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Diggin’ Deep on UFC 213: Nunes vs. Shevchenko - Fight Pass preview

Get the inside scoop on UFC 213’s early contests on Fight Pass, featuring an exciting contest between bantamweight sluggers Rob Font and Douglas Silva da Andrade.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Font vs Gomez Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Remember last year when UFC 200 featured the likes of Joe Lauzon, Jim Miller, and Gegard Mousasi on the Fight Pass prelims? I understand UFC 213 isn’t a nice round number like 200, but this is International Fight Week, traditionally one of the biggest PPV’s of the year. Instead of a series of recognizable names on Fight Pass – not even current or former contenders as we had last year -- we’re getting contests thrown together at the last minute. You’d like to think you’re getting premium contests from time to time when you pay a monthly fee, especially on the bigger cards of the year. I guess not…

The Fight Pass prelims begin at 6:30 PM ET/3:30 PM PT on Saturday.

Rob Font (13-2) vs. Douglas Silva da Andrade (24-1, 1 NC), Bantamweight

Font has picked up a nice reputation among fans for his violent tendencies, picking up KO/TKO stoppages in each of his three UFC victories in a division not particularly noted for stoppages. A sprawl-and-brawl fighter, Font packs more power in his wide hooks than his lanky frame would indicate. His clinch has proven to be just as lethal, particularly his knees in the Thai clinch. Perhaps the biggest hole in Font’s game has been that he is one-dimensional, though he has been working hard to fix that, showing signs of an improved wrestling attack in his previous contest against Matt Schnell.

Given the infrequency in which he fights, it’s often easy to forget that Andrade is still on the roster. Before everyone rushes off to pick Font, keep in mind that Andrade has a feather in his cap that champion Cody Garbrandt is unable to make: he finished off Enrique Briones. That’s about as good of proof as you’ll find that Andrade is a very hard hitter himself. He’s perfectly capable of alternating between leading the dance and waiting for his opponent to come at him just as effectively one way or the other. Though he rarely looks to go to the ground himself, Andrade has a more proven track record than Font in that department.

Andrade is one of the more underrated bantamweights on the roster. He possesses a game similar to John Lineker, the lone loss in Font’s record during his UFC tenure. However, Andrade is not Lineker and Font has worked on the issues that led to that loss. It should be a hell of a contest between two hard hitters with granite chins, but I’m favoring the lankier Font to find a way to utilize his reach to his advantage to pick up a victory. Font via TKO, RD3

Cody Stamann (14-1) vs. Terrion Ware (17-5), Featherweight

Signed about a week before UFC 213 was to take place, Stamann and Ware have both been bouncing around the UFC’s radar for a few years at bantamweight. Not that they haven’t plied their trade at featherweight before, but don’t look for them to hang around at 145 after this contest.

Given his youth and more attractive record, Stamann will likely be the favorite. However, that also overlooks Ware’s level of opposition with three losses coming to UFC vets and a fourth to former LFA champion Leandro Higo. It’s a bit of a surprise Ware didn’t get a call sooner given that his willingness to stand in the pocket and trade punches is highly entertaining. It’s rare that Ware isn’t moving forward, but it also leads to a lot of damage being taken. His chin has held up thus far, never having suffered a KO in his career, but one wonders how much more damage it can take as Ware has spent many years plying this trade.

Stamann is more careful to pick his shots, darting in and out of the pocket with switch and leg kicks being his primary weapons. He does have fast hands when he lets loose with his short boxing combinations, but that has also been when opponents have been able to tag him. Stamann hasn’t shown much in terms of his grappling, rarely looking to take the fight to the ground while preferring ground-and-pound over advancing position.

There are reasons to pick against each fighter. Stamann is somewhat stiff in his movement and hasn’t shown as much versatility on the ground as Ware. On the flip side, Ware leaves his chin to be touched up and Stamann has a technical advantage in the striking. I have no particular reason for making my pick aside from a hunch, so don’t put much stock in it. Stamann via decision

Trevin Giles (9-0) vs. James Bochnovic (8-1), Light Heavyweight

Another pair of prospects signed about a week before the event, neither Giles nor Bochnovic are true light heavyweights. Given the short notice, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Giles is the more touted prospect, having picked up some wins over sound regional competition. A sound athlete, Giles has shown the ability to finish the contest on multiple fronts. His ground-and-pound is brutal, though he often uses it to soften up his opposition for a submission. Giles can be too tentative and let his opponent dictate the pace, but he has an awesome chin and a great killer instinct when he notices his opponent is hurt.

Bochnovic hasn’t faced the level of competition Giles has, making him a greater mystery. He does own a kickboxing background with a 6'4" frame and 81" reach. Those are long for light heavyweight much less at middleweight where Bochnovic is to likely drop to after this contest. His wrestling has a long way to go, but he is scrappy and knows how to survive on the ground. The odd thing is that despite his kickboxing background, all but one of his victories have come by submission. I can’t say for sure as film is limited, but all indications are that he’s a club-and-sub specialist as most of those submissions have been RNC’s.

Both have their flaws that can be exposed, making this a good matchup for a pair of newcomers. Given I haven’t seen Bochnovic make good use of his long reach – negating what is probably his biggest advantage – I’m going with the better athlete in Giles, though without a lot of confidence. Giles via submission, RD2