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Two ranked strawweights will face off this Saturday night on the main card of UFC Fight Night 135 in Lincoln, Nebraska. This fight will be contested on about a month’s notice. Hill was originally scheduled to fight Alexa Grasso but Casey stepped in after Grasso pulled out with an injury. The winner of this bout could easily find herself in the top 10 of the deepest women’s division in the UFC. Cortney Casey (7-6) will come into this bout looking to avenge two consecutive close, split decision losses to Felice Herrig and Michelle Waterson. Angela Hill (8-4), the former Invicta FC Champion, was last seen defeating Maryna Moroz by unanimous decision to push her record to 4-4 as a member of the UFC.
Cortney Casey tries to climb back to contention
Things have not been going Cortney Casey’s way lately. It all started in a loss to Claudia Gadelha in which Casey embellished an illegal kick that it turned out did not actually hit her. Since then, it has all been bad news. Her win over Jessica Aguilar was temporarily taken away due to elevated testosterone levels. That ruling was since overturned when the UFC found no evidence of doping on Casey’s part.
Following that hard to celebrate win, Casey took two consecutive close, split decision losses to Felice Herrig and Michelle Waterson. The loss to Herrig was as close as it gets with even the media scorecards being split right down the middle. The Waterson loss on the other hand, can be disputed. She nearly finished “The Karate Hottie” and attacked submissions from her guard but the judges still did not seen enough to get her the win.
Casey will look to avenge those losses, both of which she believes should not be on her record, this Saturday. While it is easier said than done, Casey will have to push the string of bad luck she has seen out of her head and focus on Angela Hill, the very worthy opponent in front of her. As is the case with most of her fights, Casey will have a large height advantage. She has four inches on Hill and should look to stay on the outside during striking exchanges. Casey is a very well rounded fighter with a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and should do her best to take this fight to the mat with the kickboxing specialist Hill than try her luck in the striking. The long limbs and superior grappling of Casey could help her lock up a submission to end this fight.
Angela Hill looks to add another KO
Angela “Overkill” Hill is in her second stint with the UFC. The first time around, she was released after two straight losses to Tecia Torres and current champion, Rose Namajunas. After going to Invicta and winning the strawweight title, “Overkill” is back in the octagon. After losing to Nina Ansaroff in her own game, a striking match, Hill came right back to defeat Maryna Moroz in a beautiful striking performance. Hill threw nearly 100 less strikes than her opponent but outlanded Moroz significantly with a striking percentage of 52 percent. This “quality over quantity” performance suited he much better than the fight against Ansaroff where she just threw everything she had.
The path to victory for Angela Hill is very obvious. Keep the fight on the feet and pick shots. The comparison of her last two fights shows us that she should not lure Casey into an all out brawl but rather use technical striking to land at a high rate and outclass her on the feet. As a professional kickboxer, Hill was 16-0 so there are not many women in this division that can stand and trade with her.
As the much shorter fighter, Hill will need to find a way to get inside Casey’s striking range. This might not be as hard as it seems because Casey is sure to come in for takedowns to try to bring the fight to the mat where she has the advantage over Hill. That is when Hill needs to step in and look to clinch to outstrike her with some dirty boxing before bouncing back out to safety to stay on her feet. With her Muay Thai background, Hill is very comfortable in the clinch. Using it will keep Casey close and negate her reach advantage.
While Casey is at a disadvantage in the striking, she will not be completely outclassed on the feet. Still, if she is not getting the better of the exchanges, she has the option to take this fight to the ground, a luxury that Hill does not have. The only time Hill was ever finished was by submission so Casey would love to add another. Keep in mind that Casey’s last two losses were razor close. If they went the other way, we could be talking about her as a title contender. Cortney Casey is nothing other than a top-level fighter.
Angela Hill needs to do what she does best to win this fight. She needs to move and stick Casey with her powerful but accurate striking. The worst thing she can do is throw in high volume and tire herself out, making the takedown easier for Casey. We know Hill has knockout power and she could show it off if she catches Casey on the way in.
Despite being the underdog in this one, Cortney Casey has more ways to win the fight. She is well rounded and can strike with anyone but will look to take it to the ground if Hill’s kickboxing proves to be too much. After two very close losses, look for Cortney Casey to come in with a bit of extra energy and get back on the win column.
Pick: Cortney Casey +120
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