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Diggin’ Deep on UFC Mexico City: Pettis vs. Moreno - Fight Pass preview

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Get all the vitals for the Fight Pass prelims on UFC Mexico City, featuring a pair of debuting flyweights and a lightweight clash between Jordan Rinaldi and Alvaro Herrera.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Trujillo vs Rinaldi Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

Is it just me, or should the UFC strongly consider not doing events after particularly strong PPV cards? I’ve had a difficult time getting up for this week’s card in Mexico after the awesome weekend UFC 214 provided and as such, don’t feel like I have a whole lot positive to say for the Fight Pass prelims. Granted, the most UFC fights any one of the online competitors owns is two – that by Alvaro Herrera – which indicates these wouldn’t be drawing much attention even if they weren’t on the heels of the biggest card thus far of 2017. I guess they are what they are. Tune in if you want. I don’t get paid any more or less regardless of what you do….

The Fight Pass prelims begin at 7:00 PM ET/4:00 PM PT on Saturday.

Joseph Morales (8-0) vs. Roberto Sanchez (7-0), Flyweight

If you know anything about Team Alpha Male, you know a lot about Morales as he falls into just about every stereotype that comes with being a Team Alpha Male fighter. Having been associated with the gym since he was 10-years old, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Turning 23 later this month, Morales has a strong guillotine, powerful takedowns, and a striking offense heavy on hooks that are used to set up his takedowns. His guard has proven to be more dangerous than what you’d expect out of a Team Alpha Male fighter, but he also tends to remain on his back for extended periods of time thanks to his comfort there.

Sanchez isn’t quite the athlete that Morales is, but he is about as savvy as they come. Like Morales, he’s slick off his back, commonly finding a way to snag a submission or creating the space needed to get back to his feet. Much like Morales, Sanchez’s wrestling is spotty, but he’s surprisingly effective in the clinch for someone who gets taken down as often as he does. There isn’t anything special about his striking, but he does fall into bouts of inactivity.

Sanchez has an innate ability to snatch a victory out of nowhere, which hardly makes it a guarantee that Morales pulls out a win. However, fighters who tend to snatch victory out of nowhere on a regular basis on the regional scene usually see their wins dry up once they make it to the UFC. So long as he can avoid Sanchez’s subs, Morales should walk out with a win comfortably. Morales via decision

Alvaro Herrera (9-4) vs. Jordan Rinaldi (12-5), Lightweight

Like most of the TUF Latin America products, Herrera came into the UFC a very raw product. He showed his potential when he plastered Vernon Ramos in 30 seconds in his UFC debut only for Vicente Luque to dispose of him with ease in his sophomore effort. Owner of heavy hands, Herrera possesses legit one-punch power if he’s able to connect cleanly. That has often been the problem though as he isn’t the slickest striker. Given his limited resources before arriving in the UFC, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him showing far better movement and overall technique. It’s worth noting he is dropping down a weight class to make his lightweight debut.

Rinaldi doesn’t care much to stand and trade, preferring instead to dirty up the contest as much as possible by fighting in the clinch and ground. Though he doesn’t possess any special physical attributes, Rinaldi’s relentlessness in chaining together his takedown attempts usually gets the job done against those with poor wrestling. Fortunately for him, Herrera hasn’t shown much in the wrestling department, but Rinaldi hasn’t exactly shown much on the feet, having almost zero power in his punches.

It’s been over a year since we’ve seen either of these competitors. Rinaldi was pretty much a finished product, so he shouldn’t have changed much, but no one knows how much Herrera has progressed or what he’ll look like at lightweight. Going off what we knew a year ago, I’d favor Rinaldi to find a way to get Herrera to the ground often and eventually find a submission. I’ll stick with that assessment for the present. Rinaldi via submission of RD1