UFC Fight Night 106 is fast approaching and one fight that catches my eye is the match up between Francisco Trinaldo and Kevin Lee. Both are prospects, both have shown tons of improvement since their UFC debuts, and both fight in a completely different style. That style clash makes for a pretty damn intriguing match up, but the fact that Francisco Trinaldo at 38 years of age is putting a beatdown on many of his younger opposition makes this a Cinderella story any fight fan can find intriguing. That being said, Kevin Lee is no slouch and could easily bring Trinaldo’s streak to an end.
With a mostly striking oriented attack, Francisco Trinaldo has changed since he first debut in the UFC back in 2012. Once a brawler with an over aggressive fighting style, Trinaldo has tapered things quite a bit and has created for himself a striking based attack that is focused on movement and sudden rhythm changes to throw his opponents off their game. He can be bouncing light on his feet backwards then suddenly move forward with a straight or looping left hand or left body kick when fighting an orthodox opponent. His movement will serve him well in this match up as Kevin Lee loves nothing more than to come forward and use his wrestling game. If Trinaldo is able to keep up his lateral movement throughout the fight, Lee will have trouble getting in on his hips. He’ll need to remain diligent and avoid his brawling tendencies.
Kevin Lee’s road to victory is pretty straight forward. He’ll want to use his striking skills primarily to set up his takedown. He has a great reactive double leg takedown and knows exactly when he should abandon the wrestling game and shoot in for a double or a single. Even if the takedown is unsuccessful, Kevin Lee could use his game to smother Trinaldo into the fence. Where Lee is sure to find success with his wrestling game is drawing Trinaldo into an exchange. If he can bring some of that old brawling Trinaldo out, Lee will have little issue ducking under the strikes and entering in on the hips of ‘Massaranduba’ for a reactive double.
Both men have tools to bring the other into their game so strategy is absolutely key in this match up. The intangibles will be equally important like scrambles and the orthodox versus southpaw tactics, but ultimately it’s the fighter that draws the other into their rhythm that will ultimately prove to be the victor.
Who do you think wins: the veteran Francisco Trinaldo or the young prospect Kevin Lee?