At last weekend’s UFC 258 we saw Kamaru Usman retain his title, Alexa Grasso put her name forward as a serious contender, Kelvin Gastelum get back in the win collum, and much more. UFC Vegas 19 this Saturday is headlined between by heavyweight contenders Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis. This card has a slew of UFC sophomore performances and many debuts are set as well. One of those is the former CFFC champion, Pat Sabatini. He will be taking on the also debuting Rafael Alves (19-9 MMA, 0-0 UFC).
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How will Sabatini fare in the UFC:
Even though Sabatini was into karate ever since he was a kid, his jiu-jitsu is his bread and butter. Now, on the feet, he has some nice kicks and his hands are looking better. Sabatini doesn’t have the best wrestling as he’s not someone you will see getting single or double legs. How he will get the fight down is to dive low on the legs to create scrambles or utilize trips in the clinch which he does very well. It works fairly well for him because he’s the savvy grappler who will take any inch you give him.
Sabatini is a high-level grappler and that’s going to give many guys fits in the UFC. He’s very technical on the mat making all the right moves and floats just right into dominant positions effortlessly. Ten of his thirteen wins have come by submission so it’s no surprise he’s a huge submission threat. Sabatini isn’t greedy either. He will attack the neck, snag an arm, and has a really good leg lock game. The only thing that’s going to hold him back is if he can’t get the fight down. I’m not saying his striking is bad but it’s rather, he hasn’t really had a scrap. With that said he is good enough on the feet to be able to hold his own. It’s an excellent signing.
- Striking: B-
- Kickboxing: B
- Clinch: A-
- Wrestling: B
- Grappling: A+
- Striking Defense: B-
- Takedown Defense: B-
- Cardio: B+
- Biggest Strength: Jiu-jitsu
- Biggest Weakness: Unknown on the feet.
How he matches up with Alves:
Alves isn’t only a super aggressive fighter, he’s a wildman. On the feet, I would say he has the advantage. Alves is a fast-starter, diverse, has heavy power in his hands and kicks, and is unpredictable. Alves like Sabatini has excellent jiu-jitsu as well. Still, comparing their grappling I think Sabatini is on another level. The question is if he can take Alves down and I think so as Alves has struggled with that in the past. Alves is the better overall fighter but the clear path to victory is there for Sabatini. Cardio wise too I think Sabitini has it. Not a very confident pick but I like Pat here.