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

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Brok Weaver Contender Series
Brok Weaver Credit: Rodney James Edgar/Cageside Press

Brok Weaver (D) (14-4) vs. Rodrigo Vargas (11-3)

Narrative: Brok Weaver is the only DWCS competitor debuting at UFC Rio Rancho that actually won his contract fighting on the show. Weaver is looking to be successful in his debut, which his opponent Rodrigo Vargas failed to do in his own. New Mexico’s own Vargas has a lot on his plate in this bout needing a win against someone the UFC brass seems to like a lot. Weaver is on a three-fight win streak and if he wins this fight it seems like he will be getting a steady push under the big lights.

Shawn Bitter: Vargas has some heavy hands, but lacks combinations and output in general. His best weapon is probably his wrestling but he has problems with control, and his grappling isn’t where it should be. His cardio has been found lacking in past fights as well. Weaver isn’t the most technical but he has the cardio and grit to overcome Vargas in all areas.

Max Freedman: Many are rallying behind Brok Weaver given his personality and native-American background. However, there are definitely questions that remain regarding his talents and abilities within the cage. Luckily for him, the UFC has matched him up with an opponent that doesn’t appear overly dangerous in any area of the game. While Vargas could certainly get it done, I favor Weaver to be more effective en route to a clear unanimous-decision win.

Kristen King: Brok Weaver finally makes his UFC debut and it should definitely be paid attention to. Looking at the fight between him and Rodrigo Vargas, I can see how the odds are behind Weaver. He has the reach and height advantage, which is almost always beneficial depending on the opponent. Also, Weaver is extremely tough and has great boxing, so I expect him to weather any storm from Vargas and deliver it right back. I do not see either of these guys being finished, but I do see this unfolding into one of the more fun fights on the card with Weaver emerging victorious by way of unanimous decision.

Anthony Walker: I’d expect Weaver to beat Vargas. He’s the rare guy to get a contract on the Contender Series from a decision win so I’d assume the UFC likes him. Vargas is a good mix of experience and skill relative to risk to give Weaver a showcase debut.

Keith Shillan: A lot of people are excited to see Brok Weaver in action due to his DWCS win and his larger-than-life personality. The Native American is a southpaw, who is known for his striking craft. He has fast strikes which he sets up with feints and grabbing at his opponent’s hands. ‘Chata Tuska’ will need to be aggressive instead of falling into spells of inactivity which has cursed him in the past. He might not get a chance to be inactive as his opponent Rodrigo Vargas is a very aggressive fighter, who throws serious heat into every punch and kick thrown. Kazula favors brute power over technical skills. Weaver heads into this fight as a large -265 favorite and has a lot of hype. I disagree with the line. I think this fight should be close to a pick-em. Neither fighter has impressed me much, nor has me viewing them as anything than lower UFC level talent. I will take Weaver due to being more technical. The fight goes to the decision due to the lack of Weaver’s power.

Marcel Dorff: Weaver

Ryan Fortune:  Weaver

Daniel Vreeland: Vargas

Standings (Year to Date)

Anthony Walker: 4-3
Ryan Fortune: 4-3
Kristen King: 3-4
Shawn Bitter: 3-4
Max Freedman: 2-5
Marcel Dorff: 2-5
Keith Shillan: 0-7

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