Despite the lull in action through the winter break, Legacy Fighting Alliance returns on January 15, delivering what Santa forgot to. LFA 97: Browne vs. Estrázulas will be aired on UFC Fight Pass at the Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas. The card is stacked top to bottom, so let’s take a closer look at a bout between two surging upstarts. Nadine Mandiau and Claire Guthrie will take the center of the cage looking to set up big calendar year. Given that 2020 has been a unique struggle for all of us, each of the athletes competing ran into some nasty hurdles.
LFA 97: Nadine Mandiau and Claire Guthrie – Closer Look
In fact, after having a conversation with Mandiau, she explained the difficulties surrounding this training camp. Specifically, she mentioned that she became sick at the onset of the pandemic. Eventually, she would find out it was a different viral infection than Covid-19 that was ravaging her body. But after a torturous two and a half months, she recovered. Now the Belgium-born athlete finds herself welcomed in a pivotal flyweight match at LFA 97 with former Invicta athlete Claire Guthrie.
With solid feints and elusive movement, Mandiau is troublesome for any opponent. Additionally, her shot selection confuses opponents on the feet. Consequently, an example of this came in the first round in her fight against Melissa Cervantes at Combate 49: San Antonio. Essentially, the Belgium prospect started by pumping low leg kicks, but after a couple of sequences, elevated them up to her foe’s head. Additionally, since she targeted Cevantes’s lead leg early, it was enough to compromise her movement from Round 1 and beyond. Undoubtedly, at LFA 97 Mandiau will look to stifle Guthrie and her movement early on. Especially since Guthrie is a cardio-machine in her own right, training at Elevation Fight Team.
Orthodox as well, Guthrie sets a nasty pace and packs a lot of power. Unlike Mandiau, Guthrie prefers to spend more time in the pocket, as her boxing skills carry her through some sharp combinations. While she doesn’t utilize feints as much, her boxing is refined enough to where she doesn’t need them. In addition, Guthrie makes great use of her reach, and length. For example, against Caitlin Sammons at Invicta FC 41, while she lost the decision, she gave Sammons all she could handle on the feet. In the first round, she displayed some boxing fundamentals that imply a high ceiling for the young athlete.
Overall, LFA 97 is packed with action including a vacant title fight at the top of the bill. One thing is definite — Mandiau and Guthrie are looking to make a statement to begin 2021. With the current MMA landscape, and free agency dominating the headlines surely there’s a lot on the line for all competitors.
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