UFC Fight Night: Sanchez vs. PearsonSaturday, June 7 – 11:00 p.m. ET
Diego Sanchez (26-7) vs. Ross Pearson (17-6-1)Lightweight bout
Line: Pearson -185, Sanchez +150
Diego Sanchez and Ross Pearson square off Saturday night in what has the makings of being the fight of the night in New Mexico.
It has been a tough stretch for Sanchez, who he has lost three of his past four bouts. All three of those defeats have been by way of unanimous decision, including his last fight against Myles Jury on March 15. One thing that has hurt Sanchez is his cardio, as a majority of his losses have come from the judges, as he's 9-6 when fights are determined by decision. He will have to be ready to fight from the very beginning of this match, as Pearson has the ability to end fights quickly. In his last match against Melvin Guillard on Oct. 26, the fight was called a non-contest after Guillard delivered an illegal knee to Pearson. In his previous match on April 6, 2013, Pearson defeated Ryan Couture in the second round by way of TKO. Sanchez has had a tough stretch, and it will not get any easier facing Pearson. Look for a competitive match, but for the favored PEARSON to win in thrilling fashion at the end.
"The Real Deal" Pearson has 17 wins in his career, with seven of those victories coming by way of decision. He also has six wins by knockout and four by submission, which shows his versatility in the octagon. Pearson has proven to be a vicious striker, and will have a huge advantage when it comes to striking. He lands an average of 4.12 significant strikes per minute, compared to only 2.77 strikes for Sanchez. The British-born Pearson is also more accurate when it comes to striking percentage, landing 42% of his attempts, compared to 36% for his opponent. Another advantage for the 29-year-old Pearson will be his ability to defend against the takedown, with an impressive 81% defense rate of takedowns in his career. As long as he is able to stay focused and consistent with his punches, Pearson will be in great shape to get the win. However, if Sanchez can get in Pearson's head early, he will have a great chance of getting the upset.
Of his 26 career victories, "The Dream" Sanchez has 12 wins by way of decision. He also has nine wins by knockout, with another five coming by way of submission. The 5-foot-10 Sanchez not only has a two-inch height advantage in this fight, but he also has a big edge in terms of takedowns, averaging 1.65, compared to only 1.11 for Pearson. However, Sanchez can get careless with his takedowns, converting on only 22% of his attempts. That could be bad news against Pearson, who does such a great job defending against the takedown. However, Sanchez will certainly have the hometown crowd in his favor, as he hails from Albuquerque and currently trains in the New Mexico's largest city as well. For Sanchez to get the win, he must be ready to go from the start, as Pearson will come out amped up from the very beginning.