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Welcome to the UFC, Lapilus, Ansaroff, & Edwards

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A new featherweight out of France, a new women's strawweight, and a British BAMMA welterweight champion.

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

A new host of fighters are making their way to the UFC as they look to get late injury replacements, fill out a growing division, and continue to search for exciting young talent. First up is Taylor Lapilus, who will fill in for the injured Robert Whiteford at UFC Fight Night: Stockholm, on October 4th, against Dennis Siver. Making their way into the UFC along with Lapilus are Nina Ansaroff and Leon Edwards. Both fighters will debut on the upcoming November Uberlandia card, where Ansaroff will face Juliana Lima and Edwards will take on Claudio Henrique da Silva. So...

Who is Taylor Lapilus?

The 22-year old Frenchman trains out of Crossfight MMA, alongside Christian M'Pumbu and his brother, Cage Warriors lightweight, Damien Lapilus. Unusually for a French fighter coming in to the UFC, "Double Impact" has fought almost exclusively in France in his young career. Only his first fight, in Belgium, was outside the country. While this may not sound like a big deal, Graham Boylan (Cage Warriors CEO) points out on Twitter, that this means that he's likely never been in a fight that allowed ground and pound as it's illegal under French rules. If that's the case, this debut could be a massive shock beyond the big step up in competition. It's also worth noting, that this late notice matchup between a 30 fight, 11 year and top ten vet, in Siver, and the 8-1, 22-year old Lapilus is taking place under the guidance of the SMMAF. It's the same organization that recently dissolved their professional oversight committee following a scandle involving their unwillingness to sanction the majority of fights on a Cage Warriors card, due to their mismatch potential. It's hard to overstate how badly that decision smacks of incompetence in the light of okaying a fight like this.

What you should expect:

Lapilus definitely has the makings of a good, technical striker. His footwork is outstanding in its economy and consistency. He always keeps his legs under him when throwing combinations and looks to have solid defensive movement, hand and head position. He's reasonably comfortable working in the pocket or outside, as well. However, he doesn't quite work in enough volume yet, and can get backed up and pushed off his game a bit by strikers that are willing to wade in wild on him. Unfortunately, beyond his kickboxing, he really appears to lack all the pieces of a wrestling game. His takedown defense game is almost non-existent beyond his sprawl, and he shows very few signs of generating his own takedowns either. He has a quick aggressive grappling game when the fight hits the mats, but it's not the kind of thing he should depend on, especially if he's not used to using it while defending strikes.

What this means for his debut:

Remember Siver vs. Phan... I'd expect this to be a lot like that. Lapilus is a very good prospect, and with a couple more years and a better camp, maybe a few wins under Cage Warriors, he could be a top flight prospect. But, right now he's too green and has too many holes in his skill game. Siver isn't an advanced wrestler, but he's good enough there to get Lapilus down and he's a beast from top control.

To get us better acquainted, here's Lapilus' recent bout against Osman Minbatirov:

Who is Nina Ansaroff?

"The Strina" (whatever that is) is an MMA Masters fight team member, training alongside Josh Samman, Luis Palomino and Amanda Nunes. The 28-year old has been a flyweight for the bulk of her career, amassing a 6-3 record with her biggest win coming over Munah Holland at Invicta FC 7. Other than a quick submission loss to Casey Noland, her only other defeats have been to top competition as she went to a majority decision against Barb Honchak and a split decision against Carla Esparza. So, while it may not be the most impressive record, she's been competitive with other top women in her division in the past. Prior to her MMA career, she has a background in Taekwondo.

What you should expect:

Ansaroff is a very comfortable striker at range. Her footwork and defensive head movement are both good, and she throws nice straight punches. She's got a decent kicking game, from her Taekwondo and soccer careers, and generally appears very confident on her feet. She can get a bit lost in combinations in the pocket, and can get overwhelmed by fighters looking to press her, especially if she gets over dependent on her kicking game. Impressively, Ansaroff has shown flashes of a strong shot, and moves nicely off her initial angle to get completion. Her biggest flaw to date appears to be her inability to maintain aggressive offense as she often ends up circling away on her back foot. She also tends to default a little heavily to spinning strikes when put in bad defensive positions.

What this means for her debut:

Unfortunately for Ansaroff, Lima may be exactly the kind of fighter to beat her. In a style vs. style matchup, Ansaroff just may not be that well equipped to handle Lima's aggressive wrestling game. Lima likes to flurry into the clinch shoot for takedowns, and work from top position, and she's pretty good at it. Ansaroff has some decent takedown defense is a takedown threat herself, and unusually for WMMA, has some real power in her hands, but I think her tendency to sit back and wait for opportunities will play right into Lima's game. Ansaroff looks to be a good, strong fighter, but this may not be her fight.

To get us better acquainted, here's some footage of her recent bout against Aylla Caroline Lima da SIlva:

Who is Leon Edwards?

BAMMA's British Welterweight title holder comes in to the UFC at just 22-years of age. Edwards trains out of UTC Brimingham, alongside UFC bantamweight Vaughan Lee. He carries an 8-1 record with him into the octagon, with his only defeat coming due to a disqualification for an illegal knee. He's been a pro since 2011, rising through the BAMMA ranks over the past few years. Edwards has wins over solid rising prospects in Shaun Taylor and longtime regional vet Wayne Murrie to round out a generally good if not quite great record. He's also only gone to decision twice in his career, with four KOs and two submissions.

What you should expect:

Edwards is a very powerful striker, most particularly in transition. He doesn't have the greatest takedown defense in the world, but he often makes up for it, or attempts to do so, by landing hard, accurate knees and elbows in scrambles and while getting taken down. Coupled with his striking offense, Edwards has shown a nice trip and drag takedown game, both things that fit into his scrambling strike and submission offense. His top control isn't bad, but he gets caught in guard fairly easily and isn't the most dynamic in his ground and pound. If he can't get the quick submission he often just falls into guard. Beyond that, he's not the best combination striker in the world, but the kind of power he generates means he doesn't have to be. He also is very good at generating power in the clinch with his dirty boxing and knees.

What this means for his debut:

Edwards should be able to beat da Silva fairly easily. Da Silva is, at times a desperation grappler. He doesn't have a great striking or wrestling game, and often throws himself at opponents, looking to create contact and drag them to the ground. Edwards should be able to use his superior athleticism to shuck da Silva and dominate in the clinch. Da Silva has shown shades of being a more aggressive, wild brawler on his feet, as is often the case with BJJ grapplers without a developed secondary game, but that just means there's a greater probability the tries to trade with Edwards in his strength. This has all the hallmarks of a showcase debut for the English newcomer.

To get us better acquainted, here's his recent bout against Wayne Murrie at BAMMA 15: