clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Diggin’ Deep on UFC Copenhagen: Hermansson vs. Cannonier - Prelims preview

Get the scoop on the early UFC action out of Copenhagen, featuring Lina Lansberg attempting to derail the momentum of massive bantamweight prospect, Macy Chiasson.

Who knew Denmark was a popular location for UFC fighters? I know I’m overstating myself as there aren’t any contests even close to being considered blockbusters on UFC Copenhagen, but there is a surprising amount of depth for a card that will begin airing in the morning in the western hemisphere. While I was expecting a prelims full of underwhelming debutants and fighters looking to avoid a pink slip, there’s a decent amount of fighters with momentum. Macy Chiasson may be the top women’s bantamweight prospect in the sport. Ismail Naurdiev has shown extensive promise, even if he is coming off a loss. Plus, Marc Diakiese and Lando Vannatta appear to have righted their ships after enduring rocky waters for some time. I’m not saying the prelims out of Copenhagen are top notch, but they certainly are better than I would have expected from a low profile European card.

The prelims begin on ESPN+ at 11:00 AM ET/8:00 AM PT on Saturday.

Macy Chiasson (5-0) vs. Lina Lansberg (9-4), Women’s Bantamweight

Every time I see Chiasson in the cage, I can’t help but wonder how in the hell she is able to cut down to 135. I struggle to recall another female who has fought in the division that is about the same size as the Texas native. Even scarier, she seems to be able to make the cut without depleting her energy resources, a worry that many had when she first announced she was dropping from featherweight. Granted, Chiasson hasn’t come close to going the 15-minute distance in her UFC run thus far. What she has done is continue to push a ridiculous pace since making the cut, staying right up in her opponent’s grill and pushing the action. In the process, her intense pressure has resulted in finishes before the halfway point of the second round.

Looking to derail the freight train that is Chiasson is the Swedish Lansberg. At first glance, Lansberg secured the largest scalp of her career in her last contest when she trucked over Tonya Evinger. The problem is, Evinger has yet to turn in a good showing since coming to the UFC, indicating she has seen better days and the win for Lansberg doesn’t mean all that much. Nonetheless, the Elbow Queen may very well be the best she has ever been. Her work in the clinch was as sharp as ever, opening up a nasty cut on Evinger. Plus, she worked over Evinger on the mat with some solid GnP. Then again, does anyone think Lansberg will be able to bully Chiasson in the same manner?

Lansberg isn’t a walk in the park by any means, but she’s not going to look to test any of Chiasson’s weaknesses as Lansberg’s strengths are largely Chiasson’s strengths. The problem for Lansberg is Chiasson is better in those areas than she is as Chiasson is bigger, stronger, and more athletic. Lansberg may be able to stretch Chiasson more than any of Chiasson’s previous opponents, but I’ll be shocked if she’s able to steal away a round, much less a victory. Chiasson via TKO of RD2

Marc Diakiese (13-3) vs. Lando Vannata (10-3-2), Lightweight

There may not be a fighter on the roster with a funkier career route than Vannata, though Diakiese sure has tried to give him a run for his money. After his memorable debut in a loss to Tony Ferguson, Vannata went out looking for a highlight in his subsequent fights. He found one in his contest with John Makdessi, but came up dry in the next four. Despite not picking up a win in that time, Vannata showed enough style and flash to convince the UFC he’s worth keeping around, resulting in the UFC bringing in an opponent that appeared specifically designed to get Vannata back on track.

While having a tomato can brought into the organization to get Vannata on track is hardly flattering, Vannata did show a new approach this time around. Instead of looking for a highlight reel finish, Vannata attacked Marcos Mariano where he’s weakest: on the ground. It resulted in Vannata putting together an encouraging performance, even if it may have involved the least showmanship. Bottom line: Vannata followed a strategy to fruition while utilizing the basics of the fight game, something he hadn’t shown in his previous outings.

Diakiese’s route wasn’t quite as circuitous, but it had similar highs and lows. One of the most physically gifted members of the roster, Diakiese’s route to a highlight reel was a bit more direct than Vannata’s spinning attacks as Diakiese tended to just bowl over the opposition with raw power. The problem for Diakiese is he would expend his energy reserves in a hurry as he looked for that finish, making him an easy target down the stretch. However, like Vannata in his last appearance, Diakiese turned things around in his most recent contest. In a hell of a shock, he outboxed a former professional boxer in Joe Duffy. Granted, much of that can be attributed to Diakiese utilizing low kicks and threatening with takedowns, but it was the complete performance from the young Englishman that had been missing from his resume.

While both Diakiese and Vannata are blessed with unique physical gifts – and are both tough as hell – it’s hard for me to not lean towards Diakiese, provided he builds off his last appearance. Vannata could cut down to featherweight if he really wanted to. On the flip side, Diakiese is a beast for lightweight with the wrestling chops to create problems for anyone. A disciplined Diakiese is simply a scarier proposition to face as opposed to a disciplined Vannata. Vannata will probably need to turn to his creativity if he hopes to win, but he’ll have to do so selectively. I don’t know if he’s figured out when to do so quite yet. Diakiese via decision

  • The last time I declared a John Phillips fight should produce fireworks, we ended up with him and Jack Marshman doing far more staring at one another than anyone could have predicted. Nonetheless, despite my reservations, I’ll go with my initial impulse at seeing him being lined up opposite Alen Amedovski and say it should be a slugfest. Power punching defines both of their games in addition to both possessing a serious allergy to any mat-based strategy. Amedovski has never been stopped in his career while Phillips last suffered a non-cut KO/TKO stoppage back in 2006. However, all that mileage can also be telling. This contest is more of a coin flip than anything, but I’ll pick Amedovski as his chin has absorbed less punishment over the course of his career. Amedovski via TKO of RD2
  • The outlook on Alessio Di Chirico has never looked worse than now after losing a decision to Kevin Holland. There isn’t necessarily any shame in losing to Holland, but given the eccentric middleweight was largely fighting with one arm following an early injury, that looks bad. Nonetheless, Di Chirico is still talented and youthful enough that it would be foolish to believe he’s peaked. He is a bit nondescript as he doesn’t have any real strengths, but he doesn’t have a major weakness either. His opponent, Makhmud Muradov, has been on the UFC radar for a while as he’s currently on an 11-fight win streak. Floyd Mayweather’s lone MMA-promoted fighter, Muradov typically throws in combination and has enough power to be a threat. It’s a razor thin contest and though Di Chirico benefits from having a full camp, I like Muradov’s aggression to give him the advantage on the scorecards. Muradov via decision
  • Upon his upset of Michel Prazeres last year, Ismail Naurdiev emerged on the radar of analysts as a prospect to watch. Then he crapped the bed against Chance Rencountre this summer and lost all the shine on his star. Given the Austrian native only just turned 23, you’d be stupid to give up on him. Owner of strong takedown defense and a solid outside striking game, Naurdiev struggled with the size of Rencountre. Fortunately for him, Siyar Bahadurzada isn’t a large welterweight, nor is he much of a wrestler. Not that SIyar can’t wrestle, he just usually chooses not to. However, he is as durable as they come – he’s never been KO’d in his career – and won’t stop moving forward until he gets the stoppage he’s looking for. There’s a good chance he gets it, becoming the first to KO the Austrian Wonderboy. Bahadurzada via TKO of RD2
  • Even though Brandon Davis recently made the move to bantamweight, he’s taking this fight with debuting Giga Chikadze at featherweight due to the short notice of this card being put together. There’s reason to believe Davis’ willingness to throwdown with anyone will work against him as he faces off against the former professional kickboxer. However, Chikadze has lost to every opponent with a winning record he has faced. In fact, all his wins have come against cans. If nothing else, this contest should be a lot of fun, but expect Davis to utilize his abilities on the ground to pick up a hard-earned win. Davis via decision
  • After falling short in his UFC debut against the opportunistic Marlon Vera, Nohelin Hernandez welcomes the Cage Warriors bantamweight champion Jack Shore to the UFC. Hernandez surprised some with his grappling and scrambling, entering the organization with a reputation as a technical striker. He’ll need those grappling chops as that’s where Shore does his best work, utilizing chain wrestling to get the fight to the mat as he lacks much oomph in his takedowns. This is a close one to call. While Hernandez has a sizeable advantage on the feet, it seems likely most of the contest will take place on the mat with scrambles dominating the action. Perhaps a coin flip might be best to decide this one, but I’ll go with the European who will deal with less travel in one this razor thin contest. Shore via decision