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Welcome to the UFC, Cristina Stanciu

A new woman strawweight fighter is on her way to the UFC and a spot on the upcoming card in Zagreb, Croatia.

It's no secret, the UFC has a lot easier time finding WMMA fighters at 115lbs than they do 135. It's a division with a lot more talent out on the regional scene, a lot more fighters competing, and a lot more fighters getting themselves in position for a shot in the big leagues. The next woman to get that shot is a Romanian fighter, Cristina Stanciu. The UFC recently announced her pairing against Maryna Moroz at UFC Zagreb in Croatia, on April 10th. So...

Who is Cristina Stanciu?

"Barbie" as she's also known is a 21 year old fighter training out of Absoluto Bucharest under Tudor Mihaita. She's the first breakout talent from the camp, training alongside regional standouts Dinu Bucalet and Adrian Preda. She'll be entering the UFC with an undefeated 5-0 record, having spent her entire pro-career fighting under the Romanian Xtreme Fighting banner. Her level of competition is about what you might expect, on paper. A couple .500 fighters some fighters on decent win streaks, and a couple of cans. Nothing groundbreaking for a fighter in their first 5 fights, but nothing bad either. Outside of MMA she has a background in competitive Wushu and has done some BJJ but doesn't appear to have a long history in the sport.

What you should expect:

Stanciu has a nice, evolving striking game as an MMA fighter. She keeps a low stance, and really torques her way into some big power shots. Her kicking game is a little funky. She doesn't always set up her kicks or turn them over with much snap. Often she uses them to set up big winging hooks over the top, by stepping through as she lands. She does throw a good snapping front kick and can put real power behind her head kicks when she wants to.

Generally, Stanciu seems to have a lot of confidence in her striking offense and defense. While she swings wild, she does have reasonably decent awareness of head movement and hand position. Outside of her standup, Stanciu does well to create offense in all areas. She's an active striker in the clinch, and while she doesn't have a pretty ground game, she's good at jumping on sub opportunities when they're there and seems to be pathologically aggressive. I'm not 100% sold on her cardio, just for the pace she pushes, but she's the kind of fighter that will win a lot of early rounds.

What this means for her debut:

This means we're in for a hell of a fire fight. Maryna Moroz is the more technical boxer, but I'm not sure she has Stanciu's raw power. Both women are very very aggressive, so the question will be, who cracks first standing? And can Moroz work her guard game if the answer is her? Neither wrestles all that well, and Moroz is very willing to pull guard. If Stanciu can walk through Moroz's shots like Letourneau did, then she could potentially force Moroz to drop for a submission and work the Ukranian over on the ground. However, given Stanciu's extremely aggressive approach, there's a good chance she could give up a triangle or an armbar from top. I feel like I favor Moroz just a bit in this fight, but mostly I expect it to be fast and something of a mess.

To get us better acquainted, here's Stanciu's 2015 bout against Diana Belbita: