Been away for a bit and with the limited time I do have, I’ve decided to breakdown a fight that I’m really looking forward to. No disrespect to the other fighters on the card, but by now anyone who has been following my writing knows by now that I’m a full on karate nerd. Rather than try to hide this fact I’m being up front now that my most anticipated fights on the card are centered around a certain karate expert, Justin Scoggins. He draws the scrappy and unpredictable Yuta Sasaki in his return to flyweight.
Let’s face it, Yuta Sasaki like most other flyweights isn’t getting a fair shake. That has nothing to do with his performances inside the octagon however. He’s been exciting in his outings and looked impressive in his bout against Wilson Reis at UFC 208. He utilized distance to get off some solid shots on Reis, including a nice jab and stinging right hand that caught his fellow flyweight off guard.
What Sasaki is going to need to do in order to win this fight is turn the striking exchanges into a scrap. He’ll have to mix in keeping the faster Scoggins at bay with his length while at the same time throwing multiple strikes once in the pocket. But striking shouldn’t be his only means of victory in this bout. When Sasaki looks to take things to the ground he gets greedy and is unrelenting. He should use any clinching opportunities to latch onto Scoggins and take the fight to the ground.
Justin Scoggins has been referred to as the smaller vets of Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson on many occasions, which is fair. After all, they were both trained by the same man. In Justin Scoggins we can see the kind of potential that could easily turn him into a top contender at flyweight. Like Thompson, Scoggins employs more of a striking based attack, utilizing constant movement and angles to get the job done. But he also utilizes a strong wrestling game that helps him get away with some flashier strikes.
Where Scoggins has gotten in trouble in the past is his decision making abilities. He often times shoots when he should strike and in his last bout against Pedro Munhoz he decided to throw potentially one kick too many against a man looking to grapple. But all of that is in the past and this fight is likely to highlight why Justin Scoggins was so highly touted in the beginning of his UFC career. If he wants to beat Sasaki then moving in and out of range and cutting to a forty-five degree angle will be paramount. Neutralizing Sasaki’s reach advantage is also going to be of the utmost importance. For that, he’ll want to use his long range side kick as well as his blitz which he can use to get off centerline and attack from a new angle. His wide range of kicks will also help him to keep Sasaki at bay and even have him run into something devastating.
The flyweights deserve love and this fight will showcase exactly why with speed, footwork, and awesome exchanges and transitions. Do yourself a favor and tune into this one.
Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to keep up with his antics.
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