On March 16, in Las Vegas, LFC 25 brings a stacked card to Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall, as one of the premier fights of the night sees Jessie 'El Toro' Santos (12-4) take on Shay 'The Fox' Mazzato (16-8).
When you first glance at the size of the fighters, it seems as if this is a “David vs Goliath” type match-up; with Santos coming in at 5’10/155 lbs and Mazzato at 5’2/120 lbs. However, as you begin to dive into the fighter’s styles, watch their tape, and look into their backgrounds, the playing field begins to level quickly.
Mazzato comes from a professional wrestling background and has a lot of ring experience. While small, she is compact and explosive with elite level athleticism. She displays high level striking, being able to connect accurately with her hands and feet. She has good footwork when moving forward and being the aggressor, but must work on her defense, especially when facing a bigger/stronger fighter like Santos.
Mazzato anticipating an attack from the champ Feather 'The Hammer' Hadden (21-1) a LFC 22
Santos is big and very aggressive; almost to a fault. However, she is surprisingly athletic with great agility; and for what she lacks in speed and explosiveness, she makes up for in raw power and a well rounded skill set in multiple disciplines. She is proficient in grappling, Jiu Jitsu, and Muay Thai; making her a match-up nightmare for anyone in the LFC. However, Santos has yet to put it all together in the cage, losing two of her first three matches.
Mazzato, while winless in the LFC, has an opportunity to get back into title contention with a convincing win over Santos. In my opinion, she must keep this fight on the feet and picking her opportunities to shoot. When she finds herself inside, she must use the LFC’s striking rules to her advantage and pepper Santos with body shots and angling off to use her long range kicks to chop Santos down.
If the fight goes to the ground, Mazzato needs to work immediately to top position and look for a submission or get to her feet and stay off the fence, if unable to, Santos will use her size and strength to hold her down and unleash a barrage ground and pound. With that said, Santos’ first fight was a lost via guillotine to Allie 'Babydoll' Parks (17-9), submissions are definitely possible, but Santos is likely to of patched this hole in her game.
Santos has been training in Jui Jitsu and Muay Thai religiously. From a physical standpoint, Santos is very well built, carrying no bad weight coming into the fight. Her striking has greatly improved and she looks confident wherever the fight may go. However, Santos must keep a cool head in the cage. In previous fights, her aggressiveness and intensity has caused her to become emotional and ultimately lowering her fight IQ against opponents she should of dominated.
Santos attempting a kneebar on Allie 'Babydoll' Parks (17-9) at LFC 20
In order to win this fight, Santos needs to turn it into a controlled brawl, cutting off the cage from Mazzato, as to not allow the speed and technical skills of Mazzato to play a factor. Utilizing her power, Santos would be best served to take this fight to the ground, soften up Mazzato with her heavy hands and look for a quick submission.
This fight is a matchmakers dream, as you have contrasting styles, which is usually a recipe for a potential “fight of the night” candidate. Also, with both fighters coming off of losses, this is a must win for each in order to remain in the forefront of the LFC roster, with the winner likely getting into contention for a title fight; again, another ingredient that will ensure that this is going to be a fight that will go down in LFC history.
#LFC 25: Showdown At Sam’s Town will be available on PPV and more than 2000 cable & satellite systems starting May 18.