One of the UFC’s newest (and youngest) stars makes her return to the octagon at UFC on Fox 15 in Newark, New Jersey Saturday night as Paige VanZant finds herself in a tough match-up against the much more experienced Felice Herrig in the women’s strawweight division. Incredibly, VanZant is listed as a slight favorite leading into the fight, but make no mistake, this is a very big step for her. With all of five professional fights, VanZant (4-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has but a third of the pro experience Herrig (10-5 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has.

She is, however, someone the company wants to push. Frankly, both these fighters are. It’s win-win for the UFC as both VanZant and Herrig have decent followings with fans. Herrig has been around WMMA a long while and is constantly engaging fans on socail media, and VanZant broke huge in the fall with a win over Kaillin Curran.

What must VanZant do to get her hand raised Saturday night in their bout, which opens the main card portion of UFC on Fox 15?

Here are some keys to victory for Paige VanZant Saturday Night:

Use That Speed

If there’s one area in which Paige VanZant has a clear edge over Felice Herrig, it’s the speed and wrestling/takedown departments. In order to get the fight to the ground, where she’ll be at an advantage, VanZant needs to rely on her speed. Pick her spots, shoot quickly, and score takedowns fast and furious.

This will likely get harder as the fight goes on, so she should be looking to score early and often.

Overcome The Reach Advantage

Herrig does have a reach advantage, and is the superior striker, and that’s something that VanZant needs to take into consideration in this bout. It’s something she’ll simply have to overcome, but she’s had the right training camp — she’s once again back with Team Alpha Male.

Score On The Ground

As stated — score early, score often. Herrig has a decent submission game, with a trio of wins by arm bar in her career, the most recent of which came in her UFC debut. That said, VanZant should be able to handle it if she can maintain the dominant position. In any case, on the ground is where she wants this to be. What she does not want to do is get drawn into a sloppy stand-up war. That might have worked against Kaillin Curran, but Herrig is a different animal, and a much more well rounded fighter.

VanZant has a very real chance at winning Saturday night, but it’s nowhere near a certainty — she’s going to be in for the fight of her life thus far into her young career.

 

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.