Marcos Vinicius (20-4-1, 1-1 UFC) vs. Ali Bagautinov (10-2, 0-0 UFC)
A flyweight bout opens the main card of UFC Fight Night 28 as Vinicius looks to keep his spot on the UFC roster as he welcomes highly-touted prospect Bagautinov to the UFC. Vinicius moves down to the 125-pound division after fighting his first two UFC fights as a featherweight and bantamweight, and he looks to rebound from a loss to Johnny Bedford in December. He is 4-1 over his last five fights. Bagautinov is a Sambo World Champion out of Russia who will be making his UFC debut riding an eight-fight win streak.
Fight Breakdown- Vinicius was a castmember of season one of “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil”, and while he defeated Pedro Nobre in an elimination bout to get into the house, he didn’t find much success afterwards. He lost to Hugo Viana in his first fight after getting into the house, and after being selected as an injury replacement, he lost again, this time to finalist Godofredo Castro. Vinicius still got a fight at UFC 147, and he scored a huge knockout win over Wagner Campos and earned the post-fight bonus for “Knockout Of The Night”. He dropped to 135 pounds to meet Johnny Bedford in December, but Bedford was able to use his size and reach to score a knockout of Vinicius. Vinicius now makes the move down another weight class to the flyweight division, and his frame should be better suited at 125 pounds, though it may take him a fight to adjust to it.
Bagautinov is the newest addition to the flyweight division, and he is an explosive fighter with highly-touted skills and an incredible background in Sambo. He was named Master Of Sports on International Level in Sambo, which is a Russian honor awarded to top sportsmen, and a world champion in Sambo, Wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. His background is very extensive, and he has transformed that success into his mixed martial arts career. He may have split his first four fights, but after the 2-2 start he has reeled off eight straight wins. Seven of those eight wins have come by stoppage, and his last two wins, both knockouts, took a combined 52 seconds. Bagautinov was also involved in an interesting bout in which he lost half of his ear. He went on to win that fight by submission.
Bagautinov is very explosive on his feet and packs a lot of power, and a lot of fighters who come from a Sambo background seem to be able to transfer those skills better into MMA. Vinicius packs some power in his hands, but he would like to make the fight a grappling battle. Bagautinov should be able to control him on the ground if he can push the tempo and keep Vinicius out of range, but he should also be careful as Vinicius will attack with knees from close range. Vinicius may be a more polished striker, but Bagautinov is going to win this fight with takedowns and control on the ground. His top game is excellent, and he has good submission skills. Vinicius may look to push the fight the distance as Bagautinov’s only two losses have come by a decision, but Bagautinov’s background will be enough to guide him to the win.
Why It Matters- This is a big fight for both as Vinicius looks to avoid being cut following a loss, and the winner will instantly find himself in the title hunt. Vinicius looks to be just an average hand to fill a Brazilian fight card while Bagautinov looks to be a legitimate contender should he rack up some wins.