This Saturday, the UFC will touch down in San Diego, California. The UFC San Diego card headlined the thrilling fight between Dominic Cruz and Marlon Villa. Youssef Zalal was in desperate need of a win after losing the last three games and he should have played Cristian Quiñonez. Quinones had to withdraw due to visa issues. Quinonez is out, and CFFC bantamweight champion Da’mon Blackshear is out.
Damon “The Big Monster” Blackhill
135 lb (bantamweight) fight
27 years old
Fighting in Baytown, Texas
Training at JacksonWink
12-4 career record
1 KO/TKO, 8 commits
How Blackshear did in the UFC:
It’s great to see Blackshear getting this lens without lifting the weight class. He is the defending former CFFC bantamweight champion. He has four losses on his record, but two of those losses were to Danny Sabbatello and Pat Sabbatini. Those battles were lost due to his defensive presence and carrying too much time. Everyone who knows Sabatello and Sabatini knows they are both top-notch wrestlers and grapplers, so there’s no shame in these losses.
Blackshear does get knocked down, but I wouldn’t say his knockdown defense is bad. He does struggle with wrestling-heavy attacks, and as the fight goes on, he’s more likely to get knocked out. Blackshear does scramble really well and does a great job, never standing still, but always moving. He has good jiu-jitsu and most of his victories come from submission. His RNC may be his best weapon, but most importantly, he’s a threat overall.
Strike-wise, his hands aren’t too tight, throwing wide-ranging strikes instead. Even with wide punches, he is good at hitting the ball in the high post. His short right uppercut is the best weapon on his feet and has some power. There are also some nice kicks to compete with his right hand Blackshear. Blackshear aggressively attacks the leg and uses it to slow down opponents and maintain his range.
I’m not quite sure about Blackshear’s ceiling. I think he has a lot of tools that a lot of people don’t have, but it’s probably hard to put them together in the UFC. He can easily beat a lot of people at the bottom of the division, but not many at 135. Depends on how he gets the yellow card: I can see him winning the first four UFC fights.
How he matches Zalal:
When Zalal first came to the UFC, I thought he had potential, but that potential has disappeared. After dropping three bouts in a row, he has been suspended for almost a year and is now down to bantamweight. Zalal has a slight touch advantage, and the pairing is nearly identical. The fighting styles of these two guys are also very similar. Zalal is probably the better striker, he’s more skilled and has more weapons. Blackshear is the better wrestler, and probably the better fighter overall. It’s a very close fight. I choose Zalal because I think he can outrun Blackshear and speed would be a good advantage.