UFC 266 goes down Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The biggest card of the year thus far for the promotion is headlined by featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and number one contender Brian Ortega. In the co-main event, it’s flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko defending her title against Lauren Murphy. The card also features the return of Nick Diaz after a multi-year layoff. He’s fighting former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler, albeit at middleweight. In the early portion of the card a training partner of Diaz, Martin Sano, will be making his UFC debut. Welcoming him to the UFC will be Matt Semlesberger (8-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC).
Standing at 5’11″
Fighting at 170 lbs (middleweight)
Fighting out of Las Vegas, Nevada
Training out of Nick Diaz Gracie Academy
A pro record of 4-2-1
1 KO/TKO, 3 Submissions
How will Sano fare in the UFC:
The only reason Sano is in the UFC is that he’s buddies with the Diaz brothers. Sano hasn’t won a fight since 2014. His last fight was scored a draw but watching it, you will see that he clearly lost that fight. Before that he lost his two prior outings.
This didn’t work out well when they signed Chris Avila back in 2016, which was another Diaz favor. At least Avila was 5-2 and on a three-fight win streak though. The only silver lining is Sano does have a shocking win over Geoff Neal, but that fight would go much different today.
You’re probably thinking, “well maybe Sano is better than his record suggests.” The short answer to that would be no. Watching tape it’s hard to come up with any one thing to be impressed with. To his credit, Sano is tough, and won’t stop pressing forward. On the feet, he does have some power but with his sloppiness and his movement, it’s doubtful you’ll see him catching anyone clean. Sano will throw one punch at a time and just put his head down and throw. Not technical in the slightest.
While Sano is more labeled as a grappler, rest assured he’s not going to be submitting many opponents in the UFC. He doesn’t have the wrestling to get into good positions and off his back he’s lost. Sano has awful takedown defense as it seems he has no sense of balance at all. In his previous fights, he’s been able to get to his feet. With that said, when you are turning to your knees and standing up any good grappler will take his back easy. I just can’t see Sano being in the UFC long.
How does he match up with Semelsberger:
Sano doesn’t match up well with anyone in the UFC but he sure isn’t getting a favor in Semelsberger. Semelsberger is a very good boxer who will easily beat Sano in my opinion. I would be extremely shocked if Sano finds a way to win this.