Welcome to the UFC: Jacqueline Cavalcanti

Jacqueline Cavalcanti, UFC Paris
Jacqueline Cavalcanti, UFC Paris 2023 official weigh-in Credit: Patrick McCorry/Cageside Press

Former LFA bantamweight champion Jacqueline Cavalcanti is among the newcomers at UFC Paris this Saturday, taking on Zarah Fairn. The card is headlined by heavyweights Ciryl Gane and Serghei Spivac, with Cavalcanti booked into a 140lb catchweight earlier in the night.

Jacqueline Cavalcanti
Standing at five-foot-nine
Fighting at 135 lbs (bantamweight)
Fighting out of Lisbon, Portugal
Training out of Reborn Fight Team
A pro record of 5-1

How Cavalcanti will fare in the UFC:

Cavalcanti is coming to the UFC fresh off winning the LFA bantamweight title last April. Before that, she won a regional title in Spain. Cavalcanti has fought at featherweight a few times in the past but she’s better built at 135. She even fought at lightweight once for the PFL which is crazy. That was her only loss and I thought she clearly won that decision.

Cavalcanti is a major threat, especially on the feet. She’s constantly pressing forward but isn’t over-pursuing but sitting in her range picking her opponents apart. Her jab, straight punches, and kicks to the lead leg all play a big part in her striking. Cavalcanti is dangerous when she starts to put it all together. Her right hand is money and it’s even better when she throws it off a jab. She will actively throw a lot of kicks and mix up the attack. Mainly it’s the lead leg kicks but she also stabs the knee and the midsection with the teep. Cavalcanti has the technique and also the power as she’s had a few knockdowns in her career. Cavalcanti has the technique and also the power in her striking.

Cavalcanti has good ground and pound and is heavy on top but it’s somewhere she isn’t as comfortable. Her takedowns are mainly coming from her strength. On the flip side, due to her strength, she’s hard to take down. Where she is vulnerable the most is her striking defense. It’s not a glaring hole but she’s been rocked before. Sometimes she’s just so willing to inflict damage she leaves her head on the centerline.

I view Cavalcanti as a top 15 bantamweight today. She is a bit one-dimensional but she can get away with that at bantamweight. Being just 25 I’m sure she will round out her craft as her career progresses. Her size and striking is bound be a problem for others to deal with.

How she matches up with Fairn:

Cavalcanti is getting a layup with Fairn. I’m surprised Fairn is still in the UFC after a three-year layoff and constantly pulling out of fights. Fairn is a Muay Thai striker but you couldn’t tell watching her. Both are strikers so I’d be extremely surprised if Cavalcanti lost this. I predict Cavalcanti to win by TKO in rounds two or three.

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