The Prelim Breakout Star is a once-per-event article that helps fans get to know those who will be entertaining them from the undercard. The intention of the article is not to bring attention to the most talented fighter on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.
There are a lot of fights that people are talking about this weekend for UFC 263. However, there is one where both prospects should be a lot more hyped than even this card is letting them be. While both are tough, I can only pick one to ride with this weekend.
Nickname – The Italian Stallion
Affiliation – Factory X
From – Brasilia, Brazil
Height – 5’8″
Weight – 155 lbs (Lightweight)
Record – 9-1 (1-1 UFC)
What makes him impressive
Vendramini has all the hands (and legs for that matter) you would expect from someone doing his training camps at Factory X. He mixes things up well on the feet and has underrated power. However, it’s actually the grappling that I’m more interested in.
Vendramini is the son of a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt. He got on the mat early in life and it shows. Not only are his transitions sharp and technical, but he isn’t afraid to go for anything. This is probably why two minutes into his debut, he took Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos’s back and held it for two minutes. With more time to improve and blend those parts of his game together, he’ll be dangerous on Saturday.
Why he has been overlooked
A debut loss is never good for the hype of a fighter. It certainly doesn’t help when it’s a highlight reel flying knee KO. It also doesn’t help when it takes you over two years to get healthy and get back in there. However, Vendramini did make his comeback already and looked phenomenal doing so. It may take another bout for people to recognize that a debut loss on short notice, up a weight class, to Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos is nothing to be ashamed of. If he wins this in the same fashion as the last one, he’ll shed that loss easily.
What makes this a good match-up
If Fares Ziam was about to step into a kickboxing match with Luigi Vendramini, I’d probably consider the fight a coin flip (which is where the odds opened). However, Ziam concedes, on average, over a takedown per round in his UFC stint. Pair that with the fine grappling of Vendramini and it spells trouble. If Vendramini was able to take down a 170-pounder in his debut and work to the back, you have to imagine any sign of trouble leads him back to that path here. And that path may just lead him to a win.
Prelim Breakout Star Record: 218-104-1 (2 NC) (13 DNF)
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