The Prelim Breakout Star is a once per event article that helps fans get to know those who will be entertaining them from the undercard. The intention of the article is not to bring attention to the most talented fighter on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.
Women’s bantamweight is a division that is in need of some fresh faces at the top of the division. With one of the thinnest rosters of any weight class, there isn’t many to keep an eye on. This week’s breakout star is certainly an exception to that.
Affiliation – Oklahoma Martial Arts Academy
Nickname – Raging Panda
From – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Height – 5’7″
Weight – 135 lbs (Bantamweight)
Record – 8-1 (2-0 UFC)
What makes her impressive
The close range work of Avila is the thing that sticks out most clearly. Whether in the clinch or against the cage, she doesn’t waste energy throwing wildly, but is precise with the shots that she does throw. According to Fightmetric, she is landing just under 72% of what she throws in the clinch, and that includes strikes with fight stopping power with all limbs. This makes her not only a threat to take her opponent out at all times, but also a threat to their gas tank.
Why she has been overlooked
At 2-0 in a thin division, you would think the hype would be huge. However, she’s just 2-0 after 14 months in the UFC. This is due to the fact that she has had seven opponents cancel on her, including a bout with Karol Rosa that was cancelled four times. She takes this bout as an opportunity to move up a week, as she was previously scheduled to fight three weeks later against Nicco Montano (which has been cancelled twice already).
What makes this a good match-up
One of the things Sijara Eubanks leans on is her strength. She is one of the most physical women in any division. However, she’s had trouble with those that can meet her physicality and not be bullied by it. Both Bethe Correia and Aspen Ladd were able to avoid being pinned against the cage by her or dominated in the grappling range. For Avila, she may not even have to avoid it. Her clinch work is so good that she may actually have the advantage if Eubanks presses forward and gets a hold of her. With the damage she does from that range and her solid cardio, this is an ideal matchup for Raging Panda.
Prelim Breakout Star Record: 203-88-1 (2 NC) (10 DNF)
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View the original article on MMA Manifesto: UFC Fight Night: Waterson vs Hill Prelim Breakout Star: Julia Avila