anyone standing opposite of him inside the Octagon, but I think Rodriguez is up for the test and will likely pass with flying colors. I am expecting a striking battle to unfold between Means and Rodriguez, with the latter getting the better of the exchanges. Sure, Means is overall a better fighter and more technically sound, but one hard left from Rodriguez could be enough to change all of that. If Rodriguez can catch Means early, I think a knockout may surface, which is why my prediction is a second-round technical knockout for the newcomer.

Anthony Walker: I’ll take Means over Rodriguez. I’m pretty sure it’ll be a gunfight. It’s hard to go against Means in a fight like that considering Rodriguez’s lack of experience and short notice call up.

Keith Shillan: Despite already being 33-years-old, Daniel Rodriguez is anything but a finished product. “D-Rod” is a tough-as-nails southpaw, who invites his opponents into the brawl. His aggressive counter-punching style backed by a granite chin has done him well so far. He packs a lot of power but can be a bit sloppy by overthrowing his strikes — leaving him open for an attack. He will occasionally mix in a takedown but isn’t know for his wrestling. His opponent, Tim Means is a tough outing for anybody, never mind someone stepping in the Octagon for the first time.

This will be the 21st time Means makes an appearance in the UFC and he is savvy enough to still get his hand raised. He does well to land strikes from a distance or batter his foe in the clinch due to his long limbs. The Dirty Bird has also needed to improve his takedown defense which could be an issue in this bout, but unless the 35-year-old suddenly can’t stand a hard shot anymore (which is a real possibility), I think he has enough tricks up his sleeve to come out with the victory. Means wins a unanimous decision in a back and forth affair.

Marcel Dorff: Means

Ryan Fortune:  Means

Daniel Vreeland: Rodriguez

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