Prior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at former Bellator lightweight Marcin Held as he takes on longtime UFC veteran Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night 98 in Mexico City, Mexico. Marcin Held Hometown: Tychy, Poland Age: 24 Height: 5’9” Reach: 71” Weight Class: Lightweight Camp: Lobo Gym Career Record: 22-4 Key Wins: Derek Anderson, Patricky Freire, Tiger Sarnavskiy Key Losses: Will Brooks, Michael Chandler Background The Bellator veteran had fought many of the best fighters in the promotion including Will Brooks, Michael Chandler, and Patricky Freire. He’s an excellent grappler with a lot of variety in his submission attempts. Strengths

  • Young, improving fighter
  • Improved stand up
  • Excellent grappler
  • Lots of variety in his submission attempts
  • Capable both off his back and from top control
  • Black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Weaknesses

  • Can struggle if unable to get fight to the mat
  • Lacks one punch knockout power
  • Too reliant on submissions

 

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  Matchup against Diego Sanchez A strong contender for fight of the night anytime he hits the cage, Diego Sanchez welcomes Marcin Held to the UFC at Fight Night 98. This is a big opportunity for Held to make a splash in his debut against the well-liked veteran. Sanchez is as tough as they come. He was surprisingly finished in his last bout against Joe Lauzon, but other than that he had not been finished in any of his previous UFC bouts. Held is much younger than his opponent and will absolutely threaten with submissions in this bout. The submission game is Held’s bread and butter. He’s able to lock in subs from a variety of positions. While the wrestling may be a wash, any time this fight is on the ground it’s an opportunity for Held. On the feet, I give a small advantage to Sanchez because of his work rate. Held may be a better striker at this point, but Sanchez has the ability to stay active enough to steal rounds. Held should be able to get this fight to the ground at times and do enough to win overall. I think there’s a real possibility he gives Sanchez his first submission loss of his career. If he’s unable to get a submission, this likely goes to the scorecards. Sanchez has won some shocking decisions in the UFC, so bettors should be hesitant to lay the chalk in this fight. UFC Ceiling Marcin Held was perhaps the best lightweight on the market when he was signed to the UFC. He’s young, talented and has a tremendous submission game. From fight to fight, he’s shown real improvements in his overall game. For a comparison, he’s a bit like Charles Oliveira in that his striking is improving, but he’s still overly reliant on his grappling ability to be successful. He may not be quite as talented as Oliveira on the mat, but he’s still very good in that regard. If Held can continue to improve his striking, he should become a top 15 lightweight in the UFC. Fight Film Check out Marcin Held in some of his most recent fights:   Marcin Held vs. Derek Anderson   Marcin Held vs. Nate Jolly


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