Analysis

UFC Sao Paulo Co-Main Event Breakdown

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After a week away from action last Saturday night, MMA’s top promotion is back in the cage for three consecutive weekends in November. It all starts this Saturday.

This weekend, the famed UFC Octagon makes its second stop this year in MMA’s birthplace of Brazil and the second stop in Brazil since COVID-19 safeguards were lifted. Sao Paulo’s Ibiarpuera Arena plays host to UFC Sao Paulo and the UFC Sao Paulo co-main event.

Welterweights Do Battle in UFC Sao Paulo Co-Main Event Saturday Night

All told, barring any late cancellations or adjustments to this card, the final version of UFC Sao Paulo features a full 13-fight card. Welterweight action serves as the focus for this week’s co-main attraction.

Undefeated Gabriel Bonfim (15-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC,) a veteran of the LFA and Dana White’s Contender Serieslooks to run his overall winning streak to 16 fights when he takes on Nicolas Dalby (22-4-1, 2 NC MMA, 6-3-1, 1 NC UFC) in the UFC Sao Paulo co-main event. With no title at stake, Saturday’s co-headliner is an advertised maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round.

UFC Sao Paulo Co-Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds

Heading into the UFC Sao Paulo co-main event, Gabriel Bonfim stands as the taller man at 6-foot-1, compared to the 5-foot-11 frame of Nicolas Dalby. The latter owns a two-inch reach (74 1/2 inches to 72 1/2 inches) and a 2 1/2-inch leg reach advantage (43 inches even to 40 1/2 inches) over the former.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the oddsmakers have Gabriel Bonfim installed as a -650 favorite on the money line, with Nicolas Dalby countering as a +425 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.

Can Gabriel Bonfim Become Ranked?

Gabriel Bonfim enters Saturday night’s UFC Sao Paulo co-main event having yet to lose so far in his professional career. More impressively, his last seven wins have come inside the distance.

Back on July 29, he stopped Trevin Giles (16-5 MMA, 7-5 UFC) with a first-round submission (rear-naked choke) in UFC 291 from Salt Lake City. After the fight, the victorious Bonfim talked to Joe Rogan and mentioned that he has high aspirations.

“I’m feeling great,” Bonfim began, through his translator. “I’m expecting this because I’ve been working every day to be the champion in the division and you can wait. I will be the champion in this division.”

Bonfim has fifteen wins in a row to his credit and a win here would make three straight under the UFC banner.

Dalby Aiming to Stop Bonfim’s Momentum

In the other corner, Nicolas Dalby has posted a record of 4-1 in his last five bouts. At present, he’s on a three-fight winning streak.

Most recently, he scored a unanimous decision win against Muslim Salikhov (19-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC) on June 17. During his post-fight media scrum that night, Dalby pinpointed to a November date for his next contest for two special reasons.

“It’s my birthday in November,” Dalby said, “and my next fight is going to be my 30th pro fight. This year is the 30th anniversary of the UFC, so, you know, it would be fitting to get that 30th fight on the 30th anniversary on my birthday month.”

Unfortunately for Dalby, the 30th anniversary event takes place next Saturday night, but his mission remains the same in the UFC Sao Paulo co-main event.

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Saturday’s UFC Sao Paulo co-main event looks to favor Gabriel Bonfim, a proven submission specialist, with Nicolas Dalby countering as a kickboxer with a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and green belt in Ashihara karate.

Bonfim Slick with Subs

Statistically, Gabriel Bonfim has won 80 percent of his fights (12) by submission. Thus, it stands to reason that once he takes his opponent down to the cage mat, like he did against Mounir Lazzez, it can be something to behold.

During the first round of a scheduled three, Bonfim put Lazzez in the clinch with the latter securing a takedown. Bonfim quickly reversed position and secured a mounted guillotine choke in just 49 seconds.

All Gabriel Bonfim needs to win the UFC Sao Paulo co-main event on Saturday night is secure just a single takedown.

Look For Dalby to Try and Lock Up a Submission

In the other corner, although it hasn’t happened too often, Nicolas Dalby can secure the submission himself One need look no further than the second round of his fight vs. Roberto Allegretti at Cage Warriors 96 in September of 2018.

Right after the command to fight in round two, Dalby connected on a head kick to knock Allegretti down, only for Allegretti to pop right back up and try to take him down. Dalby completed a takedown and then took mount, scoring with a flurry of ground and pound strikes from there.

At that point, Dalby squeezed Allegretti to apply the torque and finish up a technical submission by way of rear-naked choke. Dalby needs to knock Bonfim off his gameplan in the UFC Sao Paulo co-main event.

Final Thoughts

Even though both fighters in this co-main event have no numbers next to their name, contender ship could be in the offing for the winner. This looks like it’ll be a good one, so don’t miss it.

Prediction: Gabriel Bonfim by First-Round Submission. 

Live coverage of UFC Sao Paulo begins at 6 pm ET/ 3 pm PT on ESPN+ with the prelims. Main card action follows at 9 pm ET/ 6 pm PT on the night we change the clocks back one hour.

Important Note: Be certain to turn your clocks back one hour before bed on Saturday night. Daylight Savings Time ends Sunday morning at 2 am local time.

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew enjoys a good game and an even better fight. When he's not writing, you can find him playing video games and listening to music.

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