UFC on ESPN+ 58: Dawodu vs Trizano - Prediction & Analysis - 02/05/22

Hakeem Dawodu vs Michael Trizano

Mike Trizano (9-1) won Season 27 of the Ultimate Fighter where he defeated Joe Giannetti by split decision. Trizano made his official UFC debut against Luis Pena, which saw “The Lone Wolf” skate away with another split decision win. Grant Dawson spoiled his drop to featherweight by submitting Trizano via rear naked choke. He then bounced back from his first career defeat by decisioning Ľudovít Klein in May.

Hakeem Dawodu’s (12-2-1) UFC debut didn’t go as planned as he was submitted by Danny Henry back in 2018. The Canadian then rattled off 5 straight victories before acquiring a 12 minute backpack in the form of Movsar Evloev in his most recent fight, which brought his UFC record to 5-2. That win streak involved 3 split decisions in very close fights.

Dawodu will enjoy 2 inches of reach but gives up the 3 inches in height to Trizano.

How They Match Up

“Mean” Hakeem found out that giving up your back isn’t the most efficient way back to his feet last time out. But there’s really no shame in getting outgrappled by a beast like Evloev. Before that fight, we saw Dawodu in an absolute striking chess match in a super close fight against Zubaira Tukhugov. Both of these two opponents are on a completely higher level than Trizano. The main issue I have with Dawodu is his commitment to his counter punching strategy. That strategy works great if you have ample one shot kill power but Dawodu has failed to showcase this during his UFC tenure. This is partly because he’s been facing pretty durable opponents, but if he took the lead a bit more, he might be able to separate on the judges cards more frequently. Instead, he leaves a lot of his fights up to very difficult judging decisions, which at this point has gone his way in the UFC.

Speaking of close fights, Trizano’s last trip to the cage was a lot closer than the unanimous decision verdict would suggest. “The Lone Wolf” stalked Klein for most of the fight but it still ended up as a fairly low volume affair for the featherweight division. His patience did serve him well at certain points in the fight as he landed a couple power shots (one of which sat Klein down briefly). He did show an increased ability to get things back to the feet, which has been a bit of a problem for him in the past (see Grant Dawson and Luis Pena bouts).

The grappling challenges both combatants have endured in their careers shouldn’t be a factor here as both guys like to keep it standing and I can't imagine a vast shift in strategy here. This will be the age old tale of power vs speed. Trizano being the one with the size and power while Dawodu possessing faster hands and movement. I’m going to side with Dawodu on this one for two main reasons. His breadth of competition is way higher than Trizano’s and Dawodu hasn’t ever been knocked out. This has me thinking that his speed and edge in technique will help him pull ahead over time. Not to mention if Trizano intends on pressuring forward constantly, he may be met with resistance quickly and more often than he’s used to. One final point is Dawodu’s leg kicks could become a factor as the fight goes on. Give me “Mean” Hakeem to score another close-ish decision.

Prediction: Hakeem Dawodu

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Donnie Vee

Ever since renting my first UFC VHS at my local video store, I’ve been in love with the sport of MMA. I’ve watched every single fight that has ever taken place under the UFC banner over the past 25 years. Once I started doing incredibly well in fantasy leagues, I realized I could utilize my skills in fight analytics to make a profit on betting. My obsession with researching every aspect of a fight gave me a real edge in finding value. Since then, it's been one profitable year after the next. Watching your favorite sport is good, but getting paid while watching your favorite sport is better.